One of the great pleasures of listening to an active electronic musician for an extended period of time is observing how they bring new equipment into their orbit. There is the question of how that equipment, in turn, informs their work. There is also how they achieve their now familiar sounds with unfamiliar tools. The musician Dustmotes’ adoption of a new percussive-oriented sampler is a case in point. The London-based Dustmotes, also known as Paul Croker, has been making elegantly gritty instrumental hip-hop at least since 2011, which is the earliest credit on his discogs.com page, and also the first year I wrote about his music. His music often features a slightly drifting rhythm, a beat missed here, a tempo ebbing there. He regularly explores gentle sounds on well-circumscribed repeat against muffled beats. Playing with a new tool, the Elektron Digitakt, he recently posted a short video, which he dubbed a “Spontaneous live performance” in the brief accompanying note. It has all the modesty of his earlier work, with a newfound level of grit and glitch. The video was shot overhead, so you can watch as he goes. Even if you’re not familiar with the Digitakt’s interface, you can infer correspondences between action and sound — how a knob adds a new effect, or changes the pitch, or welcomes additional elements. It’s a great piece.
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
• Autumn, 2019: I'll have a new piece in The Wire.
• December 13, 2019: This day marks the 23rd anniversary of Disquiet.com.
• January 7, 2020: This day marks the 8th anniversary of the Disquiet Junto.
• March 2020: A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the forthcoming book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen.
• There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the forthcoming book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell.
• The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
• 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).
Most Recent Posts
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.
• 0420 / Luna Tick / The Assignment: Make music that proceeds according to the phases of the moon, in celebration of Lunar New Year.
• 0419 / Dischoir / The Assignment: Make music from 100+ vocal samples of held syllables by members of the Disquiet Junto.
• 0418 / Ice-Nine / The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.
• 0417 / Changes Tracker / The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.
• 0416 / Time Laps / The Assignment: Improvise successive layers, each time reversing the previous layer.
And there is a complete list of past projects, 420 consecutive weeks to date.
Tags8-bit app audio-games brands of sounds chiptune classical comics copyleft field-recording film free free download gadget generative i-hop IFTTTgram installation ios ipad iphone ipod ipod touch junto listening to yesterday live-performance modular netlabel noise recommended stream remix rock saw2for33third science-fiction score site-maintenance software sound-art sounds-of-brands studio journal this week in sound turntablism TV video video-games voice
Most Recent Comments
Nathan Richards: "Great Post ! "
Patrick Glynn: "Hello, I’m looking forward to hearing what you’ve been listening to. Thanks, Patrick "
Michael Mennell: "ok, glad I could help. Do you have a link to that MicroFreak video btw? I had posted it to our..."
Michael: "Yesterday, this post had a video (mistakenly?) linked at the top featuring a MicroFreak. What was that?..."
Marc Arsenault: "Are you saying, it’s like a smurf’s arm with a plum in its fist? "