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Disquiet Junto Project 0067: Odyssey Machine

The Assignment: Compose music for a phrase from Homer's The Odyssey.


Each Thursday at the Disquiet Junto group on 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 mid-afternoon, California time, on Thursday, April 11, with 11:59pm on the following Monday, April 15, 2013, as the deadline.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at

Disquiet Junto Project 0067: Odyssey Machine

This week’s project is an adaptation of the ongoing National Poetry Month project at SoundCloud. The Junto will, collectively, produce new fragments of The Odyssey of Homer. A die and access to text-to-speech software are required. There are seven steps.

These are the steps:

Step 1: Roll a die twice (or two dice once) and add the results. This number will tell you which of the first dozen books of The Odyssey by Homer you will be working from.

Step 2: Roll a die three times (or three dice once) and multiply the results (i.e., if you get a 3, a 5, and a 6, then 3 x 5 x 6 = 90). This will tell you which line of the book from Homer’s Odyssey you will be working with.

Step 3: Locate that line in the version of The Odyssey at this URL:

Step 4: Select the phrase that begins at your assigned line and ends with the next full stop (that is, with the next period) in the text.

Step 5: Record the selected text as audio using an automated text-to-speech tool. You can alter this text in any way you choose, but make certain that it remains inteligble.

Step 6: Record a new piece of background music for the spoken text. The sole source material for this background music should be the audio that resulted from step 5. You can transform the source audio in any way you choose. You can add up to three full seconds at the beginning and end of the spoken audio to allow for the music to build up and to fade out.

Step 7: This is the final step. Combine the audio from steps 5 and step 6 into one track, adjusting the relative volume levels as necessary.

Deadline: Monday, April 15, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your finished work will be the length of or a few seconds longer than the track that resulted from step 5 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 be formatted as “National Poetry Month: [Your Name] (disquiet0067-odysseymachine)”— with, needless to say, your name in place of Your Name. Dispense with the brackets, too. Also, please additionally tag your track with the “oneliner”tag, which is part of National Poetry Month project.

Download: Please consider setting your track in a manner that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Also: Please consider doing this as well: Join the group at and share the track there.

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

More on this 67th Disquiet Junto project at:

Disquiet Junto Project 0067: Odyssey Machine

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

This project was inspired by the National Poetry Month event at SoundCloud, more details on which here:

The source text for this project is William Cowper’s translation of The Odyssey of Homer, available here:

Image of Homer up top from

By Marc Weidenbaum

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  • about

  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website 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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