Disquiet Junto Project 0335: Alone Time


The playlist is now rolling:


I settled on a synth groove over a 909 drum pattern and tried to add enough variety over it that it would neither bother nor bore you when looped for 45 minutes. I also tried to think about how phone lines create (gross) compression and how to include sounds at frequencies that might play nicely given that parameter



Something that would take me away while holding to talk to the next person on the phone…

I tried to make something evolving that in some sort of way breaths and by the time it gets annoying it ends…

Had this patch going with Erica Synths Black Wavetable filtered by System 80 Jove and processed via Strymon Magneto. There is also some kick far away coming from Make Noise DPO though a VCA/F and Magneto.
Notes sequenced via Arturia Keystep.


For this track, I delved back into some classic hold music [and gained a new appreciation for Handel’s Water Music] and noted two aspects of what makes great hold music:

a) Calming and repetitive, like a warm bath;
b) Is music that, at least, tries to care about your frustration at being put on hold.

So I haphazardly put on my v a p o r w a v e hat and here it is…

Tempo: 80bpm
Key: Am


this is ¶radio hummingbird’s contribution to this week’s disquiet junto with the serial number 0335. in short, the requirement for this contribution was to create a piece for an endless calling hold loop.

for this track, i utilised my little travel eurorack modular synth kit, the crazy8 sequencer plus the sony tcm-5000ev tape player for extra reverb.
additional light mastering in ableton live.

if this kind of music would ever appear on one of those notorious calling hold loops i would be a happy chappy.

please enjoy.

and as always, a short accompanying clip.


According to behavioral scientist B.J. Fogg, there are three types of group-level motivators: cooperation, recognition and competition.

Waiting on the telephone is a strange sort of purgatory that offers little intrinsic value. Being on hold might be considered cooperative, in a sense, because we’re making a conscious choice to wait. But there’s nothing in the way of recognition, or even acknowledgement to be gained. “Your call is important to us.” Sure it is.

Which leaves the third motivator, competition. “When you set up a competition,” writes Fogg in his book Persuasive Technology. “People become energized. They want to invest time and effort. They care about the outcome. Competition is perhaps the most powerful group-level intrinsic motivator … there doesn’t need to be a prize; there doesn’t need to be any external incentive.”

For this short piece, Suss Müsik designed a competitive listening experience between telephone technology and the listener’s patience. A dial tone was sampled and refactored through a Tensor pedal and doubled with high-distortion e-bow. Behind that mess is a piano playing a softly repeating loop, blissfully unaware.

The effect resembles someone humming and impatiently drumming their fingers on a table, getting more upset the longer they wait. The piece was composed quickly and recorded live to 8-track.

The piece is titled FBM in honor of Fogg’s Behavior Model.


I have heard some terrible hold music in my time, including one company who we managed to get to change their hold music because it was really depressing! I always think of the best hold music as being innocuous, perky, something that can bubble away happily without you needing to pay any attention to it, but that you will notice has gone. It also makes me think of the music that used to get played between school programs on the BBC back in the late 70s / early 80s - so that is the direction I took today. This is a self playing modular synth piece, which I improvise over on BassStation 2 in a perky 70s manner. A little harmless fun while you wait.


Here’s mine. I was torn between creating some form of pastiche of hold music and something I might want to listen to, and I think this comes across. Eurorack synthesiser plus the built in speech synthesis on a Mac.


Groove Time Opus. 66
Short, sweet and quick this week. Drum loop from Stix by XILS was changed slightly. Acoustic guitar VSTi by Ample Sound was put on a second track Recorded for 2 minutes.
I chose drums because I have been playing drums and percussion for 56 years.


It really grooves! good stuff :+1:


Thanks to Marc for running with this idea–it was his initial tweet of the inane and cryptic conference call hold vernacular that got it all started!

The idea was to take a tape sample for lofi phone vibes, and mix that with ‘clean’ digital pre-recorded “your call is important” sample–and play with that language as well. Tape is sampled and then basically granularized into unrecognizable melodic wash, then repitched for the melodic progression.

Somehow the track turned into a Boards of Canada sounding thing. But that ain’t all bad!


Held Allein

Acoustic guitar, sampled and looped. Done in Renoise, exploiting the glide FX (to allow for endless looping even when repeating a song) and the maYbe FX, to randomly select among some samples.

The Renoise song can be played on repeat, with subtle variations on each pass.

Among my initial goals: Should sound pretty good when played over my phone speaker, and allow for repetition.

When I started I was sort of aiming for something something quasi-ambient but not sleep-inducing. I played around some with various loops of different duration but it all kept sounding too aleatoric, like a bad lounge band covering Music for Airports.

The final piece does use loops of varying lengths, but they serve largely as a back-drop for some changing looping riffs.

Renoise allows for various ways to introduce some controlled randomness. A few key motifs are present as samples at different pitches; on each pass of the song, samples are chosen at random. In theory it could be played on repeat with subtle variation each time.

I did my mixing using a mono Behritone monitor, to avoid depending on too-wide a frequency range or stereo. There is, though, stereo separation in the final version.

When I was done I transferred it to my phone for a test play. I was pleasantly surprised how it sounded a bit more percussive than when played through proper speakers.

That said, while I like the resulting piece as music I’m not entirely sure I’d want to hear this as hold music, but it’s still way more enjoyable than 99% of I encounter on hold


0-coast looped and processed by morphagene, qu-bit nebluae v2, and clouds.

recorded live in one take. video of the patch here:



A random phrygian arpeggio driving a Mannequins Mangrove.


It’s 1:04 min and it loops. Maybe it’s a little bit conventional – but I had this ruin of a piece that was planned to be some kind of tribute to Kraftwerk, and what could be a better opportunity to re-use it than music to wait for something else?(Note the avoidance of a vocoder BUT the use of a vocoderish sound …)


After another listen on a smaller speaker I got to thinking of the differences in sound when played over different equipment. I prefer the speaker-phone sound as hold music versus the full-sound from my usual monitors.

If I were really clever I would have thought of this from the start and deliberately planned music that works, but works differently, on different speaker arrangements. That it ended up this way is one of those Junto happy accidents.


Field recordings loops of sheep and birds.
Sounds could be related to space? There are sounds that sound nice in one place
(phone) and bad in another (conference)
I choose birds for phones and sheep for conferences…
2 loops of birds and two of sheep


Hi everyone, I have been wanting to post a track since November when I discovered Disquiet Junto from a podcast interviewing Lucid Grain, a modular synth duo. This is my first post.

Acquired Comforts is an ironic analogy to what is referred as acquired taste, where something that might be perceived as displeasing becomes pleasing by tasting it.

As the theme is settled within offices, and therefore city life, I chose to create a piece that reflects the alienation that we suffer form modern life, as corporate offices consume our best hours and years, paperwork and chores are a weekly challenges, where fancy cars, cigarettes, and ulcer giving eating habits are advertised as enjoyment…a scenario where suffering becomes sophistication

For this track I used only the Korg Electribe Sampler 2, and the Volca Fm and recorded it in one take. The Fm provided that cold and glassy sound, the e2s the drum, bass, and a synth voice with a vocal type filter, all through a decimator as the master fx, as decimation occurs naturally on call hold music.

So, is it pleasing? Yes and No…


My idea of pleasing hold music is that it should be soothing, happy background music that is non-distracting, so you can continue working while waiting. But it should be interesting to listen to if you choose to listen, at least for brief snippets. The category “repetitious new age music” fits somewhat.

It should also sound decent on narrowband POTS (plain old telephone service) audio frequencies of 330 Hz to 3400 Hz.

My composition is comprised of 7 instruments playing 7 repeating parts at different cycles in C Major. The repeating parts are unpredictable enough to be interesting, yet predictable enough to be familiar. There is no melody to distract the listener. Just repetitious new age music.

Although the recording uses the full audio spectrum, I listened to it through a 300 to 3400 Hz filter to ensure it would sound adequate on a telephone line.

The track cover art is a self-portrait while listening to hold music too long.