Disquiet Junto 0560 Sonic Disambiguation


The Disquiet Junto assignment is to "Help the Wikimedia Foundation develop a sonic logo."

I've made mine from a hydrophone recording in the Lachlan River.


I’d hoped to record the platypus that I saw earlier in the weekend, but the water released from the dam had changed the conditions.

Anyway, you can hear a reverb tail using Valhalla’s Shimmer in my short piece.

Disquiet Junto 0559 Yes Exit

 
The Disquiet Junto prompt this week is to "record your own entrance tone and exit tone for conference calls."

I'm sharing a couple of chords that were recorded while on a residency at The Corridor Project in Wyangala. 

I've added a little delay after trying to gate the noise of the fridge humming in the background.

Thinking of background, dunno who made the piece on the wall but it's woven from newspaper.

Disquiet Junto 0556 Gabber Ambient


The Disquiet Junto this week asks participants to make a track that could be construed as "gabba ambient."

I had an idea to use the gabba preset in my Yamaha RMX, thinking to record it with local ambience. 

Then I remembered today is Play Music On Your Porch Day.

So I decided to play gabba on my porch.

Art installation for Burning Seed


Recently I got a grant from Burning Seed that will allow me to make a large-scale installation of wind organs.

Mail package

 

I got this wonderful-sounding box in the post.

The music in my earphones

Disquiet Junto 0553 Break That Cycle

 

The Disquiet Junto assignment this week is to "Record in a steady tempo but break it on occasion."

I've reworked an older track, taking the parts recorded on guitars and playing them through my Rolands.

You can also see the sound-activated visuals that I've been working with this week, ahead of inFREQUENCY.

Disquiet Junto 0552 The Radio in My Life

The Disquiet Junto this week asks "Record a piece of music that reproduces or otherwise suggests the sympathetic (i.e., non-intrusive) commingling of radio and everyday sound."

I've been listening to the classical radio station this year.

It started when I fatigued of hearing news headlines while driving to work.

One day I got frustrated with the repetitions of grabbed snippets, switched over to an instrumental and felt muscles relax across my brow.

When the Junto arrived I looked at the lightening sky and decided to use whatever was being broadcast after I got to Mark Taylor ovals.

Then I added subtle reverb and more birdsong.

That is a very nice looking CPU

Disquiet Junto 0551 The Bends

The Disquiet Junto assignment is to "Get less strict about something you’re strict about."

I decided to try an idea to randomly assemble lines of lyrics.

As part of my haiku-writing habit, I've collected five-syllable lines.

For this piece I printed them, then cut them out to pull from a box.

Bad Gear for birds

I love Florian Pilz' Bad Gear videos

So much that I've started making bad memes!

Disquiet Junto 0550 Abrupt Probability

The Disquiet Junto this week asks participants to "Devise a situation... that depicts randomness visually" and then to "Create an original piece of music that is an interpretation."

At least that's what I've taken from it, as I need to work in video due my own creative constraint established when I abandoned Soundcloud.

My situation depicts randomness as a lava lamp and involves using the random functions on the drum and bass machines to create an original piece of music.

I made a break in their rhythms each time the lava snapped, aside from an abrupt and random break early on.

No crowdsurfing

Disquiet Junto 0549 Sidelines

The Disquiet Junto assignment this week is to "think less about using stereo as a means to give a sense of a physical space to a recording, and more about using stereo as a compositional tool."

I toyed with a few ideas but playing drums interested me most.

My intention was to dramatically pan across the stereo field, then I re-read the prompt and realised it needed composition.

Playing around with two takes, I found it interesting to listen to their interplay.

So I layered them, then panned them to either side.

During the mixing, I found that reverb massaged them together but sorta blurred their edges.

I guess it's surprising that I took two stereo recordings towards being mono, then made them sound closer to being stereo.

First sample to be used


 

naviarhaiku443 – just before sunrise

 
The haiku shared by Naviar Records prompted me to look for the footage I shot at Valla Beach earlier this year.

Then I looked through my folder of unfinished music and found the germ for this track.

I considered how "the quiet mystery of dawn" might sit among the noisy synths and tried to find a space for it.

It's surprising how every crashing waves seems to coincide with something audible, even though the composition was largely created without looking at the video.

However, I did try to have the sun rise into frame during a quieter moment.

Mixing is tough

Disquiet Junto 0548 Drone Vox


The Junto project this week is to "Make a drone using just your voice."

I feel as though I've done similar projects before, but arrived at the idea I might create a vocal bed for a song that I might sing later.

So I tried to sing an accompaniment for that song.

I recorded four takes, but the camera battery ran out of charge during the last.

Then I panned them and added a little reverb, but decided to keep it raw.

Although the growling part early on unsettles me, there's a bit in the second half that I don't mind

Disquiet Junto 0547 Genre Melee

The Junto assignment this week is to "Combine two seemingly different genres."

I had this kinda ragtime-sounding preset from the Hainbach soundbank for the M-Tron, then thought to try and find a thick dubstep-sorta bass.

My son assures me the genre is called Ragwave, so I found some surf footage to add to it.

Never going through his computer

naviarhaiku441 – Microbiota


Naviar Records shared one of my senryu this week.

I had an idea to create a track with loops of differing lengths, then ended up improvising a melody as a single take.

The video comes from footage I shot at Griffith Regional Art Gallery as the dioramas sorta suited the idea of microbiota.

On Thin Ice is an arts-documentary collaboration between journalist and author Ginger Gorman, photographers Hilary Wardhaugh and Martin Ollman, sculptor Tom Buckland, and printmaker Jess Higgins that tells the stories of seven people who have been living with or recovering from addiction to crystal methamphetamine.

Noise artists

Disquiet Junto 0546 Code Notes

The Disquiet Junto project this week is "to compose music that includes coded information."

It brought to mind the Solfa Cipher, which converts text to MIDI.

I've entered into it a few journal entries and then set those as clarinet, organ and bass.

The drums I recorded last year, but I like the butterfly shirt as a symbol of transformation.

The title 'Backstairs' was offered by Google as a synonym for 'clandestine' but isn't one with which I'm familiar.

Disquiet Junto 0545 Unself-Awareness

When I mentioned to Marc that I'd taken note of the constructive criticism offered by the Junto last week, I think I also wrote that I'd incorporated the ideas into a new track.

So I'm only cheating a little bit by offering this new song for the Junto activity this week, as it follows the directions by choosing "feedback, and think about how you might apply it to your own music."

Which specific feedback?

See the comments quoted here.

While I rushed my Junto track last week, this time I spent a while trying to get something sorta lyrical.

The melody reminded me of the song from a blackbird during spring.

My partner isn't so keen on blackbirds, but I was pleased to see one has returned to our backyard in recent weeks.

Hope to hear him singing through the early hours when the weather eventually begins to warm again.

Spring mornings
blackbird sings
demanding sex

Divorce

Disquiet Junto 0544 Feedback Loop (Revisions)

This morning I suggested to Marc that it might be interesting to hear the tracks from the last Junto after participants had incorporated the suggestions from the community.

He agreed, although acknowledged the it couldn't be the next Junto project since it required prior engagement (and I think it's good the way the projects are open for anyone to join in).

I've gone back and reworked my track based on the following suggestions:

Apanmusic wrote:

"Really enjoyed the sounds at the very end. Perhaps that could be the basis of a mellow mid section?"

RPLKTR wrote:

"At 2:20 you’re fiddling with the drums and from then on the most interesting things happen in the track. This could start sooner, and then a comeback to the initial structure for a finale would make this track a winner. Now it disintegrates which isn’t entirely satisfying."

Tetkik.ve.tedavi wrote:

"The pad in the first half bothers me a bit for some reason (I think I intuitively want something smoother in its place.

Fakeg3nius wrote:

"I would introduce some variation on the drum/percussion."

In response I've changed the mix a bit and: 

  • put Beatrepeat on the drums;
  • brought forward the second pad;
  • started the arpeggiated synth from around 2.20, when it went into triplets, and;
  • repeated the chorus part from earlier as a finale.

 

Disquiet Junto 0544 Feedback Loop

The Junto assignment this week is to "Share music-in-progress for input from others."

I had this riff based on loops of varying lengths and quickly arranged it and ran it through the synths I have already plugged in.

Do the loops fall out of time noticeably?

Does it sustain interest?

The feedback has been positive, although I found the more critical comments most useful.

This track was kinda rushed to share and I think I would've worked on an actual melody for the fourth synth, rather than relying on the arpeggiator.

It was interesting to learn that's where the track became interesting for one commentator, who also so suggested it "disintegrates" toward the end.

I might bring the chorus-style chord progression back for more of a pop-style repeat to conclude, if I revisit this track.

Neutron bomb

Sometimes I use Izotope's Neutron and, when I find they list 808s under synth bass, it makes me wonder if I'm doing kick drums wrong.

Jazz musician explaining a chord


 

naviarhaiku439 – Tall trees gently wave


The line about the spring breeze in the haiku shared by Naviar Records suited the song I was working on.

Listening to the snail


 

naviarhaiku438 – heavy rain

There's rain forecast for this week but I couldn't wait to respond to the haiku shared by Naviar Records, so I tried to create the sound of a downpour in my piece. 

I'm coming over

Disquiet Junto 0543 Technique Check

The Disquiet Junto this week asks participants to "Share a tip from your method toolbox." 

Hopefully I haven't done this already but it's a beaut tip I learned from David Graham.

It involves writing a bassline in 3/4 to go with a track in 4/4.

The result means the bass shifts each bar.

I don't know how to say this

naviarhaiku437 – high noon

 
Sitting in Jerilderie attending to an exhibition last week gave me time to write a response to the haiku shared by Naviar Records.

I had a small MIDI keyboard with me and worked on a chord progression and melody between visitors.

On the weekend I was able to plug in a selection of Boutiques and find sounds to suit my parts, then film a video.

Vintage analog gear

Disquiet Junto 0542 2600 Club

The Disquiet Junto this week takes inspiration from phreaking and specifically the 2600Hz whistle that tricked telephone systems about 50 years ago.

The instructions don't mention Joybubbles, who discovered this hack, but I was prompted to read about his life again.

I'd remembered it was a moving obituary when I encountered it and his life has only become more poignant to me.

In part because I've spent time with a blind musician who has perfect pitch and was fascinated to learn how he'd come to terms with industrial noise.

Mostly though it was the discussion of Joybubbles retreat into childhood, which happened to a friend of mine in recent years.

So, as much as I wanted to write a tune worthy of Joybubbles aspirations, it ended up being tempered with a more sombre tone.

Rookie producers

naviarhaiku436 – lightning thunder

There was a black-out yesterday, so I turned my attention to the haiku shared by Naviar Records.

My aim was to create a bassline that sounded like thunder and a rain-like synth part to go with scattered drums.

When you are skydiving


 

Disquiet Junto 0541 10BPM Techno

The Disquiet Junto project this week involves music at ten beats per minute.

When Marc tweeted he'd misread 10PM Show as 10BPM Show, I had an idea it'd be a Junto assignment.

We did one like this a while back and I discovered that Ableton Live only went down to 20 BPM.

It turns out my JX-08 also only goes down that far.

Sorry that it sounds a bit peak-y as I plugged it straight into my camera.

Anyway, since my internet has been off all afternoon and evening, I recorded my guess of the Junto assignment and missed making a slow techno tune with crowd noise.

I've been mixing

Disquiet Junto 0540 5ive 4our

The Disquiet Junto directions this week are to make music using a 5/4 time signature. 

It took me a while to find my groove and I nearly didn't complete this project.

I've used a few of my Roland Boutiques and decided to use the SH-01A, although it's a bit noisy.

One night with Lucas Abela

Last night I drove to Wagga to see and hear Lucas Abela, famous for his performances using broken glass.

I last saw him perform during 2006, when the last of the “unfamous” Unsound Festivals was held in the city.

(The more famous Unsound is the Polish version that began as a sister event inspired by activities in Wagga and the region, that then overshadowed the original by being invited to curate performances in New York and Adelaide.)

Abela offered to talk through his modular effects before the performance and he outlined some of how his process has developed over recent years.

Back in 2006 he was known as Justice Yeldham and I think he might’ve worn a mask, but I could be getting confused with the Judge Dredd-style characters evoked by the name.

He favoured large pieces of broken window glass as his instrument, which still uses a quality contact microphone to amplify.

As an aside it’s worth considering how few contact mics were available at the time, although I’d been introduced to them by Alan Lamb at the Unsound in 2004 and worked with him for performances in 2006 (and in turn shared his insights with local artists and musicians).

Abela’s performance back then was still a noisy event, largely characterised by distortion effects and sometimes culminated with broken glass (with the risk of blood loss being part of the drama).

He mentioned something that seemed to suggest that bloody performances were a thing of the past and, I guess it might be part of performing under his own name, as his noisy act has undergone a few changes.

During the first wave of COVID-19 lockdowns, I’d watched on Facebook as Abela sold most of his guitar effects pedals and invested in establishing a modular rig.

He said he’d been resistant to modular “techno” until a friend had observed that he’d been trying to use the pedals like the wiry patch bay of synthesiser modules.

The chain saw his contact mic go into a pre-amp, which included a high-pass filter that reduced handling noise, then into a compressor and the first envelope filter (which included a low-pass filter to reduce hiss).

This envelope led into a series of delays, which broke the signal into different effects chains that included a few oscillators and further envelopes.

A key part of these parallel effects seemed to be a VCA that created a gate-like effect, accentuating percussive characters and further reducing the noise floor.

During the performance it was clear how much this new effects chain has elevated Abela’s sonic dynamics.

He sat barefoot on the Art Gallery’s lounge among the exhibition by Vic McEwan (which included a contact mic in the installation that I’d recommended to him ahead of his show in the same venue during 2012).

Abela swayed with the fluctuating delays and at times I imagined him as paddling on a dinghy into choppy waters.

The audience listened to a fluid-like improvisation that soared from low growls into cascading shrieks, with percussive interludes and surprising moments where multiple vocalisations crashed into each other and mutated with timbres.

It was wonderful to be washed over by the sound waves coming from the quadraphonic set-up and occasionally hearing the decay of notes within the acoustically bright environment of the main gallery.

When I first saw Abela perform I was more indifferent to noise as a genre of audio and now I feel as though the Unsound experiences and experimentation in my own practise has better equipped me to appreciate his art.

And it was interesting to reflect on how the influence of his visits to the city continues to reverberate. 

Disquiet Junto 0539 Control Breath

Since the Junto started being published before bedtime on Thursday, there's been Disquiet in my dreams.

This week the assignment is to "Let your slow breathing guide a piece of music" and my process involved a tale worthy of Dickens.

The Ghost of Juntos Past reminded me of project number 0219, where I'd remixed intimate breaths shared with my partner.

The Ghost of Juntos Present gave me opportunities to record today.

When I awoke I saw the gear I'd been playing yesterday, which was patched with the SE-02 take CV/gate from the TB-03.

My partner agreed to let me record her breath while I pleasured her and I thought it'd be fun to listen on repeat while I created the musical parts.

The TR-09 kept wanting to play a programmed riff, rather than the simple MIDI part to counter the TR-08 and the delay on the TR-06.

At the last minute I decided to play the laptop keyboard through the SE-02.

The Ghost of Juntos Future will likely arrive when I use the stems from the three takes for a remix.

Disquiet Junto 0538 Guided Decompression

 
The Disquiet Junto direction is "...to guide someone from a place of intense stress to something more sedate."

When the instructions arrived, I was packing ahead of driving 1000km to return from a holiday on the coast.

It felt as though I had to recover, so I drafted my ideas on Sunday and recorded them today (Monday).

naviarhaiku432 – Spring blossoms fading

The haiku shared by Naviar Records arrived as I was playing with my Roland Boutique TB-03 and TR-06, so the theme of spring growing old seemed to resonate like these recreations of older equipment.

I heard


 

Disquiet Junto 0537 Penitent Honk


The Disquiet Junto project this week asks participants to: "Think about what a car horn would sound like if it were apologizing for the driver’s actions."

I like the idea one might give a cheers-like gesture to toast a fellow road user, as a way of apologising for something.

So I created a simple melody using wine glasses.

Boutique freak

I'm late to the Boutique series of Roland's products, but have been fascinated.

The Boutique range always seemed like a reaction to the Aira series not being enough of a recreation of the classics.

Then one commentator I heard on Youtube recently explained that it required negotiating the company ethos of innovation. 

Did the Roland circuit-modelling framework provide a way for the company to look backward while moving forward?

The consumer demand for Roland classics seems a direct result of the massive influence they’ve had in popular culture.

So, in a world where Roland heritage is being raided by many competitors, it’s interesting to see the balance between outdated and new possibilities when a Boutique iteration is released.

I developed my ABS (Acquisition of Boutique Synths) after buying a TR-06 drum machine, which caught my interest for the Autechre vibe and built-in effects.

In contrast, the TR-08 that arrived secondhand soon after seemed of offer less functionality than the original drum machine.

Synths weren’t initially appealing to me, but I tried the SH-01A and loved the Chemical Brothers sound.

As I started looking around and thinking about another, I became curious why the Juno synth has had two Boutique iterations: JU-06 and JU-06A.

It’s not uncommon for products to be refreshed within short timeframes, but it seems interesting that a recreation was relaunched rather than a new firmware.

It has a switch to move between Juno-60 and -106 sounds, with the former having a wonderfully gritty low-bitrate sound that is beautifully underwhelming at recreating brass instruments.

No wonder the Juno makes me think of Zelda soundtracks.

Anyway, maybe I don’t understand building synths but it does appear that Roland are 100% behind the “limited edition” wording in the Boutique marketing.

I hope they’ll look at the ridiculous prices being published alongside TR-09s and release a new version with built-in EQ sweep effects.

Another aspect that attracted my eye is the design.

When you put a bunch of Boutiques together, have a look at the Roland logo.

As a sometime graphic designer who works with corporate style guides, it seems curious how the placement and size of the logo varies.

Then, while you’re hooking up those Boutiques that you’ve assembled, have a look at how to access a basic function like assigning MIDI channel input.

There are a different series of buttons to press, depending on the Boutique module.

While some might protest that the original hardware mightn’t have had MIDI, it’s surprising how much this aspect of the architecture varies.

It’s like each Boutique has their own character, which is the sort of thing a parent says.

When the parent is named Roland, I hope they’ll start sleeping around and create more Boutiques.

The collaboration with Studio Electronics that gave birth to the SE-02 offered the only analog Boutique, so who knows what IVF treatment could provide for Roland fanboys like me.

I was stoked to see someone had developed a mock-up of a Boutique modelled on the TR-707 (with a switch for 727 sounds!) and hope that Roland will announce this product.