Disquiet Junto Project 0373: Copernican Music

Disquiet Junto Project 0373: Copernican Music
The Assignment: Record a piece of music intended for an alien species.

This week’s project was made as a proposition by the artist Jonathon Keats:

Step 1: Compose a work of music for sentient beings elsewhere in the universe. Aside from sentience, assume nothing about your audience culturally or cognitively. Make a connection by modulating frequency and amplitude over time.

Step 2: Share your work with the cosmos.

Here’s some additional background from Keats on his general premise: “Science is Copernican, but society remains Ptolemaic. Our behavior is self-centered. Our culture is bigoted, our politics tribal. Society needs a Copernican revolution. If we are to survive, we need to recognize that we are not special. If we are to have a peaceful relationship with one another and our planet, we must become humble. A Copernican revolution is achievable, but will not be accomplished through scientific education alone. Only culture has the potential to put us in touch with our cosmic insignificance, and to bring about a cultural paradigm shift. The Copernican revolution in culture will be realized with Copernican music.”

And here’s some additional background from Keats on his Copernican music: “Copernican music affords the opportunity to encounter something that we cannot directly experience, but that could potentially be experienced by beings other than us. It provides a means of getting outside of ourselves. We recognize that we are not special, that our position is not privileged. We perceive ourselves as average. Simultaneously we find ourselves to be part of a continuum, and therefore part of something greater than ourselves. This adjustment to our ego can change our behavior by making us less self-centered, more aware of others, and more aware of our larger selves.”

The image associated with this project is from one of Keats’ own instruments related to his Copernican artwork, a gravitational radio. Photo credit: Dora Tsui.

More information on Keats at this space.com interview:


Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0373” (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 “disquiet0373” (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: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 7: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, February 25, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are on. It was posted in the late morning, California time, on Thursday, February 21, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you. Short is good.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0373” 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 for this project be sure to set your track as downloadable and allowing for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution, allowing for derivatives).

For context, when posting the track online, please be sure to include this following information:

More on this 373rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Copernican Music / The Assignment: Record a piece of music intended for an alien species — at:


This week’s project was made as a proposition by the artist Jonathon Keats.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Subscribe to project announcements here:


Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:


There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

The image associated with this project is from one of Keats’ own instruments related to his Copernican artwork, a gravitational radio. Photo credit: Dora Tsui.


I got scared that somehow it was already Thursday :joy:


I did wonder if I was posting this pre-announcement post too soon. Like how as soon as I notify Goodreads that I’ve read a book I get this email immediately from Goodreads asking me what I’m reading next.


I got excited that somehow it was already Thursday!!


The project is now live.


This really seems to be an interesting project.

1 Like

Hi All,

I guess this could be dance music for an alien species … given the right atmosphere and appropriate limb-age …

Have a great week!

h u :slight_smile:


For this i explored Keats ideas of randomizing 25% of a classical work to represent “the universe is one-quarter of the way to “heat death,” or total disorderliness” - For the source material i used a MIDI transcript of Holst’s Jupiter


A short alternate-tuning piece for somewhere in the continuum. Made using Transformer by Alternate Tonality.


I was just finishing this one earlier today and believe me: it suits the challenge like a glove. I swear.

This is on more step in a research I’ve been into lately: creating music that have that “pop” catchiness and charm that stick with you, but avoiding some of the “pop” song formulas: typical pop instrumentation, 4/4 beat, clear and focused melody, tonal harmonies etc etc.

I tested this one and my recent other efforts in the genre and my “guinea pigs” all said it was quite infectious and sticky.
Even if:
-The beat is 7/4 with a weird “drum kit” consisted of Argentina’s Bombo Leguero ad finger snaps.
-There’s no clear melody but instead some melodic fragments that never quite repeat and develop but make a “mantra” like melodic pastiche that, well, sticks to you.
-Structure is also quite weird, particularly if you follow the melodies.
-Instrumentation is ridiculous:

Ukulele Bass (Kala U-Bass)
Two Ukuleles
Tongue Drum
Lead analog synth
Balafon (x2)

But I’m certain aliens will love this, dance to it like their own Macarena, and sing the melody in football stadiums.
Hope the aliens in this junto gathering agree.

Photo by Lena Bell

A disquiet junto joint:


I’m excited to see this project as I spend many waking hours thinking about non-human sentient intelligences. I cant wait to hear all the submissions.

Just wondering how an ultra-terrestrial will perceive the changes in sonic air pressure that we will all be putting into our atmosphere.

If any one actually makes contact and hears back from “them”. I have some important questions to ask 'em. Let me know!


As per ‘Copernican,’ Jonathon Keats’ and Marc Weidenbaum’s disquiet junto [ @disquiet ] experimental assignment this week, “record a piece of music intended for an alien species,” I opted to not spend a lot of time on the project; I opted for two to three hours, thereby removing Myself from ‘romancing,’ ‘massaging,’ and ‘logisticizing’ this work into a ‘Western-Earth-music,’ dead-end corner, thereby dismissing the call of the assignment.

I – in My most experimental mindsets – have always explored the time constituent of musics; that is, I have always been interested and mystified by hearing the harmonic structures, rhythms, and secret surprises that await one when music is slowed down on a tape-based recording and, albeit with sonic artifacts, time-expanded grossly.

It’s inspiring to hear what lay just ‘in-between the cracks’ of a familiar, or unfamiliar, recording; hence, I began by creating a random short phrase of ‘music’ from a synth, layering it, and time-expanding it by 230%.

From there, I just flowed: I added, and subtracted, and judged, and hated on over 60% of what I laid down; it was either too ‘Earth-musical,’ or expected, or ubiquitous, Earth-music-wise. [LOL!!!]

I wanted to imagine, and record, what an alien species would consider an orchestral-trap piece of music.

I named the piece after a favourite electronic music pioneer, Milton Babbitt, whom I met after His performance at Swarthmore University in the state of Pennsylvania, United States of America, in the early '90s.

Here is the result: “Babbitt [‘Copernican’]” …


For this rather disturbing collage, I used time-stretched samples of a baby crying and whales; otherworldly synth patches; samples of Bing Crosby, James Brown and a Chinese opera singer; a rapid bass drum; and laughter. I’ve been in a weird mood today lol.



Relaxing and fun the whole way. Actually … very soothing and smooth. Well-done, TE!


Hello All

I think I’m correct in saying that aliens build robots.
And I think I’m also correct in saying that the robots do all of the busy work that the aliens don’t want to do - going to work in the factory, sweeping up space dust, driving the space pod to the corner store to buy space food sticks etc
When these robots are activated they are played a piece of “music”.
The piece of “music” is like an authentication key, each one containing a product code that boots your robot up. It is also programmed to make the robot feel “loved”, so that they won’t run away and join the circus.
I guess you could say that it’s their version of “Happy Birthday To You”.
This is my robots activation song.


Fugue Machine sequencing Aparillo, processed by Discord4 on iPad in AUM.


I thought aliens might like to hear the sound of a sleepy person playing with their computer in an unfocused way. The first sound you hear is the Ableton Wavetable synth, which cycles through some wavetables I made from samples of “Chinoiserie” by Duke Ellington, some violin harmonics played by Patti Kilroy, and “Slide” by Missy Elliott. The next sound to enter is the “Neptune is Cloudy” preset on the Ableton Operator synth, playing a simple melody, just C’s descending in octaves, with a jittery LFO sweeping the filter cutoff up and down. The final two sounds that enter are from the Indian Raga Ableton Pack by Gravitas Create. There’s a dholak loop and a duff loop, both slowed and stuttered, with some dub echo, and an aggressive filter sweep on the latter. The loop lengths are all different, so while everything is in 4/4 and does line up here and there, it isn’t necessarily obvious how.


I dig it, makes me reminisce about the Star Wars bar band!


This track is composed in ChucK and overlays two pieces of sound: a stereo sampler based on the “Sounds of Saturn” recorded by the Cassini spacecraft ( see www.techtimes.com/articles/232078/…listen-to-it.htm), and a triplet of tones that track the Lorenz curves (a mathematical example from the ‘chaos’ literature in which simple dynamics give rise to complex behavior). The Saturn samples are modified using panning and chorus while the Lorenz ones are run through delay, panning and reverb. The sounds of Saturn sample is meant to establish some commonality–we hear the cosmos too–and the Lorenz melody is meant to convey the idea of simplicity within complexity–maybe a kind of humility? Many thanks to my friend Tom Dowling for turning me on to the sounds of Saturn sample.


Here’s my submission :

This week’s challenge made me think of the famous Voyager gold disc recordings and specifically Laurie Spiegel’s music… so I’ve gone for something on those lines using two tracks of Moog Model 15 iOS app, controlled from a Seaboard Block and then the metallic percussive taps which were created with the modular synth (Ears triggering Braids into Random Source Serge VCFS, modulated by a Random Source Serge D.U.S.G.) The finished piece has a slight feeling of radio waves traveling through space to me, which seems slightly appropriate.