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Monthly Archives: February 2016

Disquiet Junto Project 0217: Form Song

The Assignment: Take an existing assemblage of rhythm and tone and turn it into verse/chorus/verse.


Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on and at, 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. There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

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

This project was posted around noon, California time, on Thursday, February 25, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 29, 2016.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0217: Form Song
The Assignment: Take an existing assemblage of rhythm and tone and turn it into verse/chorus/verse.

Step 1: For this project you’ll be working with a pre-existing track of your choosing. First, select one track from the previous Junto project, in which a thin foundational bed was added to beats of pin-prick audio. Visit either of these two URLs:

Step 2: Confirm the track you selected in Step 1 is available for creative reuse. If you’re not sure, correspond with the musician. If you’re short on time, select a different track.

Step 3: Create a new track by taking the existing track from Step 1 and from it constructing something that follows the verse/chorus/verse format of a traditional song. You can include a bridge, too. No singing is required. You can alter the original audio, beyond just cutting and splicing, and certainly feel free to add a melody, but do maintain some sense of resemblance to the source material.

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process — identify the source track and include a link to its SoundCloud page.

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

Deadline: This project was posted around noon, California time, on Thursday, February 25, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, February 29, 2016.

Length: The length of your track should be the same as that of the source track.

Upload: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, only upload one track for this project, 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, please in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0217-formsong.”Also use “disquiet0217-formsong”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 217th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Take an existing assemblage of rhythm and tone and turn it into verse/chorus/verse”) at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Join the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:

The image associated with this project is from the Flickr account tanakawho, used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

Christmas ribbon

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Arckatron Breaks a Beat

A sample of the newly released Subtle Busyness

The full release of Subtle Busyness by Arckatron is now out, a cassette and download on the Twin Springs Tapes label. It’s streaming as well, over at Arcka, aka Shawn Kelly, formerly of Philadelphia and recently relocated to Los Angeles, traffics in abstract instrumental hip-hop. He’s long been a proponent of utilizing under-appreciated snippets of familiar music, often R&B, and on Subtle Busyness he’s expanded into off-kilter rhythmic excursions. The album was featured here twice in advance of its release, back in January when it was announced and in mid-February when additional tracks were uploaded for promotional purposes. On the occasion of its full arrival, all 21 tracks, do check out the glorious broken beat that is “Naverparse”:

More from Arcka at More from the Twin Springs label at and And here’s an interview I did with Arcka/Kelly back in 2009: “Young Communicator.”

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Music for and from Haikus

A weekly series called Naviar

“After the dancing / The wind in the pine trees / The voices of insects.” That brief poem was the subject of the 111th Naviar Haiku project. Naviar Haiku is a weekly project series, like the Disquiet Junto and the Stonesthrow Beat Battles, in which musicians respond to prompts. In the case of Naviar, each prompt is a haiku that the participating musicians then transform into sound. The musicians produce, in essence, a score to the words — not necessarily, if ever, to the melody inherent in the words, but to the images and narrative that the words express. I wrote the haiku for the 40th Naviar project (“There’s a lifetime in / between the first and second / clicks of the door’s lock”), which doubled as a Junto project (the 145th). Yesterday I wrote about another weekly project, Weekly Beats, through the lens of a recent piece that employed field recordings. Like the Weekly Beats, the Naviar puts a minimal constraint on the participants. In the hands of the musician who goes by noimspartacus (based in Birmingham, England), it’s a call for a whimsical, modest fantasia. Wind chimes give way to an underlying drone, out of which emerges a playful melody played on synthesized instruments. At first it’s a little organ or horn sound, but then a more high-pitched tone is introduced, drawing on the listener’s memory of that chime at the opening.

Track originally posted at More from noimspartacus at More from the Naviar Haiku at

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Two Rhythms Neither in Sync Nor at Odds

Ioflow has his kalimba commune with the birds

While not quite a duet for kalimba and birdsong, this little piece, “Midday Walk, Local Birds” by Ioflow, makes those the central elements. You can also hear feet hitting the ground at the opening, and throughout there’s a thin veneer of synthesized glue that keeps the whole thing together. The footsteps give way to the kalimba, which constitutes the track’s beat, and the birdsong has its own natural pace — neither in sync nor at odds with the thumb piano. At the end, as if we’re coming out of a reverie, the sound of walking returns, a little crunch underfoot. At barely a minute in length, this would be barely a step outside one’s front door in real life, but somehow the slow, persistent pace, intoned with metal on wood, suggests something far longer, something apart from everyday events. Put it on repeat.

Track originally posted at More from ioflow, aka Josh Saddler, at,, and (The track is part of the Weekly Beats series of projects, more on which at The Weekly Beats series has no restrictions or conventions. There are no specific project assignments. From the FAQ: Q: “What style of music should I write?” A: “Any style you want! This is a challenge for you to be productive and creative, it has nothing to do with style, don’t be afraid to experiment. The most important thing is to have fun and maybe learn a thing or two along the way.”)

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When the Looped Is to Be Looped

A track from An Imaginal Space

The track is titled “Looping,” and looping it contains, what sounds like a brief guitar sequence, a brief trace of notes, above a waft of synthesis, the series set on repeat, their paths overlapping in varying ways. A note can be heard, here and there, to stray, to be pulled at length, extended from the sequence. It stretches from its original place and becomes part of the waft. It’s just gorgeous how it unfolds. It’s titled “Looping” because that is what it contains, but it is also to be set on loop itself.

Track originally posted at More at

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