Disquiet Junto F.A.Q.

Frequently asked questions about the communal music-making group

This was most recently updated on 2023.02.26. New and edited information is marked with a bold plus sign (+).

Q: What is the Disquiet Junto? A: The Disquiet Junto is a group in which musicians respond to weekly, fast-turnaround projects to compose, record, and share new music. The idea is to use the constraints inherent in these assignments as a springboard for creativity.

Q: How long has the group been around? A: The first Junto project began on the first Thursday of January 2012, and the series has continued weekly since then.

Q: Is there a list of all the projects? A: Yes. Here: “Disquiet Junto Project List.”

Q: Is there an email list for announcements? A: Yes. To subscribe and unsubscribe, go to: tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto.

+ Q: How does the group work? A: A new project is announced each Thursday — usually shortly after midnight, California time — and it is due the following Monday by 11:59pm (that’s 11:59pm wherever you happen to be). You can post your track anywhere. Most participants upload to Soundcloud. There’s also discussion at llllllll.co, and on the Junto Slack.

Q: Do I need to participate every week? A: Gosh no. There is no intent to pressure anyone to do any more than they have time for.

+ Q: Can I post more than one track for a project? A: No, please. Just focus your efforts on one track. (That said, there may be occasional Junto projects for which you will be asked to do more than one track, but that will be part of a specific assignment.)

+ Q: Is a SoundCloud account necessary? A: No. A SoundCloud account is helpful. However, it isn’t required. The Junto started on SoundCloud, but these days people also post on YouTube and Bandcamp, among other places. Also, some people just do the projects for themselves and don’t share them online, which is perfectly fine. The main reason people use SoundCloud for the Junto currently is because a playlist is produced for each weekly project to collect the related tracks.

Q: I’m excited to participate, but I don’t want listeners to confuse my Disquiet Junto projects with my “real” music/sound work. Any suggestions? A: Certainly. Variations on this question have been raised by many participants in the Disquiet Junto projects. Someone who makes minimal techno or singer-songwriter music or chamber music might not want listeners to their SoundCloud (or other platform) accounts have the listening experience broken up by remixed Thomas Edison cylinder or autobiographical spoken word recordings or any other number of incongruous project-derived tracks. The best option may be to create a separate SoundCloud (etc.) account for your Junto projects.

Q: Do I need to do this alone? A: These can be group projects, certainly. You needn’t work by yourself, though that appears to be the most common approach by Junto members. (And there will be some projects in which collaboration is actively required.)

Q: What is a “junto”? A: The word comes from the name of a society that Benjamin Franklin formed in Philadelphia during the early 1700s as “a structured forum of mutual improvement.”

+ Q: How about “disquiet”? A: The word is borrowed from the writing of Fernando Pessoa, specifically his The Book of Disquiet (original title in Portuguese: Livro do Desassossego: Composto por Bernardo Soares, ajudante de guarda-livros na cidade de Lisboa). That book lent its name to the website Disquiet.com, founded in 1996, of which the Disquiet Junto, founded in 2012, was something of a natural evolution.

Q: Does my track have to be “ambient”? A: No, not by any means. That mode, broadly defined, will likely be a not uncommon approach for participants, but it won’t be the only one.

+ Q: Does my track have to be “electronic music”? A: Certainly not.

+ Q: What is “electronic music”? A: Anything you might want it to be. Drones, beats, drones with beats, abstract, melodic, tuneful, discordant, phonographic, synthesized. Go for it — or do something else entirely.

Q: Is there any restriction on length? A: Not necessarily. It depends on the project. Some will stipulate length. Others won’t.

Q: Do I have to set my track to be downloadable? A: You don’t have to, but it would be appreciated. Also, some assignments may involve remixing previous project entries, and if your track isn’t downloadable, it won’t be easily remix-able.

+ Q: How can I communicate with other Junto people off of Soundcloud? There’s a lot of Junto activity on Twitter (though I’ve been taking a break from Twitter lately; I’m more active on Mastodon these days). We correspond on the Lines (llllllll.co) discussion board. There’s also a Junto Slack (email [email protected] for instructions on how to join).

Q: Are those really the only questions? A: So far.

Q: What if I have more questions? A: Get in touch with Disquiet Junto founder Marc Weidenbaum, at [email protected]

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