Category Archives: disquiet junto

132 Frets [disquiet0147-slightnoise]

Every frettable note (incl. harmonics) on Jolie (my Gibson ES-335 DOT reissue), granulated and held through an Electro-Harmonix SuperEgo synth engine and then fleshed with infinite feedback through a TC Electronic Flashback tape delay. Both pickups were active and thrown out of phase to broaden the aural spectrum.


Step 1: Record 8 seconds of white noise in your own personal style.

Step 2: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Your finished work should be 8 seconds long.

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Vertical Lyfe [disquiet0146-swypingsilence]


Transposed the swype into notes by turning the QWERTY keyboard into a musical keyboard:

1. Correlated the major scale to the letters following G by repeating the octave pattern though the alphabet (e.g., J=C, N=G, V=A, etc…)
2. Assigned low octave (1) and high octave (3) to the bottom and top rows, respectively, of the qwerty keyboard.
3. Mapped “silence” against the above interpretation, such that “SILENCE” transposed to E(2) B(3) E(2) E(3) G(1) C(1) E(3), which turns out to be an articulation of E-minor or G-major, depending on your mood. As the E begins and resolves the sequence, E-minor is where it begged to fall in the end.

The droning bed of the track is my falling into all the notes contained in the word “silence” in a NanoStudio for iPad synth, looped once and held through the end.
The floating over that is an eBow, “swyped” as it were through the notes that make up “silence,” using the octave positions dictated by the keyboard.
I had the notes under the entire swype, between the letters of “silence,” mapped out, and planned on realizing the actual symbol more in the piece. I ran out of time, however, as I had to stop recording when the toddlers above me started playing indoor basketball. This is a regular occurrence, I feel fortunate, however, they didn’t start rolling through their (uncarpeted) apartment on their Razr scooters or tricycles, which is their favorite pastime. That becomes thunder on the ceiling that not even Dinosaur Jr’s Green Mind played at full blast can drown out. So instead of more guitar layers, you get a loop of one of the average ball bounces on my ceiling picked up by a condenser mic and run through a tape delay pedal. Hence the title of my track.

Vertical Lyfe = no true silence, just a specific sort of “city silence.” It’s an active-listener silence, because you have to tune things out in order to achieve it. I meditate better for having lived in NYC for the last 20 years, I think, because I have to work for the meditation. That said, I don’t wish to live in an anechoic chamber, but sometimes dreams of a house in the country, with nothing but sounds of rustling leaves and distant rushing water, just take me over.


Step 1: Consider the symbol that results from using the Swype technique to enter the word “silence” on a keyboard, as shown in image at this URL:

Step 2: Develop sonic associations with this symbol.

Step 3: Produce a short piece of music informed by those associations.

Step 4: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

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

Length: Your finished work should be between one and three minutes long.


More on this 146th Disquiet Junto project — “Make a short piece of music based on a typographic symbol for the word ‘silence’″ — at:…46-swypingsilence/

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truth is a lonely place [disquiet0138-videosonicvoid]

Compose a 2.5-minute soundtrack to complement the silent video “Untitled #8, 2004″ by the artist Josh Azzarella. The video is intended by the artist as a “Never Ending Loop,” as is this audio accompaniment.

Untitled #8, 2004 from Josh Azzarella on Vimeo.

If not visible above, view the video here:

Lee Rosevere (@happypuppyrecords and @happypuppy2) emailed me shortly after this project went live, suggesting we collaborate and that I might start him off with a few guitar melodies. This is the original track I cut for him. I also sent him stems, and he ended up slicing, looping and manipulating my guitar to construct a brilliant rework, which I consider to be the definitive version of the track.

It’s always fun to see into the DNA of a remix, and the Junto is nothing if not about shared spaces, so I uploaded my track to the group, in addition to Lee’s putting his up, for the weekend-geneticist thrill of it.


More on this 138th Disquiet Junto project — “Compose a 2.5-minute soundtrack to complement a work of silent video art″

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The image associated with this track is a still from the video that inspired it: “Untitled #8, 2004″ by Josh Azzarella.

[a few words on] the junto

I started creating tracks for the Junto in January 2012 upon the group’s founding by Marc Weidenbaum, a San Francisco music, technology and culture writer. A former editor of Tower RecordsPulse! magazine, he has written for Nature, Boing Boing, and The Atlantic online, and he also lectures on the role of sound in the media landscape. Marc is most recently the author of the 33 1/3 book on Aphex Twin’s album Selected Ambient Works Volume II and since 1996, he runs the website about the intersection of sound, art, and technology.

The Disquiet Junto is an online music community in which members respond to weekly composition prompts posted every Thursday devised and designed by Marc. Participants have just over four days to complete each project. As of this writing, ~460 musicians and sound artists from all over the world have joined in, creating over 3300 tracks that have been uploaded and shared via The playlist above has my contributions, and updates in real time with the most recent (an playlist unstuck from time in a post about Disquiet seemed appropriate).

Participation in the Junto for members is not compulsory, and artists jump in and out at will. The Junto makes it ok to take tremendous risks with creativity, though, so many of us keep coming back for more. As of this post, I’ve done ~50 of the 135 challenges, and a few of the resulting tracks ended up on my last two records, which are released under Creative Commons currently at Bandcamp and the Free Music Archive.

I followed Marc’s writing and blog for years. As a rock and pop songwriter, I was an outlier for the Junto, but always aspire to abstraction and harbor fascination with electronic music and sound manipulation. So after his initial call, I listened from the sidelines for few challenges, then conjured the courage to create a track.

Avant-garde and abstract expression are often low-hanging fruit for ridicule, tossed off as the butt of jokes while dismissed as misplaced fealty to impracticality. Explaining the Junto is not always easy. A couple people – people who should know better – have said “it sounds like a cult,” after I entreated them to check it out.

I told the last one, “Never mistake something cult for a cult. Anyway, what happened? You used to be so cool.”


The Junto reminds me that in writing music and “songs,” I also create sound(s). These sounds have texture and personality and interact in mathematical and metaphysical ways. I am way more aware of my compositional process now, and every week I mine Junto tracks for technique and marvel at the output. Even when not able or capable to participate in a given challenge, the assignments themselves are enough to spark lanterns otherwise unlit. I’ve also found friends. It’s made the internet not such a cold, commercial place.

Just when you think you couldn’t grow…

This video of Marc speaking in April 2014 at the SETI institute about the Junto is a definitive explanation of its intent and impact:

The Fourth Of IX [Disquiet0134-MusicFromChoreography]

My Disquiet Junto contribution to soundtrack 03:00-03:59 of the film [IX] by Cori Marquis.

Pulled out aces through nines from a deck of cards.
Shuffled. Cut twice. Drew the top card.
4 of hearts.
So, fourth minute of nine (03:00 – 03:59).

At ~01:47 in the original 9 minute film, the dancers tapped their shoulders with their fists for a couple seconds. I tapped along into a tempo reader and it came out to 75.2 BPM.
Tracked bass and drums around the dancers’s movements, and decided to go double time at ~03:27 to match the sped-up circular camera movement.
Improvised drones, grains and generative arpeggios through various effects, layering into a pigtronix looper.
Played one guitar track live over the loops and rhythm tracks into Acid, starting with feathery harmonics to match the dancers’ caressed helixing, then moving through a kind-of New Order “Republic”-era vibe to mirror the camera’s movement.

The Fourth Minute of IX from Westy Reflector

I got an early-90s feel from the film. Things were still okay then. Kurts (Vonnegut & Cobain) were still alive, The Replacements were still making records and there were still hidden movements and corners of the world you could call your own. My mind went to “Regret” by New Order.

Open D# (D# Bb D# G Bb D#), aka the “Blood On The Tracks” tuning, 1/2 step down.

Jolie (ES335-DOT Reissue w/ custom pickups & electronics), EQD The Warden compressor, Zvex Box Of Rock, EHX Superego synth engine (effect send: EXH POG2, EQD Arpanoid), tc electronic flashback delay, Strymon blueSky, Pigtronix Infinity Looper, Line6 POD-XT, MOTU 828mk2, Sony AcidPro 7.0, Win 8.1

More on this 134th Disquiet Junto project — “Compose music to accompany one minute of a dance video by Cori Marquis.”

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sum + difference [disquiet0130-filteredmelody]

4 notes. 3 intervals of 3. then 12 pedals. Made mathematical sense, so the title references “An Individual Note” by Daphne Oram, this month’s Junto reading selection (I’ve only gotten as far as pg 50, tho). Image is my pedal board through a kaleidoscopic app.

Finally had an excuse to put my Pigtronix Infinity at the head of the effects chain.

D#–>F#–>Bb–>C#. “Melody” unresolved, though, as it’s meant in the key of B. There’s no B-note to be found, however, so it’s unsure if it wants a straight maj, a maj7 or a maj9. Otoh, it could also be taken as an arpeggiation in the key of F#, or as a melody over a modulation shift between B and F#. After listening to it for 10 minutes or so, I got mad at it for being so indecisive. And then mad at myself for being mad about something so silly. So I went in for a bit of pretty obliteration. “I throw it on the ground / because it’s stupid,” sang Lonely Island.

The notes and their indecisive infuriating interval eventually wend their way through merciful peripeteia (Pigtronix reverse/undo footswitch), carnivorous compression (EQD Warden), candied fuzz (Small Sound / Big Sound mini, Zvex Box Of Rock), grain silos (EHX Freeze, EHX Superego), chaotic stutter (Diamond Tremolo), 4 & 5 step arpeggiation (EQD Arpanoid), stereo ping pong (Line6 POD-xt), octave shifting (EHX POG2), tape delayed infinity (tc flashback), distant reverberations (Strymon blueSky) and a bit of rickety pitch/speed shifting, equalization and dither (on-board Acid mastering fx).

In any event, it’s just 4 notes. They meant no harm.



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Disquiet Junto general discussion yellow dog coda

Yesterday‘s Marc Weidenbaum published a wonderful perspective on the Junto’s impact on the Studio360 Yellow Dog Blues cover challenge. In addition to featuring my contribution on this week’s Studio360, tracks by Junto members Ethan Hein and Tom Anderson (both in the set below) had been featured on the May 28th broadcast of Soudcheck, in which Kurt Anderson and Marc Anthony Thompson (Chocolate Genius) were interviewed by John Schaeffer.

Marc writes (via:

Challenges like the blues cover initiated by Studio 360 have a lot in common with the Disquiet Junto: open calls based around a specific prompt. I’m always on the lookout for an external project that seems like it would be fun to put forward to the Junto, especially a project where the Junto’s interest in abstract sound might provide some unique contributions. This particular Studio 360 project seemed especially appropriate because of the sense in which the blues was never fully about composition as an end, but about a rich community of shared source material. The blues, like other forms of folk music, is a source of inspiration for the Creative Commons, and this seemed like a good time to make that connection. That connection is emphasized in the Studio 360 broadcast, when it’s mentioned how in the blues “lyrics are passed form person to person, generation to generation.”

A few days ago, I wrote on why I stated making tracks for the Junto and the impact its had on my process. And here’s the full set of the Disquiet Junto contributions to the Yellow Dog project (disquiet0125-junto360blues), many of which were never ported over to the Studio360 page:

npr studio360 review: between stations (yellow dog blues) [disquiet0125-junto360blues]

Honored to have been highlighted as one of the two best tracks among some stellar contributions. Produced originally for Disquiet Junto challenge 0125.


By far the longest submission at 9:17, Westy Reflector sandwiches his psychedelically influenced cover in the static of a radio dial. Reflector (born Dave Westreich) tells Thompson, “No one in the story is in a fixed place. The Easy Rider’s not in a physically fixed place and Susan Johnson’s not in a mentally fixed place. Nobody seems to be fixed in time or in space.”

“I love that you gave it that much thought,” says Thompson. “Maybe that’s why it appealed to me on just so many levels and was my choice almost from the first time I heard it.”

between stations (yellow dog blues) [disquiet0125-junto360blues]

Cover of W.C. Handy’s “Yellow Dog Blues” bleeding in and out of an intro and outro drone of ambient guitars over a cascade of analog sounds: radio snippets, static and a quiet ending flurry of a reel-to-reel careening in reverse into a manual television changing channels.

A studio360 as well as a Disquiet Junto challenge. Marc Weidenbaum, who runs the Junto, told me this particular studio360 project seemed especially appropriate for our collective because “the blues was never fully about composition as an end, but about a rich community of shared source material.” The blues, like other forms of folk music, is a source of inspiration for the Creative Commons, and he felt like the Yellow Dog Blues project seemed a vehicle to make that connection.

For the challenge, we were given the original sheet music and told to do something with it. In W.C. Handy’s narrative, no one is in a fixed place, whether physical (Jockey Lee, aka Easy Rider) or mental (Susan Johnson). The story seems to try to reconcile the desire to stay put with the yearning to run and never look back. The talk of technology and communication in the song (cablegrams, telegrams, letters, trains…) sent me thinking about the wait-times between communications, and then the spaces, static and snow between radio stations and tv stations. And then, broader, thinking about the spaces between songs around the same narrative. After all, W.C. Handy was continuing a story started in another song, jumping into it at a different time and place. What happened to Susan and her Easy Rider between those songs is part of the mystery. What happened to them was the blues.

Louis Armstrong’s recording helped get my timing right for the vocal part and understand the idiosyncrasies of the original’s 2/4 rhythm (I went 4/4, but did honor the underlying 12-bar structure). Then, Eartha Kitt’s take with Nat King Cole on piano doubled-down on my Junto-channeled courage to rearrange and rewrite some of the lyrics to suit my own style. I figured it was better to be “true” to myself than try to be “authentic” to any canonical version. So my take is cool where the original is hot. I changed the chorus up, too, because when I’m blue, I’m more bVII-IV-I than V-IV-I.

peace from brooklyn,

jolie (cherry-red es-335 w/ peekamoose custom electronics)

vox ac-15

earthquaker devices “the warden” optical compressor, zvex box of rock, tc electronic flashback delay, diamond tremolo, strymon blueSky reverberator, line6 pod-xt, ehx superego synth engine, ehx pog2 octave generator, ehx freeze

akg c3000-b condenser mic, lexicon mx-200 rack delay

motu 828mk2 firewire, acid pro 7.0, win 8.1


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welcome to the interzone [disquiet0110-wsb100]

source article

This New York Post headline (“I Could Have Saved Him”) screamed at me from a newsstand on 5th Avenue and 9th Street in Brooklyn a couple days after receiving this week’s challenge, and I couldn’t shake it. As the weekend closed, I looked at the front pages of all the other papers in town with this challenge in mind, including a couple hyperlocal rags (NY Times, NY Observer, NY Daily News, Brooklyn Eagle, Park Slope Courier, etc…), but no other story stuck with me like this one, falling lock-step into the context of this Junto challenge celebrating the 100th birthday of William S. Burroughs.

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s heroin dealer has convinced himself that he could have prevented Hoffman’s death had he been shooting up with him. The brief interview has overtones of a Burroughs scene and, for sure, this guy – a jazz musician with a penchant for junk – is a character straight out of the Naked Lunch Interzone.

I cut words from a lot of the sentences to fit the flow of the song, but this didn’t seem to violate the spirit of the assignment. Burroughs used so many ellipses in his writing that it’s hard to tell if he ever published a single sentence in its logical order. His style gave me some air cover.

Put a simple, dumb rock song together tonight to prop up the words. Psyched to get it in just under the wire. One live guitar track, one live synth and a vocal (one-take with one punch-in) over drum/bass loops arranged in Acid. I’ve been cycling through E-G-A and E-D-A progressions recently, and this track runs around those while capo’ed on the second fret for the D-form E-chord.

The “problem” with tabloids like the Post, though, is that we would never have gotten a cover story on a living Philip Seymour Hoffman with the headline “We Should Save Him Today.” We only get the rubberneck aftermath lead-if-it-bleeds crimson journalism. The Interzone, indeed. Hi ho.


3. “I could’ve saved him.” (x4)

14. You wouldn’t know he was an Oscar winner.
10. When asked if he had ever sold Hoffman drugs
5. He said “If I was with him, it wouldn’t have happened.”
7. He said he had known the 46-year-old “Capote” star for about a year.

3. “I could’ve saved him.” (x4)

8. Hoffman injected
18. He claims he last saw Hoffman — high — in October.
11. “When we got together, we talked about books.
4. “If I knew he was in town, I would’ve said, ‘Hey, let’s make an AA meeting.’

3. “I could’ve saved him.” (x4)

6. “Not under my guard.”
17. The star’s final, four-month struggle against drugs.
12. And art.
9. 73 bags of heroin found in a Greenwich Village apartment.

15. He loved his kids. (x4)

3. “I could’ve saved him.” (x4)

13. “He was a normal guy.
2. “He was my friend.
16. “I offer my condolences to his family.
1. “I didn’t kill him — and I could’ve saved him.”

3. “I could’ve saved him,” jazz musician and admitted junkie Robert Vineberg said, wearing a gray prison jumpsuit and hunching pensively at a red table in a Rikers Island jail visiting area.


Jolie (Gibson ES335 dot reissue, custom electronics), Earthquaker The Warden compressor, Ibanez Screamer TS808, tc electronic Flashback delay (tape setting), Strymon BlueSky reverberator, VOX AC15 (mic’ed via a Sennheiser MD412-ii)

Sunrizer for iPad (HT @shredderghost)

AKG C3000B condenser mic, Lexicon rack delay

samples (one shots & loops)

MOTU 828mk2 interface, Acid Pro 7.0, Windows XP


Step 1:
Take the lead article from your local newspaper and write down the first 18 sentences on separate slips of paper — or, if you prefer, extract the first 18 lines on separate strips of paper.

Step 2:
Label these pieces of text from 1 to 18.

Step 3:
Either read them out loud or use text-to-speech and record them.

Step 4:
Construct the vocal of a song using the material. Sequence the vocal in the following order. Note that text element 3 serves as the chorus and text element 15 serves as the bridge. The remaining elements are in random sets of four, with no repetition.

3 3 3 3
14 10 5 7
3 3 3 3
8 18 11 4
3 3 3 3
6 17 12 9
15 15 15 15
3 3 3 3
13 2 16 1
3 3 3 3

Add music, whatever instrumentation you choose, to flesh this out into a proper song.

More on this 110th Disquiet Junto project (“Celebrate the 100th birthday of that old cut-up, William S. Burroughs”)

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intransitive disapperance [disquiet0108-freebassel]

Connected to this assignment, and wanted to do some small part to keep Bassel’s cause and case out front. I’m not a foley artist and field recording is not my game, though, so consider this less a soundscape than a track that might run over closing credits.

Married some royalty-free congas, tambourines and trap kit loops on an Acid timeline.
Selected two samples of Bassel speaking from the video: “I’m sorry I can’t see you.” and “That can be controlled.”
Locked in a drone with an EHX Superego and Freeze running through a Strymon Blue Sky.
Improvised a bed with an ebow.
Then riffed around the most “eastern” scale I know. The result may be more Spanish Gypsy than Syrian, but still felt Mediterranean. Just wanted to evoke a mood.

“The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.”
– Albert Camus

We can all be disappeared now. More and more it’s an intransitive verb.


Disquiet Junto Project 0108: Free Bassel

For this week’s project, we’re going to create soundscapes for an ancient Middle Eastern city. And in the process, we’re going to raise awareness about an imprisoned open-source developer with strong ties to the Creative Commons community. Bassel Khartabil, before his arrest on March 15, 2012, in Damascus, was working on several projects, among them a 3D rendering of the ancient city of Palmyra. Much as Bassel was trying to revive an ancient world, you are, in essence, keeping one of his projects alive while he is incapable of doing so.

The project instructions are as follows:

Step 1: View this video for background on Bassel’s digital Palmyra project:

Step 2: If you aren’t viewing this instruction on the project page, go to the following URL to view three still images from Bassel’s 3D work:

Step 3: Create a soundscape of between one and three minutes that might be employed in an immersive, completed digital visualization of ancient Palmyra.


More on this 108th Disquiet Junto project (“Create a soundscape for the ancient Syrian city of Palmyra.”)

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For their collaboration on this project, special thanks to: Niki Korth, Barry Threw, and Jon Phillips.

symbols (all the way) [disquiet0102-sonictinsel]


A random collision of 8-bar loops created in Propellerhead’s Figure app for iPad, royalty-free vocal and wind-chime samples by Mick Fleetwood and three takes of improvised guitar deconstructions of the Jingle Bells’ phrase “jingle all the way” played live over all of it. Assembled in Acid Pro.

This track is a one-minute, 24 bar section of what has become the intro and outro to my cover of Elvis’s “Blue Christmas.” One day, I may release it.


Tis the season, so we will contribute by creating secular holiday music. Record a one-minute track of loop-able background music that can be described as glistening, reflective, and gentle.

More on this 102nd weekly Disquiet Junto project at:

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H2(arpeggi)O [disquiet0100-vaporwave]

Recorded Bodum electric kettle at point of boil into Samplr iPad app (2sec and 15sec samples). Raw recordings are stitched & looped and peek through at beginning and end of track.
Processed raw sounds with Samplr, then fed to various effects pedals and stretched a few grains in Paulstretch.
Noise thresholds triggered arpeggios, bass notes and drone swells via effect send/receive on synth pedal.
No sounds used other than boiling water.

iPad, Samplr app, Earthquaker Warden compressor, Diamond Tremolo, tc electronic Flashback Delay, EHX Superego synth engine (send/receive loop: Earthquaker Arpanoid, EHX POG octave generator), Strymon BlueSky reverberator, Paulstretch (standalone Windows), Line6 POD-XT tube preamp modeler, MOTU 828mk2, Sony Acid 7.0, Win XP

“Please record the sound of water boiling and make something of it.”

More on this 100th Disquiet Junto project at:

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o(men)s [disquiet0097-page99remix]


Currently (re)reading:
The Alchemist by Paolo Coehlo
Illustrated Edition, Paintings by Moebius

First 80 characters on page 99:
“Can’t you just observe men and omens in order to understand the language?” the

There’s a heaviness to Coehlo’s fable that this treatment revealed. I first read it in ’93, when it was first published in English. I was re-reading it this past couple weeks on the realization it had been 20 years since that initial reading. Then, this Junto assignment hit and here we are.

Drew the notes into a MIDI track in ACID.
Arranged in 4/4 time over 20 measures. Was going to do 99 bpm but it moved a bit too fast, so it settled back around 93 bpm.
Processed the track through the Tapeworm VST soft-synth by Tweakbench, which is meant to simulate a Mellotron.
Amped up the decay and sustain on the synth’s “strings 2” virtual “tape bank.”
Added royalty-free rhythm and oscillation samples hanging out in a loops folder.
Ran the whole thing through ACID’s on-board cathedral reverb.

| {beat} B A Bb | {beat} E {rest} A | B F {rest} F# | F Eb E {rest} |

| B Bb Eb Db | D F# Db {rest} | A Db Bb {rest} | A Bb C {rest} |

| B A Db Bb | Eb {rest} F Bb | {rest} B D C | Db D {rest} E |

B {rest} F Bb | C Db D Eb | E A Bb C | {rest} E E Db |

| {rest} Ab A Bb | Eb F A Eb | Db D {beat} {rest} | E E Db {rest} |


More on this 97th Disquiet Junto project, in which music is decoded from a phrase in a book, at:

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dreamy solace of rivers and bridges [disquiet0088-3d]

Headphones required.

The melody is 5 patterns repeated 3 times on a guitar, played live with a touch of boost, delay and reverb.

The rhythm is built from a royalty-free drum construction kit for ACID called “Black Paint Weathered Beat.” There’s a 1-measure intro and a 4-measure pattern, and both repeat 3 times. Track runs at 79.582 BPM, which yielded three 5-measure sections + a couple beats for a fade-out in exactly 1:30.

The drones are pads from a dug-out-of-a-drawer BOSS DR-5 played through an octave generator, delay and reverb. The drone has 6 parts, each recorded separately then assembled in ACID into a pattern that repeats 3 times. The 3D section in the end splits the drones into 2 tracks – one with the I and V, the other with the II, III, VI and majVII parts. It’s meant to swirl like a river.

Mixed/Mastered in ACID. “3D” achieved via manipulation of volume, pan and VST reverb parameters. To try to simulate distance, the on-board reverb’s Dry, Wet, Early Out and High Attenuation Frequency were given separate envelopes across respective tracks. There wasn’t much plan to it – I set automation levels until something in each section felt like motion. Since I was never going to achieve any kind of 5.1 or surround thing with my rig, I just tried to keep it simple.

And pretty.

Standard tuning, 1/2 step down (my usual M.O.), capo 3 (“C” chord form for D key).

Part of a line from the poem “Away One Year” by Gregory Corso (1960).

Brooklyn Bridge Park, DUMBO, 06 August 2013

Jolie (Gibson ES-335, cherry red), BOSS DR-5 Dr. Rhythm, Electro-Harmonix POG2 octave generator, Strymon BlueSky reverberator, SmallSound/BigSound Mini Fuck Overdrive, Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808, TC Electronic FlashBack delay/looper, Vox AC-15, Sennheiser MD421-II Mic, MOTU 828MK-2 firewire interface, Sony Acid DAW

Part 1: Three simultaneous segments: a drone, a beat, and a melodic fragment.

Part 2: Each of those three segments will repeat consistently for the length of the finished track.

Part 3: Manipulate them to simulate three-dimensional motion for someone listening to the track on headphones. You can do this by using stereo effects, volume shifts, filters, or any other technological means.

Part 4: The track will last one minute and thirty seconds. For the first 30 seconds, the drone and the beat will remain consistent, but the melodic fragment will move around in 3D. For the second 30 seconds, only the beat will move around, and for the final 30 seconds, only the drone will move around.

More on this 88th Disquiet Junto project, which explores 3D sound, at:

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Hyper(BlueSky)loop [disquiet0086-hyperloop]

The sky this weekend was as blue as it’s been in months. I stared at it through the window in my home studio and floated away on the notion of the sky as a loop – its endless blue, its cyclical regularity, its motion within motion.

The photograph is through the front window of my apartment, looking up at the roof of a 14 story complex two-blocks away with a 200mm lens. All that to say the bird in the photo was big – a hyperbird.

As I played, the concept of “hyper” evolved into an excess of layering rather than speed, so this indulges in an everything-plus-the-kitchen-sink way. Blue skies, tho, sometimes slow you down in a good way.

Many many loops. Guitar loops. Drum loops. Electronica loops. Bass loops. Pad loops. Some repeat w/ regularity. A few are cut up and sprinkled about. Some others appear only once or twice. A loop that loops only once is still a loop, yes?

Jolie (Gibson ES-335, cherry red), Electro-Harmonix POG2 octave generator, Strymon BlueSky (:^D) reverberator, SmallSound/BigSound Mini Fuck Overdrive, Ibanez Tube Screamer TS808, TC Electronic FlashBack delay/looper, Electro-Harmonix Freeze, E-Bow, Vox AC-15, Sennheiser MD421-II Mic, MOTU 828MK-2 firewire interface, Sony Acid DAW

D A D F# A D
Capo 2 (Key of E)

This week’s project may have the simplest, and broadest, instruction in all of the 86 consecutive weeks that the Disquiet Junto has been running. Thanks to the musician Cinchel of Chicago, Illinois, for helping to prompt this idea. The project has just one instruction:

The title of your next single is “Hyperloop.” Now, record that single.


More on this 86th Disquiet Junto project, in which a song was made based on its assigned title (“Hyperloop”), at:

More on the Tesla Hyperloop at:

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

Grzegorz Bojanek: One Hot Day (remix of Call Pop)

Grzegorz Bojanek, also known as Eta Carinae, is an xclnt electro-acoustic musician from Poland. For a Junto remix project, he sampled guitar from my track Call Pop (both original versions below), and created a wonderfully dreamy track called One Hot Day, which appears on his latest release Constraints, a collection of tracks originally composed for the Junto, through which we met and became electro-friends.

Grzegorz is the artistic producer of the Warsaw Electronic Festival and founded the Polish-Chinese collaborative CHoP Festival. Through his namesake imprint as well as his record label, etalabel, Grzegorz (“Greg” to us linguistically challenged) releases consistently compelling work, introducing field recordings and electroacoustic sounds into compositions creating modern melodic ambience… and, of course, sometimes noise glorious noise. Honored he sought to sample and remix me.

The Hinrinson (Disquiet0076-dreamsound)

More on this 76th Disquiet Junto project:

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:


I’m in Detroit. Or what I think is Detroit. Wandering around in the rain. I’m in town to play a show and I can’t sleep. Neon lights abandoned Main Street. Restaurants and artist studios nestled between broken glass windows and crumbling bricks. Harbinger or fossil? Hard to tell.

I pass a shaky-looking guy on the street.

“I’m looking for Hinrinson’s,” I say to him.

“Yeah,” he says. “Just walk up the hill, take the right fork and it’ll be right there on your left.”
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faucet fripp festival [disquiet0075-vinesuite]

Sounds + Visuals:

Kitchen faucet, full throttle cold water, moved across drain.

Robert Fripp “Easter Sunday” SoundPage (from Guitar Player Magazine, Jan 1986), alternated with Karl Johnson cut-paper silhouette of my wife, Cat, with me drone-humming.

Sunset view over perched dog, Sterling, out my front apt window, Brooklyn LGBT Pride Parade/Festival one-half block away on 5th Avenue.

For this project, you will create three six-second Vine videos, for a total of 18 seconds, resulting in a Vine suite. Each movement will be based on a specified sound source and a specified approach to the stop-and-start edits.

Step 1:
The audio-video source for the first movement is water running steadily from a faucet.
Step 2:
Start with an image of something that rotates and makes sound — a bicycle wheel may be your best bet — and alternate with an image of something static, like a picture of a face in a comic strip, while you make a low droning noise with your voice.
Step 3:
The audio-video source for the third movement is whatever is going on outside a window. Divide the track up into six even sections. The first section should be a wide view out your window. The five subsequent sections should try to focus the center of the camera on one object. The sound is whatever happens to be going on outside your window.

More on this 75th Disquiet Junto project, in which a three-part audio-video suite is created in the app Vine, at:

More on the Vine app at:

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

chime. rinse. repeat. [disquiet0072-domesticscore]

Recorded my doorbell and washing machine. Since the washing machine is smack in the middle of our apartment’s hallway, there is no escaping its swishing and whirring while it runs. It’s not necessarily an “intrusion,” because I feel luckier than lucky to have a washer and dryer in my apartment, but it is loud and there can be no vocal tracking in my home studio when there’s a load of wash to do.

Recorded both directly into NanoStudio on the iPhone. Turned the washing machine into a 12-bar loop, added a bit of delay to the door chime and chopped the chime in two so I could use both halves of the chime separately. Beatmapped the washing machine to 72.8 bpm and then overdubbed the samples live through NanoStudio into Acid through a MOTU 828mk2.

Disquiet Junto Project 0072: Domestic Score

This week’s project is based on field recordings of wherever it is that you live. The goal is to produce a relaxing score to your domestic life by employing noises that intrude on that life.

Step 1: Make a recording of your doorbell, or whatever noise it is that someone would make when announcing their arrival at your residence. If you don’t have a functioning doorbell, then, for example, record the sound of a knock on your door.

Step 2: Record between one and three additional sounds that intrude on your life: your phone’s ring, perhaps, or the alarm on your microwave oven.

Step 3: You will now have between one and four sounds recorded. Using those sounds as source material, compose a new, original piece of music that could easily be described as gentle or meditative. You can transform them as much as you choose, but each should in some way still be evident and recognizable in the mix. You cannot add any other sounds to the project.

More on this 72nd Disquiet Junto project, which involves making a domestic score from sounds recorded in your own home, at:…072-domesticscore/

More details on the Disquiet Junto at: