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.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0478: Collage of Collages

The Assignment: Make a collage that will become part of a larger collage.

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, February 29, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 25, 2021.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0478: Collage of Collages
The Assignment: Make a collage that will become part of a larger collage.

Step 1: Create a “musical collage,” however you might define it, likely using the equivalent of cut and paste. When doing so, consider the sense in which your collage might itself become part of a subsequent collage.

Step 2: If you’d like your piece excerpted for a broadcast on the Austrian community radio show Kopfkino (translated: “cinema in the head,” and also available as a podcast) by Margarethe Maierhofer-Lischka, make sure your track is set for download when you post it.

Background: Margarethe has offered to produce an online segment in collaboration with the Disquiet Junto. The theme of the Kopfkino episode will be “collage.” The episode will itself be a collage of tracks produced in this week’s Junto project.

More on Kopfkino at: https://cba.fro.at/series/kopfkino

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0478” (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 “disquiet0478” (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-0478-collage-of-collages/

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 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, February 29, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 25, 2021.

Length: The length is up to you. (With collages, relative density is arguably as important as length.)

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0478” 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 478th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Collage of Collages (The Assignment: Make a collage that will become part of a larger collage.) — at:

https://disquiet.com/0478/

The project is a collaboration with the radio show Kopfkino, initiated by Margarethe Maierhofer-Lischka. More on Kopfkino at:

https://cba.fro.at/series/kopfkino

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-0478-collage-of-collages/

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

Image associated with this project is by the late Jeffrey Melton (a very early Junto participant), and used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license allowing editing (cropped with text added) for non-commercial purposes:

https://flic.kr/p/4zoz46

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

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Fleming’s Automated Fantasia

Illuminated by a cathode-ray tube

Femi Fleming’s is a YouTube channel to keep track of. It’s regularly updated with electronic music that pushes at different areas, some noise, some beat-oriented, a lot of atmospheres. In another era something like this, which falls in the atmosphere zone, might have been titled “Minuet for Cello and Piano,” but the year is 2021 and the available instrumental colors have broadened considerably. So instead, this is “Ambient Live Looping Drone with Eurorack and Elektron Octatrack.” Illuminated by a cathode-ray tube TV set to glitchily stun, the devices do all the work while Fleming remains off camera, having set it up, pressed go, and removed himself from the mise en scène. Dense tones collide like nothing so much as a fantasia of big city traffic, all muted honking and the echo of tall boulevards. It begins and ends suddenly, suggesting both it’s part of a bigger work, and also that the segment is of something automated that Fleming determined showed the overall setup in its best light.

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. More from Fleming, a student at RISD, at instagram.com/femifleming.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0477: Flying Blind

The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which some substantial portion is performed without looking.

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, February 22, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 18, 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 0477: Flying Blind
The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which some substantial portion is performed without looking.

There is just one step this week.

Step 1: Play something blind. That is to say, record a piece of music in which some substantial portion is performed without looking.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0477” (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 “disquiet0477” (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-0477-flying-blind/

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 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, February 22, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 18, 2021.

Length: The length is up to you. (You’re closing your eyes, not holding your breath.)

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0477” 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 477th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Flying Blind (The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which some substantial portion is performed without looking.) — at:

https://disquiet.com/0477/

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-0477-flying-blind/

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

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

https://flic.kr/p/7Ua2dD

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

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Scanner Modulates the Source

Using a brand new synthesizer module

Robin Rimbaud goes by the name Scanner due to his early work, which involved snatching people’s conversations from the ether and lending those often fraught words new emotional meaning by composing accompanying soundtracks. His atmospheric scores deepened the words’ presence, turning domestic squabbles into radio dramas, monologues into manifestos, idle chatter into comedy of the absurd. This work was intimate and abstract, trenchant and seeking. When I think about early Scanner recordings, which I do often, in my imagination they sit alongside the output of other artists whose unique vision connected human speech and composed music, notably the way Dennis Potter’s screenplays gave voice to the inner turmoil and fantasies of his characters by having them lip-sync popular songs, and how the composer Scott Johnson transcribed the ticks and nuances of human utterances and wrote settings that were, in effect, arrangements fleshing those words out to the scale of a chamber ensemble. Potter found the big dreams within small lives. Johnson found the density in the linear. Scanner found the spectacle in the everyday.

And so it was a huge pleasure today when one of Scanner’s old voices appeared in a new piece, albeit a brief one. Today is Fat Tuesday, and perhaps by chance or perhaps by perfect design, the music synthesizer company Mutable Instruments, based in Paris, France, released a new module called Beads (having lived in New Orleans for four years, I found the connection natural, but it was likely coincidence). The module had clearly already been in the hands of many forward-thinking synthesizer musicians for some time, because right on cue YouTube and Instagram (as of this evening, I couldn’t find any on Vimeo) were filled with video demonstrations of this new module’s features. (Full disclosure: the four-panel comics I created last year were done so with illustrator Hannes Pasqualini, who, with his wife, Elizabeth, designs the interfaces at Mutable.)

For one of his Beads pieces, Scanner took a spoken voice that will be recognizable to fans of his 1997 album, Delivery. In the original, titled “Heidi,” the backing music is a moody, melodramatic bed, like some slurry hybrid of Angelo Badalamenti and Bernard Herrmann, while an unnamed man both pleads his case to and verbally assaults the titular woman.

In Scanner’s brand new track, “Heidi Concrète,” the man is back, nearly a quarter century later, as if caught all along in some mythic limbo, ever ruining his own chances at reconciliation. Now, however, in place of the original music is simply the voice as it is transformed in the Mutable Beads module (hence the “concrète” in the title, borrowed from “musique concrète,” or music made from preexisting sounds). The voice in the new “Heidi Concrète” is fractured and looped, battered and frayed, and ultimately utterly dismantled into a pool of splattery assonance. And because it’s a video, the viewer can associate the varied treatments to specific actions: buttons pressed, knobs turned. While many other musicians are exploring the tonal possibilities of the new module, a common mode for such first-patch videos, Scanner dug deep in his personal crate.

Whenever I hear Scanner’s early work, I wonder if the speakers ever recognized themselves in it. Musicians coming to “Heidi Concrète” to witness an accomplished musician’s initial take on the new module will, I hope, recognize new creative possibilities in what Scanner has done.

Video originally posted to Scanner’s YouTube channel. More from Robin Rimbaud, who is based in London, England, at scannerdot.com.

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Dustmotes Ambient

A palindrome with a light pulse

Dustmotes is a musician whose new releases always have me expecting slow broken beats, ones where the particulate from which he takes his name is as much a part of the sound as are elements that would be more commonly experienced as music (that is: “music”). He works at the atmospheric reaches of instrumental hip-hop (check out this live performance from a few years back).

This is different. “Ambient 12022021,” the title taking its name from the recent palindrome date, has a beat, certainly, a slim pulse click that slowly surfaces as the midway point of the four-minute track approaches, but mostly the piece is layers and layers of drones, some deep and husky, and others like shimmery echoes. It’s as if he’s skimmed the aura of his more metrically inclined work. Drift off with this one.

Originally posted at youtube.com. More from Dustmotes (aka London-based Paul Croker) at twitter.com/dustmotes.

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