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: recommended stream

The Ocean a Year Ago

A track by Shipwreck Detective

Located in the perfect slot between listening and not listening, this earthy drone by the musician who goes by Shipwreck Detective dates from over a year ago. The Shipwreck Detective account on YouTube has been a frequent source of comfort during the current spell of cooped-up-edness. This track’s brief description calls it “the ocean heard in a conch.” The ocean is barely a mile from where I live, and this track brings it close, indeed. When the track was first posted, I imagine the sounds summoned up a vast expanse, whereas now it feels cloistered, personal, homey.

Video originally posted at YouTube. More from Shipwreck Detective, who is based in San Francisco, at and

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Personal-Space Age Music

From Grzegorz Bojanek of Poland

Accompanied by archival footage from the height of the Space Age, the track “Quanta Skylab” by the Polish musician Grzegorz Bojanek is the background music you’re looking for right now. We’re all aboard a spacecraft at the moment, Starship Earth. We’re hurtling around the sun in our individual or shared cabins, waiting for our respective captains to give the all-clear alert. None of us expect that message to appear anytime soon. We’re balancing work and family, privacy and community, aspirations and needs, responsibilities and desires, and making the best of a bad, worldwide situation. Bojanek’s music is the proper room tone for such a scenario — for our Personal-Space Age — especially the more solitary moments. Its shifting drones match the way time feels fluid and confusing. It embraces the newfound quiet without presenting a challenge. And it introduces melodic fragments but never expects your full attention.

Video originally posted at Bojanek’s YouTube channel. More from him at

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Disquiet Junto Project 0431: Solitary Ensembles x 3

The Assignment: Complete a trio by adding a track to an existing duet by two other musicians.

This isn’t the new normal, but we’re again breaking a core Disquiet Junto rule this week. (The rule is that in the Junto, musicians should only contribute one track per project.) Again, due to the extraordinary output last week (106 tracks from musicians originating around the world), we’re going to allow multiple tracks this week (up to 3 per participant). However, where one rule is cast by the wayside, another rule rears its head: For your first track for this project, you can use whichever source audio you’d like from the previous project (Disquiet Junto Project 0430: Solitary Ensembles x 2). For your second and third, however, you must choose randomly, with some qualifications. Details below:

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 Monday, April 6, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0431: Solitary Ensembles x 3
The Assignment: Complete a trio by adding a track to an existing duet by two other musicians.

Step 1: This week’s Disquiet Junto project is the third in a sequence that encourages and rewards asynchronous collaboration. This week you will be adding music to a pre-existing track, which you will source from the previous week’s Junto project ( Note that you are finishing a trio — you’re creating the third part of what two previous musicians created. Keep this in mind.

Step 2: The plan is for you to record an original piece of music, on any instrumentation of your choice, as a complement to a pre-existing track. First, however, you must select the piece of music to which you will be adding your own music. There are well over 100 tracks in all to choose from, 103 as part of this playlist:

And then three others. Two from Bassling (aka Jason Richardson). Consider the first 104 and the second 105:

And the 106th is from Samarobryn:

To select a track, you can listen through all that (warning: that’s well over five hours of music) and choose one, or you can use a random number generator to select a number from 1 to 106, the first 103 being numbered in the above SoundCloud playlist, and the three other numbered as described above. (Note: it’s fine if more than one person uses the same original track as the basis for their piece.)

Step 3: Record a piece of music, roughly the length of the piece of music you selected in Step 2. Your track should complement the piece from Step 2, and it should be placed dead center between the left and right stereo channels. When composing and recording your part, do not alter the original piece of music at all. To be clear: the track you upload won’t be your piece of music alone; it will be a combination of the track from Step 2 and yours.

Step 4: Also be sure, when done, to make the finished track downloadable, because it may be used by someone else in a subsequent Junto project.

Step 5: As with last week, you can contribute more than one track this week. You can do up to three total. Unlike with your first track, you should choose your second and third randomly. However, if you end up with something you really don’t enjoy working on, then you can roll again. And alternately, you can choose to use a track no one else has used yet (by looking at the project’s post on Lines, linked to in these instructions, or to the project playlist, which will be posted here once tracks start coming in). The goal is for many as people as possible to benefit from the experience of being part of an asynchronous collaboration. After a lot of detailed instruction, that is the spirit of this project.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0431” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0431” (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 track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at

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.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, April 6, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, April 2, 2020.

Length: The length should be essentially the same length as the track you are adding to. Yours might be a little longer, if you choose to begin earlier or end later than the source audio.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0431” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and 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: Given the nature of this particular project sequence, it is 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:

Be sure to name and link to the source track you’re collaborating with, and credit the musicians who recorded it.

More on this 41st weekly Disquiet Junto project, Disquiet Junto Project 0431: Solitary Ensembles x 3 — The Assignment: Complete a trio by adding a track to an existing duet by two other musicians — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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

Image associated with this track is by Abby, used thanks to a Creative Commons license and Flickr. The image has been cropped, colors shifted, and text added.

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Drone Étude

From Peter Speer of Asheville, North Carolina

A little over a year ago, a simple live performance video made a strong impression. Using just two synthesizer modules, Peter Speer took brief moments from “Om Shanti” by Alice Coltrane and pulled them like one might Silly Putty, bending and stretching the audio until it was mere strands of its original state. In the process, he yielded something both utterly transformed and yet true, in tone and effect, to the source material. Speer’s latest video, posted two days ago, on March 30, has no familiar origin, but also delights with its simplicity. It’s a fairly compact and well-circumscribed synthesizer setup, the Serge Animal, played throughout, his hand guiding voltages and volume, and from them coaxing a drone étude, a gaseous cloud of arching textures.

Video originally posted at More from Speer, who is based in Asheville, North Carolina, at and

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Jasmine Guffond Gets the Drop on the Mic

For a new Editions Mego album

Both the album title, Microphone Permission, and the title of its lead track, “Forever Listening,” get at Jasmine Guffond’s interest in surveillance culture. The former is something we grant devices and apps without giving the decision, such as it is, much thought. The latter describes the state of tools, such as smart speakers, we allow so that they can seem to anticipate our needs. These concepts feed, in “Forever Listening,” a droning piece lace with muffled voices and occasionally riddled with something like a shot from a video game.

An accompanying video, by Ilan Katin, uses what appears to be dated footage from a security camera from a store to make its point: we’re being watched at the most mundane moments. If this tense area of study suggests a sense of alarm, Guffond meets that with the sound of one just before the track comes to a quietly vibrating close.

Get the full album at Video originally posted a the YouTube channel of Ilan Katin. More from Guffond, an Australian based in Berlin, Germany, at

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