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: voice

Vladislav Delay’s Gnashing Gears

The tracks are dire, corrosive, and insistent — which is to say, they're great.

Apparently the recordings that constitute this excellent album by Vladislav Delay, Isoviha, are four years old but it has only just been released. The tracks are dire, corrosive, and insistent — which is to say, they’re great. The music pushes rhythms to the breaking point, and then celebrates when the rhythms don’t merely break but fracture, splinter, and leave detritus in their flowing, hypnotic wake.

The music tends toward the urban industrial. “Isopaska” is the sound of a central utility hub after its transformers blow and the building melts. Like “Isomulkku,” which follows shortly thereafter, it features a brief vocal element, suggesting an automated emergency alert shortly before succumbing to whatever entropy is at the heart of the given track. Entropy is at the heart of all this music, a tension that lends depth and drama to the often relentless mechanics. Each track is like a machine on the verge of collapse. Delay (the Finnish musician Sasu Ripatti) doesn’t pummel the listener half as much as he pummels his source material.

Each time I play this — and I’ve listened to it frequently since its mid-July 2022 release — I am entranced by the hints of dub that flavor the opening track, “Isovitutus,” before it gives way to head-banging extremes of stop’n’start noise. And Delay is no ungracious host. Amid the gnashing of gears, there is room for “iS,” tellingly the album’s shortest cut, at just over two minutes. It’s by no means a pure drone, as it has sandpaper textures and a fierce undercurrent, but it is a respite, nonetheless, and a welcome one.

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Current Favorites: Peel, Reidy, Ide

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

An occasional answer to a frequent question: “What have you been listening to lately?” These are annotated, albeit lightly, because I don’t like reposting material without providing some context. I hope to write more about these in the future, but didn’t want to delay sharing them.

▰ One highlight of the various artists album MSCTYEXPOUNKNOWN PLEASURES ZONE is a mix of drones and wordless vocals by Hannah Peel. The record also features work by Loraine James, Akrafokonmu, Yuri Suzuki, mcconville, Bill Fontana, and Yuval Avital.

Julia Reidy’s World in World is an album of otherly tonal, often textural, experimental guitar tracks with occasional vocal touches.

Yasushi Ide’s new album, Cosmic Suite2​-​New Beginning-, includes a variety of collaborators, among them DJ Krush for this dubby treat, “Outer Space”:

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Disquiet Junto Project 0548: Drone Vox

The Assignment: Make a drone using just your voice.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, July 4, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0548: Drone Vox
The Assignment: Make a drone using just your voice.

Step 1: Think about what constitutes drone music.

Step 2: Make some drone music from nothing other than the sound of your own voice. You can manipulate and layer your voice, but please add no other instrumentation.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0548” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0548” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your tracks. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your tracks.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0548-drone-vox/

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #DisquietJunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Step 8: Also join in the discussion on the Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to [email protected] for Slack inclusion.

Note: Please post one track for this weekly Junto project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, July 4, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, June 30, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you. It can be longer than you can hold a note.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0548” in the title of the tracks, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Download: It is always best to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 548th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Drone Vox (The Assignment: Make a drone using just your voice) — at: https://disquiet.com/0548/

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0548-drone-vox/

Image by Nevit Dilmen used thanks to a Creative Commons license (cropped, text/color added), according to which this reworking is also available for reuse by the same terms:

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Medical_X-Ray_imaging_EJE04_nevit.jpg

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Disquiet.com 25th Anniversary Countdown (5 of 13): Our Lives in the Bush of Disquiet

An archival ambient advent calendar from December 1st – 13th, 2021

Just shy of 10 years after I founded Disquiet.com, I did something here I hadn’t done before: rather than write about music and sound someone produced somewhere else, I published music that I myself had assembled.

In 2006, Brian Eno and David Byrne posted (for free download) stems from one of my favorite albums of all time, My Life in the Bush of Ghosts, and asked people to remix them. I listened to what people had posted and I found nothing that was particularly appealing. Most of the tracks just slotted the provided raw material above rote 4/4 percussion. So, I sent the Eno/Byrne project news to some friends and musicians I corresponded with, and I asked if they’d participate. The response I got back was, in essence, uniformly: This is cool, but the tracks showing up on the official website leave a lot to be desired. So, I told everyone I’d post the results of their work on Disquiet.com instead. A dozen musicians participated, resulting in this collection:

  1. “Help Me Help Me” – AllThatFall
  2. “If You Make Your Bed in Heaven” – Roddy Schrock
  3. “Leftover Secrets to Tell” – Pocka
  4. “Secret Life Remix” – Stephane Leonard
  5. “The Black Isle (Byrne/Eno Remix)” – (dj) morsanek
  6. “Hit Me Somebody (Help Me Somebody Remix)” – MrBiggs
  7. “Being and Nothingness (A Secret Life Remixed)” – john kannenberg
  8. “Somebody Help Us” – My Fun
  9. “Hey” – Mark Rushton
  10. “My Bush in the Secret Life of Ghosts” – Prehab
  11. “Not Enough Africa” – Ego Response Technician
  12. “Helping (Help Me Somebody Remix)” – doogie

This was almost a year before SoundCloud launched, so the natural place to post the music was the Internet Archive, the offices of which are about a mile from where I live. (The offices are actually a block from where I lived when I first moved to San Francisco in 1996, but the building wasn’t the Internet Archive then. It was a church.)

It’s hard to describe what a transformation this collection was both for this website, and for my sense of how I relate to and communicate with musicians. In the following years, I’d release a series of other such compilation albums, largely inspired by the work of Hal Willner, and eventually I’d open up the format (moving from narrow commission to open call), resulting in the Disquiet Junto music community.

More details, and all the audio, in the original post. And major thanks to Brian Scott of Boon Design (boon.design) for the gorgeous cover.

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The Everyday Musicality of Autumn de Wilde’s Emma

And especially of Johnny Flynn

I really dug the recent(ish) Jane Austen adaptation, Emma (2020), with Anya Taylor-Joy in the title role and Johnny Flynn as (I’m about to risk a 170-year-old spoiler) her belatedly betrothed. What I only realized during the end credits is that’s the same Johnny Flynn who did the great theme song for the great TV series The Detectorists (for which he also co-wrote the score).

Emma itself did right by music, too, start to finish. There’s plenty of pop culture out there, from Riverdale to Downton Abbey, where everyday (“amateur,” horrid* word) musicianship is part of how communities gather around each other, with the roles of performer and audience ever in flux. In Emma, this topic is particularly well handled, how we witness the title character, plus Flynn’s George Knightley (in a duo with Jane Fairfax), performing in front of friends, frenemies, and family. Bonus points for how centuries are bridged with covers by Maddy Prior and June Tabor, and by the Watersons.

And yow, how the playfully genteel score by David Schweitzer and Isobel Waller-Bridge fills each moment that the film’s director, Autumn de Wilde, leaves for them. The music choreographs the internal reactions of characters, to always affectionately comic ends. It’s like emotional ballet.

Coincidentally, I’ve been re-reading a lot of Dennis Potter lately, and it’s no surprise Emma’s director came from pop music (via videos and photography). Like Potter, de Wilde gets (and gets at) how singing other people’s music is form of self-expression.

* “amateur” having become a near-synonym for “dilettante,” both words having lost association with their origins (love and delight, respectfully)

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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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  • Current Activities

  • 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.

    Recent Projects

  • 0560 / Sonic Disambiguation / The Assignment: Help the Wikimedia Foundation develop a sonic logo.
    0559 / Yes Exit / The Assignment: Compose your personal entrance and exit cues for conference calls.
    0558 / Chore Progressions / The Assignment: Use a routine activity as the map of a composition.
    0557 / Condensation Is a Form of Change / The Assignment: Interpret a graphic score that depicts four phases.
    0556 / Gabber Ambient / The Assignment: Field-test a hybrid genre.

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