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.

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 More from Roxanne, formerly of Los Angeles and currently of New York City, at

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Current Listens: London Beats, Robot Piano

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

A weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. I hope to write more about some of these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them.

▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰ ▰
NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

London-based Vigi Beats delivers five brief instrumental hip-hop tracks, the loops expertly balancing a downtempo pace with a frenzy of sped-up samples. The set is titled Just Some Chops.

Hard to imagine the new Thys / Amon Tobin collaboration wasn’t initially conceived as the score to an unidentified video game or film project, so thick is Ithaca with scene-setting, rhythmically amorphous sonic experimentation.

John Schaefer’s New Sounds hosts two piano performances by Icelandic musician Olafur Arnalds. Arnald’s new album, some kind of peace, involves his algorithmic Stratus software (“intelligent custom software that could trigger self-playing, semi-generative ‘ghost’ pianos — his ‘robot writing partners'” per the software company, Spitfire Audio, that released it). Listen to the interview at

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Grace Notes: Used Sounds, De-Amplifying

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made that I want to keep track of (and sometimes some stray thoughts that didn’t appear earlier). For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. Long ago, as I mentioned two weeks ago, there was an automated way to collect a week’s tweets as a blog post. Bizarrely, after years and years of that plugin not functioning, this morning it suddenly worked, out of the blue. When I discovered that it had auto-posted a summary of the past week’s tweets, I deleted the entry, because it’s sort of an inelegant solution. I may fiddle with the plugin’s settings, but in the meanwhile, collating these manually is a good practice.

▰ A Go-Go’s song came on over the weekend, and I immediately started tapping my foot and paying attention with what I can only describe as military-grade attention and focus. I felt like I was suddenly becoming aware that I am, in fact, some sort of Gen X Cylon sleeper agent.

▰ Fun thing about buying used music equipment is occasionally hearing, due to SD cards and internal memory, whatever music the person you bought it from was making before they put it in the box and mailed it to you. Even generic looper pedals have stories to tell.

▰ tired: subtweeting
wired: de-amplifying

▰ Skynet alert: The AI spambots are getting smarter. Based on the past few days’ flurry, they’ve sorted out (17+ years after I left New Orleans) that despite my 504 area code I live in 415.

▰ Mistakenly thought Twitter had become a China Miéville book club.

▰ Fellow San Franciscans: if you have children unfamiliar with the concept of “rain” this is a good time to take them outside.

▰ “A lot of people could identify the roar as a Palmer roar or a Nicklaus roar or a Tiger roar” ( Despite the old saw about golf claps, competitive golf without a crowd present is quite a different thing. (I don’t golf, so I’ll take their word for it.)

▰ The “sound beaming” technology that puts music in your head. Cybernetic earmworm FTW:

▰ Have a great weekend, folks. I usually take a long social media break at the end of the year starting right around now, but given the social restrictions of pandemic life, I may hang around online. We’ll see. Still taking weekends off, either way. Be well.

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Ease into the Slow

Of "Beacon" from Jeannine Schulz

Close out the week, and ease into the slow (and, one hopes, uneventful) denouement of the annus horribilis that has been 2020, with a new Jeannine Schulz piece, “Beacon.” It is ebb and flow ambient, with a steady throb setting the pace, to which thick, soft tones attach themselves, the whole thing vibrating with a peaceful, sing-song quality. At times a field recording of waves can be heard, and the ease with which those natural sounds coordinate with the synthesized material is a tribute to the keen, patient ear that Schulz brings to the music.

Track originally posted at More of Schulz’s work at Schulz is based in Hamburg, Germany.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0464: Blanket Song

The Assignment: Play over a song, and then remove the original.

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 23, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, November 19, 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

Disquiet Junto Project 0464: Blanket Song
The Assignment: Play over a song, and then remove the original.

Step 1: The point of this project is to cover a song in the literal sense of the word. To “cover” a song usually means to play your own version of it. Here, you will blanket the original: you will play atop a song you like, and then remove the original so only your accompaniment is heard. The original will not be recognizable in what remains. First, choose the song you want to blanket.

Step 2: Record yourself playing along with the song you selected in Step 1.

Step 3: Remove the song from Step 1 so that only the original recording from Step 2 remains.

Step 4: You needn’t identify the song from Step 1 when posting your track, but certainly feel free to do so.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0464” (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 “disquiet0464” (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

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 23, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, November 19, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Presumably it will be around the same length as the source audio on which you based it.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0464” 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 464th weekly Disquiet Junto project, Blanket Song (The Assignment: Play over a song, and then remove the original), at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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

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

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