It’s about the beginning, not the end. That’s a hallmark of the ongoing Disquiet Junto series of community music projects. The work that musicians create as part of the Junto isn’t necessarily intended to be considered “complete,” nor should it be. There is no pressure in the Junto to finish anything. There is only the communal mutual encouragement to start something.
The goal of the Junto is to spur creativity, to explore unfamiliar approaches to music, not to record an album. We do this by embracing constraints. The main constraint, besides the given project’s instructions, is time. You have from each Thursday, when the project goes out, until the following Monday at 11:59pm. Whatever you’ve finished by then is your finished track. Your Junto track isn’t done when it’s done. Your Junto track is done when the time runs out.
That said, Junto projects often yield tracks that end up on albums, and sometimes the projects turn out to be the starting point of subsequent independent efforts on the part of individual Junto members.
Such is the case with the excellent new album Notes from the Island, by longtime Junto member Rupert Lally. The “notes” in the title are, one might take it to mean, musical notes, and the “island” is the fabled place where William Golding set his classic novel Lord of the Flies. Lally’s album is an expansion on Junto project 0320, which took place from February 15 through 19 of this year. The project was titled “Table of Contents,” and its subtitle was “Make a composition containing loopable background-music segments for each chapter of one of your favorite books.” Lally chose Lord of the Flies, and the new record has 12 tracks, one for each of the book’s chapters.
The original project followed somewhat quickly on Lally’s previous solo album, Solid State Memories, which was a score to a novella he wrote himself. He was primed for the Junto project when it began, and he was eager to extend the idea when it was over. In an essay accompanying the new release, Lally charts his experience with Golding’s book back to the age of 12, when his father encouraged him to read it, and to his recent experience of re-discovering it. The original Junto project called for short loops. For these extended versions — these reimaginings — those loops are simply starting points, in this case for a mix of tribal percussion, modular synth, and orchestral instrumentation.
The album is available at rupertlally.bandcamp.com.