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.

tag: classical

The Experimental Organ

A recent work by Lauren Redhead, also featuring Alistair Zaldua

Lauren Redhead’s “Phosphorescent” is a composition for organ (herself) in combination with violin and electronics (her collaborator, Alistair Zaldua). This recording was made at the Canterbury Festival last October, and uploaded to Redhead’s account a couple months back. There’s been an explosion in experimental work for organs in recent years, thanks to folks like Anna Von Hausswolff, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Claire M Singer, among others. In Redhead’s piece, the organ and violin congeal to form a treble-rich, soaring-in-slow-motion backdrop of vast spaciousness. Amid this all, Zaldua’s bow is heard to trace an exploratory path, like a satellite zigzagging across the heavens.

Track originally posted at More from Lauren Redhead, who is based in the United Kingdom, at

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Uprooted on CD

My latest liner notes

Did I mention I really enjoy writing liner notes? Just got these copies of Uprooted, the new Michel Banabila album, for which I had the pleasure. Much of my early music education came from reading liner notes, especially on jazz albums. When I started working as an editor, it was the writers of those liner notes I would sometimes find myself reaching out to when assigning stories, extending my education further.

You can listen to Banabila’s album here: You can also read the essay in full at the initial post: “The Uprooted Orchestra.”

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The Uprooted Orchestra

Liner notes I wrote for a new album by Michel Banabila

This past week a new set of liner notes I wrote went live. They accompanied the pre-release announcement of a tremendous new album by Michel Banabila. I’ve collaborated with Banabila, who is based in Rotterdam, in various ways over the years, and this new album from him is one of my favorites. Here is my brief essay that accompanies the record, titled Uprooted. The album is available digital and on a limited-edition CD. Tomorrow mark’s the album’s official release.

“The Uprooted Orchestra”

“Orchestral.” The word’s an adjective, certainly, an unambiguous one. It depicts amassed instruments working in synchrony according to a fixed document prepared in advance.

But what if “orchestral” were uprooted? What if “orchestral” referred to what we heard, not how it was recorded? What if “orchestral” welcomed electronic instruments not just into the pit, but into the compositional process?

For that is the sound of Michel Banabila’s Uprooted, this album of beautiful, striated, patient music — patient on the surface, deep with turmoil underfoot. When bass clarinet and harmonium rise above a misty string section halfway through “Breathe,” that’s orchestral. When woodwinds trill and pulse against piano on “Dragonfly,” that’s orchestral.

Over the years, Banabila has made his share of experimental ambient, wherein future roots cultures are foreseen through a low-tech looking glass. On Uprooted, the tech is transparent. The album has touches of Fourth World, most notably on “Collector” and “Breathe,” but Uprooted is orchestral, full stop.

It’s also an album entirely forged of material sampled by Banabila from improvisations by invited musicians. Those samples were then constructed into a whole by Banabila, layered sinuously rather than triggered on a rhythmic grid. The fixed orchestral document here is the recording, and it marks the close of the composer’s efforts, not the start of the performers’.

The Uprooted album features contributions, by way of the samples mentioned in my essay, from Peter Hollo (cello), Alex Haas (synths & electronics), Gareth Davis (bass clarinet), Oene van Geel (viola & stroh violin), Stijn Hüwels (guitar & electronics), and Gulli Gudmundsson (el.bass, double bass, e-bow), with Banabila on MIDI instruments, sampling, and electronics.

Get Uprooted at More from Banabila at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0363: Gymnopédie Rats

The Assignment: Make over Erik Satie's "Gymnopédie No. 1" in your chosen genre.

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, December 17, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, December 13, 2018.

Tracks are added to the above playlist for the duration of the project.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0363: Gymnopédie Rats

The Assignment: Make over Erik Satie’s “Gymnopédie No. 1” in your chosen genre.

Many thanks to Peggy Nelson and Alex Hawthorn for having proposed this project, at the tail end of last week’s project.

Just one step this week: Make over Erik Satie’s “Gymnopédie No. 1” in your chosen genre: metal gymnopédie, britpop gymnopédie, R&B gymnopédie, high school choir gymnopédie, slowed-down-800% gymnopédie, …

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0363” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0363” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

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

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at

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

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Other Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, December 17, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, December 13, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0363” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and 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: Please consider setting your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

Context: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 363rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Gymnopédie Rats: Make over Erik Satie’s “Gymnopédie No. 1” in your chosen genre — at:

Many thanks to Peggy Nelson and Alex Hawthorn for having proposed this project, at the tail end of last week’s project.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also a Junto Slack. Send your email address to to join in.

Image from the International Music Score Library Project:

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Stasis Report: Ellen Arkbro ✚ Olafur Arnalds ✚ More

Five new and recent tracks added to the ambient playlist on Spotify and Google Play Music as of August 26, 2018

The latest update to my Stasis Report ambient-music playlist. It started out just on on Spotify. As of last week, it’s also on Google Play Music. The following five tracks were added on Sunday, August 26.

✚ “Mountain of Air” from For Organ and Brass by Ellen Arkbro, of Stockholm, Sweden. It was released on the Subtext label back in April of this year:

✚ “Memory Block” from Music for DOS by Simon Stålenhag, of Sweden. Per album title, the music was recorded using an old-school Pentium 266 Mhz (which was state of the art roughly 20 years ago), running the music software Impulse Tracker. Boing Boing featured the album this past week. The album was self-released two weeks ago:

✚ “Momentary” from re:memeber by Olafur Arnalds, based in Reykjavik, Iceland. It was released last week on the Mercury KX label:

✚ “Aerosols for Pluviculture” from The Biode by Robert Rich, based in Mountain View, California. It was released back in February of this year on Rich’s own Soundscape label:

✚ “On the Day You Saw the Dead Whale” from Hundreds of Days by Mary Lattimore, based in Los Angeles, California. Dave Depper of Death Cab for Cutie singled it out recently in an interview. It was released on Ghostly in May of this year: “Never Saw Him Again” from the same album previously appeared in Stasis Report from June 4 through June 24 of this year.

Some previous Stasis Report tracks were removed to make room for these, keeping the playlist length to roughly an hour and a half. Those retired tracks (by Daniel Aged, Ethan Gold, Kano, Simon McCorry, Orquestra de las Nubes, and Marta SmiLga) are now in the Stasis Archives playlist (currently only on Spotify).

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