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

Disquiet Junto Project 0555: A Simple Timer

The Assignment: Simplify by a factor of 5.

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, August 22, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 18, 2022.

Tracks are added to the SoundCloud playlist for the duration of the projects. Additional (non-SoundCloud) tracks appear in the llllllll.co discussion thread.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0555: A Simple Timer
The Assignment: Simplify by a factor of 5.

This week’s assignment goes to the inner workings of electronics. It was developed by longtime Junto participant Anatol Locker. Before getting to the instructions, here’s some background information: In 1971, engineer Hans Camenzind designed a simple timer IC, the Signetics LM555. It packs 25 transistors, two diodes, and 15 resistors on a small, eight-legged silicon chip.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hans_Camenzind

Due to its sheer simplicity, it populates most PCBs that need a clock. The 555 is used for a multitude of tasks: as a pulse generator, timer, delay, or waveform generator. When it comes to DIY music projects, you can find 555’s in the Atari Punk Console and other DIY synths.

https://www.instructables.com/Atari-Punk-Console-Synthesizer/

You can get an impression of what the chip is capable on Wikipedia and Electronics Tutorials.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/555_timer_IC
https://www.electronics-tutorials.ws/waveforms/555_timer.html

So far, it has sold a billion times, making it the most popular chip design on the planet. Which is to say: It’s iconic, it’s simple, it’s omnipresent, and it “makes things tick.” By comparison, an SID chip, engineered a decade later in 1981, would be the equivalent of a symphony orchestra.

There are two steps to this project.

Step 1: Think about what simplicity means to you.

Step 2: Produce a track taken to the extreme minimum. Use only pure waveforms (sine, sawtooth, triangle, pulse wave) and no effects. Restrict yourself to 5 voices.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0555” (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 “disquiet0555” (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:

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0555-a-simple-timer/

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.

Step 8: Also join in the discussion on the Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to [email protected] for Slack inclusion.

Note: Please post one track for this weekly Junto 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, August 22, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 18, 2022.

Length: The length should be some multiple of 5 (seconds, minutes, etc.).

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0555” 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 555th weekly Disquiet Junto project — A Simple Timer (The Assignment: Simplify by a factor of 5) — at: https://disquiet.com/0555/

Thanks to Anatol Locker for having proposed this project.

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-0555-a-simple-timer/

Image by Stefan506, used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Signetics_NE555N.JPG
https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/deed.en

By Marc Weidenbaum

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