Tending the SoundCloud Community Garden

A hack for a long-running inconvenience

I still find plenty of interesting music and sound on SoundCloud. The most complicated (i.e., annoying) aspect of the service (aside from spam, which you know is automated, but you can’t — or at least I can’t — resist the instinct to anthropomorphize) is that the number of accounts you’re allowed to follow remains capped at 2,000. This means that every time I want to follow a new one, I have to find someone among my many follows to unfollow. It also means I can’t follow the vast majority of the 10,600+ people who follow me. Such a restriction seems like an ill-considered structure for a social-media community, because it forces individuals to, in essence, be rude by not allowing them to easily reciprocate a fundamental social action.

Exacerbating the problem is that there are no tools (within SoundCloud or third-party), at least that I’m aware of, to assist in the whittling necessary when you do want to follow someone new once you hit to the magic 2,000 ceiling — this tending of my plot in the virtual community garden. The best thing I can do is to type two or three random letters into the search option that lets me filter my existing follows, then click on the handful that show up, and then locate an account among them that hasn’t posted in a few years (yeah, yeah — there’s plenty those). Then I unfollow that account in order to make room for the account I want to follow.

SoundCloud was founded back in 2007, and I think I joined at the start of 2010, because that’s the earliest email I can find that mentions SoundCloud that involves my having an account. I have a couple other emails dating back to 2008 that were professional promotional requests for me to listen to someone’s music on SoundCloud. The service hasn’t changed much in years. As community gardens go, SoundCloud is more than a bit thick with weeds, but it’s still plenty alive. It’s just hard to deal with those weeds without some good tools.

Catching Up

Some posts of note from the past 30 days:

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.”