Disquiet Junto Project 0428: Urban Moss

Sorry if this is coming up twice in this topic. I believe I posted it in the wrong place the first time around. It was late and I was a bit out of it…

The first, obvious and maybe too literal idea that came to mind when reading the email about this weeks "urban moss” project was an audio collage, a collection of pop songs smeared and layered one on top of the other representing the music of all bands who’s posters were placed on this poll. When I read the email I had a live set open in front of me that I had been working on the previous day which included, among other things, an instance of “Arcade” from Output as well as tracks receiving the audio of my Elektron Digitakt. I decided to work from that set but the clear pulse and rhythm that was suggested felt at first contrary to what this “collage” might sound like until I saw this pulse as simply a backdrop - the unstoppable, persistent passing of time. The elements that are non rhythmic came from various sources including but not limited to bits and pieces of “Outlawed” from my friend Gabe Hascall’s forthcoming record “Thousands of Thorns”, and a recording of my daughter singing Tom Waites’ “The Briar and the Rose” when she was 3 which I processed beyond recognition. As the piece took shape I began to imagine the emptiness and loneliness of this poll that once served as a conduit not only for electrical signals but for direct human communication. The music that those fliers represented, degraded, distorted and washed out by the sun, wind and rain remain now, in the subconscious of this inanimate being, a king of haunting, a reminder only of the frailties and fallibility of memory.

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This week’s project inspired me to create a series of jam sessions where I sample and mangle my old tracks. The idea was to layer the old me and jam on it with the new me.

Here is the first one in the series:

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@WhiteNoise What a beautiful concept, and so gorgeously executed. I especially loved the suspended sonic buzz around 3m40s and how it juxtaposed with the frantic action of the left monitor screen. Thank you for sharing this!!

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Something from long ago that makes me nostalgic for a simpler apocalypse. I can’t rightly say why this is appropriate to the assignment, but it reminds me of a lot of styles of music from concerts that I attended since the 60s… all mashed up.

Just what it sounds like… drum loops, synths, samples, and freak out guitars. Recorded to 16 track tape. I just happen to know that it was on the day of the NYC Marathon in 1994.

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One thing that fascinates me is the incessant, eerie hum of telephone and power lines. There’s some transcendental about the sound as it hovers above. While making this piece, I wanted to accentuated that eeriness, as well as creating a sense of “almost-music” - you can just make out a melody is playing somewhere, but it slips in and out of your grasp. Much like a memory.

Layer 1: Sound of humming power line, slowed 800%.
Layer 2: Layer 1 converted into MIDI + Greatly Rewarding VST
Layer 3: Layer 1 converted into MIDI + Bowed Metal VST
Layer 4: Sound of humming power line, original speed.

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I was a little pressed for time this week. Here are three drum parts taken from songs by a couple of bands I saw in the mid '80s and one from 1994. I sample a short drum part each and used Ableton to convert them to MIDI. From there a put them through various drum instruments, Eventide Blackhole and Spring reverbs. There’s a filter sweep on each of the tracks each with a different period. I wanted to evoke the feeling of time having passed but with echoes of those concerts ever-present.

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When I moved to the UK I went straight to Camden. I rented a flat 2 doors up from the Dublin Castle, a pub where you could see 3 bands a night for £5, every night. I moved out after 2 years, completely exhausted. Camden is dirty, smells of piss and vomit, and is always teeming with tourists who arrive just as excited as I did, for an afternoon of drinking cheap cider by the canal and buying overpriced “punk” memorabilia. I still love it.

You hear a very slowed down old tape (don’t know if Jared Foldy is around, his modded tape recorders are ace) chopped up by Compass and a Count to 5.

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What a beautiful thought, and true. You took me straight back to one of the great unsung voices of American poetry, Weldon Kees, and his unforgettable lines:

All day the phone rings. It could be Robinson
Calling. It never rings when he is here.

You can hear Weldon Kees read the full poem at

And, just to bring us full circle to this week’s San Francisco prompt, Kees’ car was found abandoned on the Golden Gate Bridge in 1955. He was never seen again. (Although, I believe, he had emptied his bank account. I like to think that he went to live in Mexico.)

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Very Nice. One of my favorites. Brooding.
What are “Compass” and “Count to 5”?

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the sound came out more pylon-like than telephone pole hence the title. it’s also a nod to christ.'s pylonesque

i recorded the hiss of my soundcard, amplified and tempo stretched that
underneath i had a couple of things from iris 2

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Thank you :slight_smile:

Compass is a function sequencer which runs on Norns: Compass
Count to 5 is an incredible looper pedal: https://mtlasm.blogspot.com/p/count-to.html

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Hey peeps, I had a big experimental process but a lot didn’t work out so in the end just came out with this reasonably straightforward sample-based piece, including samples from intros to live performances by miles davis/parliament/animal collective/squarepusher/spacemen 3/meat puppets/captain beefheart/cannonball adderly/grateful dead/velvets/fugs - tho hopefully so drenched or obscure won’t piss no algos off… here’s what I wrote:

“I decided to get the old volca sampler out for this one. Been too long. So the intro is 30 secs of 10 different live tracks all playing at the same time, gradually swamped in reverb (Oril river (it’s free!)) and then I took little, fairly obscure snippets from those tracks, loaded them into the sampler, and played around. At first I was fiddling around with a sequencer I’d made (in pure data) but it wasn’t quite working out. In the end I just sat in the sun on the front step and used all 10 of the volca’s memory slots to make a simple composition using its own sequencer. Then I performed it a couple of times until I got a take I was ok with, added the same reverb (though it dips out in the middle) et voila. I wanted to make something kind of melancholy, originally, what with the idea of all those past events layered and increasingly distant/forgotten - but it came out kind of upbeat… that’s fine I suppose, just not what I expected, but time has its benefits too, I guess :wink: Hope you enjoy listening.”

Peace n’ good 'elfs

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The story: DJ Krakenkraft came repeatedly to the Disquiet Junto Club, and like most berlin school musicians he played the same sequences and mellotronic pads every year …

The approach: Four tracks (seq 1+2, drums, pads) were redirected to multiple tracks with different and chained combinations of LFOs and delays, which destroyed the sounds. I imagined a concert poster that every year was simply stuck over the weathered, partly torn off poster from the previous year.

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The ghost of chords, the long tail of echoes, the inherent mystery in collaged sonic textures, all merging to create the timelessness of sound.

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Another week without an entry from me. I had something of a concept of finding a series of recordings from different eras, then beat/pitch matching to do a DJ style mix between them. As the music played I’d modulate a filter, some noise and a reverb+delay wet/dry mix and ‘length’ starting at 100% wet with long tails, filtered down and lots of noise, from the distant past, up to no added reverb/delay, filter open and no noise in the present. In the end I didn’t find a source of music to use that I felt was suitable and legal; having looked at what other people did, using only juntos may have been interesting. Anyway: I’m glad to see how many other participants we had.

@PopGoblin - I think you ended up going down a similar route to me (at a high level) but in unison more than sequential. I like how you managed to keep things changing, but constant at the same time. Nice work!

@DeDe - Despite your submission not feeling quite like the concept dictated (intellectually) it struck a chord with me. That’s to say I could imagine it being made of layers that were from different times. I found the way some elements sat together in tight time and some didn’t.

@apanmusic - Your submission was something like I imagined a lot of people would envisage when they saw the prompt. A series of layers coming and going. I think you executed that concept nicely and the guitar worked well.

@tristan_louth_robins - I liked your take on this: rather than layering it feels like the broadcasts of the performances all got transmitted into space and reflected and arrived back in unison (years later) but all degraded and out of tuning. The fading into rain noises was a nice touch, like you looked at the pole and heard those sounds then the rain hit you and it became silent again.

Another great week; I’m really looking forward to the upcoming collaborative challenges!

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Inspired by Marc’s description I thought about the beach, the poster and the telephone pole. I imagined the tree, in its past life, must have experienced many wonderous concerts of the forest and that they would somehow be embedded in its core. So I went with this approach: imagine coastal outskirts where land becomes beach. You are floating towards an old telephone pole on which a concert sheet is flapping violently in the wind, barely attached by old rusty staples. You enter the old tree and experience its memories of past concerts from its forest home: rustling leaves, pine cones dropping, animals and fellow trees waving in the wind. Though its exteriour might be dead, the spirit of the old tree lives forever in its core of memories of eternal bliss.

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Made with Koala on an iPhone 6S, samples of a cash register, a stapler and my daughter singing along to a song on the radio

Thanks all, these projects are so important right now. Thanks Marc.

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I’ve you’ve been within six feet of an american art school in the past twenty years, you’ve likely heard the term “palimpsest”. If not, here’s the definition currently provided by my computer:

“a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.”

And while we’re on the subject of my computer’s dictionary, I used it to check how to spell “karaoke” last night, and I noticed what the dictionary had listed as the word’s origin:

“1970s: from Japanese, literally ‘empty orchestra’”

In 2015 (while at an american art school) I started making 3d virtual models of flyer poles with the sadly discontinued 123dCatch. The application would make strange renderings of the objects, you were able to rotate them around and to see the algorithm’s imagining of the pole’s interior. They weren’t perfect realistic models, which I considered a good thing. I wanted the computer to make mistakes, as analog life is still, for me, far more interesting and rewarding.
Some of these models are on Sketchfab if you’re curious to have a look, including one from this time last year in San Francisco, my user name there is “_all_decay,” and they should be in a collection called “flyer poles.” Some of these models were also used in a music video, search “The Crying Pill,” if curious.

I wonder what the actual digital equivalent of these layered flyer poles would be?

Anyway, for this weeks project, I thought I’d start by sampling bands from Richmond, Virginia, where I had been living up until last October, as a way to highlight all the great musicians there. Richmond was also where I began to make the virtual models. Additionally, I started listening through various recordings I had made while working as a stage hand at various concert venues in town, and considering using them as well. Though, of course, I veered in a different direction by considering the specific pole that was in front of the bar I worked at in Richmond, a pole that I had documented several times. The bar’s most crowded night was a karaoke night.

Alas, time now for another minor digression: my boss at the stage handling gig would often lament how he thought karaoke had “killed” live music.

Irregardless of the fact if there is any truth to my old boss’s lament, this particular karaoke night certainly had it’s downsides. Like how one night a forty something spit in my face because I kicked him out of the bar for aggressively calling a patron a f****t. Or the time this past September someone lit off a series of fireworks in the crowded bar, and I thought it was a gun (this thought being entirely reasonable, this being Richmond, Virginia, U.S.A.).

So, yeah, karaoke night kinda stunk. Though admittedly it was a mostly sweet crowd having fun and communing together. I ultimately couldn’t fault them (that and the fact that most of my coworkers were exceptional human beings). Still, I found karaoke night difficult to deal with, and one of the ways I dealt with it was by making recordings of the night by taking a line out from the karaoke M.C.’s mixer. I thought that I would eventually use the disembodied singing voices in a project, though I actually hadn’t listened to the recordings till late last night. I was pleasantly surprised to hear voices from this past summer, some of which belonged to people that I care a great deal about.

Oh yeah, the day after the firework incident at the bar, I finally made the decision to quit the job and leave the country.

I hope everyone is well. Take care of one another. Reach out to me if you want/need someone to chat with, or have an idea for a collaboration. I am well and currently self distancing, though I have been for some months now since I don’t know anyone in this new city, so it’s really not that much different. I’m feeling optimistic that this experience we are all going through might inspire us to create positive change in the world, and realize how much we really do love and need each other.

A final apology: I neglected to use any samples of my own voice doing karaoke to Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Run Away With Me” on my last night working at the bar.

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Really nice vibes and sound. Well done!

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