Disquiet Junto Project 0309: Military Matrix Mixer

Disquiet Junto Project 0309: Military Matrix Mixer
Mix music according to a military standard for relative message clarity.

Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the concept of “five by five,” in which five “readability” levels and five “signal strength” levels are aligned in a matrix. Messages are rated from 1 to 5 in readability (unreadable, readable now and then, readable but with difficulty, readable, perfectly readable) and from 1 to 5 in signal strength (scarcely perceptible, weak, fairly good, good, very good).

Step 2: If you’re not familiar with the concept of a matrix mixer, familiarize yourself with it.

Step 3: Imagine a matrix mixer whose X axis and Y axis align with the concept of “five by five” described in Step 1.

Step 4: Create a piece of music that is mixed over the course of its duration in a way that explores the various intersections of a hypothetical “five by five” matrix mixer.

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 “disquiet0309” (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 this following discussion thread at llllllll.co 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 (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on Monday, December 4, 2017. This project was posted in the evening, California time, on Thursday, November 30, 2017.

Length: Five minutes makes sense, but it’s up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0309” 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 309th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Military Matrix Mixer: Mix music according to a military standard for relative message clarity) at:


More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Subscribe to project announcements here:


Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:


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

Image associated with this project is a detail of the cover of the FM 24-6 Radio Operator’s Manual, Army Ground Forces, June 1945, courtesy of the Internet Archive:



The project is now live.

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went from high signal strength to high readability
perception, focus, clarity --> power, bass, noise, distortion
harmonica sample and guitar fx



I took a melody line of random arpeggiation from an Organelle and played it a few times through various levels of effects.

On the first pass I went for “readable but with difficulty” and a “fairly good” signal strength. I used the ER-301’s manual grains unit to “play” the passage, by manually rotating a knob to adjust the start point of the grains.

On the second pass I simply played the entire passage without effects, or “perfectly readable” and “very good” signal strength.

For the final and least “readable” pass I returned to the manual grains unit, running it through a gallon of reverb and “tape” delay. “Readable now and again” and a “weak-ish” signal strength.

I used a Minilogue for the bass line, and the ER-301 handled the drum loop.

In addition to everything else I used a field recording from aporee.org.

Field recording info:
Traditional market (Wu,Tsan-Cheng , 29.11.2017 08:30 Asia/Taipei, 5:22min., mp3 320kbit/s, 12.9mb)


The playlist is now rolling:




I tried to look at it from a philosophical point of view and thought about the strength of the signal and readability.
And found myself thinking that hopefully I get the point of this week´s task. I was working on a new track when
Marc´s mail came in and since I believe in synchronicity I had the idea of doing my disquiet using this piece.
I shortened it, turned the last third to reverse, and added parts of the speech of a Hopi Indian.
I also added a short sequence to the beginning in which he speaks about spirituality.
While doing this project, I couldn´t help thinking that perhaps I am an oldfashioned guy - I do not have any DAW´s, no plug-ins etc. but have to play everything I do into my tascam and from there to the pc where I have a wave-editor to workon my music offering two tracks.
Now as always I am very keen on listening to the other contributions.
I wish everybody a nice weekend


Great idea, so many mixing possibilities I’d never considered.

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I love how you build each week on the prior week.

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The instructions led me to consider effects pedals and the outputs on my Roland TR-707.

I liked the idea the effects played with the signals, before merging them together in Live.




Thanks for the 5x5 inspiration!

Five sound sources - VCS3, Moog, Fender P-bass, ambient recording, silence …
Five FX channels, stepping through 5 FX chain matrices randomly with Kapture in Ableton …


Have a nice week everyone!

H U :wink:


signal strength vs readability

I was thinking about how signal strength and readability in music could be thought of in terms to harmonic, melodic and rhythmic content, or in terms of timbre, or in terms of staging a mix, or in terms of novelty or repetition.

I’ve been playing around with contact mics lately and most of the sounds in the recording were captured with these mics. Using a speaker with a cork mounted on it, I excited a gong and captured its vibrations with a contact mic. Creating a feedback loop between the two resulted in some interesting content.

The percussion noises were made from thumb piano and paperclip recordings.



I took some North Korean radio as source material, then manipulated various parameters in Morphagene using Pressure Points, and added some percussion and some strange alarm type sound from a self-oscillating three sisters. I didn’t quite have enough variables so this is more of a 4x4 matrix unfortunately.


I used these “five by five” matrix mixer combinations as a sort of guidance – readability + signal strength:

  1. perfectly readable + very good
  2. readable + good
  3. readable but with difficulty + fairly good
  4. now and then + weak
  5. unreadable + scarcely perceptible
  6. unreadable + very good
  7. now and then + good
  8. readable but with difficulty + fairly good
  9. readable + weak
  10. perfectly readable + scarcely perceptible

Configured a sequence on my Moog Mother 32 and recorded it live while manipulating effects (my first foray into recording like this). Added delays, beat repeat, EQ, and compression in Ableton.

Needed some noise.


Well, twirl my turban, I had no idea how to approach this Project! I ended up going with the first thing that came to mind when reading “5x5” - the Andrews Sisters lol. So this is “Mister 5x5” cut and pasted, reverbed and discofied. Enjoy.





I decided to take the concept kind of literally, taking a spoken word “broadcast” and marring it with volume changes. Six “changes” seemed about right, so then I tried to find a poem short enough to read and process six times in this piece.

I ended up finding an old writing exercise - I only had the results of the exercise, not the prompt, so I have no idea where these words came from. I think the challenge was to take six random words and use them in a poem.

I read it six times in a row. From there, I used envelopes to make six “variations” on this spoken-word theme, according to the matrix.

  • Increasing volume, increasing “noise”
  • Same
  • Random changes in signal strength and noise
  • Increasing volume, increasing “noise”
  • Decreasing volume, decreasing noise
  • Decreasing volume, random changes in noise

At first I mapped this all out to make a magic square, but I realized I would end up with linear movements, and that’s boring. So then I used a random number generator to put me at random points on the x and y axes of volume and noise.

To get noise, I ran the recording of the poem through a vocoder, using a glitchy jam session from years ago.

That felt a little boring, so then I ran it through SPEAR to figure out any pitches, and I wrote a piano part based on the pitches that showed up.

After that I felt like the glitchy jam session was a little too familiar to me (I’ve used this particular recording more than a few times), so I tried to also feed in some highly processed vocals into the mix.

That felt, conceptually, a little better (voice interrupting voice), but then I lost the noise that inspired the piano accompaniment. So I blended the voice in with the noise.

Not sure this is done (or particularly listenable?), but it got me writing again after a dry spell and made me challenge myself, which is good!

Trying to give the photo thing a shot - here are some pictures(?)


This is another piece built from field recordings / found sounds.


The main atmosphere is from the Sound Garden* in Seattle, which I tagged as a 3/3 in my readability/signal noise matrix. The other cells in the matrix, gently spiraling out from that center, were occupied by seats in an old theater, arctic terns flocking over a nesting site, train stations, a tugboat, NYE fireworks (reverb’d), northern songbirds, and two separate tunnel recordings, as found.

*Only after it was complete did it occur to me that the Sound Garden, being located on a NOAA base, was completely appropriate for this week’s theme.



First of all, matrix mixers are cool things! I could imagine what one was, and yes, it appeals to me! Matrices and mixers - what’s not to love?! I especially love the simplicity of the idea, and what’s possible. I’d love some time with a physical matrix mixer.

So I used five instrument tracks for this Junto, and mixed them together - using five sends (Echobode, Eos, Antresol, Toraverb, and Corpus). Four Chromaphone tracks, and one Protoplasm, for the instruments. The project is just five clips (plus the drum beat I tapped out on the default 606 kit that comes with Ableton), but I hope the variations keep it musically interesting.

Not really sticking to the Junto brief at all… I need to get back focussed on the task.

Hope you enjoy…


It’s not music :-/
Numbers Station(disquiet0309)
Massive quick and dirty. Had slightly larger plans for this week, but it came down to the final hours and I had little to use. So out with the 5 minute musical approach and in with the strictly radio slant. A recent conversation regarding cold war radio led me here, and I had already started making patches in iVCS3, the ‘Putney’ EMS VCS3 emulator for iOS. Using AUM mixer, two channels from the Putney and one channel from Zeeon were routed into Cubasis and recorded live. Zeeon provided the morse code signal and both the static and pattern noise were from the Putney, one as a inter-app and the other a AU3. The last track was recorded in iVoxel for a disguised code number voice, hopefully adding to the cold war feel. 55 seconds seemed almost too long, but I think the relation and time to evolve through the 5 signal strengths justified the pain :slight_smile: