Disquiet Junto Project 0421: Marquee Ghosts

Disquiet Junto Project 0421: Marquee Ghosts
The Assignment: What sounds haunt a discarded movie theater in the middle of the night?

This week’s project is just one step:

Step 1: What sounds haunt a discarded movie theater in the middle of the night?

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0421” (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 “disquiet0421” (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:


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, January 27, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 23, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0421” 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 421st weekly Disquiet Junto project — Marquee Ghosts / The Assignment: What sounds haunt a discarded movie theater in the middle of the night? — at:


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This week’s project was inspired by a decrepit old movie theater that has sat unused in my neighborhood since 2004. It opened way back in 1923, almost 100 years ago. It is now live.

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Marquee Ghosts - disquiet0421 from Paul Reiners on Vimeo.

This is "The Ghost of Old Main, for trombone and Theremin, which I wrote in 2005. I repurposed it for this project by exporting it as MIDI, importing it into Ableton Live, revoicing, and adding sound effects. The Ableton Live instruments I used are:

  • Trombone part: Pitched Ambiente
  • Theremin part: Ominous Thud FX

The sound effects were from Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House. I used the following effects:

  • “Ghosts and Phantoms: Heartbeat”
  • “Ghosts and Phantoms: Dragging Footsteps”
  • “Frightening Devices: Creaking Doors”

The Ghost of Old Main is supposed to haunt Hamline College in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I’m attaching a copy of the score. ghostoldmain - Full Score.pdf (32.1 KB)


I made the decision to slightly alter the assignment for this week. As an avid lover of silent films I have spent the past decade traveling to upstate New York on a yearly basis to attend a film festival of silent movies and obscure films from the 1930s. The assignment of discarded movie theaters in the middle of the night got me thinking about the silent movies I so love, made at a time when the new media was figuring itself out.

We are at a time now when there are only three people living today who were actually in a silent movie during that era - Mildred Kornman, Billy Watson, and Peggy-Jean Montgomery, better known as Baby Peggy. At the time she was as famous as Jackie Coogan, and having been in nearly 150 shorts was considered a precursor to Shirley Temple. In 2016, at the age of 98, she was inducted into the Classic Film Hall of Fame.

So this piece was written with her in mind, with the thoughts of the music that accompanied the films in those theaters that might still be ringing for those who can hear it.

For Baby Peggy was written for two Vibraphones, Violin and Viola.

The score is available at http://bit.ly/37kRumG


The playlist is now rolling:

That’s gorgeous and very moving.

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This was done with Zebralette,MT Power Drum Kit,Ample Bass P Lite II (an amazing P bass plugin as you can hear). The dialog is from a 1940’s horror film the Devil Bat starring Bela Lugosi. I actually wrote this a while back but it never got a ton of play on my Soundcloud and eventually I took it down. I have been really busy and haven’t been able to participate in the Junto for a while so I thought this would be a fitting submission for this week. Hope to get back in the swing of things soon.


Hi All,

A little manual tweaking of a patch processing some live radio … recorded into morphagene and then messed with in rings …

Have a great week!

h u :slight_smile:


Extremely cool. Very well integrated music, dialogue, and sound effects. Especially the bat cries (at least that’s what I think they are).


Thanks Paul. When I put this together I took a lot of care to try and frame Bela’s ominous plan he was hatching.

The bat cries are part of the dialog. I can’t get enough of this old movie dialog though. The part around 3:00 or so where Mary and Don are laughing makes me smile no matter how many times I listen.

With regards to the FX. I did forget to mention that I am using Fracture by Glitchmachines on the dialog. I don’t remember the exact settings but its just a delay with some pitch shifting I think. There is also alot of delay on the Zebralette piano-ish part.


(This track opens with a Creative Commons sample.)

From September to November 2019, I listened to my Morricone music collection in historical order. I originally intended to make a playlist of 80 tracks - my favourite from each album - but ended up with a 314 song compilation instead, and agonized about some of the tracks I had omitted. For me, Morricone is beyond compare, and when he dies the lights will finally have gone out.

There will come a moment in time when the last film plays itself out in the last cinema. Please let The Maestro, with a voice as of angels coming down, sing us to our common graves.


I know what you mean; I feel the same about Bernard Herrmann. Or maybe not since Herrmann’s dead already, but his last work, Taxi Driver, was the first work of his I heard. If that makes any sense.


My old discarded movie theater screams in the middle of the night all the mixed complaints of past tragedies.


Made with @Elisa-room237 playing quite a sparse piano piece recorded on a Zoom H1 sat on the keyboard to capture the sound of the keys being hit and to also the ambience of the room in the recording.

Added bits from old movies, heavily EQ’s and with a bit of a tape delay. And a drone created by taking one of the piano bass notes and stretching it out 10x with PaulStretch.

All treated to a lot of reverb and delay.

Arranged in Ableton Live


Those moments before or between the show in a classic theater. The musty smell of the room, the yellow glow of the incandescents, the murmur of the crowd, people jostling to find their creaky spring-filled seats… there’s something to be said for the character of an older theater. The San Francisco Bay Area has several, including the Grand Lake Cinema (Oakland) and The Alameda Theatre (Alameda) which I highly recommend.

I experimented with a ring modulator, which combines frequencies, and a time stretched sound using Audacity’s implementation of Paul Stretch.


  • Cockos REAPER v6.03/x64 (recording)
  • Magix SOUND FORGE Audio Studio Pro 12.6 (mastering)
  • Audacity v2.3.3 (SFX)
  • Arturia KeyStep (input)
  • Native Instruments KOMPLETE KONTROL S61 (input)


  1. Paul Stretch’d 16mm Film Projector Sound
    a. Native Instruments Vari Comp - Smackenstein
    b. Cockos Ring Modulator - Custom Preset, routed from 2
    c. Native Instruments Driver - Audioburn
  2. Arturia - Pigments - Counter Star 2049
  3. 16mm Film Projector Sound
    a. Arturia Rev PLATE-140 - Arial Plate
    b. Native Instruments RAUM - Synth Reflections
    c. Cockos ReaEQ
  4. Native Insturments Massive - Basement
  5. Ambient recording before show in Ukranian theater
    a. Cockos ReaEQ
    b. Native Instruments Replika - Vintage Darkness



Very nice, and I like the use of Paul Stretch (I also went for it)! Cheers!


First time posting on the junto project. You all make really cool stuff so I’m excited to do this more in the future.

I started by playing around with some instruments and chords to get a haunted feeling and sense. I landed on Wolno by Felt Instruments because it has this open room, dark, haunted kind of piano thing happening that is really awesome. I played around with key release, reverb and some other things to really make it airy, spacious, and chilling.

I used an awesome midi-plugin that’s prophet recorded through an old cassette. You can not only edit filters and things on the prophet but also the hiss and space of the cassette. That helped add some ambience.

Then I found some cool samples that felt haunted and ghostly.


Love the subtlety of the organ-esque harmonic content, and the way the members of the crowd(s) merge into something singular while retaining the individual voices. Full atmosphere, really nice.


Another stunner! Very cool use of the Paul’s. I’m also a sucker for anything Organish (vs Organic), was that just pigments?


Thanks for the kind words and for listening :slight_smile: I’ve found formal theater crowds to have that kind of vibe where you know that hundreds or thousands of people are surrounding you, yet you feel completely alone as the voices wash over you in a cascade of noise. Probably something similar to what dogs feel when they’re around humans; familiar sounds with occasional snippets of recognizable text but mostly word salad…