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
This Week in Sound

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

tag: TV

twitter.com/disquiet: Dalton, Kadist, Oblique

From the past week

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

Gunpowder Milkshake uses the same Karen Dalton song, “Something on Your Mind,” that Mayans MC did this past season, number three. It’s a beautiful track, how her voice always sounds like it’s going to break, and I’ll now always associate it with cinematic ultraviolence. And oh that violin that emerges. It’s by Bobby Notkoff, who played on Joni Mitchell’s For the Roses, and several Crazy Horse records (with and without Neil Young).

▰ Last month, members of the Disquiet Junto music community recorded sounds of fictional insects they had imagined. This past weekend, participants created hybrids by blending the sounds of pairs of those imaginary insects. The playlist menagerie is here: soundcloud.com/disquiet.

▰ Some coordinates:

disquiet.com
soundcloud.com/disquiet
youtube.com/disquiet
instagram.com/dsqt
flickr.com/disquietpxl
tinyletter.com/disquiet
tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto

▰ First burrito at Cancun on Mission in forever

▰ Weighing in at 1,055 pages. See you later.

▰ When I bought the URL and started disquiet.com in 1996, it was named for Pessoa’s Book of Disquiet. More broadly, it was because, unless I’m mistaken, the copyright had run out on the book, so translations could more easily be published. I had several recent ones. Oh yeah, disquiet.com turns 25 in December. The Junto turns 10 in January. Next Thursday is the 500th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project. But first I need to post the 499th today. (And in 6 years, it’ll be the 300th anniversary of Ben Franklin’s original Junto.)

▰ The Dune trailer looks epic. It should look epic. It’s Dune. The most promising thing may be that it appears to have a sense of humor. Alternately, the most promising thing is they seem to have ditched the Pink Floyd song.

▰ If you zoom (not Zoom) in and dial the number, you can hear a conversation between Laurie Spiegel and the late Pauline Oliveros. Or you can visit the Kadist (kadist.org) gallery in San Francisco, where the installation (Dial Tone Drone by Aura Satz) is part of the Seeing Sound exhibit. The traveling exhibition is curated by Barbara London, who in 2013 assembled MoMA’s Soundings: A Contemporary Score. Two other artists are featured at Kadist in San Francisco: Marina Rosenfeld and Samson Young. Perhaps to their credit, not one of them is on Twitter, but three of the four are on Instagram, if that’s of interest. The number is 1 (833) 764-1221.

▰ Hit pause and accidentally stumbled on Downton Abbey and Zombies:

▰ Oh, wow. When I posted to Facebook, it triggered the facial recognition, so now it looks like a first person shooter based on the Downton Abbey and Zombies movie:

▰ Really appreciate the Disquiet Junto being featured in this piece at hii-mag.com about internet communities for musicians built around compositional prompts. As one of the Oblique Strategies cards reads: “Define an area as ‘safe’ and use it as an anchor.”

▰ Checklist:

🗹 499th Junto
🗹 ton of work
🗹 long-form writing
🗹 writing that’s me cheating on long-form writing
🗹 gallery review draft
🗹 lunch with friend
☐ email catch-up
🗹 guitar practice
🗹 home cooking
🗹 some exercise
🗹 go offline until Monday

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twitter.com/disquiet: Theater Anxiety and Media Ambience

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.

▰ The sequel to A Quiet Place, a film about a society in which survivors of a worldwide catastrophe take extreme caution whenever leaving their homes, will apparently be available “only in theaters.”

Which is to say, the bar for the cinema sensorium has been lowered as a result of the pandemic. Simply entering the movie theater exceeds whatever Sensurround had ever been hoped to accomplish.

▰ I enjoy buying downloads. I also feel a threshold-breaking new utility (app/device/service/protocol) remains necessary for doing so to become mainstream, mainstream being necessary for downloads to pass a threshold at which they will become financially meaningful for musicians.

▰ Me at 6:45am: Yawn.

Me at 7:15am: Oh, yeah, it’s May the 4th. I’ll watch Bad Batch, but it’s not like I’m gonna be celebrating Star Wars all day. C’mon.

Me at 9:00am: Oh wow, this Star Wars Biomes audio-video feature is awesome and I’m going to play it on loop until dinner!

Pretty much the only shortcoming of these Star Wars Biomes videos is they don’t entirely ditch the music. Fortunately, the environmental sound of the various locations is prominent most if not all the time.

▰ Netflix needs a third button for “I really enjoyed this and I never want to watch it or anything like it anytime again in the near or foreseeable future.” Pondering what that hand gesture is.

▰ That thing where you’re looking at Goodreads and you go to click the “Want to Read” button and, just as you do so, the advertising banner finally slides into place, thus pushing down the rest of the page, leading you to instead trigger a full-page view of the book’s cover.

▰ Really enjoyed the dense environmental sounds of Cyberpunk 2077, so rather than just watch recordings on YouTube I got a copy. Somewhere a database is registering the machine language equivalent of “This player simply wanders around town and then stands still for a half an hour.” … Somewhere another machine on the network replies, “The player’s digital signature resembles that of someone who did the same thing in Pikmin 20 years ago.” … Further down the stack comes a whisper on the wind from an ancient BASIC subroutine: “I know that kid. Used to carry a binder of floppies around with him in high school.”

▰ I think I need to add “Loitering in video games” to the Disquiet.com profile.

▰ The phrase “panting sibilantly” was one of the first descriptions in the captions for Mayans M.C. this week.

▰ And on that note, have a great weekend. Listen to one of your favorite TV shows. Admire the emotional heft of the word balloons in a favorite graphic novel. Record the outside and bring it inside. See you Monday. Or maybe Tuesday.

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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

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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.

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Volca + Brazil = Loki

Pop culture math

Apparently if you live at the aesthetic intersection of Korg Volca music equipment and Terry Gilliam’s Brazil (as I do), then the upcoming Loki TV series is for you. And, given the story line, there seems to be a bit of Time Bandits in the mix, for added Gilliam-ish goodness. And, how long until someone sorts out Volca firmware that supports video synthesis or some other visual output to make this image possible?

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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  • Upcoming
    • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
    • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.

  • Recent
    • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier).
    • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org).
    • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
    • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
    • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too.
    • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)

  • My book on Aphex Twin's landmark 1994 album, Selected Ambient Works Vol. II, was published as part of the 33 1/3 series, an imprint of Bloomsbury. It has been translated into Japanese (2019) and Spanish (2018).

  • disquiet junto

  • Background
    Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.

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  • This is an image of three colorful rulers against a plain background. The rulers look normal at first, and then you realize they're sort of oddly colored. That's because they were made by an AI.
  • 0567 / Three Meters / The Assignment: Make music in 5/8, 6/8, and 7/8 time signatures.
    0566 / Outdoor Furniture Music / The Assignment: Imagine the ur-ambient Erik Satie musique d’ameublement concept en plein air
    0565 / Musical Folly / The Assignment: Make a piece of music inspired by this architectural concept.
    0564 / Octave Lept / The Assignment: Work an octave leap — or more than one — into a piece of music.
    0563 / Digital Magical Realism / The Assignment: What does this imaginary genre sound like?

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