Disquiet Junto Project 0331: Born Under a Bad Sine

Disquiet Junto Project 0331: Born Under a Bad Sine
What does it sound like when a robot has the blues?

Step 1: What does it sound like when a robot has the blues?

Step 2: Record a piece of music that attempts to answer the question from Step 1.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0331” (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 “disquiet0331” (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.

Step 5: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

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, May 7, 2018. This project was posted shortly after noon, California time, on Thursday, May 3, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you, but between two and three minutes seems about right, unless your robot gets stuck in a loop and goes on longer, of course.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0331” 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 331st weekly Disquiet Junto project (Disquiet Junto Project 0331: Born Under a Bad Sine / What does it sound like when a robot has the blues?) 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.

The photo associated with this project is by BrotherMagneto, used via Flickr and a Creative Commons license:




And the project is now live.

1 Like

Hi All,

I imagined a robot with the blues might try to play some birdsong to cheer itself up … but the blues undermines its soundfile playback integrity …

Have a cool week!

h u :slight_smile:





Disquiet Junto Project 0331: Born Under a Bad Sine
What does it sound like when a robot has the blues?

If Marvin the Paranoid Android did Trap, broke down, was thrown out and sung the robo-trap-blues from the back of a dump truck…

The drone at the beginning is the sound of my studio kitchen fridge, fed through distortion effects and vocoded. Synth pads and electric piano parts come in and some lazy bass. Several out of time SFX loops, scissors and a bike wheel, looped over a trap beat. The wish/wash harmonica/synth thing bit is a short loop stretched and retimed using flextime in Logic. The chords of gloom is two electric piano parts, in different keys, over laid creating nice little discordant clusters as the timing matches up, fed through reverb, with only the reverb fed into light distortion. Vocals were recorded in the studio and processed in realtime with iZotopes Vocalsynth. I didnt have working headphones in the studio so I recorded the vocals with the music playing on the monitors in the background, I used the processed backing track bleed for the outro. Glitches at the end created using Audio Damage’s Replicant.


wow this is wayyyy doope. i was totally thinking of doing a vocoder thing haha. back to the drawing board, but really, you knowcked it out. so good.


Created for:
Disquiet Junto Project 0331: Born Under a Bad Sine
What does it sound like when a robot has the blues?

Can’t quite tell for other cities, but believe me: this is the kind of music robots like to listen to in my hometown when they get sad and low.
Buenos Aires is a melancholic city, and robots are not spared.

I won’t be surprised if this track becomes a hit among robots, my vacuum cleaner got weird while I was mixing this earlier this morning.
Me too, mind…

Bandoneon performed by Olivier Manoury, the rest by D.D.

Created in Paris, France
Friday 4th May 2018.
Image by franck v


Hi folks - It’s been awhile, but after Marc’s very kind mention of me in the newsletter and such an intriguing challenge this week, I felt I had to do something.

Here’s my track:

featuring lapsteel processed through my Serge /Random Source Eurorack modules.

Ps can someone remind me how to embed a Soundcloud track, rather than just a link - can’t seem to remember how to do it anymore

EDIT: I fixed it now…


I thought that a robot feeling sad would be a grainy emulation of human emotion. So I fed some human sadness (flutes) into my two favourite robots (morphagene and w/) - and then played their various playback knobs by hand for a few minutes. :slight_smile:


The sound of a robot with the blues: apparently it takes “Black Man Blues” by DeFord Bailey, runs it through a vocoder, quantizes him a bit and evens out some his phrase lengths, and accompanies him with some samples. The beats are from Aphex Twin, Archie Bell and the Drells, and Romulo Caicedo. The synth pad is sampled from another of my Junto tracks (https://soundcloud.com/ethanhein/first-chair-at-the-wavetable-disquiet0315). I played back the clips in a random sequence using Follow Actions. The bass is a patch on the Helm synth.


If a robot is sad, it’s likely the fault of a human being. “To some degree, we all live out our emotional lives through technology,” writes Michael Harris in his book The End of Absence. “Yet every time we use our technologies as a mediator for the chaotic elements of our lives, we change our relationship with those parts of our lives that we seek to control … ultimately, we seek machines that can understand our feelings perfectly.”

Suss Müsik has never been comfortable unloading our deepest emotional traumas in any context—human, animal or machine—solely because we don’t want to subject our whinging upon others. A team of scientists once determined that the root cause of unhappiness is the persistence of painful childhood memories, which fester and accumulate over long periods of time. Now imagine a robot programmed to store entire reams of superficial data, terabytes of squalor dumped into its gloomy computerized brain like some digital landfill for the morbidly wretched. Hey, you’d feel sad too.

For this sedate piece, Suss Müsik aimed for a result somewhere between To Rococo Rot and Tom Waits. We started with a somber sequence on prepared piano and played it through a Boss RV-3 on the 12th dial setting. Two electronic figures were then composed for Moog synthesizer to imagine the sounds a sobbing robot might create. The misery ends with a sad trumpet and maudlin fake strings pecking at the carrion.

The piece is titled 0011101000101000, which is the binary code for an ASCII frowning face. The image is a sad little robot in Suss Müsik studios who feels a lot worse after hearing this piece.


Robots can burn out.

Nothing more to say except that mastering is strange but that fits with the subject/story.



Used this as an excuse to practice patching a variety of sounds on my MS-20 mini.


I believe that dancing is the best cure for the blues.

So I would program a robot to play their favourite tune and bust a move to improve their mood.


Excellent piece. Quite soothing and comforting to me. If your blue robot doesn’t feel better after this try again tomorrow. Robots are all bipolar aren’t they? (you know, in their heads all goes from 1 to 0 to 1 to 0 all the time). Hard to be a Robot with the blues.


Thank you! Robot feeling better. We played the entire Junto 0331 playlist and that seems to have helped.


I think if a robot was to have the blues, it would firstly turn to Google to identify the specific emotions that goes into feeling sad, and the reasons for sadness. It wouldn’t surprise me if, during Googling, one phrase that will consistently show up is “anger turned inwards”.

So I thought the music then created would be slow, replete with mechanical and metallic sounds [because I think a robot would take the idea of “inwards” literally and will reflect on its own body], with a noisy, smouldering core.

Layer 1: Drums
Layer 2: Field recording of squeaking metal, with reverb
Layer 3: Bowed cymbal + reverb, panned left
Layer 4: Bowed cymbal + reverb, panned right
Layer 5: Distorted guitar
Layer 6: Field recording of an MRI machine, slowed 400%


In my mind, the answer is simple: like a piece of hi-tech soul from the early 1990s. (This turns out to be the answer to a lot of other questions too).

So I constructed something suitable using the eurorack modular, and jammed it out live into Logic. The synth noises are an Intellijel Shapeshifter (and a loop of itself in Morphagene the 4ms SMR, a bit of filtering and FX in the rack too.



Here is my effort - a 12 bar blues in Dm with