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Disquiet Junto Project 0450: Texture Analysis

The Assignment: Create a piece of music from sounds related to working with rocks.

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, August 17, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 13, 2020.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0450: Texture Analysis
The Assignment: Create a piece of music from sounds related to working with rocks.

Welcome to the 450th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project. Thanks to everyone who has participated, supported, and pitched in along the way.

This project is the third of three that are being done over the course of as many months in collaboration with the 2020 Musikfestival Bern, which will be held in Switzerland from September 2 through 6 under the motto “Tektonik” (“Tectonics”). For this reason, a German translation is provided below. We are working at the invitation of Tobias Reber, an early Junto participant, who is in charge of the educational activities of the festival. This is the second year in a row that the Junto has collaborated with Musikfestival Bern. Select recordings resulting from these three Disquiet Junto projects will be played on a listening booth at the Steinatelier on September 5, as well as being aired on Radio RaBe (, an independent local radio station partnering with the festival.

Step 1: Download the field recordings made at Carlo Bernasconi AG, a company that has been working in stone for over a century. The sounds range from machines to manual tools to spatial ambience.

Step 2: Listen for aspects of the recordings that attract your ears. Focus on textures in particular.

Step 3: Create a piece of music combining elements from as few or as many as you chose in Step 2.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0450” (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 “disquiet0450” (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 and #musikfestivalbern 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, August 17, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 13, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0450” 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 450th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Texture Analysis — The Assignment: Create a piece of music from sounds related to working with rocks) at:

This is the third of three projects in collaboration with Musikfestival Bern 2020 which will take place in Bern, Switzerland, from September 2 to 6. More on the festival 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.

Photo by Tobias Reber.

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Loraine James’ Fluid Techno Refactoring

A live video performance

Ten-plus minutes into this bracing live techno set by Loraine James, posted as a video by Fact Magazine today, I thought to myself, “She’s still playing ‘Glitch Bitch.'”

I wasn’t complaining, not by any means. Quite the contrary, it was great to have the opportunity to stretch out and luxuriate in the light breakages, the fluid refactoring, that she brings to the music in extended form. A friend then mentioned to me that James, on Twitter, had herself expressed surprise: “didnt realise I played ‘Glitch Bitch’ for 13 minutes..oops.” The original version of the song clocks in at a mere 3:12 on the album For You and I, where it’s the lead track. In the video, it’s more than a third of the set’s nearly 33-minute runtime.

I’ve never known quite what to make of the snippet that serves as the song’s title and lyric — less a lyric than a prominent sample reworked this way and that for the full length of the piece. It may mean be intended as something else entirely, but I’ve taken the song to be an act of James grabbing hold of a dismissive statement and turning it inside out, pushing back by making it her own, so thoroughly owning the phrase that it becomes a powerful symbol of transformation and expertise. That’s certainly the case with the underlying beat, how James lets unfurl and then pulls back gleaming rhythmic patterns, coaxing odd meters and pulse-disorienting pauses as she goes.

Video originally posted at YouTube. More from James at

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Forest Synth

And where do the bugs end?

Me, I’m too nervous with what little gear I have to take it out of the house, let along to lug it into the forest. Then again, I’m a city mouse, and camping isn’t my thing. In this gorgeous footage, shot in Japan, a modular synthesizer takes root among trees, dappled by the light as filtered through leaves. Part of the beauty of it is not knowing where the synthesis ends and the songs of birds and insects begin. The source YouTube account, named Wac- Lounge, has only been up since May of this year, yet has already racked up over two dozen modular-synth videos worth checking out, some indoors, some out.

Video originally posted at

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Current Listens: Sampled Sources, Roadside Tuba

Heavy rotation, lightly annotated

This is my weekly(ish) answer to the question “What have you been listening to lately?” It’s lightly annotated because I don’t like re-posting material without providing some context. In the interest of conversation, let me know what you’re listening to in the comments below. Just please don’t promote your own work (or that of your label/client). This isn’t the right venue. (Just use email.)

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NEW: Recent(ish) arrivals and pre-releases

Warp & Weft is a lovely, free, six-track release posted by Scanner (based in London) of delicately reworked samples from kalimba alongside soft synth lines, lightly glitched and filtered. The first two tracks (“Wefte,” “Wevan”) and sixth (“Weave into Time”) are especially sedate and gentle. The album was recorded live and released this past Friday, August 7.

The free Reel Feels (Sound Pack), by Frankfurt-based musician Jogging House, is the source audio from which Scanner derived his Warp & Weft album, but you don’t need to be a musician to take advantage of it. The first five tracks are beautifully torqued recordings of kalimba (or mbira), turned into pure atmosphere, each a minute or longer. Put them in a playlist and set them to loop on random. You’ll lose track of time happily.

Sometimes an instrument is just as useful on the receiving end of sound, such as this great ongoing series in which a tuba amplifies nearby audio, here rendering deep metallic reverberations from passing traffic.

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375 Neighborhoods in All Their Sonic Glory

Documenting the sounds of all five NYC boroughs during Covid

NYC Sounds Covid-19 is exactly what it sounds like, so to speak: “A collection of field recordings made in every single neighborhood in NYC documenting the quieter city while under quarantine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” It’s the work of Geoff Gersh, who has wandered the city in recent months, recording throughout the five boroughs, some 375 neighborhoods by his count, everywhere from Co-Op City in the Bronx (bird song, the river-like whoosh of traffic) to Canarsie in Brooklyn (church bells and street chatter) to Washington Square Park in Manhattan (cheering) to South Ozone Park in Queens (music from a radio, a car starting) to Howland Hook in Staten Island (car alarm, the raspy engine of a passing plane, or maybe it’s a scooter of some sort). It’s a remarkable collection, massive in scale, and both comfortingly repetitive and filled with distinct moments. Gersh captures the spaces with incredible detail and a rich sense of place. Put on some headphones, sit still, and listen as cars and birds alike pass through the stereo spectrum. Then listen deeper into the atmosphere of the city, one neighborhood at a time.

According to a brief bio, Gersh performs (presumably pre-Covid) music to silent films at the Nitehawk Cinema in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, as part of the bands Black Lodge and Reel Orchestrette, and has released three CD on, appropriately, the label Deep Listening, founded by the late, great Pauline Oliveros.

Get the full set (name your price) at

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