Disquiet Junto Project 0335: Alone Time

Disquiet Junto Project 0335: Alone Time
Record conference-call hold music — a private limbo of your own making.

Major thanks to Matt Pinto (aka @healthylives) for having proposed this Junto project prompt.

Step 1: Hold music is a ubiquitous fact of modern life. Ask yourself what hold music you’d like to hear while waiting for someone to pick up the other end of the line, or while waiting for a conference call to begin.

Step 2: Record a short piece of hold music that satisfies the scenario you pondered in Step 1. Your finished track should be suitable for looping, since you never know how long you’re going to be on hold.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0335” (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 “disquiet0335” (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, June 4, 2018. This project was posted in the late afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 31, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you. It should be suitable for looping, since you never know how long you’re going to be on hold.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0335” 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 335th weekly Disquiet Junto project (Disquiet Junto Project 0335: Alone Time / Record conference-call hold music — a private limbo of your own making) at:


Major thanks to Matt Pinto for having proposed this Junto project prompt. Pinto publishes the excellent Caesura newsletter, more on which here:


More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Subscribe to project announcements here:


Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:


There’s also a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet to join in.

The image associated with this project is by Tom Magliery and used thanks to a Creative Commons license:




The project is now live.

Woot! Thanks Marc. Excited to see where this one goes.


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Me, too. Major thanks for proposing it!




oh man, I love this prompt!

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What was that song I heard on hold?

Phone rep says, “I don’t know…”



Mind on hold music.

Made with Reaktor’s Spiral sequencer, Key of C, Lydian Mode, external synth, vocoder, Lexicon reverbs, simplistic piano to taste.

I made 8 different pieces for this using a variety of techniques, I chose this one because I totally vagued out listening back to it. :slight_smile: Thanks head cold.


There’s an Argentinian film (called “Musica en Espera” or something like that) that deals with that question. A composer (“the boy”) facing a blank-page block falls into a hold music that completely unblocks him and gives him THE IDEA, but immediately a phone rep (“the girl”) takes his call, and all he asks is “What was that song???” but the girl doesn’t know, he hang up and calls again but the hold music is random, he falls into “Für Elise” or something. But eventually the girl picks up his call.
In the end Boy Marries Girl, etc
I think, can’t quite recall.


Relaxing piece of hold music. Devoted to producer, singer, actress and performace artist Bosaina from Egypt. She was impressive at Heart of Noise Festival 2017 Innsbruck
Entirely produced with Yamaha AN200; some intentionally detuned guitar added. A short escape to melodic music and arrangement in midst of experimental and ambient imporvisation.Enjoy!


That´s a funny one. Like it!

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This piece was an idea developed for the Junto responding to lottery numbers.

I remember listening to it looped for a longtime before realising I didn’t know what else to add.

So it seemed perfect for the prompt this week.

Originally there was a bass part but I took it out since it wouldn’t translate to the narrow bandwidth over a telephone.



Two tracks of edited improvisation on the Ableton wavetable synth via my Logitech game controller MIDI patch, a track of Ableton drum synth, a berimbau sample from Nana Vasconcelos, and some slowed down mourning doves.


what i hate most about hold music is the manipulative chirpiness and the repetition

i wanted it to retain that sense of easy listening, the classic elements of strings and gentle beats, but i also wanted a complexity there so that the closer you listen the more that’s going on…

i had 2 beats going on using percumat 2, lots of variation and feedback.
a high frequency arpeggio with gradual rate changes and increasing randomization of notes (iris 2)
another iris 2 track for the strings with reverse delay and reverb
the iris2 tracks are controlled by a pretty random midi line going through a c minor harmonic scale module in live 8, there’s some automation on the volumes too.



The idea of hold music really should be about giving the person waiting something to listen to, but it is always tame and boring. Wouldn’t it be nice if the hold music contained something that made the listener think, “So what the hell is this?” Wouldn’t it be more fun to be entertained instead of feeling like one was trapped in an elevator?

I wrote Hold Music to fulfill what I would like to hear - something one is not going to hear in this situation. The piece is very short and can be repeated, though my guess is that after the third time the listener would run away screaming (perhaps the intention after all).

Hold Music was written for five violins.

The score is available at http://bit.ly/2HbIcvm


The thing that worries me the most on hold music is that it’s so repetitive and un-interesting, and it’s supposed to keep you entertained while you wait? No way.
No variations, no emotion, no flow, nothing in it’s (electronic) performance, and let’s forget about audio quality, everything is poor and cheap.
So I recorded an purely electronic piece of music, 6 synth tracks, it is repetitive and tame, always the same 6 sound sources, all notes follow cascades of 5th intervals, melodic or harmonic, but still, it changes all the time. Subtlety , but it does change, there’s no more than 2 measures with the exact same information.

Synths by D.D.
Photo by Igor Ovsyannikov
Friday 1st of June 2018, quiet after noon in Paris, France.


When I saw the topic of the week it reminded me of this episode of This American Life: https://www.thisamericanlife.org/516/stuck-in-the-middle/act-one-2


I’ve been mulling over some ideas, and one thought was that I want something that sounds good when I put my cell phone on speaker. Too much hold music translates poorly to the carrying medium. (Same with music played in malls and supermarkets and damn near every public place.)


One (of many) problems with most hold music is that the incessant repetition reminds you just how long you’ve been waiting. I think by the fifth “Your call is important to us” message I need blood-pressure medication.