My 33 1/3 book, on Aphex Twin's Selected Ambient Works Volume II, was the 5th bestselling book in the series in 2014. It's available at Amazon (including Kindle) and via your local bookstore. • F.A.Q.Key Tags: #saw2for33third, #sound-art, #classical, #juntoElsewhere: Twitter, SoundCloud, Instagram

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

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Building on “Fever Pitch”

Joseph Branciforte has created a duet by adding to a track I recorded.

The Disquiet Junto has been going on since the first week of January 2012, and though I have moderated the Junto from the start, and we’re currently on the 316th consecutive weekly project, and the mailing list has over 1,200 subscribers from around the world, I myself have participated less than a handful of times, most recently this past week, for project 0315.

I hadn’t recorded the piece of music, “Fever Pitch,” as part of Junto 0315 initially. I recorded “Fever Pitch,” in fact, for an entirely different weekly music project series, one called Weekly Beats. When I subsequently recognized that the simple track, just a guitar line filtered by a modular synthesizer, fit the constraints of Junto project 0315, I posted it for that as well. There is a lot of cross-pollination among only compositional series. For example, I wrote a poem for the great Naviar Haiku series on the occasion of its 40th weekly project, and some people have cross-posted pieces of music between Naviar and Junto, which share a bit of the same roster in general, and we have collaborated once or twice.

In any case, the point of project 0315, “First Chair,” was for musicians to make short pieces of music that would serve as one third of a trio, with the idea that in the following weeks other musicians would, in turn, flesh out the trio. It’s an exercise in asynchronous collaboration, which is a central theme of all Junto projects. The sequence originating with Junto 0315 is simply a reinforcement through emphais of that concept.

Well, as part of Junto 0316, which is currently ongoing and will close at 11:59pm on Monday night, a Brooklyn-based musician named Joseph Branciforte did me a great honor. He added a second part to “Fever Pitch,” which he simply titled after the day he recorded it, “January 18, 2018.” It’s a marvel of simpatico consideration, his Fender Rhodes, coaxed by some effects pedals, filling in the blanks left by my guitar. I’ve been fiddling with a modular synthesizer since 2014, when I started to assemble one after marveling at a performance by Marcus Fischer at Powell’s Books in Portland at an event for my then just published book on Aphex Twin’s album Selected Ambient Works Volume II, part of the Bloomsbury 33 1/3 series. Since last July, when I started taking guitar lessons weekly, my synthesizer has gotten less attention, but I recently got into using the synth as an oversized effects pedal, which is how this piece came about.

All of which is to say, I’m writing this evening to thank Branciforte for the great pleasure his piece — that is, his piece and my piece in tandem — has brought me. There is a misunderstanding that music critics are frustrated musicians. I’m in no way a frustrated musician. I have such low expectations for what I might accomplish musically, that learning guitar and synthesizer is just as sequence of pleasurable discoveries fed by curiosity and reinforced by the steady pace of practice.

As I write this, there are already 21 tracks by almost as many musicians in the 0316 Junto, “El Segundo,” some others of which have also built on my “Fever Pitch.” I’m just beginning to work my way through the accumulating duets, and listening for the space they leave for what will soon be trios.

Track originally posted at soundcloud.com/joseph-branciforte. More from Joseph Branciforte, who is based in Brooklyn, New York, at josephbranciforte.com, twitter.com/josbranciforte, YouTube, and instagram.com/josephbranciforte.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0316: El Segundo

The Assignment: Record the second third of a trio, adding to a pre-existing track.

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.

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

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, January 22, 2018. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, January 18, 2018.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0316: El Segundo
The Assignment: Record the second third of a trio, adding to a pre-existing track.

Step 1: This week’s Disquiet Junto project is the second in a sequence that explores and encourages asynchronous collaboration. This week you will be adding music to a pre-existing track, which you will source from the previous week’s Junto project (disquiet.com/0315). Note that you aren’t creating a duet — you’re creating the second third of what will eventually be a trio. Keep this in mind.

Step 2: The plan is for you to record a short and original piece of music, on any instrumentation of your choice, as a complement to the pre-existing track. First, however, you must select the piece of music to which you will be adding your own music. There are 50 tracks in all to choose from, 49 as part of this playlist:

https://soundcloud.com/disquiet/sets/disquiet-junto-project-0315

And then the 50th was a video by Bassling (aka Jason Richardson), also available as an audio track download here:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0315-first-chair/11022/34?u=disquiet

To select a track, you can listen through all that and choose one, or you can use a random number generator to select a number from 1 to 50, the first 49 being numbered in the above SoundCloud playlist, and 50 being Bassling’s track. (Note: it’s fine if more than one person uses the same original track as the basis for their piece.)

Step 3: Record a short piece of music, roughly the length of the piece of music you selected in Step 2. Your track should complement the piece from Step 2, and leave room for an eventual third piece of music. When composing and recording your part, do not alter the original piece of music at all, except to pan the original fully to the left. In your finished audio track, your part should be panned fully to the right. To be clear: the track you upload won’t be your piece of music alone; it will be a combination of the track from Step 2 and yours.

Step 4: Also be sure, when done, to make the finished track downloadable, because it will be used by someone else in a subsequent Junto project.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0316” (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 “disquiet0316” (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:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0316-el-segundo/

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process. Be sure to name the track to which you’ve added music and the name of the musician who recorded it, and include a link to it.

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, January 22, 2018. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, January 18, 2018.

Length: The length of your track will be roughly the length of the track to which you are adding something.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0316” 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 essential for this specific project 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 316th weekly Disquiet Junto project (El Segundo: Record the second third of a trio, adding to a pre-existing track.) at:

https://disquiet.com/0316/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0316-el-segundo/

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

Image associated with this project is adapted from a photo by Martin Kenny and is used via Flickr thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/neoFUH

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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“Fever Pitch”

A guitar + modular track I recorded today for Weekly Beats and the Disquiet Junto

For the second week in a row, I’ve participated in Weekly Beats. Whether I make it the remaining 50 is yet to be seen, but I’ve enjoyed it so far. Unlike the Disquiet Junto, the weekly music composition prompt series I’ve moderated since 2012, there is no set theme in Weekly Beats. There are optional themes, but the main idea is simply to encourage making music as a way to learn to make music, along with the support that comes from other people doing so at the same time, and commenting on each other’s work. (I also submitted it to the Disquiet Junto for this week’s project, which is to produce something that will become part of a trio co-composed asynchronously by other participants.)

My second Weekly Beats track is, like the first, an attempt to combine electric guitar and modular synthesizer. The glitchy under beat is a bit of trigger sequencer, along with the byproduct glitches inherent in the looper. The main guitar line is heard with various aspects of the audio spectrum being modulated by medium-paced LFOs, and being sent through the looper for additional effects, all echoes and stutter. And then at the end a snippet of a chord is sent through a different looper, providing a simulated tape-loop fade-out. There’s more going on, like the primary guitar line being put through a filter, but that’s the gist of it.

And here is a photo of the synthesizer patch employed in this piece:

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Disquiet Junto Project 0315: First Chair

The Assignment: Record the first third of a trio.

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.

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

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, January 15, 2018. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, January 11, 2018.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0315: First Chair
Record the first third of a trio.

Step 1: This week’s Junto will be the first in a sequence that explores and encourages asynchronous collaboration. You will be recording something with the understanding that it will remain unfinished for the time being.

Step 2: The plan is for you to record a short and original piece of music, on any instrumentation of your choice. Conceive it as something that leaves room for something else — other instruments, other people — to join in.

Step 3: Record a short piece of music, roughly two to three minutes in length, as described in Step 2. When done, if possible, pan the audio so that your piece is solely in the left side of the audio.

Step 4: Also be sure, when complete, to make the track downloadable, because it will be used by someone else in a subsequent Junto project.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0315” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: Please consider posting your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0315-first-chair/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, January 15, 2018. This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, January 11, 2018.

Length: Keep the track to between two and three minutes, preferably.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0315” 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 essential for this specific project 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 315th weekly Disquiet Junto project (First Chair: Record the first third of a trio) at:

https://disquiet.com/0315/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0315-first-chair/

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

Image associated with this project is adapted from a photo by Martin Kenny and is used via Flickr thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/neoFUH

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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Disquiet Junto Project 0314: Cold Start

The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.

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.

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

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, January 8, 2018. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, January 4, 2018.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0314: Cold Start
The Assignment: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.

Welcome to a new year. This week’s project is as follows. It’s the same project we’ve begun each year with since the very first Junto project, back in January 2012. The project is, per tradition, just this one sentence:

Please record the sound of an ice cube rattling in a glass, and make something of it.

Background: Longtime participants in, and observers of, the Disquiet Junto series will recognize this single-sentence assignment — “Please record the sound of an ice cube rattling in a glass, and make something of it” — as the very first Disquiet Junto project, the same one that launched the series back on the first Thursday of January 2012. Revisiting it at the start of each year since has provided a fitting way to begin the new year. At the start of the seventh (!) year of the Disquiet Junto, it is a tradition. A weekly project series can come to overemphasize novelty, and it’s helpful to revisit old projects as much as it is to engage with new ones. Also, by its very nature, the Disquiet Junto suggests itself as a fast pace: a four-day production window, a regular if not weekly habit. It can be beneficial to step back and see things from a longer perspective.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0314” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: Please consider posting your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0314-cold-start/

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, January 8, 2018. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, January 4, 2018.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0314” 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 314th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Cold Start: Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it) at:

https://disquiet.com/0314/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0314-cold-start/

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

Image associated with this project is adapted from a photo by Erik and is used via Flickr thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/j2hTiq

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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