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.

tag: site-maintenance

Portrait of an Inbox from Artists

Or, why I haven't replied about your new release

I listen continuously. I write about what I’m drawn to write about. I can’t reply to every email I receive.

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Offline(ish) Weekends

And plans

Hello from my Starship Earth cabin. Hope you’re secure in yours. Ship-wide communication was fun last weekend, but I’m taking this weekend off social media. This has been my mode for a long time, and while I appreciated being connected last weekend to friends as the tide in the current global scenario continued to shift, I’m going back into weekend offline(ish) mode again.

Suggested activities:

☐ Start a sound journal.
☐ Re-read a fave book just for its sound.
☐ Watch a movie silent with a fave album.

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Quick Social Media Reminders satellite activities

I post weekdays to Twitter pretty regularly at, and I take the weekends off, because it’s good for my brain. If you mute assiduously and pace yourself, you can still maintain a pretty good early-Twitter experience. Twitter is, in many ways, my public notebook. I aspire to being more draft-like, but the immediacy of Twitter better suits, for me, both brief observations and the iterative development of a sequence of thoughts.

I also post to Instagram at with some regularity.

I’m on SoundCloud at Frustratingly, SoundCloud caps the number of accounts you can follow at about 2,000 (I’ve managed 2,003 for some reason), so I keep bookmarks of accounts I want to check back on. It remains the hub of the Disquiet Junto music community, though folks do post elsewhere.

I’m on YouTube at I don’t post much, but I have a running public playlist of fine live performances of ambient music. Much of my listening takes place on YouTube.

I’m on Bandcamp at The social listening component of Bandcamp is helpful. It’s no Rdio, but it works pretty well.

The main message board where I participate is Lines, or It’s music-focused, with an emphasis, for my use, at least, on the intersection of experimentation, open source, hardware, software, composition, and performance.

I’m on GitHub at Since my computer programming stalled a year out of high school, it’s not like I actually post anything, but I follow a lot of cool music-coding projects.

I’m on Reddit at I’m not particularly active there, but I keep an eye on it, and post occasionally.

I’m on Facebook, but it’s mostly friends/personal, and as with Twitter, I take the weekends off.

And there is a Slack for Disquiet Junto music community participants. Instructions to join appear in each Junto project post, every Thursday.

I think that covers it.

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23 Years of

Remembering blogging before blogs

Even if you don’t have a lot of time, it’s good to take a moment, at least, to note an anniversary. Twenty three years ago today, December 13, I bought the URL for It was the winter of 1996. I had recently moved to San Francisco from Sacramento, where for the previous seven years I’d worked at Tower Records on their magazines. Initially that was Pulse!, and then Classical Pulse!, which I co-founded with my friend Bob Levine, and then in 1994, as the World Wide Web (capitalized thusly) was beginning to happen, a weekly email newsletter I founded called, naturally, epulse, which ran more or less weekly for a decade.

I’d moved to Sacramento from Brooklyn in 1989, a little under a year after graduating from college. Moving, years later, to San Francisco was disorienting, and it took a few weeks, maybe even a few months, for me to realize what was disorienting about it: I’d benefited for a long time, at that point, in having a music publication as part of what I might call my identity, my self-identity. Suddenly I didn’t have such a thing, and the only solution I could come up with was to create my own, and that was

This all got started about three years before the word “blog” formally entered the vocabulary (2019 marks the word’s 20th anniversary). Initially I was just reposting to things I published elsewhere, like Pulse!, which I continued to write for right up until Tower went bankrupt. In time, though, I started writing things directly for At some point along the way my always insightful friend Jorge Colombo suggested I add dates to my posts (again, this was before blogs normalized and codified such things).

From 1996 until 2007, the whole site was hand-coded by me in HTML, even the index pages and the RSS feed. In 2007 I paid someone (Nathan Swartz) to translate it all into a WordPress site, and then a few years after that someone else (my friend Max La Rivière-Hedrick) did a beautiful revision of the WordPress theme so the site would be as readable on mobile phones as it was on a computer screen.

Each year on December 13, if I have the time, I write a brief summary of my memories of founding I don’t re-read previous such summaries while doing this writing; I just write it again from scratch. If it’s cut’n’paste, it isn’t a memory.

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Digital Quiet

A year-end break from social media

Every year at the end of the year I take a break from social media, or at least I have done so in recent years, since social media successfully transitioned from a nice-to-have to an always-on. Each year I seem to begin these breaks a little earlier, and each year I also take additional breaks here and there.

I began my 2019 year-end break today, November 14, after posting the latest Disquiet Junto project. The main, perhaps sole, consequence I linger on regarding being off social media is it means I forsake opportunities, venues, to promote the work of all the amazing musicians who participate in the Disquiet Junto communal music projects each week. I feel a responsibility there. But members of the Junto, not all but many, are on social media in my absence, so it’s not like the Junto suddenly goes underground.

Question is: what does a break from social media mean in 2019? For me it means I won’t be on Facebook until at least January 1, 2020, and maybe not until January 6, 2020, the first Monday of the new year. Sure I’ll miss my friends on Facebook, but the main urge to visit Facebook has more to do with groups dedicated to music, music technology, and art that interests me, as well as announcements about arts events. I think I can manage for a month and a half.

As for Twitter, the return date would be the same as Facebook, but I may take a peek once in awhile, simply because there are a handful of feeds on Twitter that are, in essence, broadcast channels I can’t find anywhere else. I’ll read, but I won’t post. (These services don’t seem to support automated out-of-office replies in their direct-messages, and I do worry about leaving people hanging unintentionally.)

Which leaves Instagram, which in relative terms is functionally more about consumption than conversing (a contrast I was discussing with a friend today over lunch), but was considered social media even before Facebook absorbed it, so it gets included. I may continue to post the “cover” images from the weekly Disquiet Junto projects on Instagram, but I won’t be posting doorbells or anything else.

Anyhow, that’s my social-media break, my entry into the digital quiet. I won’t be offline, not by a long shot. I’ll keep posting here (it’s just a month until December 13, which will mark the 23rd anniversary of, and I’ll check in on various online communities where I participate. Where those communities end and social media begins is something I think about a lot. Not being on social media means I’ll have more time to think about it.

There’s something distinctly calming about turning off those proverbial social-media lights. Just in the few hours since I pinned an announcement to Twitter and noted my silence on Facebook, my world feels like it has grown cozier, slower, more reflective, all good things in my book.

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