Disquiet Junto Project 0334: Mass Branca


Happy Memorial Day and cheers to all!

Never Say…(disquiet0334)
I cry uncle.
While I am familiar with Glenn Branca peripherally, his music slipped under the radar for me, so a quick google search brought up many examples to check out. The Symphony #1- Tonal Plexus, particularly Movement 1 was a favorite.
The prompt was also nice excuse to get out the Steinberg U-22 and violin bow. Logic was chosen for the large number of instrument tracks necessary for my particular take on guitar orchestration, the trusty iPad just wouldn’t have the horsepower. With a recent SSD upgrade, I was also curious to see how much of a performance gain there would be during production.
The guitar was tuned G B C# G B(broken 2nd E) for a G(b5), knowing that bowing would be tricky in the middle. Then the fun began. This is so much easier watching than doing. While the bridge height didn’t help, some interesting sounds emerged. The track opens with a bowing just north of the nut and heads down to the bridge pick up for voice and volume. The technique was sporadic at best and the tuning changed with bowing as opposed to picking, so results are noisy, unpredictable and occasionally stuttered. It didn’t help that the rosin had hardened beyond usefulness :-/ But the dry recording had something interesting?!? This dry recording was stacked and cut up into 50 tracks. Why 50? I had given up at 42, it had just became so hard to manage mixing. But after a good meal, movie and nights rest, I was refreshed enough to add the 8 tracks for a half-assed attempt at 100…half=50…half-assed I CAN do.
Anyways, these 50 tracks were mixed with so many cabinet, pedalboard and outboard effects, that I couldn’t even begin to list them all! Just know that each has it’s own little sound and it’s own little space in the field. Probably not something I would attempt again, but fun :smiley:
**This is the short version, the original had a 20 minute tape delay tail :open_mouth:
The tracks

A bit of the mixer


This piece is based on hums, a single recording of a group of 4 humming in a dilapidated shed is layered about 25 times.

Also includes multiple layers of a didgeridoo in Alexanderplatz, some drumming on a plastic knickknack case from duty-free, and walking along Walden Pond. Basically though, it’s hums. Also inspired by Can, and the book “How Early America Sounded” (recc’d by @jmmy-kpple), which includes the fact that approving audiences in ye olden days, would hum.

The image is giraffes. They also hum.


20 years ago I bought a Glenn Branca CD because I liked Sonic Youth and read somewhere that Glenn had something to do with them. It is still my least favourite CD.

I made 135 tracks of guitar for this weeks Disquiet project. I really enjoyed the sounds design side of layering too many guitar tracks.

The first sound is an attempt at creating a granular synth effect by recording 24 tracks of arthymical muted guitar picking.

The drones are about 50 tracks of ebow and harmonics fading in and out. With enough tracks the fades disappear and it becomes a continuous sound.

The next sound is an attempt at recreating the THX Deep Note using a slide guitar (The THX score was getting some press coverage this week). I recorded 20 different notes starting on either E or B and sliding off to a nearby note. I reversed all these and mixed them together. The slides don’t sustain enough to create a long sound but the huge chord fading in is kind of like the Deep Note.

The next section is 12 tracks of funk done with guitar alone. I tried using different length loops to create polyrhythmic effects.

After that there are 7 tracks of me tapping on the guitar rhythmically. It sounds a bit like a sequenced modular synth. Also there a 8 tracks of pick scraping and 4 tracks of harmonics for effects.

The outro is a combination of all the sounds and has 135 tracks playing at once. At this stage my DAW started to wig out.


Some of the strangest giraffes I’ve seen.


i recorded i think 90-odd toots on my harmonica , paulstretched coz that works well with harmonica and i wanted a nice drone (missed drone day yesterday) a bit of denoising but i thought the rumble and hiss worked quite well


That’s the soul of dead Giraffes, I don’t think there’s any left alive after the Price Harry took care of them (look the start of this video)

Sorry, I’m searching for a “Most Out Of Topic post” badge…


I had an old track from around 1999, named “Der Weltraum” (german for “the space / the universe”), which consisted itself of many layers (many of them samples from Shostakovich, Symphony No. 11, first movement (my favourite) … which weren’t recognizable any longer even at that time), and for “Twenty-three Weltraums” I layered 23 versions of it in Reaper to get this version. Some FX and manual panning.

Maybe not mass enough, and no guitars for Glenn … but my contribution to disquiet0334 and my hommage to Branca.

Length of this excerpt is 8:00, because 8 is 2^3. This is so nerdy …


apparently this is how they self-identify :wink:


Really like the harmonics in this,


Thank you for this terrific story.


White Frosting

I own all sorts of instruments, which are loosely divided into two groups: those I can play, and those I can operate. I can play the guitar, I can operate a violin.

I choose the fiddle for this piece, with the goal of recording scads of samples to mix together. I kinda sorta did that, though initially I did not get the dense layering I had imagined. (“Not what I imagined” being a hallmark of many a Junto.)

But my lack of skill provided various “microtonal variations”, often on a macro-tonal scale. I assembled a number of loops, with each using five to 10 separate samples of approximately the same riff. To some of these I applied some delay; some loops/samples were also re-applied at different pitch/speeds, and other loops were re-pitched entirely, to build up some tonal density,

At about the 2/3 mark there’s a riff that gets some comb filter treatment to bring out more harmonic joy.

While the goal was a Branca tribute I think there’s some “Portsmouth Sinfonia plays Phillip Glass in the subway” vibe going on. Maybe they’re waiting to catch the A train downtown to catch Theoretical Girls playing at Tier 3.


This is beautiful art, in and of itself.


Maybe Marc could take all the contributions and squish them together…? That might be awesome :slight_smile:

Anyway, here’s mine:


Using Reaper at 145 BPM, G Whole tone scale, G Major scale, G Major suspended scale. Used four different guitar sounds both electric and acoustic. Added distortions.


This is a piece of music that I used to play with my indie band Die Gobs in the early 90s. The song was called 5 Meter Groß and we played it a lot, often extending it to long psychedelic hypnotic improvisations.
For the recording here I managed to layer 16 guitar tracks. Not too much, but something. Interestingly you can´t really hear them, as most of them play exactly the same.
If I find time I will add some more guitars. I also played a piano and some fake drums, using ableton´s sampled instruments.
No click track, everything first take with no edits.
I never heard much of Glenn Branca, but surely love lots of music that is heavily influenced by his work, e.g. Sonic Youth, Godspeed You Black Emperor etc.
What a pity that I missed this, I am sure that I would have enjoyed a Glenn Branca concert a lot.


The playlist is now rolling. Sorry for the reply delay. I was at my college reunion, which was more consuming (way more consuming) than I’d expected it to be. Now at my parents’ place before heading back to San Francisco.


I went for a bit of a different approach this week - I used one of the parts from my Naviar Haiku, which in that track is nice and soft and lovely, but for this I put it through a Big Muff Pi to really dirty it up. The sound source is a two-oscillator voice I created on the modular, which uses a combination of the raw oscillator output, the ring modulated output of the two oscillators, and also one oscillator amlitude modulating the other. That mixture went into Ripples as a filter. Each oscillator gets either the positive or negative sum of a random sequence from Disting.
I recorded multiple takes of this, with me playing with the filter and the Big Muff tone and sustain controls.
Very VERY different to my usual stuff.


Tribute to Glenn Branca
first time i saw him and band in 1982, never forget this otherworldly Tsunami which blow the audiance to the rear wall of the club.
rough and brutal
ten tracks with Jazzmaster and Washburn G-10V
drums and cymbals.


It’s not especially Branca-oid, but i made this subdued shriek from 30 seconds of birdsong & mic rumble that i recorded yesterday.

I looped the recording a number of times and set up the sequence to play ~10 times & then layered that recording ~ten times so there’s a at least a hundred versions of the same sound at some level here. I then started dragging and massaging that recording through an interminable number of delay lines, filtering it & dragging it again until any birdsong was implicit only; the rolling rumble, still readily detectable to my ears and the waveform, is the consequence of the mic rumble.


Great to find you around here again. Great brutal drone your track, the late Branca appreciates, I’m sure.