Disquiet Junto Project 0362: Operational Surrealism

Disquiet Junto Project 0362: Operational Surrealism
The Assignment: Make a piece of music informed by a key text from the art movement.

Just one step this week: Make something as “beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella.”

Many thanks to Peggy Nelson (aka @otolythe) for having proposed this project. Here’s some background: This week’s phrase originated in Les Chants de Maldoror , an experimental novel by the Comte de Lautréamont, a French poet from Uruguay who died in 1870 at age 24. In Les Chants , Lautréamont describes a young boy as “beautiful as the chance meeting on a dissecting-table of a sewing-machine and an umbrella,” but when André Breton, the self-styled head of the Surrealist movement, came across Lautréamont’s novel (prose-poem /unbridled rant / giant run-on sentence) in 1918, he seized upon the phrase as the perfect slogan, and drafted it into wider cultural service. Despite being dreamed up in the late 19th century, the phrase’s unnerving and perhaps prescient inclusion of both mechanical and medical metaphors was surely not lost on Breton, who had served in French psychiatric hospitals during the First World War. There have been any number of (re)statements and (mis)translations of the phrase since, but the basic idea remains: none of these things go together, and so, they do.

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0362” (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 “disquiet0362” (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: Post 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 Monday, December 10, 2018, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the morning, California time, on Thursday, December 6, 2018.

Length: The length of your track is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0362” 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: Please consider setting your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

Context: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 362nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Operational Surrealism / The Assignment: Make a piece of music informed by a key text from the art movement — at:


Thanks to Peggy Nelson, for having proposed this project.

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.

Image adapted (cropped, text added, etc.) from a Flickr photo by Audrey Un Riz, thanks to a Creative Commons license:




The project is now live.

Melvyn was loved. His sounds: sometimes beautiful. His heartbeat syncs the world. A world surrendered into Kitsch. Heaven!


love it - whimsy and gravitas in equal measure, and! a melody filtered through missed messages. I feel like this is someplace I have been… :slight_smile:


lovely and poignant. I feel like melvyn might have found a revolution he could dance to, or in, or near… :slight_smile:

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Thank you for your beautiful comment.


The first time I have done a Junto for months and months… There was a time when I would do 2 or 3 of these per month but these days the time just isn’t there. Tonight I had a rare 3 hours to myself and seen the email and thought lets give this a go in 1 session.

This is my first contribution since having child number 2 in June… Nice to be back to make some noise!


great and crisp. magic. love it.


Many Thanks, nice comments x

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The image of a sewing-machine and umbrella reveals their similar curves; and the dissecting-table to me suggests an editing suite.

Anyway, I started looking at the videos in my Disquiet Junto folder and noticed two that were similar length and tempo and key and water themed.


Whoa, that really lures in a listener.

I remember when my second child arrived. That was like adding compression, it multiplied the parenting rather than simply doubling it.


That was dreamy and incredibly expansive. Loved taking that ride in the way it developed.

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Kinda Lynchian. Felt like I was being watched in my home.

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So long, and thanks for all the fish.


When thinking of sewing machines and umbrellas I feel a circular movement, whereas a dissecting table stands for something very static. The chance an umbrella meets a sewing machine on a dissecting table is small and therefor unique and beautiful. In a static environment I have incorporated circular movements controlled by chaos, a cousin of chance. I added a recording from the central station, an obvious illustration of chance. A chance to unexpected meetings. All choices you do has an effect - small, big, unknown. Like chaos-controlled feedback into a spring reverb? (I struggled with that! It’s a wonder my headphones still are working.)


I have just finished three E.P.s: RED (electronic), YELLOW (piano), and GREEN (ambient). From each, I took an unused beat (dissecting table), one piano line (sewing machine), and an acoustic guitar drone (umbrella?!!?), layered them, and chopped the drums and piano up into short sections programmed to loop, jump, disappear, and so on. For variety, I had the drums playing in three channels (left, centre, right) - the left and right drums were run through a glitch plug-in, while the centre drums were distorted. I tried to work in threes as much as possible to represent Laureamont’s dissecting table, sewing machine, and umbrella.

“Threading dark-eyed night” (possibly “Threatening dark-eyed night”) is a quote from Shakespeare’s King Lear.


i love how unpredictable this is, and that there’s so much going on at any one moment without it ever falling apart.

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