My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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“Six-String Buddha”

A looped ambient guitar track I recorded for the 189th weekly Disquiet Junto project

I set out to make my own version of a Buddha Machine loop: a short phrase that loops over and over, yet is “ambient” enough that it can settle into the background. This one-minute track was recorded on my electric guitar, with no effects except for a little delay that’s built into my amplifier. I used the guitar’s volume knob to remove any sense of the attack when I hit the string: I hit the string with the volume at 0, and only then began to turn the knob up slowly to 10. I also nudged the volume control from 10 back down to 0 to accelerate the end of the tone, but sometimes I let it fade out on its own. The whole thing is comprised entirely of single extended notes, probably 20 separate instances in total. I lost count. There is no evidence of the accrual process in this recording. That is, no notes are added as it proceeds. I didn’t hit “record” until the full set was layered and complete, and then I just let it play on repeat. The looper is the introductory-level Ditto from TC Electronics. The amp is a Roland Micro Bass Cube. I used a Zoom H4N to record it, with the mic about a foot from the amp. I edited it in Audacity simply to trim the length and introduce a gentle fade-in and fade-out at the beginning and end. The guitar is a 2005 Fender Stratocaster (made in Corona, California) that I bought for myself last week as a birthday present, after playing ukulele for five years.

Thanks to Disquiet Junto regular Rupert Lally for advice on the volume control, advice that contributed to the development of this project.

This was recorded for the 189th weekly Disquiet Junto project. Though I created the Junto series and moderate the projects each week, this is only, I believe, the second or third project I’ve actually contributed a track to.

More on this 189th Disquiet Junto project (“Create a dense stack of attack-free tonal material from one audio source”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/08/13/disquiet0189-tonelayer/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

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Disquiet Junto Project 0189: Tone Layer

Create a dense stack of attack-free tonal material from one audio source.

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Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 13, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 17, 2015.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0189: Tone Layer
Create a dense stack of attack-free tonal material from one audio source.

This project involves layering loops, or a loop of layers. It’s preferable that you do so with live looping, allowing the layers to accrue in real time. However, if live looping is not a capacity of yours, then feel free, certainly, to layer them in Audacity or by some other means.

These are the steps:

Step 1: Choose an instrument that can create extended tones.

Step 2: Record a short loop of a single held tone on that instrument. Use a volume pedal or other tool to eliminate the attack at the start of the tone.

Step 3: Create many more such loops, all with the same instrument, and layer them atop the original loop.

Step 4: Record a document of these layered loops lasting approximately 1 minute.

Step 5: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 13, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 17, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work should be roughly one minute.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0189-tonelayer” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 189th Disquiet Junto project (“Create a dense stack of attack-free tonal material from one audio source”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/08/13/disquiet0189-tonelayer/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Image associated with this project by Nicholas D., and used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/ca1iLd

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Disquiet Junto Project 0188: Complex Complex

Take a provided track and make it more complex.

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Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

Tracks will be added to this setlist for the duration of the project:

This assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 6, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 10, 2015.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0188: Complex Complex
Take a provided track and make it more complex.

This project was proposed by Guy Birkin and Jay Bodley (aka Sun Hammer). It extends the thinking that went into their album Complexification, released by the record label Entr’acte. (There’s more background on album below the project description.)

These are the steps for this project:

Step 1: Pick one of the two tracks at the following URL: https://goo.gl/tN4Oit.

Step 2: Modify that one track in any way, using as much or little of it as you like, to make a new piece that sounds “more complex” than the original. You may add other sounds. (Note: You are free to use any definition or measure of “complexity.” You should be sure to describe your process and how it “increases” the complexity of the original track.)

Step 3: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 4: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, August 6, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 10, 2015.

Background: The album Complexification by Guy Birkin and Sun Hammer “explores musical complexity through a collaborative process based on a set of rules.” Those rules involved the two musicians swapping successive copies of a track in order to make it progressively more “complex.” For their purposes, they defined “complexity” as follows: “In this project, complexity is understood in terms of the quantity and variety of musical elements or patterns. The result is two parallel threads of music, each representing a progression of increasing complexity.”

Length: The length of your finished work is up to you.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and be sure to include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0188-complexcomplex” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 188th Disquiet Junto project (“Take a provided track and make it more complex”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/08/06/disquiet0188-complexcomplex/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Image associated with this project from the notes that accompany the album Complexification (Entr’acte), by Guy Birkin and Sun Hammer, and on which project is based.

More on Complexification:

http://entracte.co.uk/projects/guy-birkin–sun-hammer-e187/

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Disquiet Junto Project 0187: Three Strands

Shift between three renditions of the same melody.

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Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, July 30, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 3, 2015.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0187: Three Strands
Shift between three renditions of the same melody.

Step 1: Choose a simple melody/song/rhythm of your own creation, or that is in the public domain (or that is available thanks to an appropriate Creative Commons license).

Step 2: Record yourself performing the melody/song/rhythm from Step 1 three times, each time with a different instrument or set of instruments. Each of the three resulting tracks should be the same length, at least a full minute. (A single track can be a concatenation of multiple copies of the same recording of the segment — you don’t have to play it straight through for the full minute.)

Step 3: Make a new recording of the three tracks playing simultaneously. The only thing you can do throughout is shift between the tracks, playing either one of them, two of them, or all three of them at the same time. You can shift every few bars, or at a granular level, or anywhere in between — either with a concerted rhythmic purpose, or at random. The decisions you make about these shifts constitute the core compositional decisions you’ll make for this project.

Step 4: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the evening, California time, on Thursday, July 30, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, August 3, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work is up to you, but it should be at least a minute.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0187-threestrands” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 187th Disquiet Junto project (“Shift between three renditions of the same melody”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/07/30/disquiet0187-threestrands/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Image associated with this project by Brian Hefele, used courtesy of a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/aD2Ehg

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Disquiet Junto Project 0186: My Name

Explore the sonic contours of a word you've spelled out loud frequently: your name.

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Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate.

Tracks will be added to this playlist for the duration of the project:

This assignment was made in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, July 23, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, July 27, 2015.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0186: My Name
Explore the sonic contours of a word you’ve spelled out loud frequently: your name.

These are the steps in this week’s project, which is a micro-exploration of the techniques employed by the composer Scott Johnson. It’s also about various spectra of repetition.

Step 1: Record the sound of you spelling your own name. Best to do just one word, either your first name or last name — whichever you’ve been more likely to enunciate clearly over the years.

Step 2: Slow the recording just a bit, to maybe 75% of the original speed. Adjust to your own taste, but don’t slow it too much: Your name should still be “audibly legible.”

Step 3: Listen very closely to the segment. Note the melodic shape, the rhythm, the inherent grace moments, other granular aspects specific to how you say your name.

Step 4: Record a short piece of music that emulates those shapes, that rhythm, those grace moments, and so forth.

Step 5: Set a loop of the newly composed piece of music over a loop of you repeating your name. Repeat for between 30 seconds and a minute.

Step 6: Go back and tweak the composed music over the length of the work.

Step 7: Set it so that the volume of you saying your name decreases, so that by the end of the length of the piece your name is no longer audible, with just the music remaining.

Step 8: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.

Step 9: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This assignment was made in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, July 23, 2015, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, July 27, 2015.

Length: The length of your finished work is up to you, but a length between one and two minutes is recommended.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this assignment, and include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto. Photos, video, and lists of equipment are always appreciated.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0186-myname” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: It is preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 186th Disquiet Junto project (“Explore the sonic contours of a word you’ve spelled out loud frequently: your name”) at:

http://disquiet.com/2015/07/23/disquiet0186-myname/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://disquiet.com/junto/

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

http://disquiet.com/forums/

Image associated with this post by Yersinia Pestis and used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/68iWut

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