New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • Disquiet.com F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

tag: software

twitter.com/disquiet: Doppler Cycling, Avril Livecoding, Car Alarms

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet, my public notebook. Some tweets pop up (in expanded form) on Disquiet.com sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud.

▰ I ask myself, “What will I reward myself with if I don’t look at Twitter or Facebook all weekend?”

On Monday, I understand that the true reward is that I didn’t look at Twitter or Facebook all weekend.

▰ Doppler effect in full effect at the track in Golden Gate Park, various cyclists flying by with their individual soundtracks blaring, varying speeds allowing for occasional generative mashups as the after-work crew gains in number.

▰ Hyperlocal breaking news, but Sichuan Home on Geary in San Francisco now makes its own sausage. With respect to the vegans who may stumble on this tweet, the image is at instagram.com/dsqt.

▰ Prepping for one of the best cultural holidays of the year, Eric Ducker notes the 20th anniversary of Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th”: nytimes.com.

▰ Witness in all its monospace beauty as Lil Data brings Aphex Twin’s “Avril 14th” to life one typed character at a time: twitter.com/lildata. The source code (in TidalCycles) is at github.com/jarmitage.

▰ Phase 1: I was definitely not expecting an acoustic guitar Misfits campfire singalong on Mayans M.C. this week.

Phase 2: And even that didn’t prepare me for the GG Allin campfire singalong that came later in the episode.

▰ #protip You can mute (and even block) every account whose advertisements pop up in your Twitter feed. (I can’t imagine this option won’t go away at some point, so enjoy it while you’ve got it.)

▰ Car alarms never actually stop. They simply pause before starting again.

“If two analyses done in the 1990s still hold, 95 to 99 percent of all car-alarm triggerings are literally false alarms.”

If I can sort out which car it is, I’m going to print out this Ilana E. Strauss article and put it on the windshield: theatlantic.com.

I believe the end of this particular car alarm scenario will resemble the end (spoiler!) of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express, when the entire neighborhood lines up to destroy the car in question.

Car alarms are, in effect, a weaponized rendition of John Cage’s 4’33”. Rather than frame silence with a mime-like depiction of the formal structure of a piano recital, one demarcates its temporal and qualitative boundaries with annoying, thoughtless, grating, high-volume bleats.

I’ll say, on the ninth or tenth round of the alarm going off since 5:57am today, I’ve come to admire the professionalism of whoever devised the horn. It cuts through walls, glass, bone, and the comfort of one’s own living space. Someone got a PhD in acoustics of crying babies.

At this point, much of this block must now be deep in some sort of shared hyperspeed PTSD, as we all await the inevitable return of the car alarm going off. Before, there was silence when the alarm stopped. Now there is just a premonition of noise.

9:42: I’m working from home, and I’ve got a ton to do, and some calls, but I guess I’ll just keep live-tweeting this car alarm from the comfort of my couch until someone sets the vehicle on fire.

11:32: Interesting. The car alarm has not sounded again since 9:42. Likely the car has been moved and is mundanely terrorizing another neighborhood.

1:31pm: The car alarm has returned. Someone finished their errands, apparently. They forgot to purchase earmuffs for the rest of us.

It’s 7:39am the next day and there’s been no alarm since my previous tweet in this thread, but I recognize that the dense electronic signal ecology of modern life in combination with the fragile ego circuitry of car alarms means simply tweeting this may set it off again.

▰ Having the cover of your current book as your Kindle’s lockscreen will be great. But since getting what you’ve wanted is rarely enough, now I’ll want a quick process to turn the Kindle lockscreen into a to-do list, calendar, or some other single-page document.

▰ Perhaps not all of my confusion is the result of pandemic brain:

The Last of Us
Among Us
Them
Us
This Is Us

Also tagged , , / / Leave a comment ]

twitter.com/disquiet: Museum Dreams, Lawnmower Jam, Atwood x Anderson

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet, my public notebook. Some tweets pop up (in expanded form) on Disquiet.com sooner. It’s personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud.

▰ Weirdest side effect of getting my first shot of the Moderna vaccine on Saturday morning was that for the rest of the weekend I found myself daydreaming being in various rooms at SFMOMA.

▰ Ooh, the upcoming Disquietude ambient music podcast episode will have its first entirely original piece of music (that is, first heard on the podcast).

▰ Lawnmower jam: Saxophonist Jeff Coffin (Dave Matthews, Bela Fleck) noticed his neighbor’s lawnmower was in A flat, so he decided to accompany her. (Thanks, Brian Biggs!)


▰ A trick to navigating the modern internet, one that’s even more addled with targeted ads than anything Neal Stephenson imagined when the ‘net was young, is to regularly search for a few things you already own and love. Then you’ll be inundated with reminders of them.

▰ I love this detail in this piece (nytimes.com) by writer Max Gao on the upcoming Kung Fu TV series: ubiquitous actor Tzi Ma has no children, despite having “played the father figure for a bevy of Hollywood talent” (e.g., in The Farewell, Meditation Park, and the live-action Mulan).

▰ “So, 1981. We had the radio on while cooking dinner, when an eerie sound came pulsating over the airwaves.” Because we’ve been good, we get Margaret Atwood writing about Laurie Anderson: theguardian.com. “Do you want to be a human being any more? Are you one now?”

▰ I’m pretty enamored of wind chimes. As I wrote about in my book on Selected Ambient Works Volume 2: If as Brian Eno has said, repetition is a form of change, then wind chimes can show that change is a form of repetition.

▰ The first track is up on the latest Disquiet Junto project and it includes the sentence “I added a phaser effect to the dishwasher track” and this is how I know I’ve found my people.

▰ RSS 4 Life

▰ It’s cool to have some new Twitter followers following yesterday’s lengthy thread about the benefits of blogging, and I should note for the record you’re now following someone who gets excited about: refrigerators humming, doorbells, silence, TV captions, hold music.

▰ OK, have a good weekend. Listen to some poetry. Read some TV. Seek out some birdsong (while masked). And if you’ve got time and interest, play a recording of wind chimes on a speaker and record how it interacts with your own environment: disquiet.com/0484. See ya Monday.

Also tagged , , , , / / Leave a comment ]

twitter.com/disquiet: Avril Fools, Redesign, Alias

From the past week

I do this manually each week, collating tweets I made at twitter.com/disquiet (which I think of as my public notebook) that I want to keep track of. For the most part, this means ones I initiated, not ones in which I directly responded to someone. I sometimes tweak them a bit here. Some tweets pop up (in expanded form) on Disquiet.com sooner than I get around to collating them, so I leave them out of the weekly round-up. It’s usually personally informative to revisit the previous week of thinking out loud. They’re here pretty much in chronological order. Looking back at the tweets makes the previous week seem both longer and shorter than it was. The cadence is a way to map how time progressed. The subjects are another map of the same territory.

▰ Pretty much the only good thing about April Fools’ Day is it means we’re 13 days from “Avril 14th” Day.

▰ 2020: Hell is a message board debate

2021: Hell is a Discord debate about a Slack channel debate about a message board debate

▰ Guitar pedal manufacturers need to send more of their demo pedals to people who don’t actually play guitar. Case in point, Emily Hopkins. (For the record, I am taking guitar lessons, so in no way am I suggesting myself as a recipient.)


▰ It shouldn’t go without saying how different each platform is. A valuable exercise, even a creative pursuit: post one slightly involved item to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and as a blog post and a podcast bit. Different formats, requiring platform-specific approaches. I regularly use Twitter as a public notebook. My disquiet.com posts and podcast essays and longer pieces often first take root here. Not only here. Much of it is the result of a good walk, but here, too.

▰ It’s fine, though disappointing, if there’s no Alias reunion for the show’s 20th anniversary, but could we at least get a remix EP of Michael Giacchino’s main title music? (Or maybe it was JJ Abrams who composed the theme, as a friend reminded me. In any case, yes, a remix collection, please.)

▰ Oh, cool. There is going to be a second season of Gentefied.

▰ “Waiting for cache”

▰ Redesign of Disquiet.com underway with help from some friends. Cleaner read, less cluttered, better organization.

▰ Watching a friend’s new picture book for kids (and adults with excellent taste) take shape, and wondering if people who make colored pencils sometimes look at a book and recognize their tools in the mix the way someone who makes a synthesizer module might hear it in a track.

▰ Finally watched Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You last night, and (1) I liked it a lot a lot a lot, and (2) this morning I learned that the two main characters from Your Name have cameos in it, and (3) I haven’t committed Makoto Shinkai’s name to memory so I cut and pasted it.

▰ Progression:

:)
LOL
ALOL
AALOL
AAALOL
AAAALOL
AAAAALOL

A = “actually”

▰ Honk if you’ve been listening to a lot of Karen Dalton since this week’s episode of Mayans M.C.

▰ My main pandemic food observation is cayenne is good on everything, especially vanilla ice cream, especially if you toss in some roasted peanuts. That is my final statement of this week. Have a wonderful weekend, or best you can. Complicated times, so don’t set the bar too high.

Also tagged , / / Leave a comment ]

Soundbites: Audio Branding Audio, Ikea Podcast, De-gendered Siri

Recent reads (etc.) on sound

These are the sort of items I’d usually put in the This Week in Sound email newsletter (tinyletter.com/disquiet), but I’ve been super busy, too busy for a new issue, and so at a friend’s suggestion I am initially noting some here.

The serial-fiction audio/text hybrid company Serial Box has changed names. It’s never a particularly good idea to make such an announcement on April 1, as Realm (né Serial Box) elected to do, but there was nothing inherently funny in the company’s blog post, so no reason to doubt it. The name change arrives with other changes, like the availability of some Realm shows as podcasts. Next up: “some fancy brand sounds,” de rigueur for many companies these days, and virtually essential for a company whose product line is largely sonic itself. The key thing isn’t the name. The key thing is how complicated it is to characterize Realm, because it was never just audiobooks, or just a publisher of original fiction, and now it’s that plus podcasts. It’s all those things, wrapped in a new subscription service, with a la carte fees retained for some titles. A new name for the company is a step forward. But what Realm may really need is a name for what it is. (And if you’ve read this far, I recommend the series Ninth Step Station.)
https://www.realm.fm/blog/serial-box-is-now-realm

Also not an April Fools joke (and announced in March, anyhow) is that Ikea has rendered its catalog as a podcast, having previously done so, two years ago, in Swedish for the hometown audience. In a piece for Quartz, Anne Quito connects the move to phenomena like lockdown acculturation to podcasts and a rise in “the voice shopping feature on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.” (Via Rob Walker)
https://qz.com/1982468/ikea-replaced-its-print-catalog-with-an-audiobook/

It’s said that you can judge a culture by how it treats its most vulnerable. So, too, its AI. To wit, Apple’s Siri now has more voices than ever, but more newsworthy is the removal of a female voice as the default. No less than the U.N. has called out Siri and Alexa for what could be called, quite literally, codified sexism. The default of the subservient role in many countries to a female voice was one among a larger set of symptoms. From an earlier New York Times piece by Megan Specia on the topic: “The [U.N.] report borrows its title — ‘I’d Blush if I Could’ — from a standard response from Siri, the Apple voice assistant, when a user hurled a gendered expletive at it. When a user tells Alexa, ‘You’re hot,’ her typical response has been a cheery, ‘That’s nice of you to say!'”
https://techcrunch.com/2021/03/31/apple-adds-two-siri-voices/

“In 1878, Thomas Edison recorded — on a piece of tinfoil — 78 seconds that may be the oldest playable recording of an American voice and the earliest known recording of a musical performance.” That’s from a Library of Congress announcement of new audio added to the National Recording Registry. (Via Lowell Goss)
https://www.loc.gov/item/prn-21-015/

Also tagged , / / Leave a comment ]

Sound Bites: Pandemic Playlists, Disliking Dislikes, Martian Noise

Recent reads (etc.) on sound

These are the sort of items I’d usually put in the This Week in Sound email newsletter (tinyletter.com/disquiet), but I’ve been super busy, too busy for a new issue, and so at a friend’s suggestion I am initially noting some here.

It’s good YouTube experiments with hiding dislikes. I’m not sure it’s just about creator ego or hate mobs. The interface is flawed. We’re used (post-Netflix) to dis/liking things to nudge the algorithm. Hiding lets users register taste without offending. (I wrote about this two years ago in “Speaking Privately to the Algorithm.”)
https://www.theverge.com/2021/3/30/22358992/youtube-hiding-dislikes-experiment-creator-review-bomb

“Getting ‘vaxxed at moscone and they’re literally playing Here Comes the Sun on the PA and I’m shaking,'”: Peter Hartlaub quotes local food critic Soleil Ho at the start of this piece about the playlist at Moscone Center, one of the San Francisco Bay Area’s major vaccination centers. Her tweet was the first I’d heard of the music there, as well. I’m still ineligible for vaccination, but have been following along as folks tweet (and otherwise share) their shots. The playlist originated, interesting, not for patients but for administers: “it was initially created for staffers arriving early for their first day of work.” (via Daniel Raffel)
https://www.sfchronicle.com/local/article/Here-s-the-story-behind-the-amazing-Moscone-16061677.php

Robocalls have altered our relationships with phones, both household and mobile. Good news: The FCC has been taking action. Less good: “A fine, even the biggest in the agency’s history, is unlikely to rein in robocalls. In fact, there’s evidence to suggest they haven’t been effective at all.” More good: “If there’s good news, it’s that the FCC isn’t limiting itself to fines. In a separate announcement, the agency detailed its new anti-robocall agenda. Acting Chair Jessica Rosenworcel has established a Robocall Response Team. Made up of 51 FCC members across six offices, the team will coordinate the agency’s anti-robocall efforts and develop new policies for it to put in place.”
https://www.engadget.com/fcc-225-million-fine-194419208.html

We’ve been back on Mars barely a month and already introduced noise pollution: “It’s so noisy that Dave Gruel, the lead engineer for the EDL (entry, descent and landing mic) system, said he’d pull over and call for a tow if he heard these sounds while driving his car.” (And, yes, I first read that as Dave Grohl, too.)
https://www.engadget.com/perseverance-driving-on-mars-sounds-063118359.html

Geeta Dayal surveys the past and future of music at Mills College, which has been home to such musical mavericks as Pauline Oliveros, Darius Milhaud, John Cage, Fred Frith, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, Laetitia Sonami, and Roscoe Mitchell, in light of the institution ceasing to grant degrees.
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/30/arts/music/mills-college-music.html

You know how with each successive generation, ties to ethnic and cultural heritage diminish? It’s true of birds, too. “As the population of the critically endangered regent honeyeater plummeted over the years, some young birds could no longer find older ones to teach them to sing, a new study reports.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2021/03/17/science/bird-honeyeater-australia.html

The Foghorn’s Lament: The Disappearing Music of the Coast, a new book from Jennifer Lucy Allen, is due out in later this year (May in the U.K., where she is based, and July in the U.S.). Allen received her PhD, with a thesis titled Fog Tropes: The social and cultural history of the foghorn 1853 to the present day.
https://www.hachette.com.au/jennifer-lucy-allan/the-foghorns-lament-the-disappearing-music-of-the-coast

Whale song can be used “to map undiscovered faults through tectonic sound recordings of the sea,” Geoff Manaugh notes from paper in Science. https://www.bldgblog.com/2021/03/cetacean-surroundsound/

Also tagged , , / / Leave a comment ]