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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Make the Best of What’s Still Around

A live tape-loop performance by Amulets

Tread lightly. Today’s self-aware hi-jinks are tomorrow’s tragedies. Still, as musicians, like most everyone else in the world, do their best to settle into far more residential life than they may be accustomed to, they make the best of what’s still around. In the case of Amulets, that involves using a toilet paper roll as a means to extend the length of a tape loop, as heard in this video posted today.

Amulets is the Portland, Oregon, musician Randall Taylor, who does marvelous things with, among other second-hand tools, old audio tape cassettes — same tape he’s had for years. Here the rotting texture of the loop, exaggerated by a delay pedal, takes sequences from his portable synth and renders from them subsistence ambient, just loud enough to make an impression, but not so much as to squander available resources.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at youtube.com. More from Amulets at amuletsmusic.com.

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After Live: Grzegorz Bojanek from Poland

A free hour-long video performance

Early on in this hour-long performance video, the Poland-based musician Grzegorz Bojanek holds up a piece of paper to the camera. On the paper is written a terse note in Polish and English imploring people to stay at home. There is no self-interest. He’d most certainly rather not be at home himself. But while he is, like many of us, stuck at home, he wants to help out.

His live video — along with those from numerous musicians around the world seeking to connect during a time virtually devoid of live in-person concert performances — seeks to entertain and, perhaps, even to console. And certainly to commiserate. For an hour he sits on the couch and plays. The work moves from dense ambient to a gently pulsing figment and back again. The music is welcome, but even more so is the presence that Bojanek projects. He is modelling behavior, not just by staying home, not just by keeping busy, not just by sharing, but by remaining visibly focused, even calm. We couldn’t ask more of ourselves.

There are countless more performances like this being broadcast, recorded, and archived around the world, all accessible within your browser. Seek them out, support the musicians who produce them, and share the ones you recommend.

Track originally posted to Bojanek’s YouTube channel. More from Bojanek at bojanek.bandcamp.com.

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Extracting Subsets

From Norway-based Duelling Ants

There is static on the line. The signal is going in and out. Bits are looping frantically, and the combined activity yields a kind of sonic mist, if at times a spiky one. The overall signal source, the original thread of audio, is almost lost as the interference takes on a syncopated quality. This is all on purpose, of course. This is the musician who goes by the name Duelling Ants taking sound from a small portable synthesizer and sending it through an ingenious looper, one that extracts subsets of the signal and lets Duelling Ants operate upon them simultaneously for varying purposes. One line moves forward while another cycles a bit round and round while another plays a different subset in reverse. (I know to listen for this because I’m familiar with the looping software.) The result is a spirited kaleidoscope of parts, where the whole is entirely besides the point.

More from Duelling Ants, aka Norway-based Marius Jacobsen, at duellingants.bandcamp.com, marsmelons.com, and instagram.com/duellingants.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0428: Urban Moss

The Assignment: What echoes of past concerts are retained within this pole?

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, March 16, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, March 12, 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 tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0428: Urban Moss
The Assignment: What echoes of past concerts are retained within this pole?

Step 1: Consider how many concert posters have spent time on an old telephone pole before being torn down or succumbing to the elements. Think about the wear on the wood, the rust on the vestigial staples, as time has passed.

Step 2: Record a short piece of music that pays tribute to the accumulated echoes of past concerts promoted here over the years.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0428” (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 “disquiet0428” (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-0428-urban-moss/

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, March 16, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, March 12, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0428” 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 428th weekly Disquiet Junto project — The Assignment: What echoes of past concerts are retained within this pole? — at:

https://disquiet.com/0428/

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-0428-urban-moss/

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

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Quelled Chaos

From Porto, Portugal

The first of two tracks from Dave Wesley released with the title “Tons de Quarto,” the music comes across like some fierce collage mix of zigzagging field recordings and rampantly droning organ. It’s all about fleetingly quelled chaos — the volume lowered, and yet the action raised in inverse proportion. The organ-like sound comes in waves, wide hands pushing out arrhythmic patterns that ebb and flow in an expression of unrest and pent-up power. The other sounds are foreground and background, rough noises tossed about, and rapid patterning, the wind in motion. It’s a potent combination.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/davewesley. Wesley is based in Porto, Portugal. More at arcticdub.bandcamp.com and YouTube.

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