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 0425: Crop Score

The Assignment: Crop circles are musical compositions.

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, February 24, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0425: Crop Score
The Assignment: Crop circles are musical compositions.

Thanks to C. Reider (and the @AutechreComment Twitter account) for helping to instigate this.

Step 1: Consider the idea of a crop circle as a graphically notated musical composition. (This might require doing a little research on crop circles and/or graphic notation.)

Step 2: Interpret the photo associated with this project, from Wikipedia, as a musical score. (You can also use other images, but please keep copyright in mind.)

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0425” (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 “disquiet0425” (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 llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0425-crop-score/

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, February 24, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better. Let the crops be your guide.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0425” 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: Consider setting 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 425th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Crop Score / The Assignment: Crop circles are musical compositions — at:

https://disquiet.com/0425/

Thanks to C. Reider (and the @AutechreComment Twitter account) for helping to instigate this.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0425-crop-score/

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

The image associated with this project is from Wikipedia:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CropCircleW.jpg

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Pierce the Lull

A track by An Imaginal Space

There’s a darkness in the quiet. There’s a rupture in the shadows. “Looping 150220(2)” has a light quality that belies a deeper sense of portent. The surface, like that of a still pond, bears a certain sheen: diaphanous white noise and a soft drone and, in time, a tremulous glisten. But turn it up, and other elements pierce the lull. There is a shudder, some ominous siren, and what seems like voices, trapped behind a stultifying threshold.

Track originally posted to soundcloud.com/an-imaginal-space. More from An Imaginal Space — based in Derby, UK — at music.animaginalspace.com.

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Perpetual Energy

No-input mixing from Indonesia-based Fahmi Mursyid

No-input mixing is the perpetual-energy machine of electronic music. Maybe more than perpetual energy. Perpetual energy often suggests something simple, like a spinning wheel or a car battery, that has been tricked into running forever. In contrast, no-input mixing suggests one is tapping into a dangerous force. The trick is not to make it run forever, but quite the contrary: to keep it in check. To make something raw and vital be useful and malleable. The sounds are often employed in noise music, or, as in the case of this Fahmi Mursyid video, ambient. In it, Mursyid probes at the noise that the mixer produces, lending a sense of space with a reverb pedal and letting it loop and grow. For all the subtlety of the piece, there is a strong undercurrent, the feeling that it could get out of control very easily. (Fun fact: right click on a YouTube video and a little menu pops up. Then select where it says “loop,” and let it do so.) According to a comment by Mursyid, we’ll hear more of this work soon: “The long version will be out on ‘feedback’ compilation or I will upload it on my Patreon page.”

This is the latest video added to my ongoing YouTube playlist of live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at YouTube.

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The Hyperreality of Loraine James

Hang tight and listen to her For You and I from last September

Some things happened in remote correlation with each other this past week or so. One friend noted I don’t write about rhythmic music as much as I used to, back when Photek, and Oval, and Squarepusher were common topics for me. Another, a musician, commented about the delay in releasing tracks required by getting press materials to reviewers who won’t pay attention to albums following a short window after their official release. And, right on schedule — or perhaps off, more to the point — another introduced me to the recordings of Loraine James, the British musician who has received deserved praise for delivering newfound vitality to glitch and IDM.

So even though James’ excellent album For You and I came out last September, it’s by no means too late to board the hyperreal, staccato, stop’n’start blissride her music offers up. Begin with the typewriter techno of “So Scared,” against whose antique percussive samples is pressed an off-kilter, slow-motion wash of muffled noise. Then proceed to the rapid scrubbing of the title track, which flies by like a transit PSA for space elevators. Then take in the syrupy synth chords and rat-a-tat-tat beats of “Scraping My Feet.”

And then start at the beginning and listen straight through. James does things with time that are earmeltingly superb, putting sharply defined beats through the filter ringer, and then pushing what survives up against a sedate vibe that further challenges their fortitude.

Album available at lorainejames.bandcamp.com. More from James, who is based in London, England, at soundcloud.com/lorainejames.

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Layers by the River

Video and audio by Jason Richardson

Every week in the Disquiet Junto, there’s a playlist of the contributing musicians’ tracks. That playlist consists of all the tracks submitted on SoundCloud, and thus it doesn’t relate all the tracks completed, because some folks post tracks elsewhere, including Bandcamp and, in the case of the prolific Jason Richardson, YouTube. Each week, not only does Richardson dependably respond to the current prompt, he does so in the form of a video. This week, he did two videos, one of which was his interpretation of the current project — using nature as your metronome — and the other of which took things a very creative and, for his audience, rewarding step further.

He reached back to a much earlier project. In the April 2016 Junto, the compositional prompt, proposed by Brian Crabtree, developer of the Monome suite of hardware and software music tools, recommended a unique artistic technique: you record the same piece of music several times, and then layer them. The deviations between the versions yields a subtle, cloudy flow. So, in Richardson’s video, not only do we hear him playing the part simultaneously in several takes, we also see the various Richardsons overlapping, as well. And since this includes outtakes culled in favor of the prefered single take, we experience, at the end, when Richardson has to move his gear out of the way to let a guy on his motorcycle get across the bridge.

Up above is the layered version. Here, below, is the single take. What Richardson is up to is, inspired by the current Junto project’s instructions, letting the “feeling of the breeze” on his face inform the pace at which he plays:

Videos originally posted to Jason Richardson’s YouTube channel. More from him at bassling.blogspot.com.

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