New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram
This Week in Sound

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0345: Sample Time

The Assignment: Make your own drum machine sounds, do something with them, and share them.

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, August 13, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 9, 2018.

Tracks will be added to the playlist mini-album for the duration of the project.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0345: Sample Time
The Assignment: Make your own drum machine sounds, do something with them, and share them.

Major thanks to Matt Nish-Lapidus and Jason Wehmhoener for helping put together this project.

Step 1: Today is August 9th, meaning yesterday was August 8th, or as it has come to be widely named: 808 Day, celebrating the Roland TR-808. In slightly belated celebration of that day and that device, we’ll be devising our own drum machines.

Step 2: Think about making your own drum machine. What basic set of sounds would it come with? (If you would benefit from additional structure, consider one for each of these categories: Accent, Bass Drum, Snare Drum, Low Tom/Conga, Mid Tom/Conga, Hi Tom/Conga, Clave/Rim, Maracas/Clap, Cowbell, Cymbal, Open Hat, Closed Hat.)

Step 3: Based on your thinking from Step 2, create those dozen or so sounds that are the basis for your imaginary drum machine.

Step 4: Record a piece of music using your new drum machine. At the start of the track, before the music begins, put the full sequence of sounds you created in Step 3, one after another, with a little silent space before and after each. (For next week’s project, people will be making music with your imaginary drum machine.)

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0345” (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 “disquiet0345” (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 llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0345-sample-time/

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, August 13, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 9, 2018.

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

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0345” 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’s important for this project 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 345th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Sample Time / The Assignment: Make your own drum machine sounds, do something with them, and share them) at:

https://disquiet.com/0345/

Major thanks to Matt Nish-Lapidus and Jason Wehmhoener for helping put together this project.

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:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0345-sample-time/

There’s also a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet to join in.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0244: Euro Mixin

The Assignment: Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union.

Sun & Rail

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 were added to this playlist during the duration of the project:

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 5, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0244: Euro Mixin
The Assignment: Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union.

Please pay particular attention to all the instructions below, in light of SoundCloud having closed down its Groups functionality.

Big picture: One thing arising from the end of the Groups functionality is a broad goal, in which an account on SoundCloud is not necessary for Disquiet Junto project participation. We’ll continue to use SoundCloud, but it isn’t required to use SoundCloud. The aspiration is for the Junto to become “platform-agnostic,”which is why using a message forum, such as llllllll.co, as a central place for each project may work well.

And now, on to this week’s project.

Project Steps:

Step 1: This week’s project is a remix. The following three tracks are available for creative reuse thanks to a Creative Commons license. Please download them and extract the specified source segments:

Use the first 20 seconds of “The Station and the Underclass,” performed by the Phonetic Orchestra, released on the Insub. netlabel based in Geneva:

http://insub.org/insub44/

Use the first 20 seconds of “Cloud Scissors” composed by Lo Wei; performed by Cristián Alvear, Santiago Astaburuaga, Gudinni Cortina, and Rolando Hernández, released on the Impulsive Habitat netlabel based in Portugal:

http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihabp001.htm

Use the first 20 seconds of “Zraerza,” performed by Geeksha Beka and Berio Molina, released on the Alg-a netlabel based in Galicia:

https://archive.org/details/alg-set05-zraerza/

Step 2: Create an original piece of music based on the source audio from Step 1.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0244”(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: This is a fairly new step, if you’ve done a Junto project previously. In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co post your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0244-euro-mixin/4361

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.

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 5, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Around three minutes seems like a good length.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0244”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: Due to the Creative Commons license allowing for this work to be remixed, it is necessary 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 244th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union”— at:

https://disquiet.com/0244/

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-0244-euro-mixin/4361

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

Image associated with this project is by Thomas, used via Flickr and a Creative Commons license:

flic.kr/p/92xKFZ

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Forum Digging and the Fate of Netlabels

I was interviewed for WFMU's Radio Free Culture podcast.

Radio Free Culture WFMU exists to, per its credo, “examine issues at the intersection of digital media and the arts.” I was excited to be interviewed for the podcast by Erik Schoster, aka the musician He Can Jog. We talk about a wide range of subjects, including the role of netlabels in the age of streaming, listening strategies in our age of sonic abundance (forum digging as the new crate digging), the benefits and challenges of platform agnosticism (in light of the Disquiet Junto’s shifting dependence on SoundCloud), the imminent 250th weekly Disquiet Junto project, the imminent 20th anniversary of Disquiet.com (December 13, 2016), and the return to active duty of Aphex Twin.

As of August 30, 2016, I’ve updated this with the audio embedded. You can also listen at prx.org.

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A Drone Built from Media Artifacts

Listen to music made by Kate Carr from the vantage of listening to music.

Kate Carr’s “She Played The Drums Badly/I Never Found Huitlacoche” is built from bug noise and field recordings. The latter seem to be of people talking and (talking while) listening to TV and recordings, maybe catching live bands. The sources are difficult to recognize because Carr relegates them to temporary background state, muffled and situated behind everyday sounds. It’s music made from the experience of consuming music, music that consumed music and that produced something else in turn.

It’s a mixtape, a travelogue, a drone of sorts built from media artifacts. It’s not a tonal drone, but a media drone — a slowly shifting yet seemingly continual state of relative blankness. Despite its decidedly derivative circumstances — in the Creative Commons sense of “derivative,” which is to say derived from something, not qualitatively inferior — it maintains the form of a composition, especially when, around the 2:40 mark, it takes a brief, dramatic pause, before slowing the perceived tempo further for the final, reflective stretch.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/katecarr. More from Karr, who is from Australia but currently based in England, at katecarr.bandcamp.com, gleamingsilverribbon.com, and twitter.com/flamingpines.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0234: Remix Ximer

The Assignment: Make a remix of three tracks of a remix of three tracks, courtesy of a Creative Commons license.

20140213-actsofcommons

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, 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. 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 was posted in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, June 23, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, June 27, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0234: Remix Ximer
The Assignment: Make one track from three different netlabels, courtesy of a Creative Commons license.

This week’s Junto project builds directly on last week’s, though you needn’t have participated in last week’s to join in this one. This week we’re remixing remixes. The remixes we’re remixing are the pieces that resulted from last week’s project, which involved taking three tracks from different netlabels and making one new track from them. Last week’s Junto project celebrated derivatives, as licensed by the Creative Commons. This week’s celebrates derivatives of derivatives. (Thanks to Audio Obscura, aka Neil Stringfellow, for proposing this week’s project.)

These are the steps:

Step 1: Select and download three tracks from last week’s project, Disquiet Junto 0233:

https://soundcloud.com/disquiet/sets/disquiet-junto-project-0233

All the tracks in last week’s project were made from the first 30 seconds of three pre-existing recordings: “HNY”off the album Wormbole by ʞık (Karl & Karlik) on the Bump Foot netlabel, “Pepper Jelly”off the album Recombinations by Andre Darius and Riley Theodore on the Haze netlabel, and “Autista 3”off the album Autista by Pablo Reche on the Impulsive Habitat netlabel.

Step 2: Extract the first 30 seconds from each of the three remix tracks that you selected in Step 1.

Step 3: Create an original piece of work including that source material from Step 2.

Step 4: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

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.

Deadline: This project was posted in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, June 23, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, June 27, 2016.

Length: Length is up to you, though between two and three minutes seems about right.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, 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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0234.”Also use “disquiet0234”as a tag for your track.

Download: It is necessary that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing and attribution, per the Creative Commons license of the source audio.

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

More on this 234th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Make a remix of three tracks of a remix of three tracks, courtesy of a Creative Commons license”— at:

https://disquiet.com/0234/

Be sure to credit all the tracks (first and second generation) employed in your piece.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

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

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place on a Slack (send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for inclusion) and at this URL:

https://disquiet.com/forums/

Thanks to Audio Obscura (aka Neil Stringfellow) for proposing this week’s project.

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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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  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of 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.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • 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).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

    Recent Projects

  • This is an image of three colorful rulers against a plain background. The rulers look normal at first, and then you realize they're sort of oddly colored. That's because they were made by an AI.
  • 0567 / Three Meters / The Assignment: Make music in 5/8, 6/8, and 7/8 time signatures.
    0566 / Outdoor Furniture Music / The Assignment: Imagine the ur-ambient Erik Satie musique d’ameublement concept en plein air
    0565 / Musical Folly / The Assignment: Make a piece of music inspired by this architectural concept.
    0564 / Octave Lept / The Assignment: Work an octave leap — or more than one — into a piece of music.
    0563 / Digital Magical Realism / The Assignment: What does this imaginary genre sound like?

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