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

The Patzr Radio Podcast

Jimmy Kpple's micro-odes to everyday noise

Podcasts aren’t radio, but in many cases they might as well be. When someone says, “I don’t watch TV,” yet is up to date on lots of shows by virtue of a Hulu or Netflix account, there’s a disconnect at work that’s difficult to address politely, one that seems to have more with identity flag-waving than with anything technologically persuasive.

Podcasts may align with radio, but they’re something else entirely — or, more to the point, they’re capable of being something else entirely. Many, nonetheless, still feel like radio, from the structure to the content to the intonation. Not, as they say, that there’s anything wrong with that. The podcast mode has been on my mind a lot as I’ve been planning my own, titled Disquietude. Now that it’s out, I hear other podcasts through a different … well, not lens, but through instinctively analytical earbuds. When amid a hastily recorded bit of timely tech news, for example, the word “Googleable” sounds oddly close to “giggle-able,” I can relate to the anxiety in regard to whether you really want to do one more take. There’s at least one grammatical error in my first Disquitude podcast episode that kills me, a simple plural/singular misalignment, but I just couldn’t face the mic one more time.

I did radio twice for long stretches, first on WYBC on the East Coast during college, and then on KDVS on the West Coast after moving to California. Reviewing plays during college is how I learned the concept — if not the fully adopted practice — of whittling one’s discussion points to a select few, and hanging them on some semblance of narrative. Both stations encouraged relatively freeform approaches for its DJs, and that’s what I took pleasure in. Disquietude, as I plot episode two, is still very much a work in progress. I have aspirations to “play with the form,” as my friend Erik Davis (of the Expanding Mind podcast) encouraged me recently. It’ll come in stages.

If there’s a podcast that gets at the orthogonal-to-professional notion of the medium, the other-than-radio aspect, it is the excellent Patzr Radio series, which is helmed by Jimmy Kipple, who (employing a brief vocal element by Paula Daunt) did the theme for my Disquietude podcast. His Patzr consists of collections of #cheap-concrete, to employ Kipple/Kpple’s favorite tag. It’s snatches of everyday sound, rendered into “listening material” courtesy of nothing other than the mere fact of the podcast’s existence.

There are 72 Patzr episodes to date, all the same one minute and forty seconds in length, the latest a mix of unintelligible passing voices, and rough noises against subterranean leakages, doppler-effect motoring, and exquisitely banal footsteps that are not in the least bit threatening — except to the extent that the assemblage threatens the tidy conception of a podcast. When a format is merely a feed and a file, a few lines of RSS code and a fixed audio document, there’s a lot you can do with it, and sometimes doing very little, doing something explicitly contained, is the best reminder of the potential therein.

Check out the full series at, iTunes, and

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Disquietude Podcast Episode 0001

A new podcast from, with music by Brian Hendricksen, Carl Mikael Björk, Erika Nesse, Marcus Fischer, Sarah Davachi, and Mark Rushton

This is the first episode of the Disquietude podcast of ambient electronic music. All six tracks of music are featured with the permission of the individual artists. The first episode started online first at SoundCloud, Mixcloud, and YouTube and then made it into iTunes and Stitcher. There’s also an RSS link, should you need it.

Below is the structure of the episode with time codes for the tracks:

00:00 theme and intro

02:05 Brian Hendricksen’s “2.10.2017″

04:32 Carl Mikael Björk’s “Live Looping Improv w/ Piano and Erica Synths Varishape & Wavetable”

18:08 Erika Nesse’s “Circle”

21:30 Marcus Fischer’s “170211 – Dual Deck Piano Loop (RRR)”

28:56 Sarah Davachi’s “Ghosts and All”

37:21 Mark Rushton’s “Severe Thunderstorm Warning Sirens”

43:50 notes

53:34 end

What follows is a rough transcript of the spoken material in the podcast, as well as links to the artists whose work is included: Read more »

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Disquiet Junto Project 0266: Vocal Cuts

Use segments of your own held vowel to make music.

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.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 6, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, February 2, 2017.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0266: Vocal Cuts
Use segments of your own held vowel to make music.

Step 1: Set up a recording device to properly capture in detail your singing — more specifically, you holding a single vowel for an extended period of time.

Step 2: Practice holding a vowel for a long time, until your voice starts to give a little and the vowel disintegrates. Try “ah” and “oo” and “uh,” in particular. Maybe avoid “ee,” as it can be harsh. Don’t hurt yourself, don’t stress the end — just let it fade out naturally. This isn’t about pushing it until you have to breathe. It’s just about holding it until the vowel comes to a sense of closure.

Step 3: Listen back to the recording. Think about distinct segments within it, moments with differing qualities.

Step 4: Extract those segments and label them accordingly.

Step 5: Record a short piece of music consisting only of the segments from Step 4. You can cut and paste them, and certainly layer them. Try to not do anything to them — filters, effects, etc. — other than occasionally altering volume, as need be. A mono recording is best, too — no stereoscopic play.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If you hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0266” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In the following discussion thread at please consider posting your track:

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

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 6, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, February 2, 2017.

Length: The length is up to you, but two to three minutes sounds about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0266” 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: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 266th weekly Disquiet Junto project, “Vocal Cuts: Use segments of your own held vowel to make music”:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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

Image associated with this track is by Dean Shareski and used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

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The Vocal Layers of Sea Beau

One minute of feather-light strata from Toronto

This short burst of vocal simultaneity by the Toronto-based musician Sea Beau dates back a year, but I heard it for the first time this weekend while tracking various Canadian (and Detroit-based) performers and composers on SoundCloud. I go in and out of use of various streaming services. The past six months I’ve been much deeper in YouTube, in a way I never have before, for example, and Bandcamp has nudged up as well. One point of frustration with both YouTube and Bandcamp is they don’t foreground as well as SoundCloud does the musical connections of the posting account. Somehow these two services seem to think that we want to know what our fellow listeners listen to, but on YouTube we’re left to largely automated, algorithm-driven recommendations in terms of what the source audio might connect us to, and Bandcamp doesn’t even invest that many computing cycles.

On SoundCloud every account has a clearly marked list each of following and followers, which can make for a fluid series of forking discovery paths. (That’s “discovery” in the active sense of looking around, not the passive sense of “look what the music conveyor belt served up.”) With BandCamp, my “feed” tells me what the listeners I follow have purchased lately, and any individual album lists who it is “supported by,” but the service doesn’t allow, in the manner SoundCloud does, that the person who posted music might themselves listen to music. Some YouTube accounts show their subscriptions, but it isn’t consistent.

In any case, this piece by Sea Beau is an absolutely gorgeous, endlessly loopable polyphonic series of vocal intonations. It is all non-verbal, feather-light vowels produced as closely knit strata. The tones are alternately heavenly and nasal, in chordal harmony at one moment and set in deliciously sour contrast with each other the next.

Track originally posted at More from Sea Beau, who is based in Toronto, Canada, at

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Two Irish Musicians Channel a Snowstorm

Linda Buckley teams up with Mmoths

In a collaboration with Mmoths (aka Jack Colleran), Linda Buckley has produced this deep, echoing, five-minute stretch of digitally enhanced vocalizing. (Buckley, like Colleran, is Irish.) As the piece proceeds, quick bits of glitch begin to infect it, positing fissures amid the otherwise cloud-like spaciousness, the fog-rich expanse of soft vocals that is the overall content and shape of the piece. In effect, the track, which is titled “Seventeen Snow,” sets a particular tone and then introduces a direct contrast, challening itself to remain true to the initial path, despite the disturbance, the artful act of self-sabotage. It does so, expertly. And if we’re in for a long winter, then listening to “Seventeen Snow” on repeat will be a fine way to spend it.

Track originally posted at More from Buckley at More from Mmoths at

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