Disquiet Junto Project 0400: Sub Divided

Disquiet Junto Project 0400: Sub Divided
The Assignment: Create a score to a Malka Older story using the author’s own voice as source audio.

Step 1: The author Malka Older ( Infomocracy , Ninth Step Station , Orphan Black: The Next Chapter ) has generously recorded herself reading her own short story, “The Divided,” and made that recording available to the Disquiet Junto community for this project. Acquire the nine (roughly) one-minute segments of the recording in this zip file:


Step 2: Select one of the nine tracks at random.

Step 3: Listen to the entire story, which is about nine and a half minutes long. Consider the narrative sensibility of your assigned subset of that story.

Step 4: Create a score and sound design to accompany Older’s reading of her own short story in the track that you selected in Step 2. Primarily use Older’s own voice as the source material for your score — bend it, shape it, extract from it, and burnish it to your creative ends. Additional sonic elements, both musical and foley, are welcome, but a substantial percentage of the sound should be from Older’s own voice. Also: keep Older’s own reading audible and inteligible; don’t slow or speed or otherwise edit it. Your score should accompany the reading, not supplant it.

Step 5: This is important. Please title your track “Malka Older – The Divided – Part X/9 disquiet0400” where “X” is the segment number you were assigned. (Don’t include the quotation marks.)

Six More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0400” (no spaces or quotation marks). If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to subsequent location of tracks for the creation of a project playlist.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: Post your track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:


Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: If posting on social media, please consider using the hashtag #disquietjunto so fellow participants are more likely to locate your communication.

Step 6: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is Monday, September 2, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 29, 2019.

Length: The length of your finished track should be the same length as the source audio for your track.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0400” 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 400th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Sub Divided / The Assignment: Create a score to a Malka Older story using the author’s own voice as source audio — at:


Thanks to Malka Older for providing the audio and collaborating on this. Thanks to Alex Hawthorn for audio technical assistance.

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 project is now live.

I used a section of the vocal I visually liked, I recorded, looped, streeched, repeated on the same section slowed again. I then used the Roli to play in some wave sounds and clicks.I used vocal patch on a layered section of vocal. I added a few 808 on a few beats to simulate the heart. I forgot here are the Roli loops



The playlist is now rolling:


And here is my contribution. I picked section 4 - I just liked the way it sounded and content of this section over the others. As per instructions just added some backing, nothing too clever and kept the words in the forefront.


I also used section 4. The source voice recording was processed with python using the same system from last week then arranged / edited / mixed with ardour 5.


The imagery of section 4 really stood out to me. I ran the voice recording through a granular synth and mixed in a factory field recording for additional ambiance.



Random.org told me to use track 7. I minimally processed the author’s voice, just some reverb and delay. I added several backing tracks to fit the sad narrative of this portion of the story.


I chose the final part, part 9. I was at first a little unsure of what to do to accompany Malka’s reading - her voice and the imagery seemed to need little support… I’m not ashamed to say I got quite emotional listening to the story and decided to channel that emotion into the score. I hit upon a patch in Native Instruments’ Straylight which made me think of the wailing voices at the end of this part and built from there. As well as the instrumentation I also processed Malka’s voice slightly to sound as if it was a radio or tv broadcast - a signal from the other side of the wall…


I’ve done something a bit different and used only drums and bass to accompany Malka’s reading of The Divided.

The riff came to me as soon as I started listening to the piece, a jagged rhythm.

It’s not a beat I can think of having played before, yet it was what I heard to accompany her description of walls rising in the landscape.

I listened to her reading and recorded the drums, then added the bass.

I experimented with adding Malka’s voice in loops and also stretched some vowels to put in Iris as a synth, but it just seemed too muddy.


Part 1

Voice converted to midi triggering samples.
Some sound design with a Matrix12
Happy 400th to everybody.

performed by DD August 30th 2019
photo by DD, Guggenheim Bilbao


i like the sense of an ending = section 9.
panning malka older’s voice left and right, i used volume in one channel to emphasise phrases that particularly resonated with me.
two layers of ambient guitar were added.
best wishes, as always, htnc


Malka–what a great story. Thank you for this and for this deeply moving audio. I listened to it over and over as I got ready to approach this week’s prompt.

I chose #5 at random and listened to it a number of times–I started hearing a low-key, minimalist soundtrack behind it, and visualizing the wall jutting up out of the desert. The original audio was so stark and moving I couldn’t see modifying it, so it’s completely dry. I coded a backing electric piano track that randomly draws from a set of minor/augmented/diminished clusters, synched with a breakbeat loop that randomly samples itself (all coded in ChucK and uploaded to my Github:




With thanks to both Malka and Marc for facilitating this wonderful Junto challenge. A real pleasure to be a part of it! Love the short story.

I listened through the story reading several times and noted down some key observations and motifs.

The sections that really clicked with me were 5 and 6, which reflected strong impressions of wide-scale desolation and collective resilience to the conditions that the walls imposed. I was particularly struck by the imagery of flowers (roses, cactuses, gardens) and shrines placed at the walls. A reflection of natural beauty, devotion and faith set against absolute devastation and bleakness.

My source audio is derived from a segment of section 6 where Malka mentions the cactus garden. I stretched this audio out a little, so as to coax some harmonic artefacts from the speech and layered shorter clips against each other in tight loops with some resonators and filters patched in Max. First, I set pinched bandpass filters in and around ~400-500 Hz to create two harmonic drones; then, I set the filters up and around 8-10kHz to create a swirling, sibilant texture. Lastly, I mixed these audio tracks with the spoken text from section 6 in Logic X with a smidge of compression and EQ applied.


A random number generator selected “1” for me so this is the beginning of the story.

Thanks go to Malka Older for this moving story, and giving me an opportunity to musically interpret a portion of it.


Soundtrack for segment 6 of 9 was generated solely from the Malka Older’s reading. Processed in Supercollider and mixed in Ableton Live.


I did not think much, but just reacted while listening to the recording (on repeat) while playing on piano, and then this came naturally

note: only now I remember “Primarily use Older’s own voice as the source material for your score — bend it, shape it, extract from it, and burnish it to your creative ends. Additional sonic elements, both musical and foley, are welcome, but a substantial percentage of the sound should be from Older’s own voice”… my apologies for completely forgetting that ;-(
I guess my sentence “I did not think much” here is more appropriate than I realized


great how the voice is converted !