Disquiet Junto Project 0328: Sonic Pentimento

Record a piece of music inspired by a term from painting.

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, 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. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) 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.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, April 16, 2018. This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, April 12, 2018.

Tracks will be added to the playlist for the duration of the project.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0328: Sonic Pentimento
Record a piece of music inspired by a term from painting.

Step 1: This week’s Disquiet Junto project involves recording a piece of music inspired by a term from painting. That word is “pentimento,” which is defined in the Merriam-Webster dictionary as “a reappearance in a painting of an original drawn or painted element which was eventually painted over by the artist.” Familiarize yourself with the term.

Step 2: Think about how the term “pentimento” can be borrowed from painting and applied to sound.

Step 3: Record a track informed by the thoughts that arose from Steps 1 and 2.

Background: The word “pentimento” is being employed by musician Jon Hassell in the title to his forthcoming album, Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One). That word choice on Hassell’s part informed this Junto project. Familiarity with Hassell’s music isn’t required, but it’s certainly recommended.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0328” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your track.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0328” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation a project playlist.

Step 3: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Please consider posting your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:


Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Other Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, April 16, 2018. This project was posted in the early afternoon, California time, on Thursday, April 12, 2018.

Length: The length is up to you. Around four minutes seems about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0328” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, 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.

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 online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 328th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Sonic Pentimento: Record a piece of music inspired by a term from painting) at:


More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Subscribe to project announcements here:


Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:


There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

The image associated with this project is a detail from a painting by Mark Rushton, who approved its inclusion.

Slow Awakening

A live ambient performance video from r beny

This lovely video by r beny is a single musical object put to subtle use. The ambient track, bearing one of beny’s trademark naturalist titles, “Western Sycamore,” moves from slowly undulating formless pads to gentle streams of soft percussive tones. The latter are loops of notes rotating through with the momentum of a slow awakening. The note patterns don’t just lend contrast to the track’s longer tones. They give them shape, revealing the pads as akin to a string section that goes at its own pace. Throughout we see, on occasion, sometimes more than others, beny’s hand enter the frame to turn a knob or hit a button, not so much playing an instrument, in the broadly understood sense of the term, as coaxing something along.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally posted at r beny’s YouTube channel. More from r beny, aka San Francisco Bay Area resident Austin Cairns, at rbeny.bandcamp.com, soundcloud.com/rbeny, and twitter.com/_rbeny.

New Sounds from the Fourth World

A glimpse at new music, and a new label, from 81-year-old ambient godfather Jon Hassell

Jon Hassell was the original ambassador to the Fourth World, an aesthetic zone of his own imagination, a placeless place where new technology is put to old uses. It is music that recognizes a tribal instinct that is neither solely ancient nor solely contemporary, but simply inherently human. In pursuit of that commonality, Fourth World music cuts across cultures — north and south, east and west — by combining techniques and instrumentation, tunings and idioms. However, unlike much fusion, Hassell’s music always displays evidence of the effort required. His Fourth World is perpetually glitchy, frayed, bearing the watermarks — digital and otherwise — of the tools that made it possible.

The term gained prominence in the title to Hassell’s 1980 album on the E.G. label, Fourth World, Vol. 1: Possible Musics, co-produced with Brian Eno, and has been his genre home ever since. Hassell just last week, shortly after turning 81 years of age the month prior, announced a new album, due out on June 8. Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) is to be his first album on his new label, Ndeya, which he describes as being a place for “new work as well as … selected archival releases, including re-presses of classic sides and some astonishing unreleased music.”

The astonishment begins early, with a pre-release glimpse of Listening to Pictures (Pentimento Volume One) in the form of its first track, “Dreaming.” This is Hassell in fine form, playing Offworld bossa nova, post-Singularity jazz. It surges against itself in slow motion. You can hear his horn buried amid piano and cymbals and vinyl surface noise, rising out of the mass, and then settling back in. The uneasy beat — less a beat, really, than a pulse — has a rough-hewn quality to it, pushing at the other elements like it’s trying to find its place at the table. Perhaps the standout element is what sounds like a vocal ensemble, who halfway through the piece emerge in a deep hush out of nowhere. Such a rupture is key to Hassell’s approach, an art of grafts that purposefully never fully take.

More from Hassell at jonhassell.com. Track originally posted at jonhassell.bandcamp.com.

Ghost Accounts in the Streaming Machine

And the fogging of the database

Doctor M’Hhhhhhhble was apparently a side moniker for an unspecified SoundCloud regular. Eventually the doctor’s account came to a natural end, the individual behind it having decided that managing multiple sonic avatars wasn’t worth the effort. This track, titled “Smoke filled room,” like the rest of the M’Hhhhhhhble account, dates back half a decade. It surfaced recently via a repost by Tuonela, the prolific musician based in Katoomba, Australia. Perhaps Tuonela and M’Hhhhhhhble are one and the same. Perhaps not.

The M’Hhhhhhhble track is the sound design of a wind-rattled tunnel, a mix of airflow and noise, action and echo. It is haunting and peculiarly comforting, the warm embrace of white noise. The central echo is all the more enigmatic because the listener must take into account not only the imagined physical space posited by the audio, but the passage of time since the track was first posted. As online cloud accounts of audio services age, the number of orphaned and untrackable ones increases as well, fogging the database, muddling the archives. The embarrassment of riches that is the universal jukebox becomes all the more unchartable as time proceeds.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/doctor-mhhhhhhhble.