On Repeat: Schulz, Zorn, Seidel, Quayle

Recent favorites

The new year is still new, and I’m getting back in the habit of posting brief mentions each Sunday of my favorite listening from the week prior:

▰ The prolific Jeannine Schulz closed out last year with three tracks of lightly abrasive ambient mist. Interestingly, the accompanying image shows a cassette, though the release is digital-only, so presumably some of this texture has to do with cassettes being employed as part of the recording process.

▰ John Zorn and Bill Laswell improvise in the richly reverberant space of the Gagosian gallery in Manhattan, responding to the array of paintings by artist Sterling Ruby. And it’s worth mentioning how well the filming and editing, by Lea Khayata’s Pushpin Films, function.

▰ Not only has Dave Seidel released a beautiful experiment in slow chord progressions, but he’s posted the performance — in this case using the free VCV Rack software synthesizer — with step-by-step annotation:

▰ I’ve never seen the 2022 TV series Gaslit, but I’ve listened repeatedly to its music, which was composed by Mac Quayle. Quayle worked on some of my favorite Cliff Martinez scores, including Arbitrage and The Company You Keep, as well as Drive, Contagion, Spring Breakers, The Lincoln Lawyer, and Only God Forgives. The track “Trash Can S’mores,” with its noir-ish use of horns, acoustic bass, percussion, and other jazz elements, is a standout.

Scratch Pad: 2023, Menus, SuperCollider

From the past week

I do this manually each Saturday, usually in the morning over coffee: collating most of the little comments I’ve made on social media, which I think of as my public scratch pad, during the preceding week. These days that mostly means post.lurk.org.

▰ Happy new year. Let’s leave 2022 in the dust.

▰ Listening to Alexandre Desplat’s score for the film Tirailleurs sure makes my sitting here typing all day feel more adventurous than it actually is. Walter Mitty would have loved a good pair of headphones, not to mention access to streaming audio.

▰ I thought it had become impossible to turn off autoplay on SoundCloud, but it turns out the little button is hidden, placed in the poppup from the “Up Next” menu in the lower right corner.

▰ Font love:

This is a photo of part of a receipt from a. Chinese restaurant. The text has decayed due to the sort of printing use.

▰ Very excited to start off a new year of Disquiet Junto projects with the very same project that kicked things off 11 years ago this week

▰ They were impressive:

Another bit of the same Chinese restaurant receipt

▰ Best part of the new Peter Gabriel song:

▰ Brown noise, but slower

▰ A great thing about social media is you post a stray thought, such as the one directly above, and a friend replies with a sonic experiment along those lines, and another shares code, in SuperCollider, as to how to accomplish it:


Widescreen Synthesis

Another generous slate from Glasgow-based Instruō

This is a set of six modules from the Scottish company Instruō from the library of the virtual synthesizer software VCV Rack

The maximum display width of an image on Disquiet.com increased significantly with this site’s recent redesign. I figured I’d employ the capacity for the first time by taking a screenshot of the six modules that the Scottish company Instruō (instruomodular.com) made available for free last month on the free software synth platform VCV Rack (vcvrack.com) — along with, for good measure, a seventh module, the earlier Cš-L oscillator, just to max out the width. Each of these modules was ported to software from existing commercial hardware that Instruō designs and builds in Glasgow.

It’s also a good opportunity to highlight the interview I did back in January 2021 with Instruō founder Jason Lim about the process and decision-making that went into the company’s initial slate of hardware ports: “How Instruō Went Virtual.”

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

RNBO 4 Max Teaser

Something new from Tom Hall and Cycling '74

Not sure what Tom Hall has planned for Cycling ’74, makers of the great visual programming tool Max, but it appears (per synthtopia.com) to be something called RNBO (twitter.com/rnbo74). I was pleased when Rupert Lally pointed out to me that my Aphex Twin book on the album Selected Ambient Works Volume II is featured in this teaser video.

Just as a side note, about 14 years ago I took a job on a side street — really more of an alley — in SoMa here in San Francisco, and one day I realized that the offices of Cycling ’74 were right across the way, though it turned out that was mostly for the sales team, as everyone else worked remotely. Cycling ’74 has always been ahead of the times.