Disquiet Junto Project 0409: Spooky 3.0


Disquiet Junto Project 0409: Spooky 3.0
The Assignment: Raise haunting music to the next level.

Step 1: Consider what makes music spooky.

Step 2: Make some music that considerably outdoes what you thought of in Step 1.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0409” (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 “disquiet0409” (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 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:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0409-spooky-3-0/

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, November 4, 2019, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, October 31, 2019.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0409” 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 409th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Spooky 3.0 / The Assignment: Raise haunting music to the next level — at:

https://disquiet.com/0409/

Many thanks to Michael Upton for having initiated this project.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0409-spooky-3-0/

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

4 Likes

And the project is now live. Happy Halloween!

1 Like

Dammit I’m still tweaking my birds and insects sounds from last week and now it’s time to get spooky and ooky. Great prompts of late @disquiet !

2 Likes

spooky insects and birds, like spiders, bees and shoebill storks.

3 Likes

Some lo-fi loops, processed and filtered, with some vocal samples folded in. Fancy spectral editing.

Based on actual liturgical horror I witnessed in north-central Massachusetts a few years back.

[Later: actually just thinking about the many Lovecraft stories set in the ‘ancient’ hills north and west of Boston. “The Whisperer in Darkness” probably has the the most affinity here. I actually never witnessed a Cthulhu mythos service ha ha. ~~ Technically, I put this type of thing together mainly in Audition with lots of spectral editing. Now and then I will chop a section of sonic material out of the ‘canvas’, process it as a separate file, then re-insert it onto the main canvas.]

4 Likes

(un?)happy halloween everyone…

an unforgettably spooky moment for me was playing “silent hill ii”, alone, in the dark, and hearing THAT baby cry inside the abandoned apartment block near the beginning of the game. (well, at least that’s how i remember it). i had to stop playing and turn all the lights on.

for this track, i used a single sample of a crying baby from freesound.

i played it forwards, and also backwards (-48st) through ni guitar rig 5 vst, with various bits of eq, delay, and beat repeat.

6 Likes

Brilliant track - you had me walking into a crypt - but you can’t just drop a comment like that and not explain (or fabricate?!) further…

2 Likes

The best holiday. I probably had on a few too many murder ballads prior to laying down this one, but that’s what this season is for. . .

5 Likes

Seconded. . . “liturgical horror” is not a self-sustaining description. It requires some further storytelling.

3 Likes

I admit: I was lazy. This should have been my input for the last years halloween disquiet junto, but the track did not get finished in time, then. So I shovelled it out of the grave and did some changes to improve it’s grade of haunting …

… and yes, I like John Carpenter movies …

3 Likes

combination of glitchy FM synth, falling bell sounds, and weird Rhodes chords, all coded in ChucK (all in my GitHub https://github.com/charliekramer/ChucK) Happy Halloween!

4 Likes

Young girls can be spooky. PSI phenomenal!
They lift glasses, they turn watches, they burn houses down and beliefs, they move things and people.
Their rage can be frightening, almost out of control. As is the track.

A guitar phrase recorded and recomposed with a Montreal Assembly Zellersasn. A selfrunning escalating drone. An audible system that tries to keep but looses control and collapses.

2 Likes

my music pretty much always comes out creepy, so didnt have to try too hard
theres a kind of peaceful quality to this but theres a creeping unsettling dread i think (i like that idea of hell: very slowly recognizing that somethings not right) it sounds a bit like toothache to me for some reason too

this is an old bass guitar recording. slowed down a few times in audacity for that woozy atonal sound, high frequency reverb, echo and amplified the slides

4 Likes

‘Spooky’ sounds fun, Halloween and all that. Cute kids in costumes. We forget the older traditions. Samhain. Muti. And the devout practices of the priests of Xipe Totec, The Flayed One. A God who flayed himself to give his people food. It seemed only right after such a gift to dress the Flayed God, the Night Drinker, the Red Smoking Mirror, again. In the skins of the faithful. Just like the human skins his priests also wore over their own bodies, in emulation of their corpse draped deity. Children were especially prized as offerings, bred for the purpose, in fact, since their dying tears would ensure sweet rains for the Aztec fields.

So, yeah, discovering that this darkness was an actual historical reality helped me take ‘spooky’ to the next level. Musically I pushed a little too: instead of my usual iPad app only method, this began as a thumb piano jam into a cassette Portastudio, slowed to half speed, recorded as a loop into AUM, exported to Hokusai for slicing (aptly enough) then sequenced by Sector, with effects from Eventide Blackhole and Blamsoft Zero reverbs, field recordings of a heavy chain drag, and some pretty ambient noises from a meditation app (!) called Cosm, mangled beyond all hope in Shaper to create the ‘blood spatter’ sound. The chants come courtesy of a sound font called ‘Gutteral Chant’ running in BS16i. The priests of Xipototec should feel right at home.

1 Like

thinking of ‘spooky’ gave me lots of low sounds into spring reverb, abrupt changes in loudness and structure, “suspense” where not a lot of things happens for some time and then everything breaks, “digital” glitches and modems uploading nobody knows what on phone lines… so i did this little buchla 208 / ciat lonbarde plumbutter improvised jam. nothing else was used (well, there’s a bit of strymon big sky), recorded live with no editing (mistakes are spooky too, aren’t they?)

2 Likes

Walking past the cemetery at midnight, one whistles, attempting to dismiss death. But one eventually succumbs.

2 Likes

Not going to have a chance to do something new for this, but I wanted to share a time I think I achieved the goal through a happy accident. I’ll try to find the file and whatever process or plugin produced this nightmare.

1 Like

Boy, did I go on a weird trip with this one. Thanks, Marc.

The short story is that this piece was inspired by the later work of musician Scott Walker, in conjunction with the strangeways of Google Translate.

Long story:

I was sitting on the couch with partner last night and I mentioned this Junto prompt. She thought about spooky kinds of music and said straight away, “oh yeah, that Donald Duck one by Scott Walker.” For those unfamiliar with where that reference is pointing to, it’s the penultimate track on Walker’s 2006’s album, The Drift. The entire album is harrowing, but “The Escape” brings things to a ghastly (and profoundly surreal) climax. Those who have heard it will know what I’m talking about; those who haven’t - well, you can check it out for yourselves.

We discussed this a little more, and I thought about doing something in the vein of late-period Walker; along the unsettling lines of The Drift and 2012’s Bish Bosch - with a heavy emphasis on queazy atmospheres, abrupt cuts, disturbing lyrics, etc.

I grabbed a recent book of Walker’s lyrics (Sundog) which compiles lyrics from across his career, though with a heavy emphasis on his later work, including several sets of lyrics (c. 2016-2017) which remained unrecorded up to his death earlier this year. These unrecorded lyrics are fascinating and you couldn’t help but imagine what they might have sounded like against Walker’s incredible voice and his knack for interesting structures and phrasing.

A favourite of his late works is “Barracuda”. Much like the bulk of Walker’s late work, it doesn’t easily derive clear meanings, and is rather a sequence of fragmented imagery and sensations, which reads a lot like the narrative of a fever dream. The chorus is particularly strange, whereby one dreams of a barracuda which appears to shape shift into spires, razor wire and burning tyres. I’ve provided an extract of the lyrics below:

the collapse
of the
rubber boom
confetti cannons
ashes
around the
room

bladders stop
beating
like
moon flowers

your bones
on my back

your long lost
nom de spume

there’s everyone
that isn’t you

no eyes behind
my eyes

dreamed into barracuda
dreamed into shining spires
dreamed in barracuda
dreamed into razor wires
dreamed into barracuda
dreamed into noonday choirs
dreamed into barracuda
dreamed into burning tyres

**

A peculiar characteristic of Walker’s later lyrics is his usage of really odd terms (such as ‘Gynozoon’ [in 2012’s “Zercon”] - good luck Googling that), phrases and the occasional line of non-English words. Pulled together, everything becomes a chain of brain-swelling non-sequiters. When I was re-reading through “Barracuda”, I was struck by the line ‘nom de spume’. I went to Google Translate and it picked it up as Romanian, translating to: ‘name of foam’.

Now, that might not be what the line actually is (if it is anything at all) but it set my mind to what I might do with “Barracuda”. I had originally thought about recording a spoken text of the lyrics to music, but this struck me as a little uninspired. What I decided I would do - based on the ‘nom de spume’ translation - would be to run the lyrics of Barracuda through Google Translate into a different language and translate it back again into English.

It took a bit of experimentation, but eventually I settled on using a combination of Romanian, Turgik and Sudanese, which warped lines of the lyrics into a semi-desired outcome. I then took the ‘remixed’ set of lyrics and translated the bulk of it back-and-forth a couple more times. This was the result of the third iteration:

straps of the sleeve
dark gray in the room
the shoot grows like the flower of the moon
my bones behind me
lost a long time after baking
they are everywhere, not you
he doesn’t even look at my teeth
I have a dream
dream in a shining glass
I have a dream
Barracuda
cast into the fire
I have a dream
you eat breakfast
I have a dream
pour into the wheel of the car

**

I loved how the process of translating the lyrics back-and-forth could warp words and phrases and transmute the original lyrics into this kind of parallel reality version of “Barracuda”, whilst keeping some of the original elements of it intact. In this respect, I thought the original was pretty spooky/uncanny; then I took it into even spookier/uncannier terrain.

For the musical accompaniment, I recorded me reading out the remixed version of “Barracuda” and then dubbed this to my old Tascam 424 cassette multi-track. I used an old cassette that I picked at random, which I discovered has these field recordings on a couple of the tracks. I kept these field recording, and then recorded an additional track of me improvising with a microphone (via a loop/delay pedal.) This was dubbed back into Logic and I did another four-tracks of improvisations on the Tascam. I then mixed it all together in Logic.

I’m quite happy with the outcome. I hope Scott would have liked it (as well as the rabbit-hole process.) I’ve always liked the medium of cassettes and memories of discovering old ones in boxes and finding some really weird things that people had recorded to them. All grainy, hissing, warped and strange.

4 Likes

@tristan_louth_robins epic process and result, love it

1 Like

Boo…

1 Like