My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

tag: voice

Disquiet Junto Project 0400: Sub Divided

The Assignment: Create a score to a Malka Older story using the author's own voice as source audio.

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 Monday, September 2, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 29, 2019.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0400: Sub Divided
The Assignment: Create a score to a Malka Older story using the author’s own voice as source audio.

Step 1: The author Malka Older (Infomocracy, Ninth Step Station, Orphan Black: The Next Chapter) has generously recorded herself reading her own short story, “The Divided,” and made that recording available to the Disquiet Junto community for this project. Acquire the nine (roughly) one-minute segments of the recording in this zip file:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/mgwx9fa9bwz76ll/0400-stems.zip

Additional information on the book in which this story will be collected, … and Other Disasters, at masonjarpress.xyz.

Step 2: Select one of the nine tracks at random.

Step 3: Listen to the entire story, which is about nine and a half minutes long. Consider the narrative sensibility of your assigned subset of that story.

Step 4: Create a score and sound design to accompany Older’s reading of her own short story in the track that you selected in Step 2. Primarily use Older’s own voice as the source material for your score — bend it, shape it, extract from it, and burnish it to your creative ends. Additional sonic elements, both musical and foley, are welcome, but a substantial percentage of the sound should be from Older’s own voice. Also: keep Older’s own reading audible and inteligible; don’t slow or speed or otherwise edit it. Your score should accompany the reading, not supplant it.

Step 5: This is important. Please title your track “Malka Older – The Divided – Part X/9 disquiet0400” where “X” is the segment number you were assigned. (Don’t include the quotation marks.)

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0400” (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 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0400-sub-divided/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, September 2, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 29, 2019.

Length: The length of your finished track should be the same length as the source audio for your track.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0400” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and 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: Consider setting 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 400th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Sub Divided / The Assignment: Create a score to a Malka Older story using the author’s own voice as source audio — at:

https://disquiet.com/0400/

Thanks to Malka Older for providing the audio and collaborating on this. Thanks to Alex Hawthorn for audio technical assistance.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0400-sub-divided/

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Also tagged , , , / / Leave a comment ]

Pushing Past Lovely

Lyndsie Alguire is up to something ambitious.

After releasing her most recent album, The Horizon Kisses You Til There’s Nothing Left, on Bandcamp earlier this year, the musician Lyndsie Alguire selected one of its tracks to post on her SoundCloud account, a form of cross-promotion between the two platforms.

Titled “Demeter Weeping,” the song is essentially much of the working materials, the techniques and sounds, of the broader album condensed into one beautiful, linear summary statement. It opens with layers of her vocals, all shoegazey lushness, hinting at some sort of meaning, yet mumbled and muffled beyond comprehensibility. In time, the textures move beyond some invisible breaking point, and what had been lush transforms from linen to sandpaper, from lovely to something that pushes past lovely, yet that retains a definite if harsh beauty. Just after the midway point, “Demeter Weeping” goes from hushed to triumphant, a sweeping riff threatening to pierce the haze that has built up thus far.

That’s the moment when Alguire’s ambition becomes clear. What came before would have been pretty unto itself, but Alguire isn’t here just for the sweetness. She’s here to challenge. Listen, for example, to the buzzing of “Dustmote” and the heavily reverberating bass notes of “No Future,” both of which make you wonder if your speaker is wired correctly. Listen to the range of sounds cycling through “Nobody’s,” which summons up a deep mess of broken clouds.

Likewise, there’s more to The Horizon Kisses than “Demeter Weeping,” including introspective keyboard work (“Til There’s Nothing Left”), vaguely medieval chamber settings (“Sacrifices”), dense drones (“Dustmote”), and heavily warped audio that suggests a smaller scale take on Gavin Bryars’ Sinking of the Titanic. She could have played it safe with an album of variations on the first half of “Demeter Weeping,” but there’s no playing it safe here.

Album first posted at lyndsiealguire.bandcamp.com. Lyndsie Alguire is based in Montréal, Québec. More from her at lyndsiealguire.ca.

Also tagged / / Leave a comment ]

The Conference Call v. Acoustic Literacy

An interview I did with the Article Group

It was a pleasure to have been interviewed for an article about the contentious and ubiquitous sound technology known as the conference call, especially because the article’s author, Rae Paoletta, sets the correct tone right from the start. The article begins: “The conference call is a gangrenous finger on the clammy hand of human achievement.”

After speaking with Paoletta on the phone (not a conference call, just two humans on a shared line, very old-fashioned and convivial), I was a bit concerned with how harsh I was about conference calls, specifically the often non-technological reasons for why they so often fall short of their purpose. How I put it is: “In a broad sense, people are ultimately kind of lazy,” but even before the article gets to my concerns about what I refer to as a societal lack of “acoustic literacy,” someone else says it more directly: “generally people are selfish dickbags and this translates to terrible conference calls.”

In advance of speaking with Paoletta, I sketched out a list of conference-call grievances, key aspects of the conference call, both as a technology and a site of human interaction, that are susceptible to failure. It played out like this:

  • voice quality
  • background noise
  • voice menu commands
  • hold music
    • signature brand sound
    • signature cues
    • signature hold music
    • option for no music
    • options for music
    • misreading digital silence
  • spatial orientation
  • visual orientation (cues on screen)
  • politics of being on hold pre-call

Paoletta’s piece, which also quotes Dr. Julie Gurner, is available at medium.com/article-group.

Not so much ironically as inevitably, I has several conference calls in the wake of speaking with Paoletta, including on the morning the article came out. I imagined this was a jinx, and the call would utterly fail. It didn’t, fortunately. My main observations of the call, in my heightened state of awareness due to the Paoletta conversation:

  • sonic moire/cutouts (from cross-talk)
  • squelchy feedback
  • uneven volume levels
  • Max Headroom vocal glitch
  • cicada-like atmospheric noise
  • background construction noise

I posted that list to Twitter. A friend joked in reply, “The way you describe it, I’m like, where can I find that track on Bandcamp?” This made me realize something: The exact same sonic issues that I abhor in conference calls I seek out in electronic music.

Also tagged / / Comment: 1 ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0384: Breath Beat

The Assignment: Explore breath as a resource for rhythm.

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 Monday, May 13, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 9, 2019.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0384: Breath Beat
The Assignment: Explore breath as a resource for rhythm.

Just one step this week:

Step 1: Record yourself breathing, and make that the pulse of a piece of music.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0384” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0384” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

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

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

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0384-breath-beat/

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.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, May 13, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 9, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0384” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and 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: Consider setting 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 384th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Breath Beat / The Assignment: Explore breath as a resource for rhythm — at:

https://disquiet.com/0384/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0384-breath-beat/

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this project adapted (cropped, colors changed, text added, cut’n’paste) thanks to a Creative Commons license from a photo credited to Victor Morell Perez:

https://flic.kr/p/4M5zUQ

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Also tagged , , / / Leave a comment ]

Disquiet Junto Project 0382: Understanding McLuhan

The Assignment: Remix samples of an interview with Eric McLuhan on his father and media theory.

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 Monday, April 29, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, April 25, 2019.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0382: Understanding McLuhan
The Assignment: Remix samples of an interview with Eric McLuhan on his father and media theory.

This project is being done in coordination with Fabricatorz Foundation and ONG Record’s O.N.G.2 experiential club night on Saturday, April 27, in Saint Louis. Many thanks to Jon Phillips for having made this project happen.

Step 1: Download and listen to the provided samples of Eric McLuhan, son of media theorist Marshall McLuhan, at this URL. The following samples are made from a radio interview of Eric McLuhan about his father and media theory. The McLuhan Institute authorized use (for this one-time artistic, non-commercial purpose). Have fun!

https://ong.gg/saintmcluhan/junto

Step 2: Create an original piece of music employing one or more of those samples. Consider the theme of “media ecology” as you do so.

Background: Marshall McLuhan developed the concepts of media theory and media ecology in his seminal work Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man (1964). Media ecology is the study of media, technology, and communication and how they affect human environments. Media ecology refers to the context and the environment in which a medium is used. Marshall McLuhan’s work on media began in St. Louis while he taught at Saint Louis University from 1937-1944.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0382” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0382” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

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

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

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0382-understanding-mcluhan/

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.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, April 29, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, April 25, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0382” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and 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: When applying a license, such as a copyright or Creative Commons license, keep in mind that these tracks are for non-commercial purposes only, and only for this project.

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

More on this 382nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Understanding McLuhan / The Assignment: Remix samples of an interview with Eric McLuhan on his father and media theory — at:

https://disquiet.com/0382/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0382-understanding-mcluhan/

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

Also tagged , , , / / Leave a comment ]