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: live-performance

Fine Drone Partita in a Minor Synth Setup

A video from Little Ambient Machines


This is a solid example of the sort of videos I’ve been collating in my YouTube playlist of fine live ambient recordings. The equipment is in full view, and the actions in the video correlate with the generally subtle though sometimes not inconsiderable alterations to the pulsing drone as it proceeds. This video isn’t a tutorial. There are no instructions, just two hands enacting manipulations, turning knobs, clicking buttons. In addition, as the music plays, the ear’s sense of interior activity can find consonance with the eye’s attention to the pace of the various lights, providing clues as to which parts of the assembled tools align with what aspects of the music. The track takes its title (“Eurorack ambient drone featuring Morphagene, C4RBN, Magneto, DLD and FX-aid”) from the form of the music and the equipment employed (a bit like old-school classical music, such as Bach’s Partita in A minor for solo flute).

This is the latest video I’ve added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of fine live performance of ambient music. Video by Little Ambient Machines, based in Amsterdam, and posted today at YouTube.

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Drones on a Budget

A live AE Modular set from the 5th Volt


There are numerous small-brew synthesizers in production currently, each with its own approach, in terms of how individual pieces of equipment operate, and what functions are explored, as well as the make-up of their own communities, who share their creations and provide feedback to the manufacturers, which in turn often yields new equipment. This is a short video displaying the drone capacities from the AE Modular line from Tangible Waves, which originated as a Kickstarter and has expanded into a wide range of small, affordable (the most expensive two are €74.00 and €87.00, while most are half that amount), mix-and-match modules. The source module heard here, the Drone38, contains 18 oscillators in a trio of sets containing a half dozen each. They’re modulated by hand, both the oscillator sets themselves, in terms of tuning, and the relative volume of the signals, plus various effects, in the DroneX mixer. This is a short demonstration from the 5th Volt channel on YouTube.

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.

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Noémi Büchi Live

A percussive set from November in Stockholm


This live set by Noémi Büchi of Zürich, Switzerland, is 23 minutes long and slated for release several months from now, on August 4. Perhaps there’s more to come, but as it stands it’s a very satisfying piece. A driving percussive set eventually wends its way out of an inchoate opening. What begins as scrap sounds, tiny noises and globular burbles, becomes more dynamic, focused, and metronome-like as it proceeds, with opportunities later for lulls and pauses. The result is a mix of classic minimalist percussive music and metallic synthesis. It was recorded at the ljudOljud Festival at KMH (Kungliga Musikhögskolan), the Royal College of Music in Stockholm, back in November 2020. The set is named “Södra Grinda” after the island in the Stockholm archipelago. Büchi has said that she visited the location shortly after moving to Sweden.

The track is at noemibuchi.bandcamp.com and soundcloud.com/noemibuchi.

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twitter.com/disquiet: Museum Dreams, Lawnmower Jam, Atwood x Anderson

From the past week

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

▰ Weirdest side effect of getting my first shot of the Moderna vaccine on Saturday morning was that for the rest of the weekend I found myself daydreaming being in various rooms at SFMOMA.

▰ Ooh, the upcoming Disquietude ambient music podcast episode will have its first entirely original piece of music (that is, first heard on the podcast).

▰ Lawnmower jam: Saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews, Bela Fleck) noticed his neighbor’s lawnmower was in A flat, so he decided to accompany her. (Thanks, Brian Biggs!)


▰ A trick to navigating the modern internet, one that’s even more addled with targeted ads than anything Neal Stephenson imagined when the ‘net was young, is to regularly search for a few things you already own and love. Then you’ll be inundated with reminders of them.

▰ I love this detail in this piece (nytimes.com) by writer Max Gao on the upcoming Kung Fu TV series: ubiquitous actor Tzi Ma has no children, despite having “played the father figure for a bevy of Hollywood talent” (e.g., in The Farewell, Meditation Park, and the live-action Mulan).

▰ “So, 1981. We had the radio on while cooking dinner, when an eerie sound came pulsating over the airwaves.” Because we’ve been good, we get Margaret Atwood writing about Laurie Anderson: theguardian.com. “Do you want to be a human being any more? Are you one now?”

▰ I’m pretty enamored of wind chimes. As I wrote about in my book on Selected Ambient Works Volume 2: If as Brian Eno has said, repetition is a form of change, then wind chimes can show that change is a form of repetition.

▰ The first track is up on the latest Disquiet Junto project and it includes the sentence “I added a phaser effect to the dishwasher track” and this is how I know I’ve found my people.

▰ RSS 4 Life

▰ It’s cool to have some new Twitter followers following yesterday’s lengthy thread about the benefits of blogging, and I should note for the record you’re now following someone who gets excited about: refrigerators humming, doorbells, silence, TV captions, hold music.

▰ OK, have a good weekend. Listen to some poetry. Read some TV. Seek out some birdsong (while masked). And if you’ve got time and interest, play a recording of wind chimes on a speaker and record how it interacts with your own environment: disquiet.com/0484. See ya Monday.

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Guitar + Synth

Orbital Patterns levels up


One of the great things about the slipstream patchwork that is modern music listening — not Spotify, or full albums on Bandcamp, but the individual work-in-progress tracks that make up, particularly, so much of YouTube, SoundCloud, and, to a degree, Vimeo — is you can witness in something approximating realtime the changes that occur to favorite musicians’ approaches. For example, Orbital Patterns (aka Michigan-based Abdul Allums) has added electric guitar to the mix, resulting in a radical evolution of timbres and textures. The guitar is heard here running through the synthesizer he’s slowly accumulated and adjusted as the months and videos have passed. Three different guitar samples are processed by three very different modules, resulting in a dreamy track that varies its hush with a sense of slow-motion abandon.

Video originally posted at YouTube.

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