Disquiet Junto 0417 Changes Tracker

This week the Junto asks for a sonic diary, so I've compiled a series of second-long samples from recordings made (or manipulated) this year.

A universe of music exploration

Disquiet Junto 0416 Time Laps

The Junto instructions this week outline a process of improvising parts, which are then reversed.

I decided to use some drums I'd recorded earlier as the first part.

After reversing those I recorded the chord progression on the electric ukulele, then turned to the bass.

By the time I reversed everything again, I'd gotten confused about the progression but managed to record a take when I stayed in key.

The result has moments that catch my ear, so I can see how this could be an interesting process for composition.

Korn played with corn

naviarhaiku310 – One push of the door, a single step

Just minutes before the bus brought my kids home from their last day of school for the year, I had an idea how to respond to the haiku shared by Naviar Records last week.

After finishing my response to the Disquiet Junto this week, I realised I'd stuffed it up.

So I wanted another crack at playing a C major scale at different paces, then layering the results.

And it seemed as though sitting at different points along the corridor at home would also evoke the poem.

Is this enough delay?

Disquiet Junto 0415 Seasonal Metal

The Disquiet Junto this week asks for "a piece of music that explores tinsel for its sonic properties."

I wanted something irritatingly plastic and repetitively layered that could be looped, so my attention turned to my latest keyboard -- which cost $3 at my local St Vinnies.

Disquiet Junto 0413 Objective Thankfulness

The Disquiet Junto this week requests we "highlight one piece of musical equipment for which you are particularly grateful."

The appropriate response was at hand, in the form of my recent remix of Spinks Park in Lismore.

I'd been invited into the Northern Rivers region to be part of The (Un)Usual with my friends at RealArtWorks.

Barcus Berry 4000: Planar Wave System pickup has been a part of my process for remixing playgrounds since 2012.

Thanks Barcus Berry, I know you pitch this product for pianos and harps but it helps me find music in everyday locations.

And thanks to the Disquiet Junto, this has been my 200th video in response to their creative prompts.

Disquiet Junto 0411 Wrapped Up

The Junto this week prompted me to finish a song I wrote last year.

'Wild at Heart' tells the story of how I met my partner.

Taylor Swift writes

Disquiet Junto 0410 Op Audio

The Disquiet Junto this week asks:

What does the sonic equivalent of Op Art sound like?

I'd been considering adding delay to something and then, while sitting in a yoga class, had the idea of a tap dripping.

I've added reverb to give a sense of the room growing bigger.

Disquiet Junto 0409 Spooky 3.0

The Junto this week has a Halloween theme, asking for something that makes spooky music spookier.

It reminded me of the breathing sounds in Doom and how much atmosphere they added to the game.

So I've recorded myself and added that to a track built from bowed cymbals and things that might go bump in the night (except it was Friday afternoon).

naviarhaiku298 – Watching a kite

This haiku shared by Naviar Records prompted me to revisit a recording I'd made recently.

The wind is often an unseen force and is unmentioned in the poem, yet seems central when considering a soundtrack responding to the scene.

On some level

naviarhaiku297 – awakened from sleep

The haiku shared by Naviar Records is a bit at odds with my own experience at present.

As the days are lengthening, I'm feeling a familiar mania and the pace feels as though it's picking up.

So I think these layered takes on the drums capture some of that.

Disquiet Junto 0402 Music for Tasks

The Disquiet Junto this week asks for music to accompany a task.

I'd recently revisited the recording of my washing line for Junto 356 and had just finished hanging a load, so I set about recording the drums to accompany that chore.

This aligns with Dom Vella's observation that "everything sounds better with drums."

I decided to include the sound of the washing line for context and, the way it builds, reminds me of how electronic music employs white noise.


Historian Bill Gammage describes Hulong as the site of a conflict during the Frontier Wars, which arose as Europeans settled along the Murrumbidgee River in the mid 19th Century.

Evidence of the Wiradjuri culture can still be found in the region, although Hulong is now known as Whitton.

After being inspired by Garlo Jo's Ventdeguitares.com project to record at Poison Waterholes Creek in 2017, I've returned to the idea of using a guitar played by the wind at sites of conflict between black and white Australia.

Australia's First Nations are the oldest living culture, so it seems appropriate to show the scars of what might have become a shield remain on a living tree.


naviarhaiku296 – evening haze

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week led me to think about sitting on the porch.

Most recently I'd been thinking about drumming for Play Music on the Porch Day, so it led me to think about recycling the drum beat I recorded last week.

I've edited together a couple of unused takes and added saturation from Izotope Trash.

Oblique Strategies Against Humanity

By Andy R

Disquiet Junto 0401 Noise Pacing

The Junto this week returns to the theme of "rauschen," which is German for noise in the style of white or background noise, and asks participants to use background noise as a beat, as a rhythm.

My washing machine seemed a good candidate for a rhythm, as it's rauschen is one I've heard while doing three loads of washing this week.

However, today is rainy. So I've used a recording I made of the machine in 2016.

Back then I'd identified the rhythm seemed kinda metal, so I've tried to add something melodic in that style using my electric ukulele.

naviarhaiku295 – night train

This haiku shared by Naviar Records led me to look for a train-like rhythm on my gated guitar rig.

Wake-up call

Disquiet Junto 0400 Sub Divided

The Junto this week proposes creating a score for a story by Malka Older using the author's voice.

I've done something a bit different and used drums and bass to accompany Malka's reading of The Divided.

The riff came to me as soon as I started listening to the piece, a jagged rhythm.

It's not a beat I can think of having played before, yet it was all I heard to accompany her description of walls rising in the landscape.

I listened to her reading and recorded the drums, then added the bass.

I experimented with adding Malka's voice in loops and also stretched some vowels to put in Iris as a synth, but it just seemed too muddy.

I'm Amanda Lynn

The appeal of albums

Writing about soundtracks recently got me thinking about the ongoing appeal of albums.

I like the idea of a body of work, yet it seems as though successive technologies from the CD player's shuffle button to the iTunes business model have tried to make music into discrete tracks.

So I was interested in this observation from Geoff Barrow:
"It’s amazing to see just how many people are getting into the idea of listening to film scores, outside of just listening to a band’s album with 10 tracks. It’s because they want a new musical experience. It’s like reading a book, they want to be taken on a musical journey. It’s basically the modern classical. So where, in the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s people used to buy classical records, and listen to whole suites on vinyl, people are now doing the same thing but with soundtracks and scores."

Humans make sense of information with narratives, so the ongoing appeal of albums as a body of work suggests to me they function as stories.

Disquiet Junto 0397 Numbers Racket

The Junto this week asks for music in the spirit of the famous Roland TR-808 drum machine.

I began wondering about the mixed reviews it got on release and the "unrealistic" sound that would become the defining character of the 808.

Thinking about the drum sounds I've shaped from various sources led me to look for the spirit of the 808 elsewhere.

You can see I didn't look very far and revisited my recording of Narrandera's Big Guitar.

The low rumble of the open string was perfect for the celebrated humming kick.

Then I listened for transients to fill the roles of snare and high-hat, before adding a few harmonics and notes.

Following soundtracks

Reading Marc's "This Week in Sound" newsletter and I'm prompted to think about soundtrack recordings.

He shared the news that "Sony Music Masterworks Acquires Soundtrack Label Milan Records" and pondered:
...how the internet has made such niches more substantial. Milan has a sizable catalog of exactly the sort of music that Sony had long defined itself as above, as apart from. Sony has released plenty of movie soundtracks over the years, but the perception to some degree is that Sony releases the major works (or, to borrow its label terminology, Masterworks), leaving the vast remainder to labels like Milan, Lakeshore, and Varèse Sarabande. Now that distinction is muddier, as Sony gets deeper into the field.

From a dry economics perspective, it seems inevitable that larger companies swallow smaller ones in the pursuit of growth; and I'm going to look in a different direction to the potential mergers that Marc entertains.

For me it makes sense for Sony to recognise the synergies with their own music and film businesses.

After all, they're a company who popularised "synergy" as a growth strategy.

Instead, I wonder if soundtracks are growing in popularity.

Now, since I can't be bothered looking for data, I will reflect on an audience I observed.

While studying TV production last decade, I was surprised at the popularity the production music libraries had among the more dedicated students.

Production music is a term I'm using for the releases aimed at broadcast industries, supplying soundtracks for television shows and advertising.

When you became attuned to the material, it was surprising to recognise the often bland muzak in the background of media.

That was one conversation we'd have but the music took on other roles.

Between takes I'd overhear them comparing notes on the albums with vague titles that evoked moods and genres.

Sometimes they'd identify pieces that had taken on too much character through successive uses, other times they'd discuss favourite pieces.

As a former film critic, I'd been interested in soundtracks and been frustrated in pre-internet times that albums would disappear from catalogues faster than the films would disappear from the cinemas.

As a maker of mixtapes, I'd love dubbing an obscure piece of music from a powerful scene and await questions from listeners about where they'd heard it before.

And the TV production students were listening to the soundtrack albums for similar reasons, as well as others.

Like, I'd share a drive and we'd listen to Hans Zimmer and discuss the role of music in scenes or the fine-line between background and foreground listening.

Or I'd hear them listening to the production music library to create their own soundtracks, whether it was research for an assignment that needed material or as a way of giving their own lives a cinematic quality.

That last observation seemed particularly telling.

Throughout my life I've gravitated toward MTV-style clips that promote music by adding visuals, sometimes by featuring the musicians but also by creating cinematic experiences.

It seemed to me that the TV Production students were inverting that last impression, by adding soundtrack-style music to their own lives for feeling of being part of a movie.

Given the popularity of behind-the-scenes documentaries which, again we're part of reading around the subject, I couldn't shake the feeling their passion for (what I once would've called) cinema was expressed through a desire to create moments like those experienced in movies.

Music is often powerful in turning our thoughts to times we've previous heard a piece, yet the students seemed to be using soundtracks in a different way.

The production music had attracted their interest because they were attentive to their studies and, from being the material they used in assignments, had become part of the soundtracks to their lives.

Sure, it's not so different to how other genres of music is used more generally.

Yet it made me think that soundtracks had transcended reflecting genres for dramatic effect and become a genre for dramatic effect.

ABC of recording media

naviarhaiku290 – polarized sky

The haiku shared by Naviar Records last week prompted me to try layering the takes of the anthem I wrote for a recent Disquiet Junto.

I've been out of the habit of composing for Naviar but have found it can be a good opportunity to rework existing recordings.

Meat the orchestra

Disquiet Junto 0395 Acoustic Expanse

This week the Disquiet Junto uses the samples I've recorded of the biggest guitar in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Big Guitar has so much character that it's a creative constraint, as there are challenges using some notes because of their imperfections.

My Junto track was my second attempt at composing with the sampled instrument, after first recording a couple of jams using my MIDI guitar.

That result was underwhelming, so I started building a track from a looped bass line and then added other sampled instruments.

For a while I thought it needed a toasted sandwich video, then I decided to add a video using takes from recording the Big Guitar.

Those notes don't add much to the composition but have let me create a video to share the song.

Firewire for vintage sound

Saw this post recently joking about "vintage sound" and kinda caught myself mid chuckle.

While the idea of using older USB for the quality of audio is ridiculous, it reminded me that I'm still rocking Firewire 400.

Firewire 400 was a feature of my MOTU soundcard, then my Mackie mixer.

I've been using 400 ports for about 15 years.

Recently my Mackie's "Hi-Z" inputs weren't working and it turns out the parts aren't easy to replace.

So I bought a brand new Mackie mixer, which had been sitting on the shelf for a while.

It's old enough to still have Firewire 400 inputs.

Gated baritone ukulele

Ran my ukulele through the re-patched gated effects rig.

Martin Prechtel on World House

Shamans say the Village Heart can grow a brand-new World House if it is well-dressed in the layered clothing of each indigenous soul's magic sound, ancestral songs, and indigenous ingenuity. 
The wrecked landscape of our World House could sprout a renewed world, but a new language has to be found. 
We can't make the old world come alive again, but from its old seeds, the next layer could sprout. 
This new language would have to grow from the indigenous hearts we all have hidden. 
It shouldn't be the tongue of oneness, not one language, not a computer tongue of homogenization, but a diverse, beautiful, badly made thing whose flimsiness and inefficiency force people to sing together to keep it well-spoken and sung into life over and over again, so that nobody forgets to remember. 
We need to find gorgeous, unsellable, ritual words to reanimate, remeasure, rebuild, and replaster the ruined, depressed flatness left by the hollow failure of this mechanized, orphaned culture. 
For this, we need all peoples: our poets, our shamans, our dreamers, our youth, our elders, our women, our men, our ancestors, and our real old memories from before we were people. 
We live in a kind of dark age, craftily lit with synthetic light, so that no one can tell how dark it has really gotten. But our exiled spirits can tell. 
Deep in our bones resides an ancient, singing couple who just won't give up making their beautiful, wild noise.  
The world won't end if we can find them. 

Disquiet Junto 0394 You & Me

The Junto this week asks for music to accompany another species.

I've used a recording of a frog that was outside my house earlier this year.

Disquiet Junto 0393 Mix Master

The Junto this weeks asks for a new piece combining elements from three previous tracks.

Some weeks ago I noticed my song 'Alright' was the same tempo as my Junto track 'Somewhat' and found they worked well together.

I'd already used the bass part in my track 'Bad Politics' so I set about recording a new part.

Now I've realised those three tracks, although some might say it kinda bends the Junto project a little.

Cursed chords

Space in music

Marc Weidenbaum's email newsletter, This Week in Sound, recently shared this information from Robert Fripp's diary:
The primary factor in choosing a setlist is the performance space. Only part of this is the acoustics. Each performance space / venue / auditorium has its particular spirit of place: churches, burlesque theatres, rock clubs, classical halls small and large; with performance and listening practices, determined mainly by the culture and history of the region.

It prompted me to reconsider another piece of information about a musician, Johann Sebastian Bach. Some while ago I'd read that he composed for Thomaskirche in Leipzig, the church where he became Kapellmeister nearly 300 years ago.

While looking for information about Bach composing with reverb in mind, I found this:
Acoustics has been an important influence on music. Many composers have had in mind, consciously or subconsciously, the acoustics of the space in which their music will be played.

That piece outlines the role of space in shaping music, like:
Greogorian chant was written for medieval cathedrals with long reverberation times; similarly organ music of any period requires a reverberant space. E. Power Biggs said: “An organist will take al the reverberation time he is given, and then ask for a bit more…. Many of Bach’s organ works are designed …. to explore reverberation. Consider the pause that follows the ornamented proclamation that opens the famous Toccata in D minor. Obviously this is for the enjoyment of the notes as they remain suspended in the air”. Church music sounds wrong when performed in a small non-reverberant space with a lot of acoustic absorbent such as curtains and carpets.

And I've spent a couple of days considering the provocative idea "that the most important single fact in the history of music" was "the insertion of galleries in Lutheran churches" as they reduced reverberation in those spaces where music was performed.

For a while I've been pondering the influence of technology on the development of music and reverb is a beaut example, particularly since different types have become associated with genres.

As I was a watching Craig Schuftan's panel conversation from Loop this morning, he mentioned that Bertolt Brecht described "the mirror and the dynamo" as the tension between tradition and innovation in the arts.

So, I'm jumping across topics here, it fascinates me how this plays out in the reverbs I use in my music.

The mirrors are emulations like the EMT140 plate and the models of Ocean Way's studios, while Valhalla Shimmer seems (to my naive ears) as something distinctly new when I use it for a big ambient pad-like effect -- although, now I looks at the website, I see it was based on older models.

I'd guess the dynamos in more recent years are developing in convolution reverbs which, while imitations of existing studios use that to mimic their spaces, can shape sounds in ways that are without precedent.

Thinking on how the acoustics of a space shaped composers like Bach led me to consider how UAD effects users are now able to use modelled spaces like the Ocean Way and Capitol Chambers plug-ins in their own productions.

Given how those reverbs impart a famed character and can be used to connote an atmosphere, it seems like we're getting back to writing music with specific ambiences in mind.

Part of me enjoys the reverb response that put my music in those spaces that mirror expensive studios, while another part hungers to push on and create something distinctly my own.

It seems like that tension underlies so much music, walking a line between helping audiences recognise something and forcing them to try and find their way in a new space.

It also reminds me of the epiphany I had a few years ago while listening to music that could be described as drone. The way those notes hung while I lay with my eyes closed led me to realise that I couldn't gauge the space I was in. It was simultaneously without space and all space, which led to a transcendent quality that I've only previously experience in an altered state.

How to get a killer vocal

Yes the planet got destroyed

Disquiet Junto 0392 Another Country

The Junto this week asks for an anthem for a fictional country.

It stirred a number of thoughts for me, rekindling my desire for Australia to have a better national and then remembering my curiosity about an inland state that might have been in that country.

A while ago I shared a passage from The Plains by Gerald Murnane, which I'd read because I've been fascinated by a proposal during the nineteenth century for a separate state covering the floodplains of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria.

In my mind I pondered whether it might be a separate country, one which addressed a fundamental issue in Australian history and had established a treaty with the First Nations.

It often seems incredible to me that Australia is the only English colony without a treaty, particularly given the projections for growing identification as Aboriginal.

The state of Victoria has been moving toward developing a treaty and it saddens me that the Uluru Statement met such a muted response.

It was with issues of inclusivity that I approached writing my anthem, as well as environmental sustainability.

You can see these themes in the lyrics:

Where the songbird has flown
from the start of time
in our hearts we know
we hold all humankind
through the night and through the day
love grows where we play

We’re the future of the earth
we live in freedom without fear
we cherish our pleasure
and hold each other dear
walking lightly on the ground
we improve how it was found

We learn all worth knowing
your voice can join our tune
we share and we receive
our land goes to the moon
with our words we give a lift
praise each other’s gift

Our future like sunrise
beating hearts like soaring wings
full of promise is our sky
in unity we sing
growing power with the sun
of the new millennium
hear our song in unison
we stand as one

After recording myself accompanied by my baritone ukulele today, I had an idea that a marching band could make a better backing track.

So I set about creating a MIDI track and ran those chords through Ableton Live's woodwind samples.

Unfortunately the baritone peeks through the vocal track in a couple of places.

Someone who lied

Cities and Memory

After getting involved in a couple of Cities and Memory projects, I started an email interview with founder Stuart Fowkes for Cyclic Defrost that was published this week.

Their latest project, Space is the Place, also launched this week and uses the sounds in this video produced by The Guardian.

Bad Politics

Long Distance Dan brings his production skills to my rant about the NSW police state.

'Bad Politics' is likely to be on my next album, SING.

Loudest sounds on Earth

Disquiet Junto 0391 Front Page

The Junto assignment this week is to "Make music that fills in where the news trails off."

I've used the opening line of a story about a planned rose garden from the neighbouring city of Griffith, in part because I like the imagery.

This chord progression is one I've been strumming on my ukuleles recently, although I'm not entirely sure of the key -- it seems to go from A Minor to A Major in the chorus.

Anyway, it's been good to record it and consider how I might improve it.

Disquiet Junto 0390 Pace Quickens

The Junto this week asked for an old recording sped up, which led me to remember the 10 beats-per-minute composition for Junto 299.

This week I've also been playing with the sustained E minor chord for Junto 300, so I've added it too.

For good measure I've included drums.

Pretending to be in a music video like

Disquiet Junto 0388 Random Less

The Junto this week asks for "a single piece of music with very few tools, all selected at random."

I wrote a few lists of instruments and then rolled a dice to decide which I'd use.

The result was my baritone ukulele, upright electric bass and drums.

I already had a few chords in mind, but the four-fingered one and a small window to record led me to decide on arranging the parts in Live.

A few chords and phrases were recorded, then some drums at the tempo and I spent a little time on Friday night arranging the instruments in my laptop.

On Saturday morning I knew I'd only have a short amount of time to record the bass, as I was going to be in Matong and Wagga for the following nights.

I was stuck trying to figure out some of the root notes but had an idea the track's key is E minor/G major.

While I was waiting for my kids to wake up, I began programming a MIDI bass part and had an idea to use a 5/4 time signature so the bass would start on a different note each bar.

At first I wasn't sure it worked but it has grown on me.

Hopefully, when I return to listen to this track in a few days, I still like it.

If not, I can always rework the parts into something else.

Becoming the future

The CAD Factory recently hosted Susan Rogers, whose experience as a studio engineer informs her role as a professor of psychology at Berklee College of Music.

In her presentation she linked research in music cognition back to first-hand observations about the music industry, drawing on her roles in the production of popular music by musicians like Prince, David Byrne and the Barenaked Ladies.

One of the themes in the discussion was introduced as she outlined how a Sonny and Cher album caught her ear as a child and the artwork showed her the role of a studio engineer. Rogers described the “mystery of children, deep down inside, we know who we are.”

She didn’t labour the innate knowledge that music stirs but, looking back over my notes, it’s surprising how often it featured in the talk. From research demonstrating that very young chickens respond to timeless music by Bach more than other sounds, through to her observation that young kids show pop music’s appeal in that unselfconscious way in which they’ll express their appreciation by moving their bodies. “Something in our physiology responds to good music.”

Rogers explained that “music is optimised audio” and the pleasure it stirs happens along neural pathways as sound passes a number of opiate receptors on the way through our brains. “Sound is a special form of touch,” she said and argued that music has developed as an emotion-manipulator — one that we use to self-medicate.

She cites David Huron who wrote in 2011 that the release of prolactin, a hormone which gives comfort, might explain the appeal of sad songs.

There are three key areas in which music works to capture our attention:
  • Cognition — making us think, particularly lyrics,
  • Emotion — making us feel, particularly through harmony (or dissonance), and
  • Meter — making us move, particularly through rhythm.

In combination listeners respond to arrangements that achieve tension and release. “As with language, we are surprised and delighted by novel constructs” although she noted that within popular Western music we can anticipate “it’s probably going to happen after eight bars.”

Psychologists often employ bell-curves and I was surprised at Rogers’ use, which showed an axis moving from simple, childlike melodies through to complex, avant-garde noise. In the middle, where the largest grouping sits, you’d expect to find popular music.

However, as popular music changes over time and adopts new sounds to keep up with trends. Rogers observed that it is worth incorporating ideas from ahead of the curve to anticipate their arrival in popular music. This reminded me that the one thing that I remembered about The Barenaked Ladies, who she produced, was the rapping in their music surprised me. She explained that initially she thought the band were too pop for her taste.

Looking to the other end of the axis, Rogers argued that music which appears very simple requires skill to appeal to its audience. Her example was Nashville, the home of country music and highly-skilled musicians because the apparently simple form of that style of music hides a nuanced delivery. The familiarity of the formula for music like country or blues means it stands out like the dog’s proverbial bollocks when the performance isn’t up to expectations of an audience attuned to the form of the genre.

Another model from psychology is the Venn diagram of overlapping circles and Rogers described how she was introduced to a design with three fields representing the audiences of public, musicians and critics. She recalled how Greg Kurstin and Tommy Jordan from the band Geggy Tah would debate who might be considered to have achieved the “triple crown” through satisfying each group, and I was delighted to hear they’d nominated Duke Ellington.

(If, like me, you’re wondering why the name Geggy Tah seems familiar, click above. However, I warn you this is an infectious example of their work. More recently Kurstin has contributed to a number of hit songs, including co-writing and playing most of the instruments on  Adele’s ‘Hello’.)

Of the fields in the Venn diagram, Rogers said “these three audiences will give different rewards” and that a smart record company executive would encourage an artist to pick one. “The public give love, musicians give respect and critics give fame.”

She reflected that one of the brilliant aspects of Prince was that he had reached each of these fields on successive albums, with Dirty Mind aimed at critics and Controversy at musicians and then 1999 at the public, Purple Rain back at critics and so on.

Another interesting diagram was the axis described by Bill Verplank, outlining archetypes that contribute to creative projects. It identified roles for:
  • Artists — unusual thinkers with ideas
  • Engineers — systems-centred builders
  • Entrepreneurs — leaders with social skills
  • Competitors — bullies who can get results

Rogers believes there is a physiological aspect to these characteristics, which means that some brains are shaped to fill the roles better than others. “Today’s unsigned artist will be tempted to do it all,” Rogers observed. “The more I embraced the things I am,” she outlined her roles as an engineer and scientist, “the better I perform.”

Given the popularity of Prince, it wasn’t surprising that one audience member took the opportunity to ask about Rogers’ experience working with him. I’d wondered if she had been able to speak more openly about that secretive musician since his passing and, when she reflected on how Prince’s experiences informed his creativity, it was quite incisive.

Rogers spoke to Prince’s lonely upbringing as a child sometimes locked in a room with musical instruments and how that pattern continued. First, when he left home, she said Prince could spend all night recording music in the basement of the friend’s family he moved in with.

Later Prince would have marathon recording sessions in which he would realise the music that was fully conceived in his mind. Susan Rogers said one session involved 96 hours without sleep. “I was seeing double at the end of that but, I was a fan, was I really going to say ‘No, I’d prefer to sleep’?!”

One of the reasons I was interested in hearing Rogers speak was her presentation at Sonar+D, where she identified the growing role for timbre in contemporary music production. “I think for the first time in our history now… we can make musical instruments that don’t exist.”

During the lunch break I took the opportunity to ask if this was a result of the shift to digital recording. “Yes, I think so” came the reply and toward the end of her presentation she elaborated on the shift.

Drawing on the writing of Eric Kandel, two paintings by Joseph Mallord William Turner were shown and Rogers spoke about how they were a similar scene divided by the development of photography. In ‘The Shipwreck’ from 1805 (above left), you can easily identify a boat being enveloped by the sea. While in ‘Snowstorm: Steamboat Off a Harbour’s Mouth’ from 1842 (above right), it requires some interpretation to identify the vessel among the swirling darkness of what must be raincloud and water.

The parallel with audio is that the introduction of digital recording made it easier to achieve a realistic-sounding result and now we’re hearing an approach to sound like abstract expressionism develop in reaction. Abstract art requires a viewer to actively interpret the image and now digital recordings are using abstract sounds to represent parts that were previously played by instruments.

“By dismantling performance we can find new directions,” said Susan Rogers and I marvelled at her perspective as someone who has seen the music industry change shape and can make observations from the field of psychology.

It leads me to ponder those times when I feel like a child exploring sound. How exciting it is to hear music in field recordings and now I know those landscapes travel through poppy fields in my brain.

Are you in a band?

Disquiet Junto 0387 Everything & More

The Junto this week is quite daunting, asking for participants to "Make a single piece of music using every single instrument that you have at your disposal."

It would take most of the weekend to even find all the musical instruments I own, so I've revisited a recording that uses many of them and added in some of the takes that I'd originally left out.

There are three takes of acoustic guitar, two takes of four-string guitar, one Nashville-tuned guitar, one MIDI-equipped guitar, two basses, two melodicas and two takes of drums. All are single takes, many first takes.

Disquiet Junto 0386 New Colors

The Junto this week asks for a piece of comforting music that incorporates a new form of white noise.

I've revisited a video shot at Valla Beach last year, in part because the directions reminded me of the ocean recording I'd play for my newborn children.

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.