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jason on 11/24/2012 at 12:00AM

As Real As It Gets: Disquiet Junto's Online Sound-Making Community @ ApexArt Gallery (Interview & MP3s)

Shawn Wolfe, Vending Machineries, 2001 from As Real As It Gets organized by Rob Walker at Apex Art Gallery, NYC. The exhibit hosts a Disquiet Junto performance on Tuesday Nov 27th 6:30pm

Disquiet Junto is an interactive project from Disquiet.com, Marc Weidenbaum's long-standing website about ambient music, electronic audio and creative technology.

The Junto is an online collective that is open to your participation as its members create sonic responses to a weekly set of creative constraints. Assignments start with anything from the sound of ice cubes to the sound of your own trash. Subtractive audio processing, archival Edison Cylinders, Creative Commons netlabels, the sounds of Hurricane Sandy, fake field recordings, and remixes of the Junto itself are just a few of the prompts for this project that is showing no sign of slowing down.

Disquiet Junto recently surpassed 1500 tracks, and Marc selected a sampler for the Free Music Archive. It begins with two industrialized remixes composed of soundscapes from retails spaces, followed by two actual soundscapes from retail spaces, and concludes with two artificially created soundscapes of imaginary retail spaces.

The  Disquiet Junto has also spawned a concert series, including a performance this Tuesday Nov 27th at NYC's Apex Art gallery (part of Rob Walker's 'As Real As It Gets' exhibit), and Dec 6th at San Francisco's Luggage Store Gallery.

I interviewed Disquiet's Marc Weidenbaum by email.

What inspired you to start the Disquiet Junto and how does it compare to some of the other projects you've curated in the past like Instagr/am/bient and Our Lives in the Bush of Disquiet?

Each of these larger-scale projects you mention results from a combination of observations and impulses, and it's probably easiest to track the progression starting with the first of them: Our Lives in the Bush of Disquiet. That compilation was released for free download in 2006, ten years after I started Disquiet.com. It happened not as a plan but as the result of an impression, and a desire. Brian Eno and David Byrne had released stems, which is to say chunks, of songs off their landmark My Life in the Bush of Ghosts album to celebrate its anniversary, and they invited listeners to rework the material and post it on a website they'd set up. I didn't find much to enjoy amid what I heard, and it occurred to me that there were musicians I'd like to hear do remixes. In the process of suggesting to some of these musicians that they do such a thing, collecting them for release as an album was the natural next step.


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jason on 11/24/2012 at 12:00AM

As Real As It Gets: Disquiet Junto's Online Sound-Making Community @ ApexArt Gallery (Interview & MP3s)

Shawn Wolfe, Vending Machineries, 2001 from As Real As It Gets organized by Rob Walker at Apex Art Gallery, NYC. The exhibit hosts a Disquiet Junto performance on Tuesday Nov 27th 6:30pm

Disquiet Junto is an interactive project from Disquiet.com, Marc Weidenbaum's long-standing website about ambient music, electronic audio and creative technology.

The Junto is an online collective that is open to your participation as its members create sonic responses to a weekly set of creative constraints. Assignments start with anything from the sound of ice cubes to the sound of your own trash. Subtractive audio processing, archival Edison Cylinders, Creative Commons netlabels, the sounds of Hurricane Sandy, fake field recordings, and remixes of the Junto itself are just a few of the prompts for this project that is showing no sign of slowing down.

Disquiet Junto recently surpassed 1500 tracks, and Marc selected a sampler for the Free Music Archive. It begins with two industrialized remixes composed of soundscapes from retails spaces, followed by two actual soundscapes from retail spaces, and concludes with two artificially created soundscapes of imaginary retail spaces.

The  Disquiet Junto has also spawned a concert series, including a performance this Tuesday Nov 27th at NYC's Apex Art gallery (part of Rob Walker's 'As Real As It Gets' exhibit), and Dec 6th at San Francisco's Luggage Store Gallery.

I interviewed Disquiet's Marc Weidenbaum by email.

What inspired you to start the Disquiet Junto and how does it compare to some of the other projects you've curated in the past like Instagr/am/bient and Our Lives in the Bush of Disquiet?

Each of these larger-scale projects you mention results from a combination of observations and impulses, and it's probably easiest to track the progression starting with the first of them: Our Lives in the Bush of Disquiet. That compilation was released for free download in 2006, ten years after I started Disquiet.com. It happened not as a plan but as the result of an impression, and a desire. Brian Eno and David Byrne had released stems, which is to say chunks, of songs off their landmark My Life in the Bush of Ghosts album to celebrate its anniversary, and they invited listeners to rework the material and post it on a website they'd set up. I didn't find much to enjoy amid what I heard, and it occurred to me that there were musicians I'd like to hear do remixes. In the process of suggesting to some of these musicians that they do such a thing, collecting them for release as an album was the natural next step.


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dvd on 08/13/2012 at 11:45AM

MP3 of the Day: Aaron Ximm, "Idle Hands"

Aaron Ximm's work as Quiet American showcases an extreme attention to the audible environment with a massive collection of over 90 hours of field recordings available for free download under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike license. With many more unreleased recordings, these sounds follow Aaron's travels around Vietnam, Fiji, Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia, and Nepal.

This release sees Ximm going in a slightly different direction - an album of instrumental pieces played on the Hang, an instrument similiar to a steel drum, made from two sheets of pitched steel. The sound is ethereal and meditative, a unique and fitting addition to his cannon of recordings. 

Aaron Ximm at: Free Music Archive | Quiet American | Twitter

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katya-oddio on 07/20/2012 at 12:00AM

Walla Walla Walla

cover painting Манифестация 17 октября 1905 года (Demonstration on October 17, 1905) by Ilya Repin (1844-1930)

Walla walla is the American term for atmospheric crowd background sounds in film and radio. In Japan, it is known as gaya, rhubarb the UK, rhabarber in Germany, and rabarbar in the Belguim, Netherlands, and Scandinavia.

Film Sound describes it in this way:

A sound effect for the murmur of a crowd in the background. Walla is often use as subliminal aural communication and  sets a mood or a tone.

The word walla was created in the old radio days when they needed the sound of a crowd in the background. They found if several people simply repeated "walla, walla, walla, walla"  it sounded like people talking. The audience did not really hear the words, just the buzz of voices.

Walla may be field recordings of crowds or staged by actors. This collection, Walla Walla Walla, features actual groups and crowds recorded all over the world and generously donated for reuse at Freesound.org. Such recordings may be helpful to and appreciated by FMA visitors creating audio and video productions. The recordings have been normalized, standardized for bitrates, tagged, and converted to mp3s from various other formats for this Free Music Archive collection. Please see individual tracks for licensing. (total time: 1:24:06)


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burdt on 08/10/2011 at 09:00AM

Tahitian Field Recordings

Blue Amberol Tahitian Field Recordings

Cylinders 8667 to 8671 are a mystery for several reasons.

At first glance they’re run of the mill Blue Amberols. These were some of the most mass produced cylinders of the cylinder era. 

Upon closer examination, however, these cylinders are something else entirely. Here's the cataloger's note for further insight:

Custom Blue Amberol recordings, possibly from a larger set of brown wax field recordings that were recorded in Faaone Tahiti, and possibly privately pressed as Blue Amberol cylinders by Edison in New Jersey. Recordings were possibly made by anthropologists Frank Stimson or Edward S. C. Handy in 1923. Four of the five cylinders are stamped "Tahiti-#" on the rim and handwritten notes on the boxes say "Himene Chorus, Faaone, Tahiti, 1923 (Handy)."

The biggest mystery here is how these cylinders were recorded. The cataloger’s note suggests that these five recordings are privately pressed dubbings of brown wax cylinders. This is almost certainly not the case because the groove widths and reproduction speeds don’t match up with those belonging to production Blue Amberol cylinders of the era. Furthermore, if these were dubbed from wax cylinders, the playback noise of the second machine should be audible, but extra noise just isn’t there. How were these five cylinders recorded then?

The groove width and reproduction speed matches up with that of brown wax cylinders. Perhaps a brown wax recording machine was jerry-rigged into recording onto Blue Amberols. How did the field recordists find five blank Blue Amberols then? Cylinder shaving machines existed for deleting brown wax recordings. Perhaps these were also jerry-rigged into deleting pre-existing Blue Amberol recordings.

Unless the details of their recording techniques are among their papers at the Bishop Museum in Hawaii, Handy or Stimson’s Tahitian field recordings will continue to puzzle cylinder enthusiasts for the foreseeable future.

Fortunately, the contents of these recordings are as interesting as the questions behind their provenance.

The recordings fade in to an already established harmony and end abruptly as the cylinder grooves run out, a common occurrence in cylinder field recordings.

Nevertheless, what is captured is undeniably human and vital in spite of the narrow dynamic and tonal bandwith the medium allowed.

Himene is etymologically related to the word hymn and the sound these cylinders capture is a marriage of the vocal songs of native Tahitians and the sacred choral music that the European missionaries left behind. It is a haunting sound that retains its distance while remaining innately familiar.

(I have posted pictures of an additional mystery object that accompanied these cylinders after the jump.)


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