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/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

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