Treated Chord (a new Disquiet Project)

Disquiet Junto Project 0227: Treated Chord


A new track for the Disquiet Junto. Very rapidly done with what I had to hand: a guitar and an iPad with Borderlands Granular running on it.

I recorded the single notes from one of my favourite chords (with many uses): Em7#5 … or at least that is what the chord calculator told me it was.

The first 30 secs or so of the track is the individual notes “played” with the Borderlands Granular engine one at a time. The rest of the track is playing around with various settings to build an ambient wash.

Original Instructions:
Record a piece of music in which what changes is the treatment of the notes that comprise a single chord.

Step 1: Choose a chord, any chord.

Step 2: Make a list of the notes that the chord is comprised of.

Step 3: Record each of the notes of the chord as a separate track.

Step 4: Create a piece of music in which each of those tracks plays from start to finish, and that as they play those tracks are manipulated individually (echo, texture, effects, relative volume, etc.).

This project is inspired by the tape-cassette music of Amulets, aka Randall Taylor of Austin, Texas.

More on this 227th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“Record a piece of music in which what changes is the treatment of the notes that comprise a single chord”) at:

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Before the Flood – A Junto/SETI sound project

Before the Flood

This Disquiet Junto assignment was to combine three field recordings from artist Charles Lindsay, the head of the Artist in Residence program at the SETI Institute, to explore and express notions of perceived techno-organic intelligence and done in conjunction with .


Step 1: Consider what it is that Charlie is exploring in his work: “I’m thinking about evolution, entropy, sentience, and the complex signatures of intelligence: what microtonal soundtrack would best express the micro and the vast, the field and the matrix, what we call nature and what we call machine, in unity, as music or as sound?”
Step 2: Download the three tracks recorded by Charle that are in this playlist on SoundCloud. The first track was made on the Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica, rain-forest ambient sounds caught with a parabolic microphone at nightfall. The second was made with a hydrophone at dusk amid the Bunsby Islands in British Columbia. The third was made at the D-WAVE2 Quantum Computer at NASA Ames.
Step 3: Follow this request from Charlie: “Please process, merge, and mix these tracks to seven minutes total. Imagine the final track looping indefinitely in a sound installation in a museum or gallery environment. This use of sound in controlled space is something I’m very interested in, as a real time, real space tool to blend so-called realities. Imagine dream images, much the way our mind seems to, glitches and all. I look forward to what you come up with, and thanks very much for your interest.”



Uploading each of the three tracks in turn to a granular sampler (software: Ambient) and recording the results of my sound experimentation was the first step. In thinking about this project, I considered the obvious environmental concepts raised in the choice of field recordings: from rain forest to ocean by means of the technological advancement of the quantum computer. Without overstretching this environmental motif, the oceans overwhelming the technology overwhelming the natural world was a powerful theme and this is the order I pulled the arrangement together with. The sound fragments were collated in Logic in this order with little further processing being necessary. I felt there was enough of the original – albeit granulated – sound coming through to give the listener a trace of the original field recordings.


More on this 213th weekly Disquiet Junto project (“The Assignment: Combine three field recordings from artist Charles Lindsay to explore and express notions of perceived techno-organic intelligence”) at:…complexsignatures/

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The photo above is an edit of the cover of Charles Lindsay’s forthcoming book, Carbon, more on which here:…lindsay-carbon

And here are details on a MASS MoCA exhibit he will be participating in. It begins May 28, 2016:



Just released on Fwonk, a free single for Christmas (although it’s not that Chrismassy to be fair).

Recorded early in 2014 (using some found sounds from 4 years back), this track doesn’t really fit with the other tracks I’m working on for both the next echosonic album and the forthcoming EP with Venona Pers.

Droplets is in three parts and evolved from a series of samples recorded on the Beijing metro when I was last there. Otherwise, the track is very much an in-the-box creation investigating some paths less well trodden.

The cover image is one from my own library … seemed apt!

Wired Olive Pole [disquiet0154-grooveunlocked]


Disquiet Junto Project 0154: Groove Unlocked

A new Disquiet project after a long lay-off!

The assignment was to create a track from two locked grooves.

Building on last week’s Disquiet Junto project in which 67 different musicians uploaded as many locked grooves, this week we made new music atop those locked grooves.

I chose two locked grooves from the set at – Mark Rushton’s Depool (Markrushtoncom – Depool-disquiet0153-groovelock) and ooray’s Livewire (Ooray – Livewire-disquiet0153-groovelock). I picked track numbers 44 and 54 from the previous week’s Disquiet project before listening to them, as I was contemplating playing around with time signatures. In the end, I kept the project simple.

Rather than cut the loops up, I rather liked the effect of randomly playing one then setting up Ableton’s follow action to play one or the other after 4 bars. On top of this I created some harmonic counterpoint, mixed and ran the track out to an mp3. Very simple and it felt good to be playing off of Mark and Ted’s tracks.


More on this 154th Disquiet Junto project — “Create a track from two locked grooves” — at:…54-grooveunlocked/

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Image associated with this project by Risa:

Dissonant Melody from an Architectural Book Illustration Legend


IrenaLipiene_web KaleidoscoperevDisquiet Junto Project 0097: Ford Madox Ford Page 99 Remix


As everyone else, I got busy with the codex. I am currently reading (more accurately just read) “CCP: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed” by Frédéric Chaubin (…_photographed.htm). I had to turn back a number of pages to find some text: “light consisting of orbiting spheres and the extraordinary solar fusion sculpture”. One character too many – I hope no one minds!

The extraordinary solar fusion sculpture can be found here:…aLipiene_web.jpg

The resultant “melody” is not what you would call a harmonic masterpiece, but I used a combination of Soniccouture’s Geosonics and Xtended Piano to create a fairly exotic lead track. A heavily effected Battery rhythm and Kontakt Darabuka patch completed the Ableton Live session. Some granular delay was thrown over a couple of the tracks to create a drone bed. Apologies for the length. I wanted each note to be a half note and I also wanted some space for the rhythm track to breath. It was mixed in Logic Pro.


This week’s project takes as its source a comment attributed to the author Ford Madox Ford: “Open the book to page ninety-nine and read, and the quality of the whole will be revealed to you.” We will convert text from page 99 of various books into music.

Step 1: Pick up the book you are currently reading, or otherwise the first book you see nearby.

Step 2: Turn to page 99. Confirm that the page has enough consecutive text in it to add up to 80 characters.

Step 2a: If the page is blank or otherwise has no text, turn to page 98. Continue this process of moving backward through the book until your find an appropriate page.

Step 2b: If you are reading an ebook that lacks page numbers, or a book that happens to lack page numbers, then use the first page of the main body of the book (i.e., not the Library of Congress information or the table of contents) or flip to a random spot/page in the book.

Step 3: When you have located 80 consecutive characters, type them into a document on your computer or write the down on a piece of paper.

Step 4: You will turn these characters into music by following the following rules:

Step 4a: The letters A through L will correspond with the notes along the chromatic scale from A to G#. To convert a letter higher than L, simply cycle through the scale again (i.e., L = G#, M = A, etc.). Capital letters should be played slightly louder than lowercase letters.

Step 4b: Any spaces and any dashes/hyphens will be treated as blank, as a silent moment.

Step 4c: A comma or semicolon will signify a note one step below the preceding note.

Step 4d: A period, question mark, or exclamation point will signify a note one step above the preceding note.

Step 4e: All other punctuation (colon, ampersand, etc.) will be heard as a percussive beat.

Step 5: Record the piece of music using a digital or analog instrument.

Step 6: Set the pace for the recording to between 160 and 80 beats per minute (BPM). In other words, the track should be between 30 and 60 seconds in length.

Step 7: Add any desired underlying music or sound bed, and any additional instrumentation, but the melody resulting from Step 6 should be the most prominent sound.


More on this 97th Disquiet Junto project, in which music is decoded from a phrase in a book,

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Strings (Nickel wound, D’Addario), Screwdriver (Chrome Vanadium, Homebase), Coin (Cupro-Nickel 2010-vintage 10 pence)


Disquiet Junto Project 0096: Metal Machine Muse

After another long delay, this week’s Disquiet Junto project is a tribute to Lou Reed, who passed away earlier this week. His album Metal Machine Music from 1975 is a classic early noise endeavor. His influence on my entire musical career is significant and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to create something for this fairly straightforward project. Using the phrase “Metal Machine Muse” as the guide, I created my own tribute to Metal Machine Music. At least one actual metal had to be used in the work, and I used a number, each detailed below.


Metal. Strings (Nickel wound, D’Addario), Screwdriver (Chrome Vanadium, Homebase), Coin (Cupro-Nickel 2010-vintage 10 pence)

Various lines recorded (glissando, bowed, picked using the coin) into Ableton Live, looped, mixed in Logic Pro 9. Some granular delays, but fairly simple.



Photograph: @echosonic – Instruments for a metal machine V Cr Ni Cu and others

More on this 96th Disquiet Junto project, in which metal machine music is made in tribute to the late Lou Reed,

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Farewell to Vger: Notes from a Pale Blue Pixel


Disquiet Junto Project 0089: V’Ger

Another Disquiet Junto after a long break … this certainly isn’t my favourite, but it gave me a chance to investigate Logic Pro X!


This week’s project is as follows. On its voyage beyond the bounds of our solar system, the Voyager 1 recorded two bursts of sound, which NASA has uploaded as part of the information video at the following URL:

The musical noise can be heard in two 12-second segments, from 0:12 to 0:24 and then from 0:33 to 0:45.

Those sounds will serve as the source material for your track. Now that Voyager 1 has left the solar system, you will write a short piece of goodbye music to send it on its way, using these sounds recorded in the outer space. You can add whatever you want to them, and you can transform the noise as you see fit, but you should retain elements of the original source material so that it remains recognisable to the listener. In particular, pay attention to the source audio’s melodic content.


Back in the saddle after a few months off, this was a fairly quick project. Processing the sound through Ambient, Reaktor and paulstretch gave me a palette of sounds from which to build a farewell drone. I had wanted to include some other instrumentation, but I felt it all worked better with just the processed source audio.


More on this 89th Disquiet Junto project, in which the sounds of interstellar space are used to make “goodbye music” for the Voyager 1 space probe, at:

Source audio courtesy of NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Iowa via:

Special thanks to Mark Ward ( for having suggested this material as the subject for a Disquiet Junto project.

More details on the Disquiet Junto at: