Disquiet Junto 0460 Creative Destruction

The Disquiet Junto activity this week is to "arrive at a complicated, tortured sound" and I used a recent track to torture.

I've run the bass, ukulele and kick drum through effects pedals and a Sherman Filterbank.

naviarhaiku354 – duskfall…

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week prompted me to think of things that bump.


Disquiet Junto 0459 From a Distance

The Disquiet Junto this week asks for a composition to be heard from a distance.

My inspiration was the church bells I can hear on quiet Sunday mornings.

Disquiet Junto 0458 Phrase Shift

The Junto activity this week is detailed.

I wasn't sure how to approach it and then looked at my files and found a few tones.

They seemed kinda boring on their own, so I added some drums.

Simba plus

Disquiet Junto 0457 System Alert


The Disquiet Junto activity this week takes it's task from a competition to design sounds for the Haiku operating system.

I've chosen my upright electric, because it's the easiest thing for me to use and I think the dull sounds would be less intrusive than the chimes usually used for these things.

Disquiet Junto 0456 Line Up

The Disquiet Junto activity this week has introduced to the art of Agnes Martin and I've interpreted her painting Untitled 5 (1998).

I thought the three bands of colour could represent three chords, but as I riffed on ideas it expanded and I decided to make the seven strips into chords that shared root notes.

naviarhaiku350 – Flutteringly

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week brought to mind a blue butterfly I recently observed.

As it flew around the forest, it made swift changes in direction.

So I've written a piece of music with a few changes.

I've also incorporated the poem by Masaoka Shiki, which has been transcribed as the clarinet part.

The synthesiser part is a transcription of a haiku I wrote about a butterfly.

Both the poems were encoded as music using Solfa Cipher Secrets.

The lead singer of a band

Disquiet Junto 0455 Inner Invertebrate

The Disquiet Junto this week asks participants to

"Compose a piece of sound/music that summons up what a moment, or an instance, or a day in the life of a jellyfish is like to the jellyfish."

I tried to engage my son in a conversation about how to do the Junto this week. "You're overthinking it," he replied. "Jellyfish don't have brains." 

As we continued our bike ride, he did venture that Vapourwave or Japanese-style electronica from last decade might sound good.

That conversation gave me a couple of ideas, but I don't think either ended up sounding much like his idea.

Disquiet Junto 0454 Lsoo Vneg

The Disquiet assignment this week is to "encode the name of someone you love into a piece of music." 

When the email arrived, my mind went in two directions and the result incorporates both ideas.

The first impulse was to use the footage of my partner talking about Acacia Montana, as the common name includes my middle name.

That term for a kind of shrub comes from the Wemba-Wemba people of western Victoria and, early in our relationship, Jo explained its form and it seemed like an analogy for my diverse interests.

The second idea arrived when I googled about how to encode text into music and found Solfa Cipher Secrets.

Using that website, I created a couple of MIDI files for the synth that can be heard in the second part of the song.

naviarhaiku348 – whenever gazing

I picked up on the "gazing" aspect of the haiku shared by Naviar Records this week, rather than the pain.

Disquiet Junto 0453 Dial Up

The Disquiet Junto assignment this week is to "Imagine the technologically mediated First Contact through sound."

After my ideas became overwhelming, I opted to pick up my Yamaha Tenori-On and use a pulsing sound that I knew was available.

As I played with it, I got the idea that my simple noodling also represented a kind of first contact with the instrument -- since I'd forgotten much of how to use it.

Reflecting on reflections

Listening back on the track I published yesterday and surprised by the result.

Too much reverb!

Then I cycle through the usual responses, from "reverb always seems stronger after rendering the track" to "but wouldn't I have noticed that? I must've been in a hurry to finish."

And then I remember a lecture I missed decades ago.

The reason I think of that anthropology lesson is it's the example I turn to when reflecting on how brains filter room reflections.

Way back on that day I'd asked my girlfriend to use the Walkman I bought for recording interviews to collect audio from the lecture.

When I listened back there was so much reflected sound that I couldn't listen to the discussion.

It took so much concentration to listen to the lecturer that I gave up.

I expect that tape would now transport me to the exact room since it literally reflects the size of that location.

Now whenever I think of the ability of a human brain to filter sound, I think of that moment.

Everyday our ears deliver conversations in rooms without a thought for the reflected sound, which is around two-thirds of the noise we hear.

Yet it isn't until you try to listen to a recording that you realise the incredible real-time processing that our brains are undertaking in listening to someone speaking.

I suspect there's a similar process when I'm working on a song.

Before I render the recording, I've listened to it so many times that my brain is compensating for the reverb.

Those wonderful modelled room reflections from Ocean Way and Capital Chambers are being removed from my listening.

Then, the next day, I hear the song with refreshed ears and hear how heavy-handed I've been in adding those effects.

The lesson I've learned today is that I am in a hurry to finish and should give myself an extra day before publishing my songs.

Award shows


naviarhaiku347 – two voices that sound alike

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week spoke a couple of things to me.
First, it's springtime and I'm seeing lots of wattles in blossom.

Second, the "two voices that sound alike" could be the instruments in this track.

Particularly the two synth lines, which are the same patch, but also how the bass and guitar are soloing in similar ways because I can't really do anything more.

My husband plays the trumpet

Disquiet Junto 0452 Let’s Scream

The Junto this asks we work with a scream and, since I didn't feel like screaming, I found a famous scream to include.

It's the "Mendoza!" yelled by McBain in The Simpsons, used in Iris2 as a synth patch.

When you're closing apps


naviarhaiku346 – pause pause pause

After noticing a similarity in the projects this week, I've reworked my Disquiet Junto track for the haiku shared by Naviar Records.

It uses alternate takes and layers up the guitar parts, running all the MIDI parts through an icy pad and keeping four guitar lines.

Noise musicians / sandwich enthusiasts / kinksters


Disquiet Junto 0451 Ursula’s Silences

The Disquiet Junto this week asks how this line by Ursula K. Le Guin might be applied to a musical composition: “For a word to be spoken, there must be silence. Before, and after.”

I've incorporated silences into the track through including pauses before different sections.

To do this I built up the scaffold of the song by playing the drums along to this song I've been enjoying recently.

Then I settled on a handful of notes on the bass, which led me to decided they were part of a Phrygian mode.

Today I added a guitar part to fill out the song and attempted a melody.

Disquiet Junto 0450 Texture Analysis

The Disquiet Junto activity this week involves "field recordings made at Carlo Bernasconi AG, a company that has been working in stone for over a century. The sounds range from machines to manual tools to spatial ambience."

These recordings were made by Tobias Reber and the project is a "collaboration with the 2020 Musikfestival Bern, which will be held in Switzerland from September 2 through 6 under the motto 'Tektonik'" -- which I used for a track title.

Participants are invited to "listen for aspects of the recordings that attract your ears" and  "create a piece of music combining elements from as few or as many as you chose".

My ears gravitate toward transients, and the tool sounds in particular were useful for creating percussion.

Most of the sounds I've used at their original pitch, but I did transpose one down for the kick sound by an octave and a half.

I looped a few sounds and added Ableton Live's Beatrepeat effect to a couple.

One of the sounds of distant machinery was also looped and I added a sidechained compressor linked to the kick, so it would be heard near the end of each bar.

To the percussive loops I've added some sounds of machinery, particularly where the pitch shifts, which gives a further sense movement in places.

Then I've added more of the tool recordings, as well as machinery.

The latter has been gated using Beatrepeat and I added a little distortion and delay to make that more dynamic.

Finally, I created busses for reverb and stereo-panning, as well as some more saturation.

The video shows copper smelting and comes from the Prelinger archive.

I searched for "mining" and thought this section looked like it might relate to the sounds heard.

This is my 233rd video response to a Disquiet Junto prompt and the full playlist can be found here.

Music I play for friends


Disquiet Junto 0449 Page Machine

The Disquiet Junto assignment this week is to "Read a page of text from a book as if it were a musical score."

I settled on page 18 from the introduction to Matsuo Basho's The Narrow Road to the Deep North.

The layout of the page appealed to me, as it looked like it might be a drum intro and it was 8 August -- so I thought I should use 808 samples.

My process was to tally the syllables, since the text was largely haiku, as well as capital letters and punctuation.

The syllables became high-hats, while the capitals denoted kick drum and the punctuation triggered sound effects from the M-Tron Pro VST.

Then I decided to add a riser to convey the interpretive text, as it kinda serves to raise the rest of the writing.

And, finally, I flicked back to the contents page and took that last entry's page number to be the tempo.

Disquiet Junto 0447 Listen Ahead

This week the Disquiet Junto asks "Imagine...what your world will be like six months from today."

The instructions prompted me to record Jo's song, which she'd asked to do after returning home from a solstice event."

When you google the lyrics

Disquiet Junto 0446 WWWLDD

The Disquiet Junto activity this week involves responding to World Listening Day.

It's prompted me to share a soundtrack I composed from field recordings for an exhibition by the Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists at the Leeton Museum & Gallery.

It was composed to be looped in the background and accompany the many photographs members have taken of the natural Riverina environment.

The material draws on a decade of field recordings, which have been layered to provide a rich sense of the landscape.

Seems an appropriate recording to share for World Listening Day.

My playlists when I leave them on shuffle

Disquiet Junto 0445 Aare Tribute

The Disquiet Junto this week asks participants to read a map of the river Aare as a graphic score.

My immediate thought when looking at the map was that Bern looks a bit like Wagga.

Then I remembered a recording I'd made at the beach late last year.

So I've combined the video of Wagga Beach with my track for relaxing by the river.

When you walk away

Disquiet Junto 0444 Bot Ensemble

The Disquiet Jutno assignment this week is to "Make music as directed by the great twitter.com/InstrumentBot account."

As I looked over the Bot's tweets, I took in the repetition of terms and started to formulate an idea.

Language like "tiny explosions" and "metronome" led me to think about recording drums, while the metallic descriptions reminded me that I'd been meaning to record various things in town.


Disquiet Junto 0443 In Two Landcapes

For the Disquiet Junto this week, I've taken two different field recordings and combined them to make one track.

It was with a sense of deja vu too, as I'd considered doing this for Project 0436.

The video above uses the footage I shot of the "2 tracks" sign, which I thought would be a clever nod to the idea but ended up using galahs roosting instead.

Galahs are still a feature this week, as they can be heard returning to their treetops on an evening when I'd filmed a sunset for Naviar's haiku project 0331.

You can also hear my son amusing himself, as I asked him to keep an eye on my camera while it recorded the weathervane.

You can hear my bike brake near the end.

Me checking

Disquiet Junto 0442 One Sentence

The Disquiet Junto this weeks asks participants to compose a piece of music based on a mapped exploration of a sentence.

Around the time that direction arrived, I read a poem that uses musical imagery and decided that it might be considered a long sentence.

Today I had some time to record myself reading the poem and using Ableton Live's MIDI mapping function to compose the music.

I just found this old tape

Disquiet Junto 0441 Three Stones

The Disquiet Junto asks for a piece of music that considers how stones can be thought to connect with where they originated.

I've used a recording I made last week at Pindari, where Alan Lamb and Scott Baker built an instrument known as 'the wires' for the 2004 Unsound Festival.

My partner and I worked with Alan for the 2006 Unsound Festival, and I've recorded 'the wires' since then and trimmed trees to ensure they continue to hum.

Last week 'the wires' weren't humming, as it was very still.

You can hear the long decay from touching 'the wires' and I've created a piece of music that aims to slow their back-and-forth hum even more.

My idea was to create a sense of the geological change that revealed and distributed the granite boulders on the hilltop outside Wagga Wagga.

Disquiet Junto 0439 Self Less

The Junto this week asks for "music combining the styles of two musicians you admire."

I've attempted Duke Ellington and Mr Oizo.

Footage via Archive.org, my 225th video for the Disquiet Junto.

Hear me in Mexico

My remix for #StayHomeSounds by Cities And Memory is now online

Disquiet Junto 0438 Deep Plan

For some reason the Junto direction prompted me to think of a Paul Keating video I'd downloaded five years ago with a view to incorporating in a track.

It was serendipitous as Keating seems to be espousing a view of listening to links back to an observation about listening that I was prompted to write this week.

Aside from the TR-707 drum beat, all instrumentation came from the Gforce M-Tron Pro VST.

Ambient music fans

Toasted tracks

One of the surprising outcomes from abandoning Soundcloud has been making videos about toasted sandwiches.

I know, right?

Back when the Ninja Tune Forum was still a thing, I realised that I couldn't just brag about a great toasted sandwich.

Since I had a funky electronic song to share, I decided to add it to my blue cheese, leek and mushroom toastie.

Now I've posted my 32nd toasted sandwich and the soundtrack features Gforce Software's M-Tron Pro VST.

Aside from the percussion, I got a lot of inspiration from the huge number of instruments that software contains.

Live listening

Playing pool with my 11-year old yesterday and he made an observation that reminded me about the context of listening.

"It's more exciting hearing your favourite song on the radio, than it is playing it for yourself."

It was a profound observation for me and captured my own experiences listening to live and recorded sounds.

The sense of time seems to shift and listening can take us into a different temporal context.

That sense of being in the moment, like when a piece of music is broadcast, is something I'd observed while listening to 'the wires' for hours.

The recordings didn't have the same quality in more than the sense of fidelity.

It wasn't the discomfort of sitting on a granite rock, nor the experience of feeling the same breezes that would trigger the wave of harmonics.

I realised it was the moment and tension created from a cascade of thoughts, as I focused intently on the details in each micro-second.

It was a sense I was hearing something for the first time.

Being present while listening might be another description, much like the sense used by 'woke' individuals about living in the moment and not dwelling on the past or planning for a future.

I remember reading that Morton Subotnick would invite strangers into his apartment so that he would get the sense of hearing his recordings for the first time.

At various times I've heard musicians comment on how there's a similar tension when recording.

Gustav Ejstes described how "If we play it too many times before we record we lose something."

Sometimes I wonder if multitrack recording has diminished the thrill of hearing musicians sharing the same room – either from a richness in the sound of a bass player recorded through the kick drum microphone; or the performances as the band make eye contact with each other.

Perhaps it extends to the idea promoted by Dr John Diamond that digitised recordings provoke stress, as our brains have to reassemble the waveforms.

The thing that seems clear is that listening is an active experience and hearing your song on the radio feels like an invitation to enjoy that moment.

Stay Home Sounds

Cities And Memory's #StayHomeSounds is mentioned in The Monthly magazine and it's excited for me to see they used my quote from Leeton, even if it is unattributed.

Disquiet Junto 0437 Echo Relocation

The Disquiet Junto activity this week continues a prompt from artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats:

Record someone else’s field recording of their environment playing within your own.

I've played Name Constant's neighbourhood in my backyard at first light.

When you find the song

naviarhaiku332 – from evening mist

It was foggy this morning and I've been playing with piano loops recently, so the haiku shared by Naviar Records this week led me to ponder how would it sound if pianists passed each other in the fog?

Not sure if this ambient music is good

When listening is grieving

Years ago I lived in an old farmhouse surrounded by cows.

I'd started seeing the woman who is now my partner and she lived on a property surrounded by sheep.

One morning as we lay in bed, she made an observation that came to mind after I wrote about grieving for a changed world.

She remarked how one way cows identify their calves is by recognising the patterns on their skins.

I'm probably simplifying it but my understanding was that the brown splotches on Friesian cattle, for example, assist mothers to find their babies in the paddock.

In contrast, I think she said, sheep listen for their voices among the herd.

I've often reflected that sheep must be always keeping an ear out for the distinctive bleat of their lambs.

My partner might have been telling me this as her family at that time would slaughter their own livestock.

It led me to consider that one can look around and, if you don't see something, you might not notice it is missing.

However, I wonder if we are always listening for meaningful sounds -- such the phenomena described as "miraculous agitations" in this old post.

In doing so we might be, consciously or subconsciously, regularly reminded of loss.

Recent discussions of being sentimental for sounds from another time has been on my mind since I started noticing how many projects online and on the radio are currently focusing on recording and listening to the changes in our landscapes.

naviarhaiku331 – Peaks of cloud

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week brought to mind the weathervane at the end of my street.

It prompted me to explore piano loops of varying lengths, while aiming to get an Eno-esque ambient result.