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: current activities

twitter.com/disquiet: Heinlein, Hein, Miles, Cortini

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet (which I think of as my public notebook) that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here. Some tweets pop up on Disquiet.com sooner than I get around to collating them, so I leave them out of the weekly round-up. It’s usually personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud, especially these days, when a week can feel both like a year and like nothing whatsoever has happened or changed.

▰ When you recognize yourself in a book you haven’t read since you were in junior high school:

“that look of painful, unseeing concentration found only under a pair of earphones”

–Robert A. Heinlein’s Rocket Ship Galileo

▰ By and large, I don’t know about the future of newsletters, as this detail of my inbox evidences, but I enjoy putting out This Week in Sound (tinyletter.com/disquiet). It’s a helpful way for me to (as it turns out) process my inbox, and leads to good conversations with readers.

▰ This image is by Ethan Hein. It’s from two years ago, and it exhibits the chain of interactions among asynchronous collaborators in series of connected Disquiet Junto projects. We’re doing the same sequence right now: We begin with solos, which become duets, and then trios.

▰ In today’s post. Looking forward to it. And, no, my eyewear is self-evidently not as cool as Miles Davis’.

▰ It’s been one thing to have musical collaborators all over the world. It’s a whole other thing, in our golden age of streaming, to be able to discuss each other’s local television series offerings.

▰ I did two episodes of the Disquietude ambient podcast in 2017, and then recognized the world had broken and I needed to moderate my activities. I think I’m getting it going again. I have material mostly sorted. One musician even made a special version of her track I requested.

▰ My tablet’s facial recognition seems to recognize my face better when I give it a quizzical “Don’t you recognize my face yet?” look, versus my normal vaguely blank everyday face look. I’m sure this is not a good feedback loop to enter into.

▰ When you get to “Black Satin” and you have this sense of relief, both the familiarity of what’s playing, and the realization of what you’ve just emerged from 20 minutes of. I’m spending the afternoon On the Corner.

▰ 2020: interest in complex oscillators

2021: having an oscillator complex

▰ I was using an app the other day, and when I swiped through to a subsequent page it paused and the screen briefly showed:

[suspenseful orchestral music plays]

And then the next screen popped up. I couldn’t reproduce this. It must just happen when the app unexpectedly pauses.

▰ Major thanks to Łukasz Langa (twitter.com/llanga) for summing this up, putting into helpful words a big part of what I think of as the Disquiet Junto music community’s combination of mutually supportive and self-directed. What Langa is referring to is that folks shouldn’t be hesitant to post something. The Junto isn’t about finished work. It’s about getting started.

▰ It has been so long since I wrote a letter by hand other than a thank you note that I’ve found myself typing it and then transcribing it. Even this is a thank you note, just a slightly longer one than normal.

▰ YouTube radicalization is real. I’ve been practicing 12-bar blues on guitar to live recordings of 80 bpm shuffle beats, and the algorithm just suggested a 70 bpm video. At this point I’ll be in an Earth cover band by spring.

▰ Arguably years of experience help, but sure, OK

▰ Tracks selected for the Disquietude podcast. And last night, with a usefully pre-bedtime sleepy voice, I recorded the intro and the post-music track explication. Now I just need to edit it. Looks like there will, four years on, be a third episode of the Disquietude podcast.

▰ Step 1: Modular synthesizer.

Step 2: Modular synthesizers are expensive. VCV Rack is free.

Step 3: I really need a new, powerful computer dedicated just to VCV Rack.

▰ The GameStop situation is further evidence that (1) we live in a simulacrum and (2) its CPU is failing.

▰ I used to first type “this seems cool” every time I tried out a new piece of technology that involved data input. Now I type “this doesn’t seem like a hassle.”

▰ Remembering my early experiences with Twitter when all I’d do was post stray sounds I happened to hear.

▰ I do my best to stick to a Kindle Paperwhite on the rare occasion I’m up in the middle of the night. A recent bad night was cured when I played audiobook I’d been listening to but slowed the speed considerably. It … was … so … slow … I … fell … asleep … fast. A friend had recommended listening to audiobooks of ancient history, and that led me to worry I’d find it too interesting, which led me to wonder how to make something seem boring, which led to me slowing it down. I was listening to a spy novel, and it still knocked me out.

▰ Getting retweeted by twitter.com/instrumentBot is the highlight of my day.

▰ Just to confirm, that’s a Bruce Springsteen box set, a Beatles album, and a Wham album on the shelf behind Alessandro Cortini in that new synth video? (The one for the Make Noise Strega.)

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twitter.com/disquiet: Slough, Hildur, Weegee

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet (which I think of as my public notebook) that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here. Some tweets pop up on Disquiet.com sooner than I get around to collating them, so I leave them out of the weekly round-up. It’s usually personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud, especially these days, when a week can feel both like a year and like nothing whatsoever has happened or changed.

▰ Last week I mentioned I’ve learned many things about myself during pandemic shut-in life, and key among them is that I’m way more into Miss Marple than into James Bond. The very next episode up of Marple, as if to make good on my personal realization, featured none other than Timothy Dalton as guest star (as a would-be successor to Churchill), no less. (Former Bonds do seem so relaxed once the Bonding period is over.)

▰ Not surprised Mick Herron listens to Gavin Bryars (theguardian.com). The Slow Horses books have a lot of attention to sound in them, and ECM Records gets particularly name-checked (Arvo Pärt and Keith Jarrett). I just finished book 6, and look forward to 7.

▰ Got some new noise-canceling (over-the-ear) headphones with this seemingly nifty feature: you run a finger up or down an earpiece to adjust volume. Except that interfaces unintentionally proves much louder (and more audibly annoying) than traditional buttons.

▰ Got new headphones. Been listening to Hildur Guðnadóttir all day (Without Sinking). Will through Wednesday, at least. Except when sleeping. And maybe even then.

▰ Q: “What Happens Now to Michael Apted’s Lifelong Project ‘Up’?” (nytimes.com)

A: A live feed from Nest doorbells installed at the entryway to each of their homes.

▰ If I did the math right, then the 500th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project will begin on July 29th of this year. Ooh, and this means the 500th project somehow manages to end on August 2nd, one day before my birthday.

▰ The wind crazy at 4:30am, the house rattled like a kid’s toy. I grabbed earbuds and listened to the audiobook of a spy novel, my eyes too tired to focus on my Kindle. I slowed its speed to that of a sleep story: “left … crumbled … tarmac .. in .. its …wake.” Oddly soothing.

▰ The longstanding ban on public performances of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” will be temporarily lifted tomorrow, January 20, 2021, for a period of 12 hours, from noon until midnight, Eastern Time.

▰ Getting an extra light for Zoom calls has helped, but when I actually step back and look at my desk, it feels like Weegee is probably in the hallway snapping photos for the morning edition.

▰ Yeah, I downloaded DC’s version of Marvel Unlimited

▰ I’m not signaling anything, just asking a question. If SoundCloud suddenly disappeared tomorrow, people should post their Disquiet Junto tracks to their:

The poll has now ended.

▰ And a poll from the week prior I neglected, it appears, to archive here:

▰ Glad to see that portrait of the guy who came up with the concept of a “Junto” in the first place hanging in the newly redecorated Oval Office (via washingtonpost.com.

▰ I am now at peace (via twitter.com/GuyBirkin)

▰ Have a great weekend, folks. See you Monday. Or heck, maybe Tuesday. Listen to some captions. Read some music. Play some textures.

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The Quiet Today

Closest I can say to how it feels right now is I used to live near a horrible band that made horrible music loudly day and night, and then one day they moved out and it was quiet, a quiet I came to recognize was not momentary but the new normal. That’s the quiet I feel right now.

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twitter.com/disquiet: Andorian Opera, Email Overload

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here. It’s usually personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud, and yow what a week this has been.

▰ Someone likes an old tweet of yours, so you check the date, and it’s 2010, and you’re like, “How long have I been doing this?” (June 2007)

▰ “Andorians have the best singers. Their antennae increase resonance. This particular soprano was discovered on the street corner. If you hear her live, in the right hall, you can hear four layers of overtones.” (Hostage-scene dialog from Star Trek: Discovery, which I’m digging)

▰ Yes, I’m enjoying Joe Country, the sixth book in Mick Herron’s Slough Horses series. After much drama between the two in the past, this sliver of a scene is all that a main character and his granddad share in the book. (Well, so far. There’s always memories. And intrigue.)

▰ 2020: I’ll vote for anyone who abolishes Daylight Savings Time.

2021: I’ll vote for anyone who abolishes autoplay.

▰ First Tuesday of the new year, the noon void as barren as ever. The Tuesday noon Outdoor Public Warning System siren, a true soundmark of San Francisco, is on a two-year hiatus as of December 10, 2019. Here’s what it used to sound like:

▰ I can only imagine what it would have taken to earn a 24-hour suspension.

▰ Deep breaths. Deep. Today was numbing.

▰ Listening to Albert Collins very loud. Typing. Clearing my mind. What a day. (Trying to sort out the next song to [try to] learn in guitar class.)

▰ For my family’s sake, I am announcing that I am throwing out this moldy apple that’s in my fridge. It’s been moldy for weeks (actually a little over a month — OK, four years) but today I’ve decided it’s too moldy. I can no longer abide by its moldiness. Enough is enough.

▰ Very happy that the first Disquiet Junto track in the first project of the new year was by a first-time participant.

▰ Latest from an occasional series on why I haven’t replied to a given email about an upcoming album:

▰ Best rendition of 4’33” yet

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twitter.com/disquiet: Doom, Cardin, Gingerbread

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating the tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here.

▰ The final twist of 2020 was to, at the last minute, turn “doomscrolling” into a heartfelt communal activity celebrating Black artistry and hip-hop genius. RIP, MF Doom.

▰ Coulda sworn when I bought Brian Eno’s score to the Dieter Rams film (by mail order) on vinyl on Record Store Day that it was only gonna be on vinyl, and only for a limited time (as they say on TV), but now there’s a CD (my preferred format) due out.

▰ Pierre Cardin dies, and now I’ve got a 40-year-old song by Tom Waits in my head.

▰ Watched WarGames on New Year’s Eve. Didn’t recall it opens with Leo McGarry and Mr. Blonde as NORAD officers discussing pot horticulture, until they flub an ICBM test. I like to think McGarry went into politics, while Mr. Blonde washed out bitterly, then turned to violent crime.

▰ This morning’s early alarm clock (December 31): “A 3.6 magnitude earthquake occurred 4.35mi S of Muir Beach, CA.”

▰ Yesterday:
Whew, just one more day and 2020 is history. What could go wrong?

Today:
1. a pair of Bay Area earthquakes
2. MF Doom dead at age 49
3. ?

▰ Just a note about blogging habits: December 31, was the first time in 2020 that I looked at the Google Analytics for Disquiet.com.

▰ Confirmed my iPad’s face recognition doesn’t work when I have a gingerbread cookie dangling out of my mouth

▰ The green shoots of a new year are springing up. New Albion Records has announced that after a decade’s pause, it is starting up again. I’m ready for some Janice Giteck, Stuart Dempster, Ingram Marshall (Fog Tropes!) and so many other faves. New Albion was a huge part of my music education at the end of the previous millennium. (Found via Will Robin.)

▰ I’m on MeWe if that’s of interest (searchable by name).

▰ My Snares? Venetian.
My Porcini? Funki.
My Blaze? Just.
My Boys? Beastie.
My Knoll? Grassy.
My City? Naked.
My World? Under.

▰ Honk if you’ve taken your Nintendo DS out of a box for the first time in years and it’s still charged.

▰ Ambient music needs more trombones.

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