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.