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.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0552: The Radio in My Life

The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation.

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, August 1, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0552: The Radio in My Life
The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation.

This project is the second of three that are being done in collaboration with the 2022 Musikfestival Bern, which will be held in Switzerland from September 7 through 11. The topic this year is “unvermittelt,” which is a little tricky to translate. Literally it’s “unmediated,” but it can also mean “sudden,” “abrupt,” or “immediate.”

We are working at the invitation of Tobias Reber, an early Junto participant, who is in charge of the educational activities of the festival. This is the fourth year in a row that the Junto has collaborated with Musikfestival Bern.

Select recordings resulting from these three Disquiet Junto projects will be played and displayed throughout the festival.

Step 1: There’s a great moment in the recorded conversations of composers John Cage and Morton Feldman when they discuss a trip to the beach. Feldman isn’t pleased by the way transistor radios let music, and sound in general, appear in places it hadn’t previously. Cage jokes that having composed music that involves multiple radios, whenever he hears them he thinks, “[W]ell, they’re just playing my piece.” You can listen to it in the first 2.5 minutes of this excerpt:

https://youtu.be/chEvxoypyUo

Step 2: Think about Cage and Feldman’s conversation, in particular about the idea of what is and isn’t a sonic “intrusion” in our lives.

Step 3: Record a piece of music that reproduces or otherwise suggests the sympathetic (i.e., non-intrusive) commingling of radio and everyday sound.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0552” (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 “disquiet0552” (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 track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0552-the-radio-in-my-life/

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.

Step 8: Also join in the discussion on the Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to [email protected] for Slack inclusion.

Note: Please post one track for this weekly Junto project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, August 1, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0552” 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 552nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — The Radio in My Life (The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation) — at: https://disquiet.com/0552/

Thanks to Tobias Reber and Musikfestival Bern for collaboration on this project. More on the festival at:

https://www.musikfestivalbern.ch/
https://www.instagram.com/musikfestival_bern
https://www.facebook.com/musikfestivalbern

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-0552-the-radio-in-my-life/

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Yutaka Hirose’s Varied Spaces

An archival release from WRWTFWW Records

I sometimes wonder if the steady stream of archival, often never before heard, ambient music from Japan is, in fact, an artful ploy, an aesthetic provocation in the form of a narrative prank — like a music-history equivalent of the Wikipedia user, Zhemao, who reportedly created an expansive fictional medieval history of Russia (see: vice.com). Also, not a prank in the Punk’d “gotcha” sense, but more in the sense of the RE/Search book, a compendium that argued they “constitute an art form and genre.”

In any case, there’s a fine new collection of historical material, Trace: Sound Design Works 1986​-​1989, out from musician Yutaka Hirose. Many of its 11 tracks have the deep, echoing resonance of sound recorded in situ, like the dubby beading of “Inner Voice,” all moist clangs and spatial ambience, and the mechanical soundscape of “Voice from Past Technology.” This physicality represents what Hirose told critic Narushi Hosoda in a Tokion interview published last month: “I wanted to build sounds based on space rather than do something musical.” Other tracks further expand the scope, allowing for seemingly virtual spaces, like the lofi beats and warped vocal of “The Breath of Cyberspace.”

Album released at the Bandcamp page of the WRWTFWW Records label.

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Cut Chemist’s (Deep) Crate

The DJ serves up cleaned-up classic instrumentals

The Downstream section on Disquiet.com is a regular series of recommended recordings. The material is usually focused on recent music, and it’s generally the case that the music is in some way freely accessible — i.e., even if it’s for sale, you can listen to it somehow, even if only through an ad-supported streaming service. Today’s entry is an exception to both those norms.

Cut Chemist (aka Lucas MacFadden, ex-Jurassic 5 and Ozomatli) has a subscription service through Bandcamp packed with fantastic old-school hip-hop instrumentals (by artists other than himself) that he’s accumulated over the years. They’re inaccessible from his own cutchemist.bandcamp.com page unless you pay a monthly (Patreon-style) fee. Then they pop up under the A Stable Sound Club tab. The audio benefits from his own digital preservation efforts. As he explains in an accompanying blog post, “I’ve been doing some serious reconstruction for these. From sourcing, to clean up, remastering and editing.”

The latest batch, Cut’s Crate #16 Rare 80’s Hip Hop Instrumentals, released on June 20, includes choice material from Beastie Boys (“Time to Get Ill”), Cold Crush Brothers (“Feel the Horns”), and Big Daddy Kane (“Ain’t No Half Steppin”), all shorn of their vocals, leaving just the backing tracks.

For an earlier collection, Cut’s Crate #15 1990’s Rap Rare Show Vinyl, released the month prior, he rightly singles out one track in particular from the set, Digable Planets’ “Where I’m From Stripped Down Show Instrumental,” for its exquisite simplicity: “I particularly like the Digable Planets stripped down version of Where I’m From to accommodate their touring live band.” The way the sampled horn just echoes amid the spare drum loop is trance-like. Here’s a YouTube copy of the original “Where I’m From” instrumental (the “Novox” — which is to say, no voice — mix), which has some additional elements, including vocal snippets and crowd noise at the opening and closing:

Also — and this may simply be a matter of the way the YouTube version was processed — the horns move much more widely in the stereo spectrum in Cut Chemist’s “Stripped Down” copy.

Note: These aren’t amalgams that Cut Chemist created from the originals. They’re proper instrumentals he has collected: “These have been given to me,” he explains in a blog post, also for subscribers only, “by the artist, producer or label so no bootlegs were used.”

One of the unfortunate aspects of modern streaming services is that a lot of the instrumentals that accompanied singles in their original form are absent from the collective jukebox in the cloud. Fortunately, YouTube headz keep a lot of it in circulation, but hip-hop and r&b instrumentals aren’t as readily accessible as they used to be, back when vinyl 12″s were the primary means of distribution — nor are they as accessible as they should be, at least not in the contemporary scenario, where streaming is the norm. Many instrumentals aren’t available commercially at all, except used on vinyl via eBay and Discogs. Hip-hop instrumentals are a huge part of — and parallel to — the history of electronic music, and Cut Chemist is doing his part to keep the tracks out there.

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Current Favorites: Peel, Reidy, Ide

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

An occasional answer to a frequent question: “What have you been listening to lately?” These are annotated, albeit lightly, because I don’t like reposting material without providing some context. I hope to write more about these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them.

▰ One highlight of the various artists album MSCTYEXPOUNKNOWN PLEASURES ZONE is a mix of drones and wordless vocals by Hannah Peel. The record also features work by Loraine James, Akrafokonmu, Yuri Suzuki, mcconville, Bill Fontana, and Yuval Avital.

Julia Reidy’s World in World is an album of otherly tonal, often textural, experimental guitar tracks with occasional vocal touches.

Yasushi Ide’s new album, Cosmic Suite2​-​New Beginning-, includes a variety of collaborators, among them DJ Krush for this dubby treat, “Outer Space”:

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Delay & Aarset

Respite amid the noise

Much of the music Vladislav Delay and Eivind Aarset produced together for Singles has a precisely calculated, threatening quality to it — which is why the track that stands out the least in fact stands out the most.

Track “13” (they’re all numbered), for example, could easily come from the climax of a hopped-up Ridley Scott movie. It’s all resounding clang and anxious atmosphere. The album opens, calmly enough, with “08” (they’re all numbered but they don’t appear in sequence), which then quickly shifts into pile-driver mode. Track “22” (while there are eight total, they appear to have beeen selected from a wider batch, based on the naming) is perhaps the brashest of the collection, the sort of full-body pile-on one experiences at noise shows. Throughout Singles, Delay’s electronics and Aarset’s heavily mediated guitar (the album sounds less expressly guitar-like than usual for him) work in exacting parallel with each other.

And then there is “10,” which is the track to spend time with, to spend time in. It is lulling, or at least seemingly so, like nothing else on the album. No, not like nothing else. Like instances elsewhere, instances that are fleeting, caught between fierce outbursts, inhuman aggressions. On “10,” much if not all of that is put to the side so the dubby ambience can come to the fore. The placidity, of course, is contextual. It’s purely relative. In fact, the air in “10” is clipped and fraught. Toward the end, a mechanical rhythm pierces the fragility, but never so much that the fragility is ever in doubt.

Album originally posted at vladislavdelay.bandcamp.com, and released by Room40. Vladislav Delay (born Sasu Ripatti) is from Finland and Eivind Aarset is from Norway.

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  • about

  • 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

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  • Current Activities

  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • 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).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    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.

    Recent Projects

  • 0554 / Cage Chord / The Assignment: Riff on a chord by John Cage.
    0553 / Break That Cycle / The Assignment: Record in a steady tempo but break it on occasion.
    0552 / The Radio in My Life / The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation.
    0551 / The Bends / The Assignment: Get less strict about something you're strict about.
    0550 / Abrupt Probability / Make music based on a chance graphic score.

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