Disquiet Junto Project 0425: Crop Score

Disquiet Junto Project 0425: Crop Score
The Assignment: Crop circles are musical compositions.

Thanks to C. Reider (and the @AutechreComment Twitter account) for helping to instigate this.

Step 1: Consider the idea of a crop circle as a graphically notated musical composition. (This might require doing a little research on crop circles and/or graphic notation.)

Step 2: Interpret the photo associated with this project, from Wikipedia, as a musical score. (You can also use other images, but please keep copyright in mind.)

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0425” (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 “disquiet0425” (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, February 24, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 20, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Shorter is often better. Let the crops be your guide.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0425” 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 425th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Crop Score / The Assignment: Crop circles are musical compositions — at:


Thanks to C. Reider (and the @AutechreComment Twitter account) for helping to instigate this.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:


Subscribe to project announcements here:


Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:


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

The image associated with this project is from Wikipedia:



The 425th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project is now live.


I wrote this in ChucK. The source code is here.

PulseOsc innerP => dac; 
PulseOsc outerP => dac; 

0.01 => float LOWER_WIDTH;
0.5 => float UPPER_WIDTH;


UPPER_WIDTH - LOWER_WIDTH => float widthRange;
84.0 => outerP.freq; 
100.0 => innerP.freq;
for (0 => int i; i <= OUTER_CIRCLE_COUNT; i++) {

for (OUTER_CIRCLE_COUNT => int i; i >= 0; i--) {

fun void playInnerVoice(int index) {
    LOWER_WIDTH + index * (widthRange / INNER_CIRCLE_RADIUS) => float innerWidth;
    innerWidth => innerP.width; 

    1 => innerP.gain;                        
    0.15 :: second => now;              
    0.0 => innerP.gain;                      
    0.1 :: second => now;              

fun void playOuterVoice(int index) {
    LOWER_WIDTH + index * (widthRange / OUTER_CIRCLE_COUNT) => float outerWidth;
    outerWidth => outerP.width; 
    1 => outerP.gain;                        
    for (0 => int j; j <= INNER_CIRCLE_RADIUS; j++) {
    for (INNER_CIRCLE_RADIUS => int j; j >= 0; j--) {
    0 => outerP.gain;

When doing these, I’m never sure whether I should do something conceptual or something musical. This is definitely conceptual. Conceptual is starting to seem like the easy way out. I’ll try to make it more musical over the weekend.

On the other hand, playing with abstract sounds is fun and it’s good ChucK programming practice.


I versioned my earlier recording in Ableton Live and added a numbers station transmission.


This week I got working sooner rather than later. In this case I tried to take a quite literal interpretation. I took the concentric shapes to be various musical parts where distance from the centre reflected pitch, width of segment reflected amplitude, length of segment reflected the length of the looping phrase and the piece played in a radial manner.

Though the approach was fairly formulaic I quite enjoyed the result. I feel like it had enough movement while still feeling strongly repetitive. It also has something of a celestial tone to it. I originally had a very strong sub bass which I filtered out at the last minute: hopefully that didn’t impact it negatively.

As for gear it was the usual suspects (Bass Station, Volca Bass, Microfreak, Peak) for the 4 lower voices. The top voice is from the Korg NTS1 with a free Karplus strong oscillator loaded. The effects were my usual Boss 500 set. Nothing much of note to report other than it being another fun week: thanks!


Great prompt this week!

In the first instance, I decided to approach this with a graphic transcription of the crop circle image on graph paper. Once I had a decent representation, I divided up sections of the pattern and thought about ways I could interpret this musically.

I must admit I tried several different approaches before I arrived at the finished piece. The previous attempts seemed too constrained. What worked was to apply a simple principle from the score - e.g the ‘block’ shapes in the green band represent the main bell pulses. This gave me the structure I needed. From there, I interpreted the score more impressionistically - the bass follows the bells/organ; the synth follows contours of the lines, etc. Everything else is for the sake of texture and so forth.

Funnily enough, this week I’ve been absolutely besotted with John Cage’s late ‘stone’ works, where he drew inspiration from Japanese stone gardens…their rocks, patterns in the sand. Beautiful work. Especially Ryoanji.


The crop circles in the photo made me think of cymbals, so I gave mine such a bash that I broke a drumstick.

The central circles seemed to confirm I was looking at drums and I’ve interpreted them as a kick-kick-snare pattern.

I gave them a crushing treatment, using compressors and saturation.

Then I set about adding harmonic interest, recording a quick chord progression.

I used that MIDI information to drive a couple of synths, using space-themed presets.



Finally, scientists unpacked the signal in Crop Circles, and amazingly they found encoded audio. The sounds were released Feb 21, 2076. Is it noise? It it speech? Is it an alarm? No-one knows, but the entire world is listening, rapt, to the strange and mysterious sound - a thrum and an unsettled whistle - trying to understand what it is that we have received. In the bar at the teleportation station which we last visited in disquiet0414, the night band sits silent, trying with everyone else to garner a glimpse of meaning. And then the pianist realizes the sound is an invitation to cooperate, a lead from a song that we have to write together across space and time. That some alien, deep in the past, was looking to sit in on the session and make music, and sent us that message as a pile of compressed wheat fields. So turn to the keys - pluck out a hint of a sympathetic melody. As the rest of the group joins in, the bar looks on, thinking: “No. No, that’s probably not what the signal means. But let’s listen and order another cocktail anyway.”

This week is my 11th disquiet. As I’ve done with several others, I wrote some code and some music and some words. This time I used python to extract 2 dimensional signals from the wikipedia image, turned slices of those signals into one dimensional signals, turned those one dimensional signals into midi cc, and pulled about 2 minutes of lots of midi control into Logic. I made a feedback-y Surge patch controlled by the CC, and then played along on piano. Nicely, as I was playing, I realized I was returning to the sound palette of disquiet0414, and so I wrote the above little micro-story in my head. And voila.

With that, I hope you enjoy “Space Sits In on The Last Number (disquiet0425)”


Like @bassling, the circles reminded me of cymbals, but exp(jωt) is also generally on my mind. Hence: 7-bit sine waves fed to a metallic resonator, pitch contour following the circle centers, lengths following circle radii. Resonator’s tuning increases as the “cymbals” ““shrink””, but it’s continuous so pretty much destroys any cymbal semblance. Oop. Fixed for each note would be better(?).

Synth pad for the straight lines, ducked by the circles, as they are visually.

Modulation (square wave) for the nested-circle-ish shapes. Also kinda reflected by the back-and-forth of the voices.

Right-hand side being cut off at an angle => resonant HP filter sweep for the ending.

Samples from Gemini IV mission from https://archive.org/details/Gemini4/1306.wav . Aside: Happy early 91st birthday to Jim McDivitt!


(Never done one of these before.)

I took the graphic notation to guide mouse pointer shaping of graphical elements of the Ableton interface. Operator waveform, MIDI note arrangement. Since the orientation of the pictured circle is ambiguous I used the axis of symmetry to organize my thoughts. Of course that still leaves ambiguity vis a vis which way is up. Presets and effects chosen thematically–lots of randomness, and sci fi sounds abound.

Basically, we’re talking four Tin Bowl Operator presets with manually altered waveforms attempting to depict the four shapes present in the picture, with the MIDI arrangements attempting the same. Lots of random MIDI effects to make that less boring, run through a vocoder on the master track to make it sound less horrible/slightly more musical. I justified it because aliens probably use vocoders all the time.

Also I carved out another representation of the pictured crop circles from the Arrangement view which breaks it up a little bit.

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Sounds great with the numbers transmission. Adding those gaps was a good idea, I wish I’d thought of doing that with mine.


This is lush. Feels like a soundtrack. I like that buzzing that fades in and out among the instruments.


Kinda chaotic. Love the way my brain tries to make sense of the relationships between the instruments.


This could be an X Files theme! Sounds about right. How did you interpret the notation?


If I hadn’t read your story about the alien, I would’ve thought this sounded like the wind blowing through the field as the mothership departed. The band are very responsive.


The whistle of the metallic resonator is kinda atmsopheric. Quite a gentle piece, which was enjoyable.


Sometime in July 2004, two crop circle formations were discovered in a Wiltshire field. What was striking about these patterns is how they appeared to represent the chakra system of the human body, generally depicted as circular wheels along the spinal column.

The fourth primary chakra is called anahata, the Sanskrit word to mean “pure, clean, stainless, unhurt and unstruck.” Joseph Campbell reminds us that anahata is the point “where sound is heard that is not made by any two things striking together.” (Suss Müsik mental note: no percussion for this piece).

What’s intriguing about the crop circle used for this week’s Junto is its concentricity: ovals overlapping and repeating, like a gigantic Spirograph drawing. The design also serves as a visual depiction of sonic echoes bouncing off hard surfaces before returning to its origin.

For this weird piece, Suss Müsik rendered the Junto-supplied crop circle image to “pure, clean” flat art. An audio scan was then processed create a series of major pentatonic tones in the key of A. Cyclical phrases for organ and piano were then added, using the graphical notation as reference.

The piece is titled Anahata. The image is the source notation used to create the piece.

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The playlist is rollin’:


I´ve tried to look at the circles as euclidean instructions for both notes, beats and modulation of a soft Buchla and some drum-machine sounds. Trying to get results, that could interpreted by human ears, the alien messages embedded within the crop circles turned out to need some additional effects - as reverb, granulation etc. … but then this emerged…

For the euclidean fun I used the strokes and weights M4L tools from https://www.congburn.co.uk/strokes


Nice assignment. I thought of a number of possibilities for this but ended up with a long sequence surrounded by a number of other shorter ones… seemed like circles to me.


For this assignment, I cracked out Iannix - a graphical, open-source sequencer - and drew the crop circle featured on the Wikipedia page in the program. Then I added some triggers, hooked Iannix up to Ableton and let it play itself.

Here’s four minutes of a crop circle automation :slight_smile:


I’m traveling so this was done on the iPad. AUM, Ripplemaker, Animoog, Mozaic…


Great - perfect use of Iannix!


Thank you! Took me a while to understand how to use Iannix, the instructions are a bit…esoteric for me :wink: