Disquiet Junto School bus Friday pm

Disquiet Junto Project 0064: Composing from Memory

This week’s project's theme is composing from memory. It is recommended that you read through all the steps in the project before proceeding to attempt to execute it.

These are the steps:

Step 1: Find a place, preferably outdoors, where you can sit for five to fifteen minutes without being disturbed. This place should have a fair amount of inherent noise to it, and that noise should be variable, not static — i.e., not the long held drone of an overwhelmingly loud HVAC system, but the bustle of a street corner, or of a playground, or, if weather or other circumstances keep you indoors, perhaps of a busy cafe.

Step 2: Bring with you a portable recording device as well as something on which you can quietly take a small number of written (or typed) notes. You may wish to do a test recording to be certain that your note-taking isn't part of the audio recording.

Step 3: Settle into the space and get a sense of its sounds. Listening closely.

Step 4: Make a field recording of one full minute, or a little longer, of continuous sound in this place. While recording the sound, use time codes to make note of any memorable sonic instances.

Step 5: Trim the field recording to exactly 60 seconds.

Step 6: Without listening back to the field recording, compose and record a 60-second piece intended to complement it. Refer back to your time-code notes to align composed instances with those real-world instances that you recall having distinguished your field recording. You can use whatever instrumentation you like, but it is recommended that you use no more than one or two instruments. You should not employ any field recordings in your composed piece.

Step 7: When your composed piece is completed, layer the two tracks together into one new 60-second work. They should be played back at equal volume, more or less. You can adjust a little to achieve the impression of balance between the field recording and the composed work. The only editing you can do is to fade in and out, if that is so desired.

Deadline: Monday, March 25, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be 60 seconds long.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, 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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0064-halflive” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: Consider setting your track in a manner that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

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

More on this 64th Disquiet Junto project at:

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

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Soon after reading the Junto email I concluded that recording the school bus stopping outside my house on Friday afternoon would be a good field recording, for convenience as well as interesting material for my Rode NT4 stereo microphone.

Bass guitar was also settled on for convenience, as I've more experience on that instrument and I could use a light semi-acoustic model to spare my aching back.

After hitting record when the bus entered my street, I scribbled a few notes while watching the time on my Zoom H4. I can hear my eldest comment on seeing me but he decided not to try and get my attention. The 60-seconds ran out just before my daughter walked up to the microphone and asked what I was doing.

At first I wasn't sure what key to use, the bus sorta sounded like a D or maybe I just associate that low pitch with D. Anyway, I thought I'd pick something that wasn't D in case it clashed, remembering this riff using a C 7th (I think).

The idea was to progressively pick up the pace as the bus stops and the kids excitedly enter the scene, then I thought I'd ramp it up a bit more with the slapping while the bus roars away.