This week Christiaan Virant and Zhang Jian, creators of the Buddha Machine, revealed a rarity in the series. The Buddha Machine is a handhelp looping machine, taking its form from devices sold at Buddhist temples that contain cheap recordings of prayers. There have been several in the Buddha Machine series, each containing minimalist drones and patterns, including a collaboration with the band Throbbing Gristle. The early editions simply contained loops, but later ones allowed for pitch shifting as well. What went up on the duo’s Bandcamp page two days ago was Buddha Machine Secret Edition, nine loops, each playing for between five and six minutes, that were made almost a decade ago for a spa in France. The liner note explains:
These are the loops from the ultra-rare Buddha Machine Secret Edition. The music was composed for a French spa which wanted a small-run and limited-edition buddha box to use during massage and healing treatments. Zhang and I compiled the loops in Nice, France, during late winter and early spring 2007-08. Only a few thousand units were manufactured and solely distributed in France.
Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.com and at disquiet.com/junto, 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 in shortly after noon, California time, on Thursday, May 19, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 23, 2016.
Disquiet Junto Project 0229: Fourth Worldizing
Use a favorite trick of legendary sound designer Walter Murch.
Background: At 2:14 in the following YouTube clip of an interview about the concept of “worldizing” with sound-design legend Walter Murch he plays a bit of a movie, THX-1138, and then describes the process of recording something to get an exaggerated sense of the space in which it was recorded: “If you are in an ordinary sized room and play the voice at four times speed … and you record it on the other tape recorder, also running at this very fast speed, then when you play the other recorder back at normal speed you get the original sound but you get the space of the room as if it was four times larger than it really is.” (Just to expand the idea a bit, the project’s title, “Fourth Worldizing,” is a nod to musician Jon Hassell.)
These are the steps for the project:
Step 1: Using the trick Murch has provided, make something of it.
Step 2: Upload your completed track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.
Step 3: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.
Step 4: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.
Deadline: This project was posted in shortly after noon, California time, on Thursday, May 19, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, May 23, 2016
Length: The length is up to you, though between one and three minutes feels about right.
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 Soundcloud.com, please in the title to your track include the term “disquiet0229.”Also use “disquiet0229”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 229th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Fourth Worldizing: Use a favorite trick of legendary sound designer Walter Murch”) at:
Thanks to Steve Ashby (ashbysounds.com) and Jakob Thiesen (jakobthiesen.flavors.me) for beta testing it.
More on the Disquiet Junto at:
Join the Disquiet Junto at:
Subscribe to project announcements here:
Disquiet Junto general discussion takes place at:
Image associated with this project from the film THX-1138.
Joshua Saddler, who records as ioflow, takes delicate sounds in this short, eminently loopable track, and from them ekes out plaintive, elegant mixes of texture and tone, of gentle percussives and subdued tension. The piece is titled “Clouds and Wind, Shifting,” and it very much has an elemental feel to it. It follows a pace of sorts, but there’s nothing trenchant about the beat or pulse of it. It just proceeds, a click here, a tone there, sometimes overlapping, sometimes left on their own, preceded by silence or followed by a sudden, yet still quite intimate and fragile, convergence.
Saddler recently expanded his instrument collection with the start of a modular synthesizer, and this track is his first ever recording with that equipment. The full list of equipment is: lap harp, ebow, field recordings, pedals, and modular effects. He employed what he described as a “‘blind’ recording process,” which involves recording several tracks separately and only hearing them back in unison when they’re all complete.
It’s not common to post the same audio here twice, but I’m making an exception for the half-hour concert by Kelli Cain and Brian Crabtree, developers of the Monome grid music interface. Back in March I linked to the SoundCloud file of the live performance (“What the Creators of the Monome Sound Like as Live Performers”), and updated that page in April when a higher grade recording went up. But now there’s full, affectionately edited video of the set. It’s at vimeo.com. I attended the concert, which was held at a small shop, Better, out on Balboa Street in San Francisco’s Richmond District, and in the review I mention in particular this social component of Crabtree’s employment of handheld shakers: “He’d shake one for awhile, and then pass it to someone in the audience to continue the pattern. Each person became an extension of what Crabtree had started, but then altered it a little, whether through the conscious decision to contribute a musical idea, or simply because their sense of rhythm differed from his.” That occurs about two minutes into this footage.
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
Upcoming • December 13, 2022: This day marks the 26th anniversary of the founding of Disquiet.com. • January 6, 2023: This day marked the 11th anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community.
Recent • April 16, 2022: I participated in an online "talk show" by The Big Conversation Space (Niki Korth and Clémence de Montgolfier). • March 11, 2022: I hosted a panel discussion between Mark Fell, Rian Treanor and James Bradbury in San Francisco as part of the Algorithmic Art Assembly (aaassembly.org) at Gray Area (grayarea.org). • December 28, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the Instagr/am/bient compilation. • January 6, 2021: This day marked the 10th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community. • December 13, 2021: This day marked the 25th (!) anniversary of the start of the Disquiet Junto music community. • There are entries on the Disquiet Junto in the book The Music Production Cookbook: Ready-made Recipes for the Classroom (Oxford University Press), edited by Adam Patrick Bell. Ethan Hein wrote one, and I did, too. • A chapter on the Disquiet Junto ("The Disquiet Junto as an Online Community of Practice," by Ethan Hein) appears in the book The Oxford Handbook of Social Media and Music Learning (Oxford University Press), edited by Stephanie Horsley, Janice Waldron, and Kari Veblen. (Details at oup.com.)
Background Since January 2012, the Disquiet Junto has been an ongoing weekly collaborative music-making community that employs creative constraints as a springboard for creativity. Subscribe to the announcement list (each Thursday), listen to tracks by participants from around the world, read the FAQ, and join in.