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

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tag: field-recording

Disquiet Junto Project 0499: Out of the Landscape

The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording.

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 the end of the day Monday, July 26, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 22, 2021.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0499: Out of the Landscape
The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording.

Major thanks to the work on Golden Gate Bridge music by Mahlen Morris and Nate Mercereau in inspiring this project’s approach.

This project might prove among the more complicated ones, or I may be mistaken. I’ve written a short version of it, and I’ve written it as a longer, step-by-step procedure.

This is the project in one sentence: Add a subtle sound to a preexisting field recording of a soundscape, have that sound slowly gain prominence, and then let it disappear, leaving nothing but the original field recording behind at the end.

And here is the project as a series of nine steps:

Step 1: The goal is to record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording of of a soundscape. Please read these instructions through closely before proceeding with the project.

Step 2: Locate a field recording of an environment. It could be urban, rural, industrial, domestic, whatever you might choose. A recording with slight variations over time would be beneficial but isn’t necessary. You should, again, read through the instructions in full before determining what field recording you want to work with. You might use a preexisting one, or record a new one.

Step 3: Select a roughly five-minute, continuous segment of the field recording from Step 2. Set it to fade in at the start and out at the end for about 5 seconds each, so it neither starts nor ends abruptly.

Step 4: Listen closely to the field recording. Play it on repeat a few times and think about its tonality, its component parts.

Step 5: The goal for this project is to now introduce a sound at the very start of the field recording that is imperceptible as being an addition. It should fit in so well that the field recording still sounds like a field recording. Plan for this addition to play for roughly 15 seconds before doing anything further with that sound.

Step 6: Now, around the 15-second mark, have that additional sound very slowly make itself more apparent. By 30 seconds, it should have risen in prominence and stand out and somewhat apart from the original field recording.

Step 7: For almost the entire remainder of the piece, have that additional sound do more. Have it morph and vary, and continue to stand out and apart from the field recording, though make sure the field recording is still audible.

Step 8: Around 45 seconds before the end of the piece, have the additional sound slowly return to its original state, as it was at the opening, when it was indistinguishable from the field recording. By the time the piece is about 30 seconds from the end, it should sound as it did when the piece started.

Step 9: When the piece is 25 or so seconds from the end, suddenly mute the additional sound. It should disappear entirely, so that for those final 25 seconds (well, 20, and then the piece will fade out for the final 5 seconds), we hear the unadorned original field recording for the first time.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0499” (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 “disquiet0499” (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 track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0499-out-of-a-landscape/

Step 5: Annotate your track 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.

Note: Please only post one track per project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, July 26, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 22, 2021.

Length: The length of your finished track is up to you. Around five minutes is recommended.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0499” 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 499th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Out of the Landscape (The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording) — at: https://disquiet.com/0499/

Major thanks to the work on Golden Gate Bridge music by Mahlen Morris and Nate Mercereau in inspiring this project’s approach.

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0499-out-of-a-landscape/

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

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Duets with the Golden Gate Bridge

Nate Mercereau becomes one with the hum

Perhaps you’ve heard the news about the how the Golden Gate Bridge here in San Francisco, where I live, has taken to singing. Repairs to the bridge led to a unique teachable moment about the physics of sound: high winds cause it to drone mellifluously (or annoyingly, according to some locals, though not me) all around the city. The drone is hard to capture because, by definition, it happens when the winds are themselves making noise. The bridge also sounds different depending on where you are. I’ve posted footage from my backyard, not that my cellphone captured anything remotely like what it is like to stand there. It is truly alien, the thermin of the gods.

Much as nature abhors a vacuum, alien music abhors isolation. And thus the Golden Gate Bridge has drawn to it some local musicians. This isn’t the first track I’ve heard in which someone tries to play along with the bridge, but it’s certainly among the most beautiful. Nate Mercereau, as I learned in a news story in yesterday’s issue of the San Francisco Chronicle, has recorded a four-song EP, Duets, on which he plays live along with the bridge. There’s also a video, shown up above, in which he sits perched in the Marin Headlands with the bridge in the background. As Mercereau told the Chronicle’s Aidin Vaziri, “It’s the largest wind instrument in the world right now.”

The video opens with an extended sequence of the bridge on its own. Nearly a minute passes before Mercereau, eventually seated on a stool behind a battery of pedals, begins to intone slow, aching tones that meld beautifully with the bridge itself. He is careful to keep the playing subtle, quiet. It never threatens to overcome the bridge. Instead, it flows in and out of the underlying hum.

The playing on the Duets EP pushes a little further. On “Duet 1,” the guitar sounds at times almost like a flute. On “Duet 2,” a more full-bodied part suggests some hybrid of violin and saxophone. On “Duet 4,” Mercereau posits drones that sit in contrast with the main source audio. Throughout, the bridge just sings on. Perhaps when Mercereau is done, another musician will take his seat on that stool.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine live performance of ambient music. Video originally posted at youtube.com. More from Mercereau at howsorecords.com, instagram.com/natemercereau, and twitter.com/natemercereau.

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The Rain Is Its Own Sort of Pixel

A video wander by Nomadic Ambience

Speaking of the cultural territory around deepfakes: this video of a walk around Manhattan in the rain is so high-resolution, its stabilization so strong, that it is as if we are ourselves playing, or at least watching, a video game of New York. We are reminded constantly that we are looking at pixels of reality. And of course, the world of this Manhattan is largely digital to begin with, what with all the massive video billboards defining the circumspect horizons of Time Square and its adjoining blocks. Throughout, there is sound, as high-resolution as the footage, the stereo spectrum rich with activity. There may be hybrids and electrics among the passing vehicles, but in the rain it doesn’t matter. The whir is a memory of catalytic masses. The rain is its own sort of pixel.

Video by Nomadic Ambience originally posted to YouTube.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0498: Sonic Entomologist

The Assignment: Create a new hybrid insect from the sound of two different insects.

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 the end of the day Monday, July 19, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, June 15, 2021.

Tracks will be added to the playlist 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 0498: Sonic Entomologist
The Assignment: Create a new hybrid insect from the sound of two different insects.

This project is the second of three that are being done over the course of as many months in collaboration with the 2021 Musikfestival Bern, which will be held in Switzerland from September 1 through 5 under the motto “schwärme” (“swarms”). For this reason, a German translation is provided below. We are working at the invitation of Tobias Reber, an early Junto participant, who is in charge of the educational activities of the festival. This is the third year in a row that the Junto has collaborated with Musikfestival Bern. Select recordings resulting from these three Disquiet Junto projects will be played and displayed throughout the festival.

Step 1: You will be playing mad scientist this week, or at least sonic scientist. Put that hat on.

Step 2: A large number of insects were invented for the previous project in this series. Many of them were made available for download and subsequent remixing. Check them out here:

https://we.tl/t-dWFMGwmyad

Step 3: Choose two insects from the ones available in Step 2. Imagine a hybrid of the two insects, created in a laboratory.

Step 4: By combining the sounds of the two insects selected in Step 3, record the sound of that hybrid you imagined. What does it sound like? Is it a refined creation, or a Frankenstein nightmare? Is it better, stronger, faster, or prone to mutation and ill health?

Background: There will be public display cases at the festival, and we will set up motion triggers that cause an insect sound to occur when people pass by. We will do so with signage explaining that it documents experimental insect life. The participants whose work is included will be listed by name.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0498” (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 “disquiet0498” (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 llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0498-sonic-entomologist/

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 and #musikfestivalbern 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 the end of the day Monday, July 19, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 15, 2021.

Length: The length of your finished track should be 20 seconds.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0498” 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 498th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Sonic Entomologist (The Assignment: Create a new hybrid insect from the sound of two different insects) — at: https://disquiet.com/0498/

Thanks to Tobias Reber and Musikfestival Bern for collaboration on this project. More on the festival at:

https://www.musikfestivalbern.ch/
https://www.instagram.com/musikfestival_bern
https://www.facebook.com/musikfestivalbern

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0498-sonic-entomologist/

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

The image associated with this project is by Nick Southall, and used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license allowing editing (cropped with text added) for non-commercial purposes:

https://flic.kr/p/7Syf86

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

. . . Read more »

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twitter.com/disquiet: Cameo x Patreon, CDs x R2D2

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, collating recent tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet, my public notebook. Some tweets pop up (in expanded form or otherwise) on Disquiet.com sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud.

▰ My favorite morning sound remains the ice cubes clinking/fizzing in my coffee. I have a new one too. I hooked up a CD player/recorder so it’s always connected to my laptop when I’m at my desk, and in the morning when I turn everything on it emits delightful “R2D2 wakes up” whirs.

▰ Cameo, but 45-minute (real-time) music lessons from as wide an array of musicians as one could hope for. More like Cameo x Patreon.

▰ “Your pinky is like your secret weapon.”

(Thing I heard myself say in guitar class.)

(Lest there be any confusion in the matter, I am the student.)

▰ I find that music-making tools I’m drawn to are often those with active communities online. I then wonder what connection there is between building a community and building an instrument beyond both expressions including the word “build.”

▰ This week, Disquiet Junto participants share a protip and make music as an example (disquiet.com/0495). These are some of ’em:

  • dragged mics
  • notepad miniatures
  • enforced re-use
  • over repetition
  • trying new things
  • wind organs
  • excising perfectionism

▰ And on that note, have a good weekend. Get fresh air. Listen as you do so. Thank someone who made the past year livable. Re-read a favorite book while focusing on a stylistic element or secondary plot. See you Monday, or maybe Tuesday.

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