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

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

tag: field

Frédéric Tentelier’s Silences

As exhibited on On Établit un Temps, On Creuse un Épais

There are numerous elements in “Du clos de l’ouvert” and “Se pencher sur la forme d’un fil, I,” the two tracks made available for streaming from Frédéric Tentelier’s On Établit un Temps, On Creuse un Épais. The album was released earlier this month by Hitorri, a label from Tokyo, Japan. The accompanying text lists its contents, “field recordings, Fender Rhodes, organs, banjo, objects,” and judging by these two pieces, “objects” should come first in the list, so flush is the album with sounds that while not identifiable are contraindicatory of any sort of standard issue instrument. Instead there is a subtle chamber music of cracks and thwaps and creaks and knocks, with drones and bell tones and bits of melodic suggestiveness in between. And higher still on the list of materials should be “silence,” because beautiful as the source audio scraps are in combination, what really makes them work is how much space there is between them and within them, how the slightest sound is allowed full center-stage presence, and how any two bits might be separated by a significant lull. The silences are so prominent that even when they are absent, the music is heard against them as a backdrop. When sounds quiet down, they aren’t merely quiet. They are exposing the silence around them.

Album originally posted at hitorri.bandcamp.com.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0029: Count Zero

The Assignment: Make music from running water, inspired by William Gibson's novel Count Zero.

Each Thursday evening at the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com 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 to the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This week’s project makes use of field recordings, a not uncommon source of sonic material in the Disquiet Junto series of weekly music projects. The particular idea this week originates in the following description at the start of chapter 17 in the 1986 novel Count Zero by William Gibson. I selected this version of the book’s cover, because it’s the paperback I own:

This idea of running water as music, in particular as “one of the oldest songs,” is highlighted in various ways in the chapter, which is titled “The Squirrel Wood,” and in the book as a whole. In the next paragraph of the chapter there’s an implied contrast to an artificial canopy in a forest, with its “mimetic approximations of leaves and branches.” More broadly, this is a novel in which there is an ongoing concern about possible Voudoun spirits running loose in cyberspace. The console jockeys make their money, and their names, reading signals: gleaning meaning from perceived noise.

I’d had the idea for some time of using running water in a Disquiet Junto project as the proposed source of a track, so my imagination was primed when I came across this notion in the novel when I recently reread it for the first time in many years. I was rereading Count Zero because of all Gibson’s novels, it lingers with me the most, in part because of its themes of corporate espionage, which I find fascinating, but also because this is the book of his that I found most difficult to pierce when I first read it. One interesting final note: This chapter holds special meaning in the broader novel, because it is the only chapter whose title is repeated. “The Squirrel Wood” is also the title of the book’s final chapter.

In any case, that’s all backdrop to this week’s project.

The assignment was made late in the day, California time, on Thursday, July 19, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, July 23, as the deadline. View a search return for all the entries as they are posted: disquiet0029-countzero.

Bonus: In advance of the project’s announcement, I tweeted some information about it from the twitter.com/djunto account, and William Gibson himself (aka twitter.com/greatdismal) retweeted it not once but twice: Read more »

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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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    • 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).
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    • 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).

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    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.

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  • 0544 / Feedback Loop / The Assignment: Share music-in-progress for input from others.
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    0542 / 2600 Club / The Assignment: Make some phreaking music.
    0541 / 10BPM Techno / The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.
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