naviarhaiku542 – sudden dazzling glare

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week led me to pick up my guitar.

I've been jamming with a drum machine and a couple of Chase Bliss pedals, so I recorded a couple of takes and this is the second.

The Beastie Boys


Disquiet Junto 0647 Day Drone

The Junto project this week is to "Make some daylight drones for Drone Day."

This took me about five minutes.

My son dismissed the results as "New Age-y" but that seemed appropriate to me.

The video shows a pair of Rainbow Lorikeets that were at the Museum the other week, which is a bit unusual but not the first time I've seen this species in the Riverina.

Not everyone is an artist

Disquiet Junto 0646 Empty Orchestra

The Disquiet Junto prompt this week is to interpret the literal translation of “karaoke.” 

This idea of an an 'empty orchestra' led me to share a track that I sequenced using MIDI in Ableton Live.

It has some orchestral instruments, particularly viola and cello, as well as being empty through not featuring human musicians.

I've used a short video from a rockpool at Valla Beach to add interest.

This is about me


naviarhaiku541 – heat in waves


This haiku shared by Naviar Records led me back to a track I recorded weeks ago.

At the time the delay felt overdone, but the waves of heat as angry reverberations made it seem appropriate for this.

Electrical engineer


Warren Ellis on sandwiches

If I had a sandwich named after me, I think that would be the height of my career. Who wouldn’t want a sandwich named after them? I do like a straight butter and banana sandwich. It’s incredible. That was one of the culinary highlights of my childhood, with a tin of tomato soup. My father swore the greatest sandwich that he had in his life was whipped cream, banana and sliced ham. I don’t eat meat so I would say whipped cream and banana on a pillowy white bread. 

Disquiet Junto 0645 Speed Trap

The Junto prompt this week is:

Record something, slow it down, and then record over it.

I took an unused take of the drums from last week, then added tenor guitar and upright electric.

The tenor was recorded through Chase Bliss Audio Condor Mk.I and Warped Vinyl Mk.II pedals, then I added a tape-style delay while mixing.

Where cicada noise really comes from

Music wants to be free

"People think you’re a weirdo if your happiness doesn’t depend on the size of your bank account. So you must have balls of steel to do arts. It’s not that bad if you have a few like-minded people around, though.”

Music has always had the tantalising effect of being simultaneously within reach and yet unachievable.

Before Thomas Edison developed and marketed the technology to record sound, music was captured in notation and sheet music and it was a big business.

The concept of musical copyright had its beginnings in the reign of King Henry VIII of England (1491-1547) who licensed the printing of music.

This means that for centuries, if you had a favourite song, you either had to play it yourself or be fortunate enough to pay someone else.

Otherwise you might only hear the song maybe a few times in your whole life.

Then Edison's inventions led from wax cylinders to the discs that were an actual record of the session where the musicians played together.

After the Second World War a new market category developed, where teenagers with disposable incomes became a focus of the recording industry and a genre now known as Rock n' Roll developed.

I have a theory that the introduction of tape as a recording medium played a role, particularly the saturation on transients like the drum hits and expressive singing.

Then guitarists wanted that energy and it went from The Kinks cutting their speakers with razor blades to the development of distortion effects for Black Sabbath.

In many ways Rock n' Roll became the model for subsequent genres, particularly the structures used for popular music but also the marketing.

There was your basic 12-bar blues, if you weren't afraid of "black" music, as well as the Skiffle phenomenon that might've given musicians like Jimmy Page an introduction to playing an instrument before he took inspiration from those earlier Blues songs.

In my lifetime I've heard rap music starting to use choruses through the influence of LL Cool J and producer Rick Rubin, through to rave music similarly adopting these song structures as it moves from illegal gatherings to nightclubs and then TV advertising.

I suspect it was these structures that gave new sounds a recogniseable shape for the ears of consumers. 

This will be the challenge for musicians, balancing the strangeness of new sounds with serving it up in a shape that can fit the model of a song.

Now our lives are so saturated with music that it's not surprising to see the market is reluctant to pay for this product unless they're convinced it is a rare and peak experience, which might be marketing.

So I sympathise with those musicians who find their investment in producing a cultural product is offering diminishing returns.

However, I wonder whether we aren't seeing a return to earlier forms of music consumption.

Back to a time when music was almost incidental to most lives in the sense that peak live experiences of a favourite song were limited.

As well as recorded music offering little return, but maybe there'll be new models of patronage.

Music has played a role in human life forever and that is not going away.

This means the opportunities for many professional musicians are likely peripheral to their own aspirations, such as the local identity who runs the musical instrument shop.

Or someone like me who is making sense of the Edison-branded wax cylinders in a community museum.

We can take our love of music and find the ways it opens opportunities to learn.

Playing music is a wonderful social experience and maybe it's misleading to think we should be monetising all of our passions?

Home taping is killing music


Disquiet Junto 0644 Event Horizon


The Junto project is to record music for a party and it happened to coincide with my family leaving me at home alone.

That would’ve been my cue to have a party, but I had responsibilities such as packing an exhibition and pitching a TED talk.

I’d been looking for an opportunity to record the drum kit, which will be moved in the next month so we can use the fire when the cold weather starts.

When the Junto instructions arrived I had the chorus riff, so set about adding a couple of chords for the verses and wrote lyrics on Friday.

Then I quickly MIDI’d a sketch to play along with and recorded the drums and guitar on Saturday morning.

I gave myself three takes for each and edited these to record the bass and vocals today.

There’s a bit of editing to smooth out my performances, as well as adding a second guitar part and double-tracked chorus from earlier takes.

My plan was to record a blues track, as I’ve been thinking about Ethan Hein’s song lesson in recent weeks and bending notes.



Disquiet Junto 0643 Stone Out of Focus

The Disquiet Junto this week takes inspiration from Yoko Ono, who wrote “Take the sound of the stone aging.”

I've used the gear that I brought on holiday to the coast and thought about the stones along the beach.

These will give a crunchy sound and glisten in the most beautiful colours, which become muted by the time I bring them back to the house.

The guitar swells like the surf and I gated the 303-style bass to bring the rhythm back to a slower pace, like a geological scale.

Then I took the MIDI part and ran it through a Live preset with gold in the title.

1998 prank


naviarhaiku538 – Only the moon remains

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week is shortened from a renga with a devastating image of death in a tidal river.

I found myself thinking about the pummelling of the surf, while jamming on the gear that I brought along to my holiday at the coast.


Bit cute and a really good fuzz pedal.

The tone was thick and the lift switch brought in the higher frequencies, but my fretless sounded better without those.

naviarhaiku537 – Deep in the mountains

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week was written in the 15th Century, which is kinda mind-blowing.

I've been on holiday at the beach and had recorded the chords using a Jamstik guitar, sending the MIDI to Ableton Live's electric keyboard instrument.

It's been a rainy day today, so I arranged those parts and then recorded my upright bass.

This is about the sixth take and I think I was getting a bit carried away as the bass part is probably too busy.

Anyway, it's been fun to make music and it helps justify all the equipment I packed!

Drum and bass


Disquiet Junto 0642 Kick from Champagne

The Disquiet Junto project this week invites participants to make a techno track using kick drums made from the sound of something carbonated.

It stumped me for a few hours, as I'm on holiday at the coast and wasn't sure I could record a good pop even if I had a bottle of sparkling wine.

Then I remembered and downloaded:


These were edited in Ableton Live and used only the effects within that software.

I found the sparkling pops worked for the snare sound and also the bass part, but there was a sample of Clive putting down some bit of equipment that gave an okay kick sound.

With that in mind it's interesting that two of the three videos compared the pop of the cork to a farting noise.

After shaping up the loops and getting a rhythm going, I gave the track structure in Live's Arrangement view and added the vocal part since I liked Clive's commentary.

Kids these days


Deep listening to nature

Recently I heard a talk from Andrew Skeoch about his field recordings.

It was a thoughtful presentation that opened with audio he’d captured of the dawn chorus of birds in Victorian bushland.

Andrew shared a spectrogram with the birdcalls that showed their frequencies and then identified specific bird species to discuss their evolution and how this shaped their communications.

A cuckoo, for example, had a deeper call to reach other cuckoos as they were more geographically isolated species.

Other species engaged in a call and response that saw their birdsongs adapt to new melodies, which reflected my own recent experiences whistling with Pied Butcherbirds.

He spoke on the way some sounds will evade detection, while others include transients that help identify the location of the bird.

As the presentation neared the conclusion, Andrew reflected on the subjective experience of time to consider how different species in the landscape operate in different speeds.

He speculated that dragonflies, for example, live at a pace over a hundred times faster than humans.

To illustrate his point he slowed down the birdcall (but maintained pitch) of a small bird to demonstrate how more emotive their sequence sounded when we could identify the micro-phrases that constituted it.

The broader argument of his presentation, Andrew explained, was to help people recognise their place within the environment and he said there were many more observations with audio files to hear in the book he was promoting.

As he ended Andrew played the recording again and this seemed magic the way it illustrated how much we'd learned since first hearing it.

I really enjoyed hearing his perspective and am grateful for the Murrumbidgee Field Naturalists for inviting Andrew to visit Leeton. 

So my humming


Disquiet Junto 0641 Re-re-re-re-revise

The Junto this week is to revise a recent track.

Lately I've been challenging myself to work in different time signatures, so this isn't the best example but maybe that's why it stood out. 

After I'd tried permutations that made lottery numbers look sequential, I found myself pondering whether I'd lost something pursuing needless complexity in my compositions. 

So I put together this track quickly and used the M-Tron VST for inspiration, particularly the disco bassline and a choir shaped the chord sequence. 

When the Junto instructions arrived I decided to run the four MIDI parts through my Roland Boutique rack. I've got a lot of the Boutique range but mostly use the TR-06, JU-06, JX-08 and SE-02. 

I found presets that sounded okay and then began experimenting with the arpeggiator and delay settings. Somewhere I found that fuzzy Juno button and then I realised the song needed more space for the delay, so I changed the sequence. 

And I've been pondering that news from Cechnya about legislating tempo and realised this song would fail their censorship, although it means no harm to the Checnyan peoples. 

This is the fourth take and it was the first where the feedback didn't totally get away from me.

I can't believe it's not synthesis

The song of the Antrarctic Weddell seal is wild! 

You can see they have a massive range in the spectogram showing a big drop, so clearly their song has range as lower pitches use more energy.

Listening to it and I sense the reverberance of their singing underwater, that's the metallic ringing effect.

It might be clicks that become like lazer gun sounds, the latter being made tapping on metal wires so it might be the soundwave bouncing back through the water from the ice?

Wonder if this is their dawn chorus or maybe a seasonal song?

World's first drum machine


naviarhaiku535 – Come outside

While I wasn't thinking specifically about the haiku shared by Naviar Records, I wrote a lot of lyrics along similar themes.

Get this party started

Disquiet Junto 0640 Time Vault

The Junto this week is a surprising twist on the idea of a creative constraint.

It asks participants to hand over a track for eight months time!

So I got enthusiastic and misread the instruction for a “wordless” piece, but that’s okay I’ll use the track I wrote elsewhere but I made a demo.

As it is I have a different idea for a track that I desperately need to stop myself from whistling.

It’s the call of the Pied Butcherbirds, which I adore hearing at Griffith Pioneer Park Museum.

Over the last year I’ve recorded a few times where we exchange melodic phrases.

However, I shared these with the local Field Nats and heard in response that it is unethical to distract birds.

The argument is that wasting the birds time is not cool and actually I can dig it.

So here is a track I’ve made with my final Butcherbird whistling recording.

In it you can see the point where I realise that my provocations are crashing their party.

You can’t see but there were two birds basically finishing each other’s sentences.

Then I begin parroting them.

At one point I think one bird flies overhead to give me a stern look.

You gotta feel


naviarhaiku534 – Pre-dawn inertia

Marco from Naviar Records shared this haiku and, after I'd been jamming with the guitar, a few lines came to me.

The pre-dawn inertia that he identifies is a thing and also a rich metaphor, but I took it as a thing.


I think it was among Tim Prebble's Detritus that I saw this

It was saved to my folder of music memes, but the more I look at it that the more it makes new meaning.

So many recordings I've over-twiddled with settings, so opening a round of Solitaire to occupy away some thought makes a lot of sense to me.

Disquiet Junto 0638 Center (3 of 3)


For the Disquiet Junto project this week I added to recordings from previous weeks. 

Drums seemed an obvious contribution to make and, after listening through the tracks, I settled on 'Ataxophobia' by Encym and Jimmy Lem.

It took me a while to realise that I'd used Encym's track the week earlier, but by then I was almost finished.

naviarhaiku532 – Wordless


I liked the image of following a butterfly's shadown in the haiku shared by Naviar Records.

It'd be great to be able to film that movement, but it seems like it'd require some time in my garden.

Maybe that'd be a good thing, as it's starting to feel like autumn.

Anyway, this track is an example of my recent interest in 6/4 time signatures.

A sound recipe

Fragments of Eduard Artemyev's score for the film "Solaris" for ANS synthesizer.


Disquiet Junto 0637 Right (2 of 3)


I've recorded a bass part to accompany 'Neat Disorder' by encym. 

Then I added a bass part to Undermulden's 'Splong'.

Disquiet Junto 0636 Left (1 of 3)

The Disquiet Junto project this week is to "Record the first third of a trio."

Drums are a good place to start and I've been jamming along with a pop song this week.

So I quickly set up a Rode NT4 mic for overheads and used a bass speaker to record the kick.

These will be made available for the Junto to add parts in coming weeks.



Is Google broken?

Went looking for one of my videos yesterday and Google had nothing.

It seems remarkable that I've had the URL for around two decades and used Blogger for almost as long and been on Youtube since 2006 or so.

Then again, maybe it's that their algorithm prioritises recent content.

So now I'm wondering if I should remaster my older material and re-upload it?

I can accept that not many people are looking for Bassling videos, but it's important for me that they can be found.

As a regional artists it makes it very difficult to convince funding bodies to support my projects if the dominant search engine hides my material.

I'm sorry that

Disquiet Junto 0635 ’Round the Bend

The Disquiet Junto project this week is to imagine your bandmate is a train.

For various reasons I decided to use my own recording of a passing diesel locomotive. 

This recording was made at Ramponi Park about a dozen years ago.

Ableton Live decided the tempo was around 122 BPM and I wanted a nostalgic sorta vibe.

Originally the chords were played with Live's vibraphone instrument, as I saw a performance last weekend that used this instrument.

Then, as I decided on the vibe (no pun intended), I swapped it for M-Tron Pro and also used that VST for the melody.

Old Macdonald had a theremin


naviarhaiku529 – A distant mountain


The haiku shared by Naviar Records arrived as I was attempting to make Tchaikovsky in the style of Walter Murphy.

Might yet add a disco-style bass part.

I don't always

Disquiet Junto 0634 Bust a Move


One of my biggest music influences is the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. 

When I got that as a kid, it blew my mind how funky a movie could be. 

There are a couple of classics interpreted as disco numbers, so I took that idea as inspiration and made this track with Swan Lake.

Anyway, as I was exporting the track, I had a doubt about whether I'd honoured the Junto prompt. 

Maybe it's a guilty conscience for uploading an old track last week, but I decided to do something different. 

So the track at the top of my post was recorded quickly. I set up my camera and used the built-in mic, recording from the kitchen sink into the dodgy extension on the house where the drum kit seems to sound great (maybe it's the low ceiling?). 

 I've been enjoying hearing Schubert's waltzes, so I found one on Youtube and kept everything muffled with the window closed while I beat the drums hard.

naviarhaiku528 – What’s a month for the sea


The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week had me looking for a frosty synth sound.

I'd already programmed a few ideas and then set about helping them to work with each other.


Disquiet Junto 0633 Voice Swap

The Disquiet Junto project this week involves substituting singing for instruments, so I've turned back to a piece where I replaced those early vocal parts.

'Alright' appeared with a mix by DJ Pnutz on my album SING, as well as in previous Junto projects in various guises.

It was just waiting to be revisited and returned to a full acapella-style piece.

You spent all this time

I like a Leo meme as much as the next guy and it's refreshing that he isn't holding a drink!

However, this one mistakes the process for the product.

For me the hours are spent making a recording that puts me into a trancelike state that is deeply enjoyable. 

Often it would be best to give it another day, but that usually feels like I might be wasting my time since there's always more to record. 

So I will return to the things that remain strongest at some point in the future, when I revisit tracks to compile an album.



Disquiet Junto 0632 Shear Wind

A funny thing happened along the way to finishing this track. 

I set out yesterday to record sheer wind noise. 

It's something I rarely do and the result seemed underwhelming. 

The microphone mightn't have been plugged in, but the noise was more mechanical most of the time and the wind noise was mostly insignificant. 

So I gated the peaks and used Live to set the BPM and make a drum part from the field recording. 

Along the way I made a different track with a field recording that totally lacked shear wind noise and began wondering if this track was, well, off track for the Junto. 

Then I went back and re-read the Disquiet instruction and realised I had followed the purpose, particularly this bit: "a noise you didn’t notice until you listened back, or a malfunction in the recording equipment." 

The grunting bike noise propels one track in a pack of rhythms and, while it's not wind shear, I followed the direction to make music with the resulting recording.

Making music on a computer


naviarhaiku527 – ore train

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week reminded me of a recording I'd made at the Museum.

Here the rhythm of the motor reminds me of the way a train rolls.