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Tennessee Dronescape (MP3)

Drones, straight outta Tennessee. Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to be exact. That’s where Patrick Singleton and Frank Baugh hail from. Together, they go by the Old Rig, which may or may not refer to their collective interest in older synthesizers. In our current moment of laptop music, in which emulated synths are very much the norm, the simple fact that both Singleton and Baugh would choose to load up their Roland JP-8000 and Juno-6, respectively, is a point of distinction. Combine those tools with what they describe, loosely, as tape loops, effects, and “real instruments,” and you get a heady stew of murky dronescapes. The duo recorded a half-hour set recently for the always excellent Phoning It In podcast, for which musicians literally perform live on the radio (KDVS FM, which later makes the show available as an MP3) via the phone. The result is a dark, clanging journey through a reverberant metallic landscape — as if Richard Serra had designed a haunted house.

[audio:http://www.phoningitin.net/files/shows/KDVS/2009/The%20Old%20Rig%20%20-%20Phoning%20It%20In%2010_23_09.mp3|titles=”Live on KDVS October 23 2009″|artists=The Old Rig]

More details at phoningitin.net.

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Haunting Liz Harris (Grouper) Live MP3

Latest Phoning It In podcast show yet again takes a live performance and flows it through one of the great lofi filters of our time: an ordinary phone line. The guests on Phoning It In, which is broadcast on KDVS FM in Davis, California (where I had a radio show many years ago), range from punk to folk to rock to noise. Liz Harris (aka Grouper) is the latest in an occasional roster of electronic musicians to make their sounds heard, however muffled and distant, on this estimable series. The recording moves steadily from feedback-laden irritants through soft elementary minimalism to its true sweet spot, a rough-hewn, moody shoegazer pop, thick with distorted chamber arrangements and haunting vocals (MP3).

[audio:http://www.phoningitin.net/files/shows/KDVS/2009/Grouper%20-%20Phoning%20It%20In%2008_24_09.mp3|titles=”Phoning It In”|artists=Grouper]

Originally broadcast on August 24 of this year. More details at phoningitin.net. More on Grouper at googlepages.com/grouper and myspace.com/grouperrepuorg.

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Electronic Viola Loops & Drones (MP3)

Loops of viola form the music of Dash, aka Jordan Dykstra, who recently recorded a live performance for the great KDVS radio show Phoning It In, on which musicians literally phone in a performance, playing over their phone (presumably a land line, not a cell). In his half-hour piece, Dysktra initially produces pulsing, rhythmic work, his electronic delay systems suggesting far more strings than any individual could ever play (MP3). Eventually, though, those pulses give way, melting and morphing into feedback-laden drones that have a sweet fragility to them.

[audio:http://www.phoningitin.net/files/shows/KDVS/2009/DASH%20-%20Phoning%20It%20In%2006_24_09.mp3|titles=”Phoning It In”|artists=Jordan Dykstra]

More on Dash at existentialmedia.org/thehop.

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Inca Ore Phones It In (MP3)

Musician Inca Ore (aka Eva Saelens) phoned it in recently — that is, the Oakland, California-based musician participated in the great podcast Phoning It In (phoningitin.net, associated with KDVS 90.3 FM radio), in which acts are interviewed and play music over the phone.

[audio:http://www.phoningitin.net/files/shows/KDVS/2009/Inca%20Ore%20-%20Phoning%20It%20In%2003_15_09.mp3|titles=Live on KDVS show Phoning It In|artists=Inca Ore]

The result could turn even the most high-end production into a lo-fi affair, but as Saelens and the show’s host discuss early on in the broadcast (narrowcast? shallowcast?), it really just adds a cozy, old-school, AM-radio vibe (MP3). “It’s right in line with my fidelity,” she says, listing among her favorite effects “tape hiss” and “far-away sounds.”

For her five-song set, Saelens plays distant, droney, maudlin keyboard-oriented work with a mindfully meandering quality, haunting and evocative. She jokes, in perfect deadpan, that she’s gone gospel, but the effect is arguably more druid.

Info on Inca Ore at myspace.com/incaoreincaore.

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Justin Shay Phones It In (MP3)

The Phoning It In radio show and podcast gives new meaning to the whole idea of lo-fi: featured musicians literally phone it in, performing over their telephone. The series’s archive is pretty deep, so for starters check out Justin Shay‘s performance, dated June 29, 2006 (MP3, phoningitin.net). Shay employs a Loop Station to build expansive passages from delicate, quivering layers of sound. His Phoning It In set includes two pieces, one almost song-like thanks to the presence of a rustic woodwind, the other all the more ethereal thanks to its absence. Both have an introspective, casual ambience that is amplified by Phoning It In’s techno-primitivism. More on Shay at virb.com/justinshay.

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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    December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
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    July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in the Disquiet Junto music community.
    There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
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    The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

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