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

Unsilent Night 2017

You owe it to yourself to try this wherever you happen to live.

Made it to Unsilent Night this past weekend. I love attending. If you haven’t ever, I do recommend looking at the schedule and seeing if it’s happening in your town: unsilentnight.com. I see it’s in Austin on December 17th, Manhattan on the 17th as well, Montréal on the 19th, and Colorado Springs on the 16th. If you’re not familiar, the short version is that 20-plus years ago the composer Phil Kline wrote and recorded four piece of ambient music, collectively titled Unsilent Night, that are meant to be played simultaneously. He then distributed these recordings individually to people, who put them on boomboxes and walked around lower Manhattan in a kind of secular carol for the holidays. Since then it’s been repeated every year in Manhattan, and spread to many other places, about 116 different cities according to the website.

We went last night, using a mix of an iPhone, an Android phone connected to an old Jambox, and an an archaic iPad Mini. They were running the free app, and I was streaming from SoundCloud. You can also download the tracks, and whenever I’ve participated, there have been tape cassettes and CDs available for free use, provided by whoever had organized it that year.

At some point after everyone gathers at the meet-up location, the organizer does a countdown and we all hit play at (roughly) the same moment. The beauty of the sound of Unsilent Night is how those four tracks, in random combinations of emphasis, mix — with variations on them playing slightly out of sync on a wide variety of playback mechanisms, and how the sound bounces off walls in narrow spaces and diffuses in wider, more open spaces — and of course, there’s the sound itself, as it’s a lovely, sedate, holiday-vibe composition, filled with soft bells, and muffled singing, and minimalist percussion.

The path we take in the Mission District hasn’t changed much over the years. We start in Dolores Park, on an edge of the Mission District, where it becomes the Castro District. We then walk through the Mission, sticking mostly to less-populated streets and wider alleys, but not infrequently passing storefronts. There were a lot of people participating this weekend, perhaps 150, maybe more. I was surprised I only recognized one person, a local composer, and otherwise everyone was an unfamiliar face, except that is a few I recognized solely from past Unsilent Night events, like this one guy who has a beautiful old Gramophone-style speaker atop a very tall stick, with an lovely attached wooden box, inside of which I imagine is a phone or an iPod or something.

This year the event started at 5pm, which was great. I seem to recall it started much later in the past. It was nice to see faces, and to experience the transition from daylight to significant darkness as we proceeded. The main change I recall in the walk from previous routes is that this time we headed back directly from the Mission (that is the actual Mission, at the corner of Dolores Street and 18th Street) to the spot near the tennis courts in Dolores Park where we began, rather than re-entering the park further away, up a hill, and coming back down that way. The full composition is 45 minutes long, and we walked almost the full 45 minutes, lingering for the last few minutes in the park as the music came to its subdued close.

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Step Inside an Organ with Claire M Singer

Cello and electronics in hand

Step inside an organ, and then step inside one of its pipes, and then settle in for a spell. Listen as the pipes resound. Listen not just to the pipe you’re in, but to how it responds to the pipes around it, to the air current, to the shape of the majestic hall in which it resides. Listen further to the song that seems to form, out of the ether, from the beading tonalities of this magnificent mix of space and sound.

This is not how the music was made — no miniaturization was involved, no Fantastic Drone Voyage — but it is the sense of “Fairge,” an excerpt of which, two and a half minutes in all, has been posted at the website of the Touch label, touchshop.org. It’s the title (and sole) track off Claire M Singer’s forthcoming release, due out on October 20. The track heard currently on that page is about 10 percent of the full piece, which was scored for organ, cello and electronics — as well, it seems, voice, since vocal tones certainly emerge from the heavenly backdrop Singer has summoned up. (Jack Chuter at attnmagazine.co.uk also hears voices.)

“Fairge,” which is apparently Scottish Gaelic for “the ocean,” was composed for, and recorded in June of this year on, an organ installed at Oude Kerk, not only the oldest church in Amsterdam, but the city’s oldest building as well, dating back 800 years. The organ itself is far more recent, built in 1965.

Track originally posted at touchshop.org. More from Claire M Singer at clairemsinger.com. Image from spitfireaudio.com.

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Augmented Japanese Neo-Classical

From Shinji Wakasa, straight outta Yokosuka

The neo-classical piano at the start of Shinji Wakasa’s track “Swimmy” is lovely enough unto itself, a gentle line heard as if through a felt screen, not so much muffled as it is coddled and framed, softened and nestled. And then the light transformations are introduced, wisps of synthesizer flourishes, backward masks that merge with the sound source, fibrous shoots of sound that for mere moments seem to fix the nostalgic melody in something more proximate to the present. And then the past forges back into the foreground. The synthesis isn’t so much evidence of a hybrid as it is of an augment, an upgrade, a fissure. It’s absolutely beautiful.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/user-666602380. More from Shinji Wakasa, aka Hitsuji Sound Factory, who is based in Yokosuka, Japan, at hitsujisound.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0282: Berio’s Bach

Make a piece of music based on one composer's observation regarding another composer.

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.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 29, 2017. This project was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, May 25, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0282: Berio’s Bach
Make a piece of music based on one composer’s observation regarding another composer.

Step 1: The composer Luciano Berio once said that part of the attraction of some of Bach’s music is in its clear distinction between which notes are “structurally significant” and which are “decorative.” Consider this observation.

Step 2: Compose a short piece of music that opens and closes with there being a clear sense of which parts are “structurally significant” and which are “decorative,” but that in the middle gets ambiguous in this regard.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If you hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0282” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0282-berios-bach/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 29, 2017. This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 22, 2017.

Length: The length is entirely up to the participant.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0282” 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: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

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

More on this 282nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Berio’s Bach: Make a piece of music based on one composer’s observation regarding another composer” — at:

https://disquiet.com/0282/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

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

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0282-berios-bach/

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

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Disquiet Junto Project 0280: 20170514

Celebrate the 70th birthday of a Junto member.

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.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 15, 2017. This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 11, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0280: 20170514
Celebrate the 70th birthday of a Junto member.

This week we celebrate the May 14, 2017, birthday of Junto member ferrie = differentieel, of the Netherlands.

Step 1: Junto member ferrie = differentieel, of the Netherlands, turns 70 years of age on May 14, 2017. In correspondence leading up to this project, ferrie shared an observation that the composer Frederic Rzewski had previously shared with him in a letter: “Using pre-existing material for building new things is a very old practice.”

Step 2: In ferrie’s honor, please do something that takes the opposite approach of Rzewski’s letter. In other words, please use new musical things to recreate some old musical thing.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If you hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0280” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/celebrate-a-junto-members-70th-birthday-disquiet-junto-project-0280/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 15, 2017. This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 11, 2017.

Length: The length is entirely up to the participant.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0280” 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: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

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

More on this 280th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “20170514: Celebrate the 70th birthday of a Junto member” — at:

https://disquiet.com/0280/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

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

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

http://llllllll.co/t/celebrate-a-junto-members-70th-birthday-disquiet-junto-project-0280/

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

Image associated with this project is of the Netherlands-based musician ferrie = differentieel, in whose honor we’re making music this week. More from ferrie at

https://audio.dailym.net/
https://twitter.com/differentieel/
https://soundcloud.com/differentieel/

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