Disquiet Junto Project 0334: Mass Branca


After spending the weekend unsure I had something to record, inspiration arrived on Monday afternoon.

I revisited the ‘layered sameness’ Junto last week and saw parallels with the instructions this week.

So after pondering the process, I had an idea to record a chord progression many times.

I’d hoped for two dozen takes but found I could only manage 17.

Then the video needed almost a day to render.


For this project I just used a single synth voice run through different fx and recorded 12 loops of uneven lengths. I had to take an unscheduled 8 hour break between recording thanks to a thunderstorm of biblical proportions.
For the synth voice I used a mother 32 patched to a muted DFam sequencing the mother’s modulation. The loops were dumped into logic and gradually faded in until about 1 minute 30 when all the loops are playing. The uneven lengths created some shifting focus for the resulting cacophony.


I am very surprised I did not know of Branca - i love Sonic Youth, and now see the influences. So this is a wonderful musical discovery for me.

This is a drone piece using layers of e-bowed electric guitars. I used various guitars through various amps. Effects are kept to a minimum - just a little background delay for depth and a nice long reverb for space.


I started with notation for 8 instruments in muse score. Recorded a 1st Iayer of it.Recorded some Zen Magnets on a guitar, brushes, grate. I then utilized a MAX patch I built to re-feed the Zen Magnets on a L/R triggered off all of the MIDI. I then took the two and recorded an instance of that. A duplicate was created, reversed and then refed recorded with the MIDI and the melded recordings.MaddBranca.pdf (656.3 KB)
Process Zen Magnets on Guitar https://youtu.be/yPAcAaSd_7Y


the audio is composed with 42 layers taken from a single acoustic guitar tone. Those 42 layers were edited with a number of different effects, and then recorded onto a small tape recorder as I walked around my studio. The recorder was placed inside a fishbowl shaped glass vase, and recorded with binaural microphones. The binaural fishbowl and the digital file were then combined. The resultant audio is a 4:44 densely layered drone track that you can listen to here:

i used max/msp/jitter for the video, using a single image from the recording process. the image was converted into a halftone screen emulator, which takes the input matrix of the original image and splits it into a grid. each element of the grid is then replaced by regions of a second matrix based on the mean value of each slot in the grid. I captured the peak amplitude values from a 20 second audio clip, multiplied those values, and routed them to one of the grid coordinates. I then layered multiple recordings of the video and edited those videos in Premier.

short video here: https://vimeo.com/272266534


Good grief - only just made it it at 23:30 GMT! I’ve been wanting to join in with a Junto project for literally years now - I used to attempt every single one way back at the beginning… and this has been a nightmare to get finished due to llllllll.co not sending me a verification e-mail, not being able to get back into my old account, not being able to upload to Soundcloud, messing up export in Ableton, etc. etc…

Anyway - here’s my attempt. It’s about a third of the size I’d intended; I used only a third of the material I’d recorded, but it still ended up with 103 tracks in Ableton and 11 minutes of punishing guitar noise…

I love Glenn Branca’s work, and I don’t feel I’ve done the tribute I’d wanted. I do feel I’ve referenced some of the people who’ve been influenced by him, though (Swans, JG Thirlwell/Foetus, etc.)

I recorded a child’s 3/4 size student guitar, a cheap Tiger brand. I played several very rough versions of a rhythm and a very basic melody on only the top and bottom E strings (doing a cheap rubbish version of Branca’s E tunings used on some of his pieces). I recorded both rhythm and melody several times, playing the guitar with: a toffee hammer, a steel thimble, a wooden stick, my fingers, and an e-bow. The idea was to have 100 guitars going at once, all slightly out of time, but I think I ended up with about 30 guitars sounds at once, plus reverb, tape echo and delay.

Everything was recorded on a Zoom F8 using a home-made contact mic, a Rode M3 and a Sony stereo lapel mic, which was attached to electrical tape across the middle 4 strings. I then cut up all the audio in Audacity and played, bent, mixed and mastered it all in Ableton. The 103 tracks were probably around 70 audio tracks, 3 effects returns, and the rest group tracks for organisation.

Phew, now I need to listen to everyone else’s work! Hope to join in more from now on, hopefully with shorter tracks…

Couldn’t embed audiomack player, so please go here:
Branca Brainache on Audiomack

(had to use Audiomack, as Soundcloud let me down) Hope it works for everyone!


It worked for me! :bangbang:


Two recordings of Tocante Bistab drones were converted to MIDI and quantized to the nearest 32nd note.

The following was then done four times with each MIDI file: A recording was made of thirteen instances of sampled piano across the stereo field simultaneously playing the MIDI file, each separately mutating using Numerology’s auto-evolve function.

The final recording alternates between the two sets of four recordings, with all of the start times staggered.

13 * 4 = 52, which makes one deck of pianos.


I hadn’t heard of Glenn Branca until a regular Disquiet Junto member (Suss Musik) mentioned him in a comment on one of my Junto tracks from last year. It is because of the Disquiet Junto group that I came to Branca’s work, and came to appreciate his way of invention. Indeed, were it not for the Junto group, I wouldn’t have ever trained my ear into appreciation such music.

Glenn Branca was a one-off. In a world of ever-increasing homogeneity (if the laws of thermodynamics states that entropy always increases, then sociological entropy for me is homogeneity - the loss of celebrated individuality), Glenn walked two paces ahead, taking a new road, plotting a new path, showing others the way.

It was with some sadness that I read of his recent passing. While working on this, I could imagine Glenn, the man, facing death face-on. Brought to mind this poem, by Dylan Thomas:

Do not go gentle into that good night

Dylan Thomas, 1914 - 1953

Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rave at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Though wise men at their end know dark is right,
Because their words had forked no lightning they
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Good men, the last wave by, crying how bright
Their frail deeds might have danced in a green bay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight,
And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way,
Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight
Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay,
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

And you, my father, there on the sad height,
Curse, bless, me now with your fierce tears, I pray.
Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.


First part is from Missa Caput. I added as many guitars as my computer could handle.


first time contributor, please excuse any errors in posting…

takamine 12 string recorded in layers using ebow, vo wond, vibrator…


this is great – I especially loved the end, with all the different layers of “you” walking away…


Also, it’s 3√(82) or (3√8)2. Looks pretty Weltraum to me.


Loved this piece, very Branca-esque! Reminding me of Charlemagne Palestine a bit, too. Much more listenable than I would have expected from the process!


NON-SUBMISSION=Hey All, I just used short samples of the junto and sang? some stuff on mic…Thanks to Rupert Lally, Otolyte and Suss Müsik for their contributions.

Peace, Hugh


Sorry for such a late response, but thank you very much Suss, that really means a lot to me! :smiley: