New Disquietude podcast episode: music by Lesley Flanigan, Dave Seidel, KMRU, Celia Hollander, and John Hooper; interview with Flanigan; commentary; short essay on reading waveforms. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #field-recording, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

Listening to art. Playing with audio. Sounding out technology. Composing in code. Rewinding the soundscape.

Monthly Archives: April 2020

Disquiet Junto Project 0435: Woodshed Report

The Assignment: Share something you've been working on (and respond to what others post).

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 Monday, May 4, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, April 30, 2020.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0435: Woodshed Report
The Assignment: Share something you’ve been working on (and respond to what others post).

Step 1: The past six weeks of Disquiet Junto projects have encouraged and rewarded collaboration. This week’s is more insular. There’s no formal constraint. Just share a recent piece of music, or create a new piece for this week.

Step 2: After uploading your track, please take a few minutes to listen to and respond to tracks by other participants.

If you’re interest in background on the concept of the “woodshed,” here’s video of a talk I gave a little over a year ago on how it relates to the Disquiet Junto:

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0435” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0435” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of a project playlist.

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

Step 4: Post your tracks in the following discussion thread at

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

Step 6: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, May 4, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, April 30, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0435” in the title of the tracks, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, 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: Given the nature of this particular project sequence, it is best to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 435th weekly Disquiet Junto project, Disquiet Junto Project 0435: Woodshed Report — The Assignment: Share something you’ve been working on (and respond to what others post) — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also a Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to for Slack inclusion.

Image associated with this track is by Josh Self, used thanks to a Creative Commons license and Flickr. The image has been cropped, colors shifted, and text added.

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Buddha Machine Variations No. 17 (Step Wise)

A series of focused experiments

It occurred to me that all the Buddha Machine Variations so far have neglected one particular thing: What a single loop on a single Buddha Machine might sound like all on its own.

To address that situation, this video originated with a completed patch. I then noted the approximate relative volumes of the five channels of audio in the mixer. I then set all five channels to silent, null, void. Then I started the video with no sound at all, turned up the Buddha Machine (not yet plugged into the synthesizer), plugged it in, and proceeded, a step at a time, to introduce the four subsequent channels of audio.

To break it down: The first channel is the sound of the Buddha Machine (second generation) loop, unadulterated. The second and third channels are individual spectral bands extracted from that initial loop, and then each delayed a bit, so there’s a sense of repetition, even veering toward reflection. The fourth channel takes two other spectral bands from the source loop and puts them through a comparative process, so that only the higher pitch of them at any given moment is heard. And the fifth channel is the highest bracket of those spectral bands (the soprano among sopranos) put through granular synthesis (the input gain is set purposefully high).

To break down the tool set: The Buddha Machine is introduced to the synthesizer via the Erica Synths Pico Input. The mixer is the the ADDAC802 VCA Quintet Mixer. The initial division of the inbound audio occurs in the Malekko Heavy Industry Performance Buffered Mult. The spectral bands are extracted via the out-of-print Make Noise FXDf. The delay occurs in the Orthogonal Devices ER-301 (standard Delay unit). The comparison in the fourth channel involves the Whimsical Raps Cold Mac (specifically the “AND” route). The granular synthesis occurs in the Antumbra Smog, a remix of the out-of-print Mutable Instruments Clouds. The output is a Befaco Output (V3).

Video originally posted at There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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Patch-Master, Patch Faster

An ongoing series cross-posted from

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Buddha Machine Variations No. 16 (Split Level)

A series of focused experiments

This after-dinner patch doesn’t fully count as office ambience, because it had to wait until late in the day, but it had been on my mind all day. Yesterday (for “Murky Trough”), I’d used the Cold Mac module, from Whimsical Raps, to compare a pair of inbound sounds and from them extract the lowest of either signal at any one time. Hence the “murky.” That was the AND route. There is also an OR route on the Cold Mac. After consulting an aftermarket manual, I came to understand that the OR route would also send its initial inbound signal to the AND route if there’s nothing else going into the first jack of the AND route. So, I sent two different narrow strands of the Buddha Machine’s spectrum (split by the Make Noise FXDf, after first going through the granular synthesis of the Antumbra Smog, a remix of the Mutable Instruments Clouds), one to AND and one to OR, and compared each to a third strand. The pair of end results go to two of the five inputs of the mixer. The second of them, the OR, is having its relative volume shifted by a slow-moving square wave from the Dixie II.

The third mixer input is the VCA-out of the Cold Mac: more muted, less volatile. The fourth input is one single band of the FDXf-filtered spectrum. And the fifth input is the right channel of the granular synthesizer, sent first to the ER-301, to be delayed a bit. Lends an orchestral call-and-response feel.

At the risk of burying the lede, the main evident sonic component here is how the music shifts up and down, over and over, between two registers. That’s accomplished by a slow square wave sent from the Batumi to the pitch control of the granular synthesizer via the S.P.O. If the S.P.O. weren’t used to squash the highs and lows of the square wave, the shift would be inelegant. Here it is more controlled.

Oh, and one more thing: the “size” of the granular-synthesis grain is shifting back and forth due to an inbound wave from the Batumi.

I’m not sure what’s up with the clicking. It’s not been this pronounced previously, and seems to have something to do with the LFOs from the Batumi and the Dixie II. I’ll look into that. The sound does lend it a kind of classical-on-old-vinyl-LP vibe.

Video originally posted at There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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Buddha Machine Variations No. 15 (Murky Trough)

A series of focused experiments

Today’s question: What is the lesser sound of two loops melding in the murky depths? Like many folks who venture into the dense formation of inputs and outputs that comprise the Cold Mac module (from Whimsical Raps), I benefited from the aftermarket manual developed by Martin Doudoroff. In the very helpful document, Doudoroff explains the many pathways through this module, which appears opaque at first, and then, following a bit of study, clear as geometry. In this case, I’m following one specific path through the Cold Mac, that being the AND path (in contrast with OR). Per Doudoroff’s notes, “If you patch two signals into AND(1) and AND(2), you get the lowest (trough/minumum) of the two signals at any one time from AND(OUT).” And so, two Buddha Machines here are sending different loops into the synthesizer. Both loops are immediately sent to the Cold Mac (by way of a multiples, because earlier in this lunchtime experiment I was trying a different approach), and then into the Make Noise FXDf. The purpose of the FDXf is to isolate a few mid-range bands of the signal’s audio spectrum, because the highs were getting a little too high if I went straight to the mixer. Three of those bands then go to the mixer: one straight through, and two with their volumes being tweaked a bit by slow-moving hybrid LFOs from the Batumi/SPO combo. That about covers it. If you have a Cold Mac, or are simply interested, the manual mentioned above is at

Video originally posted at There’s also a video playlist of the Buddha Machine Variations.

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