My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art.
Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
Composing in code.

Hand-Modulated Loops

A demo from Mudlogger

When I want to learn about a piece of music equipment, hardware or soft, YouTube is often my first stop, and last as well. The main issue with YouTube tutorials and demos is I frequently can’t stand the music itself, so I have to learn by watching while half-listening. But that’s not the case here, as Mudlogger, aka Jason Taylor, puts a looper script through its paces, and creates highly enjoyable music at the same time.

The technological details are laid out in the video’s accompanying text, so there’s no need to go into them. The gist is that device on the left, with the knobs and sliders, is controlling audio loops in the device on the right, the silver-ish one with fewer knobs and matching buttons. Listen as the sounds slowly morph, and then are suddenly put to quick changes, sped up and clipped, layered and truncated, taking on the quality of bag pipes or pipe organ. As Mudlogger notes, there are more than 100 controls available to be tweaked. Listen as a handful of them are put to glitching, sprightly purpose.

Video originally posted at YouTube. More from Taylor/Mudlogger at soundcloud.com/mudlogger and mudlogger.bandcamp.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0465: You Thank

The Assignment: Make a piece of music for someone or something for which you feel thankful.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, November 30, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, November 26, 2020.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0465: You Thank
The Assignment: Make a piece of music for someone or something toward which you feel thankful.

Step 1: Think of someone (friend, family member, source of inspiration, etc.) you’re thankful for, or perhaps a thing (instrument, institution, a local business, etc.).

Step 2: Write a short piece of music dedicated to the subject you focused on in Step 1.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0465” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0465” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your tracks. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your tracks.

Step 4: Post your tracks in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0465-you-thank/

Step 5: Annotate your tracks with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, November 30, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, November 26, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Brevity is the soul of gratitude. Or something like that.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0465” in the title of the tracks, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: It is always best to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 465th weekly Disquiet Junto project, You Thank (The Assignment: Make a piece of music for someone or something toward which you feel thankful), at:

https://disquiet.com/0465/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0465-you-thank/

There’s also a Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project is by Ellen K, and used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license allowing editing (flipped and cropped with text added) for non-commercial purposes:

https://flic.kr/p/9ztLGg

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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Cross-Device Ambient

From the London-based musician who goes by Ambalek

Beautiful cross-device ambient, featuring a standard modular synthesizer setup controlling the more esoteric Plumbutter from the Ciat Lonbarde line of instruments (that’s wooden gadget in the foreground at the start of the video). It sounds like an orchestra tuning up from down the hall in advance of performing an evening impressionist program. It sounds like those orchestral musicians have found a happy degree of ensemble, of near-telepathic collaboration, and decided, spur of the moment, to just go with it, to see where the sinuous sense of collaboration takes them. Lovely lines hint at melody but pass more like wafts of cloud formations in a gentle breeze. The track is titled “Tethered.”

Video originally posted at youtube.com. More from Ambalek, who is based in London, at soundcloud.com/ambalek and instagram.com/_ambalek. This is the latest video I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine live performance of ambient music.

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Jason Richardson’s Lessons from the Disquiet Junto

At cyclicdefrost.com

Play: “I find it’s important when approaching any activity to switch off my inner critic and unleash a child-like sense of play.”

Action: “One of the best things about the Disquiet Junto is finding that creativity doesn’t need to wait for inspiration.”

Variety: “Sometimes the prompts are like cryptic crossword questions, and it’s fun to see the variety of interpretations that emerge from the community; other times they’re prescribed directions and it still seems as though everyone comes up with something radically different.”

Learning: “So I think that, while there are many lessons I’ve learned from being part of the Disquiet Junto community, a key one to reflect on here is that creative experiments can not fail. You just need to adopt an attitude that you’re still learning.”

Those four observations (with my labels) are just a few of the points brought up by Australian musician and artist Jason Richardson in a post he published this week, at cyclicdefrost.com, about his experience as a frequent participant in the Disquiet Junto music community. It’s a thoughtful, generous overview of the Disquiet Junto’s weekly compositional prompts, and it’s informed by his having accomplished roughly two thirds of the 464 projects to date. Jason has also contributed project ideas over the years, such as one using samples he made from “the biggest guitar in the southern hemisphere.” He also interviewed me back in 2017, during which he made an observation I think about quite frequently: “the Junto themes seem to have proportion to daily life, with a number about sleeping, waking, eating, walking, etc.”

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Ana Roxanne, Back in 2019

A live set in a railway terminal

There’s a great new album out from Ana Roxanne, Because of a Flower, which I’ve mentioned once or twice in the run up to its November 13 release. Definitely check it out for its layers of looped vocals and other forms of lush, often semi-verbal playfulness.

And while you’re at it, (re)visit this video of a half-hour set that she performed at Union Station in Los Angeles back in mid-May 2019. It’s a great show, benefiting especially from the way the vast hall expands upon her already well-documented penchant for echoing spaciousness. And note the facial expressions each time the train announcements threaten to disturb the fragility and serenity that the music has worked so hard to achieve. Ooo, and it closes with a cover of Smokey Robinson & the Miracles’ “Ooo Baby Baby” that would make Angelo Badalamenti cry for an encore.

Video originally posted at youtube.com. More from Roxanne, formerly of Los Angeles and currently of New York City, at instagram.com/frincess.

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