Disquiet Junto Project 0380: Ears Only

I meet on a monthly basis with a small group of photographers to share the work we have done recently. I have found that surrounding myself with smarter and more talented people is the best way to develop my skills and steal ideas. About a year ago I decided to ask the other members of the group for an image of theirs to which I would write an accompanying piece of music. To date I have only asked two, and only started to write music for one of the images.

So I took this week’s task to force me off my duff and complete the piece I had started a year ago to accompany Jim Mitchell’s (http://mfotografie.com/) image, Broken.

Broken was written for Clarinet, Horn, Violin, Viola, and Cello.

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

P.S. I have placed the image at http://glsmyth.com/temp/Broken.jpg - alas, it is unacceptable for a piece of photographic art to be blindly cropped to a square.


I had a very good friend in college who was completely blind. I had a very difficult time explaining to him the concept of vanishing point. I don’t think that I was able to succeed, hopefully you will have better luck.


I would love a transcript of that conversation.

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The playlist is now rolling:

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This week’s disquiet came at the perfect time. I was planning on doing this project anyway, but the prompt to make a piece for one specific person was ideal for the project. This piece is in honor of my late Grandfather, Lee Eugene Bratcher.

All the audio from this piece is from a field recording I made of grandpa’s funeral last weekend. (Except for the lone bass synth at the beginning) It’s more of a sound art piece than an actual composed musical work. My grandfather was a veteran and a delightful and friendly man. He will be dearly missed.

Full copy of Obituary:
"Lee Bratcher passed into his eternal home on Friday, March 1, at Samaritan Albany General Hospital.

Lee was born in Fort Riley, Kansas, to Sylvester and Dora Bratcher. He had three siblings: sister, Kathleen and twin brothers, Floyd and Fred. His family moved around a bit for work and he lived in Arkansas, Arizona and Missouri.

He was married to Jenny McCollum on September 23, 1950; she passed in August 1988. The couple had two children, Michael and Shawn.

Lee served in the Korean War aboard the USS Southerland as a seaman first class and on the USS Dixie, where he learned a trade as lithographic pressman.

After being discharged from the Navy, Lee and Jenny moved to Portland where he attended Pacific Bible College, now Warner Pacific University.

He was a member of Church of God and United Presbyterian Churches.

Lee worked as a graphics art printer for 40 years in the Portland area.

He enjoyed collecting old books, book binding, perfecting the art of Gold Gilding, chess, Theological discussions and singing.

Lee was preceded in death by two other wives, Loralyn Thomas and MaryAnn Nehls.

Lee lived his last six years at Quail Run Assisted Living, Mennonite Village.

Lee is survived by sister, Kathleen Bratcher; son, Michael and daughter-in-law, Candy; daughter, Shawn Nevin and son-in-law, Dan; grandsons, Travis Nevin and wife, Michelle, David Nevin, Jay Nevin, Cole Bratcher and wife, Luz, Jameson Bratcher and wife, Blaze; granddaughter, Jocelyn; great-grandsons, Linus and Frankie; and many nieces and nephews.

In lieu of flowers or charities, his family requests donating a book to your local library in memory of Lee Bratcher, who loved books."


Very thankful for the prompt this week.

This one’s for the birds:


I’ll report the results when available.

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This is for my dad. He died last January.

He loved “Rocket Love” by Stevie Wonder (open.spotify.com/track/5bYjwooath…0jTByV2-m3GbIwdA), and often sang - a little out of tune - the “doo-doo-doo” theme at the start. This small piece is inspired by that fond memory. I miss him very much.

This one was tough…


Taking the assignment one step further. Composing and performing.
I composed the piece Vågformare for my daughter. I recorded the piece on tape. We took a short walk into the wood. I put the tape recorder on a stump. Daughter (human) and digital recorder (Zoom H1) in front of the tape recorder (se picture). The concert took place 13 April 2019 at 11:00. On monday I will take this tape to railway station and “forget it there”. Just maybe someone else will listen. Somewhere else. “30 minutes of that…” :crazy_face:
I have to work on my recording skills… For example I had big problems with the overwhelming apaouses… As she sat next to the recorder they were loud! Had to use limiter there. The rest is unedited. Just amplified and fade in and out. I like the airplane…


I wrote many compositions dedicated to people, requiems, love songs, and just plain dedications.

But this particular little melody caught the attention of a film producer and I’ve got the commission: to record this and other 4 melodies I wrote as a « theme and variations » to be used all along a film.

The melody was dedicated to somebody, indeed. Still around.

Alas this one wasn’t choose.
So I had the theme and 10 variations, 11 tracks total to recycle.

I ended up sharing 3 of those in the past: the main theme for guitar and piano
And two trumpet led variations : rhodes, trumpet and electronica and trumpets and brass section

For this junto I decided to gather in one track four remixes of the unreleased variations, to make a sort of suite around this sensitive Em theme.
1- Piano, guitar, strings
2- Piano, guitar, melodica
3- Piano, guitar, upright basses (pizz), bass clarinet, horn.
4- Piano, guitar, upright bass (pizz),accordion, melodica.

DD, 13/April/2019


@DeDe This is beautiful. It’s making me imagine Ennio Morricone and Evan Lurie composing after a long trip around South America together.

On a less romantic note, I’m now panicking about what to submit!!


Interesting the number of contributions thus far offered in remembrance of those no longer with us. Peace to us all.


Artistic collaboration is a form of automatic writing. In his classic book A Vision, W.B. Yeats discussed the importance of relinquishing to spontaneous discovery. “I was told that I must write,” according to the unconscious impulses that Yeats claimed had penetrated his creative process. “That I must seize the moment between ripe and rotten—that there was a metaphor of apples about to fall and [had] just fallen.”

Whether due to supernatural alignment or the ideomotor effect, Yeats was on to something. Productive creative dialogue is a magical experience. Listen to how African percussion music is built around polyrhythmic conversations, for example, forming a singular one-on-one connection between two individual members among a large troupe of performers.

Suss Müsik took part in a similar discovery recently with Wm. Wolfgang Allen. A rough, simple piano phrase was recorded to 8-track. Allen then emoted a beautifully wordless vocal: vulnerable, anguished, redemptive. The piano phrase was refined using the vocal as guide, which was then followed by a new vocal response. Not a word was spoken between participants; the dialogue was entirely musical. Softly percolating bass, Moog synth and percussion finish the piece.

The result is both lament and celebration, a deeply personal and transcendent interaction. To again quote Yeats: “I do not know what my [creation] will be to others — nothing perhaps. To me it means a last act of defense against the chaos of the world … a tragedy of separation and rejection, which instead of asking whether it is not something almost incredible, [it] clings to all that is vague and obvious.”

The piece is titled Translating and dedicated to the memories of W. Larson and T. Thompson. RIP both.


Hello everybody, I hope you are well. This is already a very strong week with many inspired and moving contributions.

My piece is much simpler. It is a kind of love letter to one of my very favourite guitarists, Marc Ribot. In particular, some of the work he was doing with John Zorn around 20-25 years ago - Bar Kokhba, Circle Maker, various Filmworks - really got into my heart and head.

Unfortunately, it didn’t get into my fingers.

Apologies in advance for the rough playing.




This is a song for my father, and in some small way represents the expansiveness of my feelings for him and the fleeting time that we have left together.

It was composed on iOS using pads from Zeeon recorded into 4 Enso loopers with speed changes and loop start/length controlled by a MIDI Fighter Twister.


there’s a cat who’s often in our garden, she has a thyroid problem; is very skinny, so we feed her (almost every day atm) she always leaves a few meaty chunks, and the magpies are getting wise to this. one brave magpie was waiting patiently today but after the cat had finished eating she just sat there guarding the last few chunks. this is for the naughty cat we call mitzy.

in protoplasm i used a choir-like sample from gansynth and spoon & glass / door samples from freesound for rhythm.


Hello all!

Waiting for You (disquiet0380)
Fighting City Hall has devoured my involvement, time and patience of late. So after missing last weeks prompt, a short reprieve gave me a chance to try some new experiments.

A simple melody was created in Cubasis with Aparillo, Micrologue and Kauldron. The Micrologue bass line uses the ShimmerFX harmonic exciter but the remaining Micrologue and Aparillo tracks use only a bit of eq. The last track is a ghostly pad in Kauldron where I wanted to try live automation with the Bleass Reverb transform pad. Unfortunately, I couldn’t seem to make that write in the automation lane. Not sure if it normally works or if I’m just doing something wrong, but I would greatly appreciate any feedback from my fellow iOS musicians using Bleass in Cubasis.

The new approach found me mixing down the melody and ghost pad into separate tracks and bringing them into AUM. In AUM, each were loaded into individual file player channels and the Bleass Reverb plugin was added to the ghostly Kauldron. Then with both armed to record, the morphing pad was opened and played. This new effected Kauldron track was imported back into Cubasis for the final mix. A boring description for readers and a little convoluted, but an effective work around with good results I thought.


I finished this track a few weeks back, but since it was recorded for someone very specific, I thought it fit the intent of this week’s project.

The inspiration for this song came from one of those daily-question books for couples. The question was “write a two-line poem about your partner.” My answer was:

Lovely as a flowering tree,
Your beauty and strength blossom together.

I knew immediately that this poem would become the inspiration for a song. Then, late one night, while I was on a long temporary work assignment in Washington DC., with nothing but my laptop and a MIDI controller, I fumbled upon a motif that really struck me. I enabled a track in Ableton Live and played the melody line in its entirety.

I knew instantly that this was the melody I was looking for. But how to capture the rest of the song? I knew I couldn’t play it again… I was just lucky enough to have recorded it the first time. To make matters more complicated, I don’t have the piano skills to play along with the recorded melody either. So I tried to capture the emotion of the melody in my head and just started playing chords.

By some sort of miracle I never expect to repeat, the resulting chords fit neatly with the melody. I spent the next several months tweaking it and ignoring it, then it tweaking more. As Valentine’s Day approached, I knew it was time to finish it, as a gift to my girlfriend.


Here’s my second response to a Disquiet Junto challenge, to a much appreciated prompt. My audience of one is someone who was very interested in electronic music decades ago, and in her later life liked listening to horn concerti during the day at home and in her studio.

The piece is made from a sample of a piece she liked, reinterpreted in an improvisation with a Morphagene. The results were tidied up in Pro Tools.