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Playing with audio.
Sounding out technology.
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tag: voice

Disquiet Junto Project 0290: Text-to-Beat

Use computer-generated speech as the rhythmic foundation for a 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.

This project’s deadline is 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, July 24, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 20, 2017.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0290: Text-to-Beat
Use computer-generated speech as the rhythmic foundation for a track.

Step 1: This week we’re going to build a track around text-to-speech, the results of a computer-generated voice speaking. In past text-to-speech we’ve used pre-existing text as the source. In this case we’re going to build the text to order. Keep this in mind.

Step 2: Find a good text-to-speech system that you think you can work with musically. In MacOS, for example, there’s a built-in system shortcut: Just select the text you want to hear, highlight it (in a browser, or a text editor, wherever) and then hit the ESC button while holding down the OPT button. There are also other tools, including browser-based options, like the one here:

Step 3: Experiment with different combinations of words to produce a rhythm you want to work with.

Step 4: Record the rhythm you developed in Step 3.

Step 5: Produce a track using the rhythm in Step 4 as the foundation. (Level Up: Use more than one text-to-speech pattern to create cross-patterns, phasing, among other polyrhythmic events and effects.)

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 “disquiet0290” (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: In the following discussion thread at please consider posting your track:

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 wherever you are on Monday, July 24, 2017. This project was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, July 20, 2017.

Length: The length is entirely up to the participant, though two or three minutes is suggested.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0290” 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). Keep an eye on the license of the audio you source, as that may determine the license you end up using.

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information, along with details of your source audio, including links to it:

More on this 290th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Text-to-Beat: Use computer-generated speech as the rhythmic foundation for a track. — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

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

Image associated with this project is by Flickr member Jordan, used thanks to a (note: No Derivatives) Creative Commons license:

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Patti Kilroy’s Echoes and Premonitions

A track for layered voice

Like a lot of solo musicians working with electronic equipment, Patti Kilroy manages to expand her palette by becoming multitudes. The layers of her voice in “Blahudio” accumulate with consummate subtlty. At times it can sound like just one person, except then instances of her intoning seem to occur with a peculiar sequential nature: you realize that you’re hearing something you expect to hear, the initiation of a riff, after or during that which would normally succeed it. Now, “riff” might be overstating it: these are modulations more than melodies, wisps that shifts up and down a slender scale. There are deep echoes and premonitions in the piece, and a harmonic intensity that produces shivers in the listener.

Track originally posted at More from Kilroy, who is based in New York, New York, and whose primary instrument is violin, at

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Disquietude Podcast Episode 0002

Music from Naoyuki Sasanami, Geneva Skeen, Jeanann Dara and Jherek Bischoff, R. Beny, Bana Haffar, Scanner, Yann Novak

This is the second episode of the Disquietude podcast of ambient electronic music. (There’s an odd little glitch at the opening, but otherwise it seems to sound good.) All seven tracks of music are featured with the permission of the individual artists or their record labels. It’s currently on SoundCloud, and will shortly be at Mixcloud, YouTube, iTunes, and Stitcher. There’s also an RSS feed, should you need it.

Below is the structure of the episode with time codes for the tracks:

00:00 theme and intro

01:42 Naoyuki Sasanami’s “Winter”

05:12 Geneva Skeen’s “Ambivalence”

10:42 Jeanann Dara and Jherek Bischoff’s “Jherek”

17:46 R. Beny’s “Basin”

23:21 Bana Haffar’s “Memoriam”

30:27 Scanner’s “Captiva 7”

35:44 Yann Novak’s “Surroundings (Excerpt)”

44:22 track notes

49:18 essay on room tone

51:50 outro

53:19 end

What follows is a rough transcript of the spoken material in the podcast, as well as links to the artists whose work is included: Read more »

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Brian Eno Gives the BBC a Studio Tour

And talks generative art, sculptures, beat making, note taking, and more

“I’m trying to make a version of me in this software,” Brian Eno tells the BBC’s Spencer Kelly in a half-hour video from the broadcaster’s Click show. The ambient godfather is giving Kelly a tour of his studio, displaying how he constructs his light installations, his sculptures made of small speakers, and his software-based music. We see the dark backroom where he’s transitioned from cathode ray tubes to LEDs, and his ceiling-high bookshelves, 65 percent of which he estimates have science as their subject. Kelly, whose BBC reporting focus is technology, pushes Eno to confirm himself as something of a scientist, which Eno agrees to do.

Broadcasting is an odd thing. Kelly needs to ask a generalist’s questions, even though it’s clear he must know quite a bit more than he’s actually acknowledging knowledge of. They get around to “those cards,” which leads to a bit of a history lesson about how Roxy Music’s limited budget inspired Eno to get some best practices in order, which in turn became the Oblique Strategies deck. He also spends an extended bit making generative drum beats, and gives us a flip through old notebooks. Somewhere people with high-definition monitors are making and trading screenshots, no doubt.

There’s also fodder for an incredibly subtle animated GIF around the 18:23 mark, when Eno, his head emerging from a thick, collared overshirt like that of a tortoise, juts back and forth along to a semi-randomized rhythm he’s just implemented.

Found via

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Musique Concrète + Video Games

The making of Resident Evil 7: Biohazard

This short documentary video about the making of the video game Resident Evil 7: Biohazard explores the use of musique concrète to achieve the game developers’ pursuit of a horror aesthetic. The 8-minute profile interviews various participants in the game’s production from a variety of sound roles, including audio director, composers, and music production supervisors.

Says one member of the team: “We talked about this whole musique concréte style. So using voices became part of the score, and we gave them instructions like pretend, you know, you’ve got a plastic bag over your head and you’re asphyxiating. Pretend you’re drowing; make a sound like that. By the end it got a little bit weird: you know, you’re a zombie cow and you’re dying.”

It’s interesting to observe their collective decision and their experience of moving away from traditional game music — which is generally electronic but also usually employs recognizably musical instrumentation or reference points — to work drawn entirely from recorded audio.

Video originally posted at Vimeo. More on the video game, which was released back in January, at An album of the music was also released in January:

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