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Disquiet Junto Project 0499: Out of the Landscape

The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording.

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 the end of the day Monday, July 26, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 22, 2021.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0499: Out of the Landscape
The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording.

Major thanks to the work on Golden Gate Bridge music by Mahlen Morris and Nate Mercereau in inspiring this project’s approach.

This project might prove among the more complicated ones, or I may be mistaken. I’ve written a short version of it, and I’ve written it as a longer, step-by-step procedure.

This is the project in one sentence: Add a subtle sound to a preexisting field recording of a soundscape, have that sound slowly gain prominence, and then let it disappear, leaving nothing but the original field recording behind at the end.

And here is the project as a series of nine steps:

Step 1: The goal is to record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording of of a soundscape. Please read these instructions through closely before proceeding with the project.

Step 2: Locate a field recording of an environment. It could be urban, rural, industrial, domestic, whatever you might choose. A recording with slight variations over time would be beneficial but isn’t necessary. You should, again, read through the instructions in full before determining what field recording you want to work with. You might use a preexisting one, or record a new one.

Step 3: Select a roughly five-minute, continuous segment of the field recording from Step 2. Set it to fade in at the start and out at the end for about 5 seconds each, so it neither starts nor ends abruptly.

Step 4: Listen closely to the field recording. Play it on repeat a few times and think about its tonality, its component parts.

Step 5: The goal for this project is to now introduce a sound at the very start of the field recording that is imperceptible as being an addition. It should fit in so well that the field recording still sounds like a field recording. Plan for this addition to play for roughly 15 seconds before doing anything further with that sound.

Step 6: Now, around the 15-second mark, have that additional sound very slowly make itself more apparent. By 30 seconds, it should have risen in prominence and stand out and somewhat apart from the original field recording.

Step 7: For almost the entire remainder of the piece, have that additional sound do more. Have it morph and vary, and continue to stand out and apart from the field recording, though make sure the field recording is still audible.

Step 8: Around 45 seconds before the end of the piece, have the additional sound slowly return to its original state, as it was at the opening, when it was indistinguishable from the field recording. By the time the piece is about 30 seconds from the end, it should sound as it did when the piece started.

Step 9: When the piece is 25 or so seconds from the end, suddenly mute the additional sound. It should disappear entirely, so that for those final 25 seconds (well, 20, and then the piece will fade out for the final 5 seconds), we hear the unadorned original field recording for the first time.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0499” (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 “disquiet0499” (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 track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0499-out-of-a-landscape/

Step 5: Annotate your track 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.

Note: Please only post one track per project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, July 26, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 22, 2021.

Length: The length of your finished track is up to you. Around five minutes is recommended.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0499” 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: It is always 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 499th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Out of the Landscape (The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which a sound emerges from a field recording) — at: https://disquiet.com/0499/

Major thanks to the work on Golden Gate Bridge music by Mahlen Morris and Nate Mercereau in inspiring this project’s approach.

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0499-out-of-a-landscape/

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

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , , / Comments: 3 ]

3 Comments

  1. Jim
    [ Posted July 22, 2021, at 4:34 pm ]

    This one sounds fun. Does the field recording need to be of the outdoors? Or are “apartment fields” OK?

    • Marc Weidenbaum
      [ Posted July 22, 2021, at 5:19 pm ]

      Hi. Inside is totally welcome. That’s what I had intended to mean by “domestic” but I wasn’t as clear as I thought I was.

      • Jim
        [ Posted July 25, 2021, at 5:30 pm ]

        Ah! I missed that! Thank you.

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