Disquiet Junto Project 0065: Piano Overlay

The Assignment: Compose music atop a randomly assigned segment of a pre-existing track by Jared Brickman.


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.

Every Disquiet Junto project is about restraint, and yet every Disquiet Junto project is also about risk. Specifically, it’s about musicians taking the risk of sharing work that might not fit their overall impression of their own musical approach, and it’s about musicians taking the risk of sharing work that might not feel complete, given the nature of the given assignment and of the tight deadline. But the Junto is a risk from a broader vantage, too; in my role as administer of the group, I occasionally take risks by challenging my philosophical sense of the group’s defining characteristics. I’ve been hesitant, for example, to introduce a project that might in any way give the potential participant concern based on their work having some role beyond its own completion. This has been because, in the end, the Disquiet Junto is about being an engine to get people to make music and to challenge themselves, and one way to accomplish that is to limit any opportunities for them second-guessing themselves. But as the Junto has grown, the nature of the collaborative effort inherent in it has become more clear to me, and I’ve come to realize that the collaborative goal of a project like this week’s — in which I will likely combine all the finished pieces into one longer piece — might serve as a form of encouragement unto itself. In any case, like every Disquiet Junto project, this week’s is an experiment.

Major thanks to Ken Mistove (of kenzak.com), a frequent Junto participant, for coding the browser-based tool that assigns segments of the source track for this week’s project. We’ll be employing a variation on his tool again in the near future.

This assignment was made in the mid-afternoon, California time, on Thursday, March 28, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, April 1, 2013, as the deadline. (Given that the deadline occurs on April Fools’ Day, I will go the extra step of stating that this event has nothing to do with April Fools’ Day.)

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0065: Piano Overlay

This week’s project’s theme is asynchronous collaboration — in other words, making things together separately. We will make new compositions based on short, discrete, randomly assigned segments of a single, 60-minute piano composition. Collectively these will form a longer, collaborative suite.

These are the steps:

Step 1: You will be making a piece of music by adding new sounds to a pre-existing track. You can download that pre-existing track, an original piano composition by Jared Brickman, here:

Step 2: When you go to the following URL, at kenzak.com, you will be assigned, immediately, a specific section of the longer Brickman piece. This kenzak.com URL will randomly pull up two pieces of information. The first piece of information is the start point of your segment. The second is the length of your segment (which will be between 1 and 4 minutes):


One note: There will be overlap between assigned pieces. This was a conscious decision, informed by the overall theme of overlaying, which is explained further in step 4, below.

Step 3: Extract your assigned segment from the pre-existing track.

Step 4: Compose a new piece of music by adding elements to the pre-existing track. You can add anything you choose, with the exception of voice. Limit yourself to two additional elements. The original track should be audible throughout your new composition.

Deadline: Monday, April 1, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work should be the length determined in step 2 above.

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: The title of your track should begin with its start point. Also include the term “disquiet0065-pianoverlay”in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track. Your track might be titled “05:35 My Song (disquiet0065-pianoverlay)” or “34:30 Dueling Keyboards (disquiet0065-pianoverlay)” — just to provide two examples.

Download: Please set your track in a manner that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution). I’d like to potentially combine all the pieces into a single composition, and this license would allow me to do so easily.

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

More on this 65th Disquiet Junto project at:

Disquiet Junto Project 0065: Piano Overlay

More on the source composition by Jared Brickman at:

The browser-based tool that segmented the Brickman track for this project was coded by Disquiet Junto member Ken Mistove, more from whom at:


More details on the Disquiet Junto at:


4 thoughts on “Disquiet Junto Project 0065: Piano Overlay

  1. Ah, what an interesting idea! I just listened to this piece earlier today as well. This will be the first time I contribute to the project :)

    ps: I’ve just recently following Disquiet and it has been incredibly inspiring. Keep up the great work

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