Disquiet Junto 0385 Audubonus Instrumentum

When the Junto arrived, I imagined a sort of bird from speculative fiction.

Jorge Luis Borges writes in his compendium Book of Imaginary Beings about the musicians of Simurgh and their avian backing tracks.

The Bodgy Budgie breed of birds so substantially cornered and dominated the market in caged rhythms that the term ‘pigeonholed’ came into their music vernacular.

The backlash led many jams in Simurgh to be agitated by artificial means, as an aid to improvisation.

Some musicians explored their felines and Bassling popularised ‘dropping a cat among the pigeons’ – or, as it became simply known, The Drop.

"Sometimes a few birds, a horse, have saved the ruins of an amphitheater." — Jorge Luis Borges

When I realized

naviarhaiku279 – Ripples on water

Naviar Records shared one of my recent haiku and I took the opportunity to record a chord progression I've been playing on the ukulele.

You can hear it's been gated and glitched, which seemed a way to interpret the image of light reflecting on water.

I considered filming dawn on a water channel, but the mornings aren't always as colourful as I'd like.

Most mornings in Leeton have a rather muted dawn as there are few clouds to reflect the rising sunlight.

So I've drawn a visual parallel with another sort of colour breaking in the sky and also included the shimmer of light reflecting on water.

Facing Monsters

Single from the forthcoming album by Tralala Blip

Make your art like a dog

This is why I like creative constraints.

There's less to worry about what could be, and more focus on what can be.

Magnificent Eucalyptus melliodora

It's surprising what you can learn climbing a tree.

This short video is about a magnificent Eucalyptus melliodora outside Wagga.


Dylan goes electric

naviarhaiku271 – The heart is a fool

It was while nearing the end of recording the largest playable guitar in Australia that the haiku shared by Naviar Records arrived.

It's been a while between haikus but when I saw it was Lee Rosevere, I decided to improvise a quick response as the mics were already set up.

Australia's largest playable guitar

This week I'm realising a dream to record this unique instrument located in the Narrandera Visitor Information Centre.

Thanks to support from Narrandera Shire Council, Western Riverina Arts and Regional Arts NSW with funding through the Community Art Support Program offered the NSW Government.

Disquiet Junto 0375 Despite Yourself

The Junto this week asks for "a piece of music that sounds as unlike you as you can accomplish."

I considered a couple of options before settling on the idea of reimagining a song I wrote last year.

'Closer to Knowing' was inspired by the dream mentioned in the lyrics, as well as a couple of blog posts by women I know.

To get my vocals to sound unlike my voice, I've pitched them up an octave.

It's interesting that it doesn't quite sound female, more like a man pretending to be a woman -- reminding me of Eric Idle in Monty Python films.

Below is the demo version of the song that I recorded last year.

Disquiet Junto 0374 Glitch Glitch

The Junto this week asks "what happens when you glitch something that’s been glitched?"

I took a recording I made of a song I wrote earlier this week, ran it through Glitchmachines' Hysteresis and then into my Rabbit Hole delay.

Don't mind me

Disquiet Junto 0373 Copernican Music

The Junto this week involves communicating with aliens.

My idea was to use the human voice, as a way of familiarising them with people.

Then I thought about the messages I'd want to share, so I've welcomed them "Down under" and introduced "homo sapiens".

Each message ends with an affirmative "Alright!" when the aliens make the connection.

And, since it's a piece of music, I've added percussion and bass line.

Hope they like dancing!

The raw material comes from my recent track 'Alright'.

When your mix is fallin apart


Since the Disquiet Junto found a home on the Lines forum, I've spent a little time looking through their threads.

Recently there was a call for people to contribute a track using only sounds from their mouth, which I thought might be fun.

After considering a couple of ideas, I settled on using a rap I wrote around 20 years ago.

It feels a bit dated but I updated a few parts and hopefully it works.

Disquiet Junto 0372 Honeymoon Phase

The Junto this week asks for
a piece of music with (only) your most recently obtained instrument or music/sound tool.

This week I received my second Kaossilator, which are a synth with an XY controller.

They're going cheap since an updated version came out, and I had one of those but it wasn't as solid and broke quickly.

For the Junto I recorded for about 12 minutes, then spent an hour editing it back to a bit over 5 minutes.

The editing was done in Final Cut, which probably contributed to the time required.

You can see I layered a couple of earlier parts toward the end, and also repeated the drum loop without the bassline.

One drawback with the Kaossilator is the loops are short, which makes it tricky to incorporate a chord progression.

I want to be a musician

naviarhaiku266 – neon boulevard

Wasn't sure I'd respond to this haiku shared by Naviar Records.

It's a ripper but it wasn't until I remembered the footage from Christmas that I was moved to create a track.

That's the problem with using Youtube to publish music, I guess.

The music came together very quickly, repurposing a few minor chords.

Wish the video was more interesting but there aren't many neon lights in Leeton.

My knowledge of music theory

Disquiet Junto 0371 Concrete Ambience

The Disquiet Junto this week asks for music in the style of concrete wallpaper.

It prompted me to reply with a haiku that I think conveys the spirit of Junto projects.

Then I remembered the video I'd shot of my son playing a concrete xylophone outside the Questacon.

I'd sampled this video for a previous Junto but this track is more upbeat.

The concrete wallpaper is reflected in the sampled concrete and the repetitive pattern of the song, which loops once.

naviarhaiku265 – dark moon

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week brought to mind a song I wrote last year, Closer To Knowing.

I recorded this version quickly on the ukulele and expect there'll be a polished, proper version on my next album -- which will be called SING for the vocal-driven songs it'll contain.

Different Use

Great to be part of another Shinobi Cuts remix chain

It starts and ends with tracks by MDK, who was on the Spymania label (early home to Cassetteboy, Squarepusher and Jamie Lidell).

Shinobi Cuts is a nod to Ninja Tune. who used to have a forum on their website where these remix chains started early this century.

Fun Fender ad

I had a Fender Precision like the bass pictured but didn't have the physique pictured, so it warped my back.

naviarhaiku264 – night wind

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week has an Australian theme and coincides (coincidentally) with the national holiday

At first I felt a bit uneasy about trying to interpret the Dreamtime, which is a concept of the Australian Aboriginals.

This Dreamtime (great discussion here) is mythic and connects the indigenous people with their ancestors, so I wasn't sure that I could represent it in music.

Furthermore, Australia Day celebrates the arrival of the First Fleet, who claimed the country for Britain.

So it's becoming increasingly common for protests and calls to change the date to a more inclusive day for celebration.

After some reflection, I've settled on the line about the bush coming to life.

It's a phenomena that I've experienced while camping, particularly in remote locations.

Nocturnal animals roam the landscape and it can be surprising to encounter them, particularly the hiss of possums and the death metal-style growl of koalas.

James LoMenzo is a wuss

Disquiet Junto 0369 Final Solo

The Junto this week continues the collaborations and I've taken Alanza's piece that builds on Sevenism's reversed piano.

Listening back I might've been too busy with my bass playing but it was fun for me.

Below is Alanza's collaboration with Sevenism.

Disquiet Junto 0368 Engage Duo

The Junto this week builds on the last, asking participants to contribute to a recording.

I explored a few recordings before settling on 'Feedback Trio' by swhic, which is described as:
Speaker/mic feedbak with room ambience intervals 
Portable speaker and recorder.

You can see I've used my electric upright bass to contribute a simple part, setting the click to 99 BPM and moving from opening in A to F# into C#.

Five years of Naviar Haiku

naviarhaiku262 – the reef’s silence

Been a while since I responded to a haiku from Naviar Records, but this one prompted me to start thinking about a story.

It's only a couple of verses, so I think it may develop further.

Disquiet Junto 0367 Trio Initiate

The Disquiet Junto this week asks for a piece of music that allows space for collaboration in coming weeks.

I’ve recorded a chord progression at 108 BPM on my electric ukulele.

It goes Gm Dm Gm Dm A#7 Dm A#7 A7, then a chorus that’s F A F C.

You can download the track here.

Look forward to hearing parts from other participants and recording a collaboration next week!

Disquiet Junto 0366 Ice Breaker

It's a new year, and we start it just like we have every year since the very start of the Disquiet Junto, back in January 2012: "Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it."

First time I made something for the Junto with ice in a glass I used a contact mic and drew a comic.

This year it’s the third time I’ve used the glasses I recorded at my parents-outlaws’ house.

They were recorded using a Rode NT4 stereo mic and Zoom H4, later exported with the video from a Nikon D5100.

I began by opening the video in Ableton Live and finding loops, up to a few bars for rhythms and shorter for tones.

The rhythms were gated and layered.

You’ll see I’ve deleted some tracks where they’re not playing to edit the video, so what you see above is some of what you hear – as you’ll only see one loop at a time.

The kick is pitched down nearly four octaves and heavily compressed.

Those tone loops mentioned earlier have been repitched as descending notes, then I’ve duplicated the track and changed it around a bit (the light blue ones above).

The first track is playing through a reverb for the higher-pitched part (up about an octave), the second is creating a distorted and side-chained bassline through a Sinevibes effect.

I spent about an hour on Wednesday night developing one idea, then another hour on Thursday developing another, and then brought those together on Friday morning in about another hour.

Exporting the video took about that long too, so it wasn't such a long time spent making this track but I have a quick workflow these days.

This is the seventh time I’ve made something with ice in a glass and the process I’ve outlined isn’t so different to 2014, 2015 and 2017.

In 2013 I used a contact mic and ended up with a more ambient style of piece, then in 2016 and 2018 I used additional instruments – but that often felt difficult to create a cohesive sound, as ice in a glass is quite harsh and distinct.

Those qualities, particularly the transients, make the project a challenge each time and I try to get better but still think my 2015 piece was my best.

This year was good but maybe I’ll do even better next year.

No sir prison

While listening to old songs, I started layering them up and found these two from 2016 worked well together.

New album: DANCE

I've decided to put together a few albums in 2019 and started with the uptempo material that's accumulated since 2015.