Disquiet Junto Project 0384: Breath Beat

Disquiet Junto Project 0384: Breath Beat
The Assignment: Explore breath as a resource for rhythm.

Just one step this week:

Step 1: Record yourself breathing, and make that the pulse of a piece of music.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0384” (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 “disquiet0384” (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, May 13, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, May 9, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0384” 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: 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).

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

More on this 384th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Breath Beat / The Assignment: Explore breath as a resource for rhythm — at:


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.

Image associated with this project adapted (cropped, colors changed, text added, cut’n’paste) thanks to a Creative Commons license from a photo credited to Victor Morell Perez:




Wow - Just got the email for this one - I have to say this ABSOLUTELY IS NOTHING I WOULD EVER THINK TO TRY, OR TRY. What fun.

Thanks for the breath of fresh air, Marc!


The project is now live.

Not sure I’ll participate, but it’s an intriguing idea. Perhaps one that I’ll turn to at some point well after this project. So, thank you!

Natural breathing, i.e., unforced, unregulated, at least in the case of my body, is irregular in terms of a beat. Is there a pulse? I suppose there is, but it’s not “musical”, in that the pulse in “music” can be a straitjacket.

My breathing, recorded, would be a random source.

1 Like

Good breath at all


The playlist is now rolling:

1 Like

Added a tone. The rest is my breathing, spring reverb feedback and a delay. Basically… I know, a little dark - maybe. It all happened so fast. This track. I haven’t “collected my thoughts” (SwEnglish)… :wind_face:


Set up and improvised – one take – on Elektron Analog Rytm 2. Light mastering added.


https://soundcloud.com/vonna-wolf/vonna-wolf-breatheame-disquiet0384/s-AHErP I used an SM7B to add some breaths. When I was in the booth I thought it sounded obscene. I went with it. I programmed the 808 on a Roland. I then took the clip and chopped it up to Build a drum rack that I played on the ROLI Block. I played a second instance to a track with a vocoder and some additional effects.


Improvised noise performed on a tabletop guitar using a metal implement. It was then split into thirds and layered with no post processing. I recorded my breathing and used it like a click track to set the rhythm of the piece. Bizarrely, ironically, synchronously, halfway through the piece, I received a call from a friend having a panic attack and talked them to some comfort as best I could from several hours away. A portion of one layer of this is me simply letting the metaphorical tape run as the last bit of what I had done continued to drone on. After the call I returned to the table and presumably had a slightly different approach to recording a piece about rhythmic breathing.


Couldn’t help but put on an Accountant Outfit for a little humor on this one.


I do not sleep well, and I spend many a broken night in a divided state of consciousness: fighting the awareness that morning is fast approaching while hearing the loud snoring of my son. The looped rhythm in this track is provided by my son’s snoring (recorded 2019.04.08), while the melody expresses my frustration at my own inability to replicate his healthy sleep patterns. The juxtaposition is meant to be comical, but I’m not sure that it comes across very well.

The track title is a quote from Macbeth. Lady Macbeth is telling her husband why he is so out of sorts. The great irony is that - by the end of the play - she herself will also be haunted by sleep disorders. (I think that this is one of Shakespeare’s greatest devices, to have characters make statements that become increasingly telling as the play progresses. An odd kind of prolepsis?)

ASIDE: there is a very dark joke in Macbeth. In Act III, Macbeth complains “The time has been that, when the brains were out, the man would die, and there an end.” Which is to say: ‘In the good old days, when you dashed a man’s brains out of his head, he died and stayed dead. But not anymore. Now, we have to deal with blood-splattered ghosts turning up at our dinner parties. Things just ain’t what they used to be…’


Here are some simple overlapping synth pads coded in ChucK with a breathing rhythm. The spread between the notes is modified by an LFO and I tuned the frequency and gain to produce a gentle wash. The basic code produces 64 beats of pad washes and I modified the envelope, filter and pitch live to produce this piece.

code is here: https://github.com/charliekramer/ChucK/blob/master/Pad%20string%20class%20disquiet0384.ck


breath in the iphone
iOS ‘d through the AUM


Had an old video which was suitable for this. Decided to apply the breath constraint to the whole track, so all of the sounds come from mouths of two people.

Had a lot of fun with the process of this one, especially finding little snippets of breath sounds in the video and using that as a foundation to build something bigger. I don’t think the final outcome is that interesting though, mainly due to the way I imposed the constraint on myself, I experimented with pitch shifting down a sound to make a bass line, but didn’t really get anywhere with it.

I’ve recently made the switch to Ableton from Reaper as I felt it fit my workflow better, so I’m still getting used to that shift.


Rather straightforward: I recorded my breath. Repeated, stretched, slowed down and reversed in Audacity.


Hi all,
here’s my track.

The process: recorded myself breathing through the nose in different strengths, lengths and directions. sliced the recording and played the samples with a step sequencer. I equalized the samples differently to bring out their unique features and have them more drum-like, but I faded the EQs in and out during the track. There’s a cat purr field recording as well (to have something in the lower range, but still kind of breathing) and some simple synth arp.

The thoughts: Since a very long time, maybe ever, I “play drums” using my breath, as in blowing in or out of the nose. Maybe everybody plays nose breath drums, I don’t know, I haven’t asked yet. Do you?
In any case that’s a quite silent noise but inside my head it sounds like a couple of snaredrums, maybe even in a big room. It is comparable to that silent crowd cheering noise that I heard other people do.
So while I am not happy about Junto assignments that should make stuff out of nothing or just hissing noises, I was excited for this one.
I made something, however having an instrument does not mean you can virtuously play it. I could think of either more careful beat construction using a drum machine with breath samples, or making them all myself. Now this is a compromise, the rhythm is partly recorded, partly by sequenced/looped samples.
I may revisit this idea from another angle.


I think breathing is the essence of music and I have used breathing or breathing-like rhythms many times, but mostly subtile. This mission however called for an obtrusive LISTEN TO THE (in my case, as mostly: slow) BEAT OF THE BREATH! and I decided to make it’s presence unmistakeable.

It’s my own breath (which I found hard to record), used in a handful of samples for some variety, recorded with a Zoom H1N and a dead cat. I added some gongs starting around 1:00, because I like their meditative character, plus some cosmic noise … the main work was done in Caustic for Android with some mixing in Reaper.


Oddly this isn’t the first track I’ve made using my breath as a rhythm but the other one was years ago and I can’t find it off hand - is on a hard disk somewhere…


Recorded my self doing various breathing things (quick, slow, softly etc) in a single track on my Zoom h6, sampled directly from the zoom into Norns MLR. Played the main part of the track on MLR (on the first take - but there was an unrecorded ‘first go’ to familiarise myself with the samples I’d made). Brought it into Ableton - added some sends with filters/reverb. Wasn’t quite sure if it needed more - but the serum track seemed to add something to me. Added the Samuel Beckett quote. messed about with Eq etc. uploaded


I’m really fond of how you tied this assignment to an emotional impetus.