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.

Listening to T. Kingfisher’s The Twisted Ones

Extending my horizons

This is from The Twisted Ones, a 2019 novel by T. Kingfisher, pseudonym of the author Ursula Vernon. I don’t read a lot of horror, and the recommendation from a friend was an attempt, successful so far, to extend my literary horizons. The connection between horror fiction and horror movies seems more distant than, by way of contrast, in science fiction, historical romance, or spy thrillers. The tensions in this novel are less less intense, more slow-burn, less acute, more atmospheric, than would be the case in a filmed telling of the same story. A moment that read and viewed versions might have in common is when atmosphere is the topic, though then the film would have to sort out how to posit the sort of simile that the narrator (along with the author) is free accomplish with a toss-away phrase.

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Jeannine Schulz’s “Rooms and Surfaces I”

Very much the classic definition of ambient

Here’s another fine piece from Jeannine Schulz, whose “Intense” I wrote about earlier this week. Like that track, this new one, posted just today, “Rooms and Surfaces I,” shows an internal development, a means of altering over time, that is often lacking in standalone SoundCloud ambient recordings. What makes it so special to listen to is how that change occurs according to some unheard metronome, in phases whose distinct qualities are imperceptible as they shift, but are fully recognizable when you scan through the piece, dropping the metaphoric needle here and there: first the rising drones, then heart-pulsing percussion, then that same rhythm rendered as a glitch-like filter, later a halo effect an octave higher, then an octave higher still, then a cello-like line slow and mournful. So much happens, and yet at a pace that it’s as if very little is happening at any one time. I found myself turning the volume up and up to hear what was going on “inside” the track, which is very much the classic definition of ambient: background music that also rewards close attention.

Track originally posted at More from Schulz, who is based in Hamburg, Germany, at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0454: Lsoo Vneg

The Assignment: Encode the name of someone you love into a piece of music.

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 Monday, September 14, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, September 10, 2020.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0454: Lsoo Vneg
The Assignment: Encode the name of someone you love into a piece of music.

Step 1: Choose someone for whom you want to compose a piece of music.

Step 2: Adopt an existing way of encoding that person’s name into notes, or come up with your own schema.

Step 3: Record a piece of music using the system selected in Step 2 as applied to the name selected in Step 1.

Note: You don’t need to announce the person’s name publicly. You can keep it secret for yourself, or each other.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0454” (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 “disquiet0454” (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 Monday, September 14, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, September 10, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Maybe keep it short and sweet.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0454” 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 454th weekly Disquiet Junto project, Lsoo Vneg (The Assignment: The Assignment: Encode the name of someone you love into a piece of music), 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 drawn from (by Rain Rabbit) and used thanks to a Creative Commons license allowing for non-commercial adaptation (edited, text added):

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Ana Roxanne in Suite Mode

Because of a Flower is due out November 13, 2020

This album isn’t due out until mid-November, but a pre-release track (“Suite pour l’invisible”) for the forthcoming Ana Roxanne full-length (Because of a Flower, on the esteemed Kranky label) promises something along the lines of Angelo Badalamenti art song basking in a Southern California glow. The slow, loping bass line and the pacifying caress of widely spaced synth tones take their sweet time before, a whole minute and a half in, her voice finally appears. And when it does, it’s like a leaf entering the room aloft on a light breeze. The quietness of the voice is a disguise. There’s a lot of power to that tone, a lot of control to those syllables, a lot of emotion in those held notes. Her singing locates an incredible simpatico with the quavering of synth wave forms. The track’s title, specifically the word “suite,” gets at Roxane’s ambition, how this extended piece, just over seven minutes long, moves from roomy segment to roomy segment, carrying the listener aloft throughout.

More from Ana Roxanne, who is based in Los Angeles, at The album is due out November 13, 2020.

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Developing “Intense”

A track by Jeannine Schulz of Hamburg, Germany

Unlike a lot of music labeled “ambient” on SoundCloud, the track “Intense” from Jeannine Schulz is a fully realized composition. It’s neither a sketch nor a deep dive into an extended stasis. It has atmosphere certainly, but also shape, and development, and internal tension. There’s pockmark percussion that echoes like a troubling memory, and also what seems to be a guitar line, one comfortable with its own reduced pace. Another guitar line, a bass-like presence, gathers force later on, while at the other end of the spectrum, twirls of high-register vapors circulate with a gentility that belies their speed. It’s a great piece.

Track originally posted at More from Schulz, who is based in Hamburg, Germany, at

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