Speaking of the cultural territory around deepfakes: this video of a walk around Manhattan in the rain is so high-resolution, its stabilization so strong, that it is as if we are ourselves playing, or at least watching, a video game of New York. We are reminded constantly that we are looking at pixels of reality. And of course, the world of this Manhattan is largely digital to begin with, what with all the massive video billboards defining the circumspect horizons of Time Square and its adjoining blocks. Throughout, there is sound, as high-resolution as the footage, the stereo spectrum rich with activity. There may be hybrids and electrics among the passing vehicles, but in the rain it doesn’t matter. The whir is a memory of catalytic masses. The rain is its own sort of pixel.
Video by Nomadic Ambience originally posted to YouTube.
Today’s the loudest/clearest I’ve heard the Golden Gate Bridge singing. I heard it inside the house so I stepped outside to record. The wind, of course, is prominent, but through that wind is something like the theremin of the gods. I recorded 30 seconds.
“Two sine waves entwined pass me by Part 2 (2021)” by Andreas Tilliander, the musician who sometimes goes by Repeatle, is far more than two sine waves. And fair warning, the image in the accompanying video is stroboscopic in a manner that certainly aligns with the title’s aesthetic approach — in which patterning pushes the sensory limits — but also might, for some people, provoke seizures.
That isn’t the point, of course. This isn’t aggressive music, and the strobing of the video isn’t an anti-social act. It is a thriving thing, and a beautiful one at that. The filament-like symmetries we watch flutter through various formations, a kind of nanotech Rorschach or moiré ballet, while Repeatle’s music explores a kind of industrial babbling, ripples of drones serving as nubbed percussion, eager metrics plotted with soft edges.
After releasing a remarkable collection of Aphex Twin transcriptions for classical guitar earlier this year, Simon Farintosh has now tackled some music by Aphex peer Squarepusher. The track “Tommib” originally appeared on Squarepusher’s 2001 album Go Plastic. It’s brief, not even a minute and a half, though its placid pace and lilting melody extend time a bit. In Farintosh’s hands, the original synthesizer piece takes on an even more folk-classical feel, the lilt even more clear — a bit Spanish, a bit Celtic, but still all Squarepusher. I interviewed Farintosh about the Aphex Twin transcriptions back in February. He explained at the time: “I think that in a sense, every transcription is a cover. … The reverse is not true, however.” What he’s getting at is that there is more to a transcription than tracing the main melody and mapping out the chords. His work gets at the inner workings of the piece. Listen to the original to compare:
A weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. I hope to write more about some of these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them.
▰ “In CV”: not just Terry Riley’s “In C” performed on modular synthesizer, but with a module specifically designed to play it. (via Jason Wehmhoener)
▰ Sarah Davachi has announced Antiphonals for release this coming September. For now there is one track, “Rushes Recede,” overlapping waves giving way to something more expressly gothic and churchly:
▰ I missed the Robin Rimbaud show last weekend, and am digging this 13-minute video excerpt of the full performance: pulsing minimalist beats and haunting voice (or voice-like material). Submerge:
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
• December 13, 2021: This day marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com.
• December 28, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation.
• January 6, 2021: This day marks the 10th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
• July 28, 2021: This day marked the 500th consecutive weekly project in 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.)
• The Disquiet Junto series of weekly communal music projects explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity. There is a new project each Thursday afternoon (California time), and it is due the following Monday at 11:59pm: disquiet.com/junto.
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.
• 0507 / In DD’s Key of C / The Assignment: Make music with 10 acoustic instrument samples all in a shared key.
• 0506 / Wipe Out / The Assignment: Take something whole and erase half of it.
• 0505 / Line Out / The Assignment: Share a track, get feedback, and give feedback.
• 0504 / Transform Formula / The Assignment: Take a sound, change it, and contrast that with the original.
• 0503 / Sing Song / The Assignment: Record a song using only your voice transformed beyond recognition.