Disquiet Junto Project 0348: Hot Mise en Abyme


In 1978, a young animator named Louis Carpenter used computer-generated fractal geometry to draw complex objects in three-dimensional space. He started with a pyramid, dividing each of its triangular sides into smaller shapes and repeating the process indefinitely. You can see the output of Carpenter’s efforts in Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, the first feature film to contain a computerized sequence using this method. Now you know.

Evidence of fractal geometry can be found everywhere throughout the natural world, from the branching of trees to the human cardiovascular system. Taken in this context, mise en abyme might reasonably be considered the most organic of creative practices. Some consider the craft to be nothing more than a recursive gimmick: M.C. Escher on a coffee mug. Yet if one were to view ultrasound images comparing the vascular structures of healthy organs against those riddled with tumors, the significance of fractal repetition can be creatively inspiring.

For this piece, Suss Müsik played a simple piano/violin phrase and split it into smaller “shapes” to be looped through various effects modules. Every sound heard in this piece is derived from the original using some combination of ring modulators, glitch/swell effects, low-pass filters, digital reverb/delays, and a bit of tube amp distortion. The subdivided sonic “shapes” grow smaller and smaller until rendered inaudible.

The piece is titled Sierpiński in honor of Waclov Sierpiński’s recursive process in which a shape is subdivided into smaller versions of itself. The image is one side of a crystal polyhedron.


The playlist is now rolling:


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I went with the western art history view of mis en abyme, or so wikipedia tells me.
“…in which an image contains a smaller copy of itself, in a sequence appearing to recur infinitely”

I started with a simple set of chords on norns earthsea. Using the er-301 I chopped it up into tiny pieces and spit it out into my synth for further manipulation. I recorded everything into an old tape recorder, because why not, and then played it into Logic for eq/ mp3-ing.



Howdy. This is my first contribution to Disquiet.

An audio take on a video process I’ve used in a few films and installations where a single recording split into two or more locations, with half of them playing the recording backwards - optionally with an alternating black-frame strobing effect. The source here is an improvisation that used, if memory serves, Mangrove oscillators from my modular system , CV-controlled by breath and pedals, fed into Zebrify in Plogue Bidule. The recording wasn’t destined for anything (in part due to technical glitches) but seemed a useful source for this experiment. So this one’s pretty simple: the “copy” is a mirror of the original, played at the same time.


The clarinet choir is one of my favorite favorite sounds. This is gorgeous.


Welcome to the Junto!


I took a piano improvisation I recorded earlier in the day (as part of the Naviar Haiku challenge) and processed it multiple times to give copies at various speeds (with various processes, such as glitching, delays, and flanging - which add more copies). These were overlaid to create a larger work, that includes copies of the original piece at double speed and normal speed - which fade in and out and pan around the field.



A hall of mirrors in a bizarro world. Rendered with a small MU system.



After sketching out a few ideas for what it might mean for music to include copies of itself, I decided I would build a piece around a simple 8-note musical phrase. That 8-note phrase is repeated over and over, faster and slower, higher and lower, longer and shorter, using classical orchestral instruments and modern synthesizer instruments. Other than the percussion track, which has its own repetitive phrase, all the instruments in this piece repeat that simple 8-note phrase.

The cover art is also an example of mise en abyme, and incorporates fractal art created by Barbara Lane.


reminds me on Steve Reich

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FIrst time I have completed one of these. Relatively new to music production.

My take on things was inspired by an interview I heard with Jon Hopkins.

My thought was having a song that in part represents seeing a Droste effect painting.

First you see the whole painting. Then you focus on individual elements. Then you see the painting within the painting.

First 4 beats are representative samples of the final product. Then individual elements come in - drums, bass, synth etc.

The paintings within are represented by two panned audio tracks. They use the track playing, and are then basically “trashed” in an audio sense. One uses a bit-crusher, and the other is distorted and pitched up 3 octaves. This represents how the painting-within-a-painting is not as detailed (therefore bitcrushed) and smaller (pitched up)


welcome to the Junto!


I ADORE this piece. Lovely work.

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Really like those contrasting sections of synthetic / orchestral sounds


I really like the idea and execution of this


With this week theme, I decided to exploit recursion with a Tape Echo using it as a live played instrument processing a harmonic-rich sample played in a loop.

I used the Elektron Octatrack as my sample processor/destroyer source the material from a children vinyl from the 60’s played on reverse, effected by a comb filter with a very slow LFO modulating its tune settings for a harmonic-rich outcome. That Played in a loop while I jammed with the Strymon Magneto.

The outcome was somewhat Chaotic.



I’ve been playing a lot with chords lately so my interpretation of a musical mise en abyme had to do with that, as well as beat pattern/rhythm. Since it takes at least three notes to make a chord, the number three was used a lot. As you can hopefully see in the screen shot, one chord (an augmented A) plays out melodically over the course of the whole piece, creating three parts of the song (each one slightly shorter than the last), over which another chord played out the same way, dividing the 3 pieces by 3 again, and over this a 3 chord progression incorporating the 2 ambient notes being held are played (again each one being slightly shorter than the last). The math is not perfect. In hind sight, I didn’t consider what actually counted as one measure (9 beats in this case). So, the math was a little imperfect but I don’t care because it actually created these interesting moments where I had to pack the chords in quickly before the end of a part. It created kind of an interesting fill going into the next part. I think it’s better to imply self reference than try to be rain man about it. The listener won’t know it’s not perfect and won’t care anyway.


Hey all, just in time!

Recursed (disquiet0348)
Even with the long weekend this barely got done in time. Started working Thursday and made some quiet pads in SpaceCraft using field recordings but kept getting pulled away with other projects. My thoughts were heading towards both copies within copies within copies…etc. and also bringing in repeating delays, all of which faded infinitely away.
A second part part recorded in AUM had RippleMaker feeding a pattern to both Sunrizer and Mood, while a latched Tardigrain played grains of the first SpaceCraft piece and a Zeeon pad played in a matching key. The Tardigrain/Zeeon combo handles the low end and Sunrizer/Mood are the basic voices. I had tried a more complex arpeggio earlier, but the direction I was headed made it indistinguishable between parts.
The AUM and SpaceCraft recordings were brought into Cubasis panned, eq’d and then mixed down. This track was then copied to three tracks where each was stretched smaller. One at 50%, one at 25% and the last to 12.5%. This was an attempt to represent the recursive reduction in size and they were centered in relation to each other at first, but a more pyramid overall scheme sounded better to me. This is almost visible in the cover art. There is nothing but the original layered sounds, so all the percussive elements revolve around the stretching reduction and delays. I ended up transposing the 25% track down an octave, also for a more interesting effect. The time reduced tracks have various amounts of send going to Kosmonaut and one also sends to Duplicat. A small amount of reverb and panning are scattered about for interest. Not quite the true mise en abyme, closer to a distorted copy that degrades more each time its inserted. Wow, not sure any of this makes sense now that I read it, oh well, hope it sounds better than my explanation :wink:

The cover art was also originally more recursive but became unrecognizable too! :-/


My first track for the Disquiet Junto. Building a track around the artistic concept of “mise en abyme” I took a short 8 note melody(C,B,D,A,B,A,G,E)and allowed it to play out as Whole Notes, Half Notes, Quarter Notes, 8th Notes, 16th Notes, and(loosely played)32nd Notes. This ends up creating a neat cloud of sound that is slightly processed throughout. Going from Whole notes through 32nd notes. Then 32nd notes to Whole notes. This being an experimental group, I am taking the opportunity to tinker with new post processing ideas using cassette tape.


Love this. Leads somewhere so unexpected - not at all where i thought this approach would take me. Some of the subtle transformations are downright transcendent.