On Repeat: Earth, Wind, and Conceptual Guitar

Recent favorites

I’m getting back in the habit of posting brief mentions each Sunday of my favorite listening from the week prior:

▰ The opening of the new Earth album, Even Hell Has Its Heroes, the soundtrack to an upcoming documentary (directed by Clyde Petersen) about the band, is the perfect way to celebrate Droneuary. And then it evolves into something revelatory, as only an Earth performance can. It’s just Dylan Carlson, guitar, and Adrienne Davies, drums, though several other musicians do appear later on the album, including Mell Dettmer on Moog (what Moog specifically I’m not sure). Even by Earth’s subharmonic standards, this is an often rewardingly subdued collection. (Oh, and the striking cover art, featuring Carlson’s profile, is by Richey Beckett.)

https://evenhellhasitsheroes.bandcamp.com/album/even-hell-has-its-heroes-original-motion-picture-soundtrack

▰ This cover of “I Put a Spell on You” by Alice Smith is an incredible rendition (veering-on-minimalist reduction when it starts) of the Screamin’ Jay Hawkins song, heard here as channeling the accusatory syllabic insistence of Nina Simone’s classic recording (Smith herself recorded it previously for the various artists compilation Nina Revisited… A Tribute to Nina Simone, back in 2015, and it’s clear that subsequent years of consideration have given her insights into every nook and cranny of the composition). It’s part of the Gagosian gallery’s ongoing video series (which included a Bill Laswell / John Zorn team-up I mentioned here last week). Smith is supported on piano by Dennis Hamm, who manages to stay out of her way without being utterly erased by the sheer power of her voice. It’s quite something.

How Will I Know This Will Make a Memory, the latest from Cinchel, is gorgeous both sonically and conceptually. The title/opening track is a live concert recording from back in the middle of last year: layers of processed guitar achieving a cloudy, looping ambient quality that extends for three quarters of an hour. Two other tracks rework that material into even denser, at times downright orchestral, splendor. And the final track is a test run that precedes everything we’ve heard thus far: it’s Cinchel’s recording of his rehearsal for the concert performance that constitutes the first track.

https://cinchel.bandcamp.com/album/how-will-i-know-this-will-make-a-memory

▰ The Golden Gate Bridge has gained unintended renown in recent years because of how recent re-engineering has led to it emitting singing-like tones when the wind picks up. I live less than three miles from the bridge, as the (numerous and territorial local) corvids fly, and I can often hear it from my backyard. This tweet from during the recent storms captures that drone from inside a car as it crosses the bridge — and for bonus cinematic flair, it features an overturned tractor trailer. The footage is like a clip from a Michael Mann or Nicolas Winding Refn film, score and all.

Disquiet Junto Project 0576: Casual Resolution

The Assignment: Get a musical New Year's resolution out of the way.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto music community, 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, January 16, 2023, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 12, 2023.

Tracks are added to the SoundCloud playlist for the duration of the project. Additional (non-SoundCloud) tracks appear in the llllllll.co discussion thread.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0576: Casual Resolution

The Assignment: Get a musical New Year’s resolution out of the way.

Step 1: Think of something, recording-wise, you want to accomplish musically this year — something you can attempt to accomplish now with the tools you have on hand and a little bit of time.

Step 2: Give the goal you set for yourself a go right now. Take a first stab at something that might, of course, require concerted effort over the remainder of the year to really make progress on. The first step is often the most difficult. Why not get it out of the way now?

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0576” (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 “disquiet0576” (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: 

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0576-casual-resolution/

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:

Length: The length is up to you. Set a short-term goal, not a lengthy one.

Deadline: Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, January 16, 2023, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 12, 2023.

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 576th weekly Disquiet Junto project, Casual Resolution (The Assignment: Get a musical New Year’s resolution out of the way), at: https://disquiet.com/0576/

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-0576-casual-resolution/

Disquiet Junto Project 0575: On Ice

The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something with it.

This is the cover image for the week's Disquiet Junto project. It is a glass of water, filled to the brim, with three ice cubes floating in it.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto music community, 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, January 9, 2023, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 5, 2022.

Tracks are added to the SoundCloud playlist for the duration of the project. Additional (non-SoundCloud) tracks appear in the llllllll.co discussion thread.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0575: On Ice

The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something with it.

Welcome to a new year of Disquiet Junto communal music projects. This week’s project is as follows. It’s the same project we’ve begun each year with since the very first Junto project, way back in January 2012. The project is, per tradition, just this one step:

Step 1: Please record the sound of an ice cube rattling in a glass, and make something of it.

Background: Longtime participants in, and observers of, the Disquiet Junto series will recognize this single-sentence assignment — “Please record the sound of an ice cube rattling in a glass, and make something of it” — as the very first Disquiet Junto project, the same one that launched the series back on the first Thursday of January 2012. Revisiting it at the start of each January ever since has provided a fitting way to begin the new year. By now, it qualifies as a tradition. A weekly project series can come to overemphasize novelty, and it’s helpful to revisit old projects as much as it is to engage with new ones. Also, by its very nature, the Disquiet Junto suggests itself as a fast pace: a four-day production window, a regular if not weekly habit. It can be beneficial to step back and see things from a longer perspective.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0575” (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 “disquiet0575” (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 https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0575-on-ice/

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:

Length: The length is up to you. How long until the ice melts?

Deadline: Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, January 9, 2023, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 5, 2022.

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 575th weekly Disquiet Junto project — On Ice (The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something with it) — at: https://disquiet.com/0575/

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-0575-on-ice/

On Repeat: Guðnadóttir, Frisell, Rathrobin, Rplktr, Colombo

Recent favorites

It’s the start of a new year, and I want to try to get back in the habit of posting quick mentions each Sunday of my favorite listening from the week prior:

Hildur Guðnadóttir already had committed some of the most remarkable film music of the year for Tár, Todd Field’s feature starring Cate Blanchett, and she’s followed it up with Women Talking (Deutsche Grammophon) Both scores veer dramatically from her often drone-based prior work (Chernobyl, Joker, Sicario: Day of the Soldado). Women Talking, in contrast, features a lot of staccato string work.

▰ If I had done a top favorites of 2022, guitarist Bill Frisell’s Four, his third album for the jazz label Blue Note, would have been on the list for sure. It teams him with Johnathan Blake on drums, Gerald Clayton on piano, and Greg Tardy on horns (saxophone, clarinet, bass clarinet). The key word is “team,” as this is a jazz album with essentially no solos; it’s all about constant interplay.

Beth Chesser and Pier Giorgio Storti collaborate as Rathrobin. Their album Ear to the Ground combines strings, voice, and unidentifiable textures, including field recordings, into a sometimes aggressive but often ruminative sonic spaces. It came out almost a year ago, at the end of January 2022, but I’ve only recently started listening to it.

Rplktr (aka Łukasz Langa) recorded half an hour using the Awake script, which comes as part of the Monome Norns musical instrument. It’s sparkling and lightly percussive. Just listen as the patterning unfolds.

▰ Embedding here won’t do it justice, so if you do use Instagram, check out Jorge Colombo’s (instagram.com/jorgecolombo) — specifically the short films he posts. The “NYC2” batch, for example, are black and white snippets, shot in cinematic horizontal mode — field recordings that evidence the keen eye and ear I’ve admired for decades.

This is a screenshot from Jorge Colombo's Instagram page, showing a train passing

Disquiet Junto Project 0574: Audio Journal 2022

The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.

This is the cover image for the week's Disquiet Junto project. It is a grid of dates showing all 12 months of 2022, with the project's title and number superimposed.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto music community, 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, January 2, 2023, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, December 29, 2022.

Tracks are added to the SoundCloud playlist for the duration of the project. Additional (non-SoundCloud) tracks appear in the llllllll.co discussion thread.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0574: Audio Journal 2022
The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments.

As has become the tradition at the end of each calendar year, this week’s Junto project is a sound journal: a selective audio history of your past 12 months.

Step 1: You will select a different audio element to represent each of the past 12 months of 2022 — or you might opt for even more elements, choosing a segment for each week, or each day, for example. These audio elements will most likely be of music that you have yourself composed and recorded, but they might also consist of phone messages, field recordings, or other source material. These items should be somehow personal in nature, suitable to the autobiographical intention of the project; they should be of your own making, your own devising, and not drawn from third-party sources.

Step 2: You will then select one segment from each of these (most likely) dozen audio elements. If you’re doing a dozen items, one for each month, then five-second segments are recommended, for a total of one minute. Ultimately, though, the length of the segments and of the overall finished track are up to you.

Step 3: Then you will stitch these segments together, equally weighted, in chronological order to form one single track. There should be no overlap or gap between segments; they should simply proceed from one to the next.

Step 4: In the notes field accompanying the track, identify each of the audio segments.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0574” (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 “disquiet0574” (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 https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0574-audio-journal-2022/

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:

Length: The length is up to you. Did your year fly by, or was it a slog?

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 574th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Audio Journal 2022 (The Assignment: Create a sonic diary of the past year with a dozen (or more) super-brief segments) — at: https://disquiet.com/0574/

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-0574-audio-journal-2022/