Month: April 2012

wormwood scratch [disquiet0016-backforeground]

Sandpaper scratch led me to a funk break while the die roll kept rattling in my head. The main sounds are pretty much straight from the source wavs, with a little compression to even them up, and a couple loops got some reverb and/or resonance for flesh and liquidity. Everything’s cut up by hand, laid over a timeline the old-fashioned way. The low bang and the knocking from the die are pulsing a low a note, and I fell back on a rhodes (:^D) emulator and stabbed some riffs over the noises to keep the track moving. I tried to keep the sandpaper up front, but the die came forward as is his usual intention and fought it out with the paper and piano, gladiator-style.

backforebackgroundfore, then.

‘Twas an absinthe fueled session, hence the title and tags. Always credit where credit is due to the green fairy.


Mission Info:
The 16th weekly Junto is a shared-sample project. The theme is “background and foreground.” There are two provided samples, one of sandpaper and the other of dice. The charge was to make one track employing both samples, transforming them in any way and adding other elements if deemed integral. However, one of the two samples should provide the predominant background sound, and the other should provide the predominant foreground sound.

Sandpaper sample by HerbertBoland at

Dice sample by Robinhood76 at…sounds/60857/

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

Jack Kirby’s 99th Dream [disquiet0014-oumupo]

Time to make up your mind
Time will never fall behind
Time to make up your mind and close the door

She draws you in, black and white
In a studio in the sky
She draws you eight times ninety-nine…

Frames in time
And you will never escape that night
Until you make up your mind
And close the door

Should’ve paid off those bills
Should’ve laid off all those pills
Should’ve written one more word
Before you put your machine to sleep

What the hell were you looking for
When you opened up that door?
What the hell were you looking for
If not time?

It’s just like Jack once said
Bittersweet life is at best
It’s just like King Jack once said

You’re framed in time
And you’ll never escape that night
If you’re drawn in black and white
Yeah, you’re framed in time
And you’ll never escape that night
Until you make up your mind
And close the door

Time to make up your mind
Time will never fall behind
Time to make up your mind and close the door


re-tell a single-page comic strip by Matt Madden:

Background (via Marc Weidenbaum from “Matt Madden’s single-page comic is the template for a book he created titled 99 Ways to Tell a Story: Exercises in Style. In the book, Madden told that same story 99 different ways, each in a different comic-book style. For example, he told it as a superhero comic, he told it as a manga, he told it as experienced from upstairs, and he told it as if it were overheard at a bar. Madden did this in homage to the French writer Raymond Queneau’s own Exercises in Style, which is a key text of the literary movement known as Oulipo. Oulipo approaches the act of writing with intentional constraints, and the movement’s approach to creativity was a strong influence on the development of the Disquiet Junto.…


D.SCH [disquiet0013-wildUp]

For the 13th Disquiet Junto project, the Los Angeles classical chamber-music ensemble wild Up provided us individual stems from a live multi-track recording of the first movement of the Chamber Symphony, Op. 110a, by Dimitri Shostakovich. We were invited to make something new from this source material, but were asked to use only the source material — as few or as many of the source tracks as we desired.

Researching the original piece led me here:

Shostakovich publically dedicated the Symphony to “victims of fascism.” But in a letter to a friend, the Russian composer said he had wanted to dedicate the quartet, “To the memory of the composer of this quartet.” Continuing, he wrote:

“The basic theme of the quartet is the four notes D natural, E flat, C natural, B natural — that is, my initials, D. SCH. The quartet also uses themes from some of my own compositions and the Revolutionary song ‘Zamuchen tyazholoy neveolyey’ [‘Tormented by grievous bondage’]. The themes from my own works are as follows: from the First Symphony, the Eighth Symphony, the [Second Piano] Trio, the Cello Concerto, and Lady Macbeth. There are hints of Wagner (the Funeral March from Gotterdammerung) and Tchaikovsky (the second subject of the first movement of the Sixth Symphony). Oh yes, I forgot to mention that there is something else of mine as well, from the Tenth Symphony. Quite a nice little hodge-podge, really.”

Shostakovich was depressed, some say suicidal, when he wrote the original piece in 3 days in 1960. So I searched for major keys and emotional resolutions in the recording and used an ambient hall noise (the moving of someone’s chair? the shuffling of an instrument?) as a rhythm track. I felt the need to return some happiness to the affair. History, unfortunately, too often proves correct the fears of men like Shostakovich, who spent most of his artistic life in a cut-off collectivist dystopia.…