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Disquiet Junto Project 0049: Deck Duet

The Assignment: Make a track, 50% of which is the sound of a tape cassette deck in motion.

Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com 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.

The assignment was made in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, December 6, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, December 10, as the deadline. (There are no translations this week.)

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0049: Deck Duet

This week’s project explores the unique sonic attributes of what has come to be thought of as tape cassette culture. Specifically, we’ll be focusing on the sound of the tape cassette deck: the rhythm inherent in its motor, its gears, its rotation. This project will require access to a tape cassette deck — preferably, but not necessarily, one that records as well as plays.

There are three steps to this project. The third step has two options.

Step 1: Record the sound of your tape deck in play mode. Make note of the rhythm inherent in your tape deck: at what BPM does it progress?

Step 2: Create a short new piece of music — simple, atmospheric, lightly rhythmic — that has the same BPM as the tape deck.

Step 3: Make a recording that combines your new piece of music and the sound of the tape cassette deck at close to equal volume. Almost certainly, the rhythm of the deck and the rhythm of your composition won’t match up exactly. (You can accomplish this in one of two ways. You can simply combine the two recordings into one — or, more complexly, you can record your track to a cassette and play it back on your deck, in order to record the music and the deck simultaneously; adjusting the volume in this scenario will be complicated, but the rhythmic discrepancies might end up with more nuance.)

Deadline: Monday, December 10, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be between 1 and 4 minutes in length.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, 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.

Title/Tag: When adding your track to the Disquiet Junto group on Soundcloud.com, please include the term “disquiet0049-deckduet”in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: For this project, your track should be set as downloadable, and allow for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons License permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

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

More on this 49th Disquiet Junto project at:

Disquiet Junto Project 0049: Deck Duet

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

Photo by Chris Dlugosz, via flickr.com.

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website Disquiet.com in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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