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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Disquiet Junto Project 0425: Crop Score

The Assignment: Crop circles are musical compositions.

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, February 24, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0425: Crop Score
The Assignment: Crop circles are musical compositions.

Thanks to C. Reider (and the @AutechreComment Twitter account) for helping to instigate this.

Step 1: Consider the idea of a crop circle as a graphically notated musical composition. (This might require doing a little research on crop circles and/or graphic notation.)

Step 2: Interpret the photo associated with this project, from Wikipedia, as a musical score. (You can also use other images, but please keep copyright in mind.)

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0425” (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 “disquiet0425” (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 track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0425-crop-score/

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.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, February 24, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better. Let the crops be your guide.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0425” 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: Consider setting 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 425th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Crop Score / The Assignment: Crop circles are musical compositions — at:

https://disquiet.com/0425/

Thanks to C. Reider (and the @AutechreComment Twitter account) for helping to instigate this.

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-0425-crop-score/

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

The image associated with this project is from Wikipedia:

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CropCircleW.jpg

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Reverse-Engineering Musical Composition Prompts

A response to a frequent Disquiet Junto question

Someone recently asked if the well of Disquiet Junto projects, now numbering 424, will ever run dry. I get asked that on occasion, so I took a few minutes to respond about the thought process that leads to Junto projects. The short answer is no, it likely won’t run dry, in part because of the generative nature of impetus for the majority of the projects, and in part because projects also originate from members of the Junto and third parties.

For background, the Disquiet Junto is an online music community in which participants each Thursday receive via email a compositional prompt, and then they have roughly four days or so to respond with a recording. I started the Junto back in January 2012, and it’s been running weekly ever since. The ongoing flow of prompts comes up on occasion as a topic of discussion, so I thought I’d post a lightly revised version of my response here.

The best way I have come to explain the Disquiet Junto project development process — how the weekly prompts come to be — is that the vast majority of the projects result from a kind of “reverse-engineering” scenario. Something – a natural phenomena, a bit of math, a cultural or historical tidbit, a bit of text in a novel, a report in the science pages, a stray observation – is noted, and then I work to figure out how that source concept could become a Junto project: How can we probe the source concept by investigating it through music and sound and, by extension, online collaboration. Then, having selected one of these topics, I break it down into steps. Each weekly prompt consists of those steps.

This approach goes back to the start of the Junto. When the Junto began, an especially important founding concept was the idea of non-verbal communication. The Junto was a way for us to communicate across cultures musically/sonically, and to pursue ideas musically/sonically. (If you’re interested in the topic, there’s video online of a presentation I gave at the SETI Institute.)

An example would be helpful: There’s an upcoming project that resulted from the t-shirt a friend happened to be wearing one day. The shirt depicted a common mathematical sequence in an unfamiliar (to me) way. Soon, we’re going to take that unfamiliar way (it’s visual rather than numerical), and imagine it as a graphic score. That way we’ll “hear” the source mathematical concept in action.

I spend a lot of time thinking not only about the individual projects, but about the sequence of projects: making sure they’re balanced, that we alternate heavy concept ones with straightforward ones, and ones that require wholly original production with something sample-based, and so forth.

Sometimes we repeat past projects, or tweak previous ones. Some are proposed by other people, such as the 424th, which was proposed by an artist we’ve worked with in the past. I regularly add to a long list of potential projects, and often those are delayed because other ideas present themselves and are acted on immediately.

Proposals for prompts are always appreciated, both from Junto members and observers, and from folks interested in having their ideas acted upon by a diverse, global community of curious, talented, experimental musicians who are generous with their time and creativity.

Read more at the Disquiet Junto FAQ.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0424: Fluctuating Rhythm

The Assignment: Employ nature as your conductor.

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

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

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0424: Fluctuating Rhythm
The Assignment: Employ nature as your conductor.

Step 1: Compose or choose a work of music. (The work can involve any number of instruments or can be purely electronic.)

Step 2: Perform the work outdoors, employing nature as your conductor. (Any natural phenomenon may be enlisted to keep time during your performance. Examples include the sway of a tree in the wind, the flow of a stream, or the circling of a flock of birds before a storm. Consider a phenomenon that fluctuates with environmental conditions, such that your rhythm varies in ways that situate your work in the landscape.)

Background: This is a collaboration with the artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats, who is working on a global initiative to enlist natural systems as official time standards. Read more here:

http://nautil.us/issue/79/catalysts/philosophy-is-a-public-service

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0424” (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 “disquiet0424” (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 track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0424-fluctuating-rhythm/

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.

Additional Details: Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, February 17, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 13, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better. Let nature take its course.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0424” 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: Consider setting 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 424th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Fluctuating Rhythm / The Assignment: Employ nature as your conductor — at:

https://disquiet.com/0424/

This is a collaboration with the artist and experimental philosopher Jonathon Keats.

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-0424-fluctuating-rhythm/

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

The image associated with this project is by Chris Murphy.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0423: Hold Noise

The Assignment: Record music intended to sound just as garbled as the hold music on a phone call.

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, February 10, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 6, 2020.

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

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0423: Hold Noise
The Assignment: Record music intended to sound just as garbled as the hold music on a phone call.

Step 1: Think of a time when you were put on hold by customer service or waiting for a conference call to begin. Think about such a situation when the hold music sounded like it had been run through a washing machine, or put through a bit crusher, or photocopied 100 times in sequence before it got to your ear.

Step 2: Record a short piece of music intended to sound just as garbled as the hold music on a modern phone call. Think of this as “hold noise.”

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0423” (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 “disquiet0423” (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 track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0423-hold-noise/

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.

Additional Details: Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, February 10, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 6, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better. Then again, you could end up stuck on hold for a long time.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0423” 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: Consider setting 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 423rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Hold Noise / The Assignment: Record music intended to sound just as garbled as the hold music on a phone call — at:

https://disquiet.com/0423/

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-0423-hold-noise/

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

The image associated with this track is by Milo Tobin, and is used (image cropped, text added) via Flickr thanks to a Creative Commons license:

https://flic.kr/p/93cFqr

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

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Disquiet Junto Project 0422: Chapter Cascade

The Assignment: Make a piece of music made up of tiny alternating parts.

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, February 3, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 30, 2020.

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

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0422: Chapter Cascade
The Assignment: Make a piece of music made up of tiny alternating parts.

Step 1: This week’s project is inspired by the rapid, short chapters of William Gibson’s new novel, Agency, and the micro-compositions of John Zorn’s Naked City. Consider hyper-brevity as a creative pursuit.

Step 2: Compose a piece of music made of up lots of very short bursts. You will have an A line and a B line, which will be tonally and aesthetically distinct from each other. These will alternate back and forth for however long you desire. Consider a length of about a second, or less, for each sliver of sound. And then finally at the very end, have the A and B lines combine.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0422” (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 “disquiet0422” (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 track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 4: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0422-chapter-cascade/

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.

Additional Details: Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, February 3, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 30, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0422” 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: Consider setting 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 422nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Chapter Cascade / The Assignment: Make a piece of music made up of tiny alternating parts — at:

https://disquiet.com/0422/

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-0422-chapter-cascade/

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

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