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

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tag: remix

Disquiet Junto Project 0305: Three Princes

Explore chance by exploring the roots of the word "serendipity."

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.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, November 6, 2017. This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, November 2, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0305: Three Princes
Explore chance by exploring the roots of the word “serendipity.”

This week’s project explores the concept of serendipity. I was unfamiliar with the word’s etymology until I recently read the book Algorithms to Live By: The Computer Science of Human Decisions, by Brian Christian and Tom Griffiths, which I recommend. Those language origins figure into this project’s formulation.

Step 1: The word “serendipity” has an interesting origin. Its coinage is credited to Horace Walpole, who apparently made it up based on a Persian fairy tale, “The Three Princes of Serendip.” In turn, “Serendip” is itself a Persian word for another place entirely, Sri Lanka, or Ceylon. To explore the nature of serendipity, we’re going to apply randomness to samples of Ceylonese music.

Step 2: Choose three tracks — one for each prince in the fairy tale — from this collection of music from Ceylon:

https://goo.gl/szUFd2

There’s a lot of it, 138 tracks in all, so it might help to employ chance routines to select both the the tracks you’ll use, and which segments you’ll extract from them.

Step 3: Extract a short piece of audio, between two and seven seconds, from each of the three tracks you selected in Step 2. Each extract should be of a different length from the other two. Again, you might do this by ear, or you might do it based on some sort of chance routine.

Step 4: Create a roughly two-minute loop of each of the three individual extracts from Step 3: that is, a two-minute loop of the first extracted piece, a separate two-minute loop of the second extract, and a separate two-minute loop of the third. (You might also accomplish these loops in some other manner.)

Side note: There was a typo in the original instructions calling for a three-minute loop of the third sample. This was an error. It was intended to be a two-minute loop, like the others.

Step 5: Layer the three loops from Step 4. Do so in a way that might allow you to subsequently manipulate the loops individually, should you choose to do so. Notably, the three tracks will be out of sync with each other.

Step 6: Listen through to the layered piece in Step 5. Pay attention for moments of chance intersection, of rhythmic ingenuity, melodic unlikelihoods, and textural congruence, among other potential results.

Step 7: Create a short piece of music, based on the observations you made in Step 6, that builds on those serendipitous results. This may be as simple as using relative volume to highlight the highlights, or you might add other musical elements.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0305” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0305-three-princes/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, November 6, 2017. This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, November 2, 2017.

Length: The finished track’s length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0305” 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: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 305th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Three Princes: Explore chance by exploring the roots of the word “serendipity”) at:

https://disquiet.com/0305/

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-0305-three-princes/

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

Photo associated with this project is a stereo image of a Ceylon sunset, courtesy of the Tekniska museet account on Flickr, thanks to a Creative commons license:

flic.kr/p/emto4p

creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

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Disquiet Junto Project 0301: Parts > Sum

Artfully reduce an album to something less than itself.

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.

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, October 9, 2017. This project was posted in the early afternoon, Manhattan time, on Thursday, October 5, 2017.

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 0301: Parts > Sum
Artfully reduce an album to something less than itself.

Step 1: Download the album 5 Minute Meditations by Lee Rosevere. It’s available here from the record label Happy Puppy Records:

https://goo.gl/Wn5t1r

Step 2: The album has 11 tracks. You’ll be focused solely on tracks 1 through 10. Review the material to get a sense of the music.

Step 3: Create a five-minute track of your own using audio extracted from each of the first 10 tracks on the album 5 Minute Meditations. Important: The goal for your track is that while it will contain material from all of those 10 tracks, the end result (the sum) will be less than total of the constituent parts. In other words, your own 5 Minute Meditation will take Rosevere’s source ambient recordings and produce from them something even more ethereal, more ambient, more artfully threadbare.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0301” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co please consider posting your track:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0301-parts-sum/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, October 9, 2017. This project was posted in the early afternoon, Manhattan time, on Thursday, October 5, 2017.

Length: The finished track should be roughly five minutes long.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0301” 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: It is required, per the source audio’s Creative Commons license, that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 301st weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Artfully reduce an album to something less than itself”) at:

https://disquiet.com/0301/

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-0301-parts-sum/

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

Image associated with this project is the cover of the Lee Rosevere album 5 Minute Meditations, which was the source audio. The music and image are used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

More from Lee Rosevere, who is based in Vancouver, BC, at

https://twitter.com/LeeRosevere
http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Lee_Rosevere/
http://happypuppyrecords.ca

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Live Classical Remix

Snatched from the radio, rendered on a Digitakt

What might be a bowed cello or, perhaps, a deep horn opens this track solemnly. The quick initiation of a repeating fragment, the appearance of an audible seam where a loop ends and then again begins, makes it clear this is a remix. What it is is the musician taking a bit of classical music recorded off the radio, and through improvisation in one sitting layering and reworking it into something else entirely.

It is literally one sitting, which we know because the track appears as a video, documentation of a musician coming up to speed on a relatively new piece of equipment. The instrument is the Digitakt, a drum machine and sampler from the company Elektron. You don’t need to know the Digitakt’s interface in order to correlate some of the live actions with what we’re hearing. Often it’s self-evident, as when, around the 2:00 mark, one sample is slowed ever so slightly, or at the end when the volume decreases for a slow fade out.

The strings are the majority of the piece. They are sequenced to avoid any easy sense of metrical certainty, and they are copied and pasted well beyond the number of players present on the original recording. Remixing is like magic: smoke (filters) and mirrors (sampling). The result is a digital fantasia, material mixed as the memory might, favorite snatches on repeat, connections and contrasts between formerly sequential elements emphasized through simultaneity.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted on the corduroyfarmer YouTube.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0244: Euro Mixin

The Assignment: Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union.

Sun & Rail

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.

Tracks were added to this playlist during the duration of the project:

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 5, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0244: Euro Mixin
The Assignment: Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union.

Please pay particular attention to all the instructions below, in light of SoundCloud having closed down its Groups functionality.

Big picture: One thing arising from the end of the Groups functionality is a broad goal, in which an account on SoundCloud is not necessary for Disquiet Junto project participation. We’ll continue to use SoundCloud, but it isn’t required to use SoundCloud. The aspiration is for the Junto to become “platform-agnostic,”which is why using a message forum, such as llllllll.co, as a central place for each project may work well.

And now, on to this week’s project.

Project Steps:

Step 1: This week’s project is a remix. The following three tracks are available for creative reuse thanks to a Creative Commons license. Please download them and extract the specified source segments:

Use the first 20 seconds of “The Station and the Underclass,” performed by the Phonetic Orchestra, released on the Insub. netlabel based in Geneva:

http://insub.org/insub44/

Use the first 20 seconds of “Cloud Scissors” composed by Lo Wei; performed by Cristián Alvear, Santiago Astaburuaga, Gudinni Cortina, and Rolando Hernández, released on the Impulsive Habitat netlabel based in Portugal:

http://impulsivehabitat.com/releases/ihabp001.htm

Use the first 20 seconds of “Zraerza,” performed by Geeksha Beka and Berio Molina, released on the Alg-a netlabel based in Galicia:

https://archive.org/details/alg-set05-zraerza/

Step 2: Create an original piece of music based on the source audio from Step 1.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0244”(no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: This is a fairly new step, if you’ve done a Junto project previously. In the following discussion thread at llllllll.co post your track:

http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0244-euro-mixin/4361

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, September 1, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, September 5, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Around three minutes seems like a good length.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0244”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: Due to the Creative Commons license allowing for this work to be remixed, it is necessary that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 244th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Combine tracks from three different European netlabels (Portugal, Spain, Switzerland) into one sonic union”— at:

https://disquiet.com/0244/

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:

http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0244-euro-mixin/4361

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

Image associated with this project is by Thomas, used via Flickr and a Creative Commons license:

flic.kr/p/92xKFZ

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Unleash Your Personal Drones

A tape release from Austin, Texas–based Amulets — motivated by motivational tapes.

Part of the beauty of cassette releases is when they tap into the design energy — the tactile experience, the cultural legacy — of the object itself. As Ted Laderas wrote to the New York Times late last year in a letter to the editor, the cassette continues to offer something beyond mere nostalgia: “The cost of manufacturing vinyl and CDs is prohibitive for musicians who sell small numbers of albums. While not ideal, tape is easy to manufacture and easy to personalize, and provides small-time musicians with a viable way of sharing our music that our fans are willing to buy.”

chart-of-the-day-music-industry-1973-2009-feb-2011

Sure, the tape cassette was once a dominant pop-music medium, and yes it has long since faded from mainstream commercial employment, but in addition the pop music market it was the foundation of late-night infomercials that promised a fast-forward education in business, real estate, language — and self-knowledge. The Austin, Texas”“based Amulets (aka Randall Taylor) feeds on this association with his new album, Personal Power. Its seven tracks, with titles like “Self-Sabotage” and “The Power of Focus,” are built from the source audio of motivational tapes, specifically those of Tony Robbins, the audio of Amulets replacing the original text spoken by Tobbins. Personal Power was released on June 28, just a few days after participants in one of Robbins’ “firewalks” were reportedly treated for second- and third-degree burns.

Short bursts of speaking flesh out some of the tracks, referring to the side of the tape the listener is on, and welcoming the audience to the realm of self-actualization. The music itself is deeply droning, occasionally giving hints of guitar and loops, and generally enjoying the warpy loveliness of tape-based composition. There’s a certain cultural bleed at work here, a certain irony, in that for all his “business” aura, Robbins is a creature of what’s often called the “new age” movement. The music of the new-age movement, in turn, overlaps with and bears certain aesthetic and structural parallels with exactly the sort of music that Amulets is up to, namely a meditative music that can serve as background for activities and focus on introspection.

tonyrobbins2

Amulets’ creative repurposing of the source material isn’t restricted to the sound and the tape cassettes. Even the “notes/study guide,” as he described them, are part of the project. No doubt the limited edition, a total of 20, was determined by the availability of the originals. If you miss out on the physical cassettes, the audio will still be available for download.

tonyrobbins1

Album originally posted at amulets.bandcamp.com. More from Amulets at amuletsmusic.com. (Chart via businessinsider.com.)

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