Disquiet Junto Project 0438: Deep Plan

Disquiet Junto Project 0438: Deep Plan
The Assignment: Compose a piece of music in which something special is situated at the very center.

Step 1: There is just one step this week: Compose a piece of music in which something special is situated at the very center.

Background: You might simply interpret that instruction as you choose to. For additional context, you might consider this centerpiece a surprise, or you might hint at it at the opening. It might be a gap, or a presence, or something in between.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0438” (no spaces or quotation marks) in the name of your tracks.

Step 2: If your audio-hosting platform allows for tags, be sure to also include the project tag “disquiet0438” (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 tracks. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your tracks.

Step 4: Post your tracks in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:


Step 5: Annotate your tracks 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, May 25, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, May 21, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. This may be the rare circumstance when longer is better.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0438” in the title of the tracks, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, 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: Given the nature of this particular project sequence, it is best to set 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 438th weekly Disquiet Junto project, Disquiet Junto Project 0438: Deep Plan — The Assignment: Compose a piece of music in which something special is situated at the very center — at:


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.

Image associated with this track is from NASA, used thanks to a Creative Commons license and Flickr. The image has been cropped, colors shifted, and text added.



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The project is now live. Thanks, everyone, for your generosity with your time and creativity.


Earlier this evening, before this week’s announcement, I had written a piece called “Slow Jazz Song 3” as an exercise. Here is the score:

Then, still before the announcement, I had imported a MIDI transcription of this piece into Ableton Live. I also reversed the clip and had the reversed clip succeed the original clip. That resulted in this piece.

After reading this week’s announcement, I took that piece and had the tempo slow down during the forward part and speed up during the backward part. I also inserted one measure between the forward and backward parts. This bar, I filled with the tonic note, C, both backwards and forwards.

This track is probably the fastest I’ve ever released a Disquiet Junto project, although the whole thing did take a couple of hours.


Nice palindrome scenario.

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Just to clarify: I assume this is a typo and you mean week?

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Oh, dear. Yes. Week. I’ll fix that. Thanks. It’s been a long day. And a long few months.

For some reason the Junto direction prompted me to think of a Paul Keating video I’d downloaded more than five years ago with a view to incorporating into a track.

It was serendipitous as Keating seems to be espousing an idea about engaging with listening similar to an observation about listening I was prompted to write this week.


Had this pointless jam/groove in Am and 5x4 time signature.
Electric bass, drums, clavinet…it was going nowhere.

For this junto challenge “Compose a piece of music in which something special is situated at the very centre” I decided to split one minute that jam and stick there another jam, in Gm 4x4 with my friend Gustavo Bulgach on sax.
Then, when the Am resumes I just pitched he sax 2 semitones up to make it kinda work on the other part.
A monster, still pointless, but fun.



I really like that blog post about listening to radio! I have this vague disappointment with podcasts in large part because it’s all about me and my consumption of the audio at my own convenience. Whereas radio is something that feels (ironically?) more collaborative somehow.

While I’m ranting about radio - a few years ago the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation canceled one of my favorite shows (The Signal) which was on for a few hours most nights per week. It was usually on past my bedtime, but when I was in the car late at night it was the best. And one of the great things about it was the host (Laurie Brown) who’s on-air presence was the perfect mix of intimate, informative, and conversational. They replaced the show with a 24/7 online music stream that was supposed to include all the “same kind of music” with “no interruptions.” But it just isn’t the same - and the fact that I can’t listen to it in my car is the least of my disappointments…


Please, rant on!

That intimacy of getting to know the presenter’s voice is part of the appeal of radio and when it’s live it’s somehow deeper.

That is a good example of that difference between live and recorded listening.

Those times when I’d pick up the phone and speak to the radio show and be part of it, they were so exciting.

Podcasts have their moments, especially in the way they use a sound library to open into rich and surprising directions – it can feel like your head is being stretched with wonder.

However, so often the podcast discussion teases out something you feel you could read in a fraction of the time.


Been away again for a bit… not wanting to look at a screen after logging 40ish hours a week teaching remotely. Finished the last class early in the week. This is a fun assignment to come back to. Hope that you are all well.


When this weeks Disquiet email came in, I was sitting at my kitchen table listening to the oddly dissonant drone my fridge was making. I decided that I’d sample that sound, manipulate it somehow and use it as the basis for this weeks project. I recorded some other sounds, kids toys, my kids, finger drumming a tin of drinking chocolate, and processed these sounds in Logic Pro. Added drum loops, found percussion and vocals. The initial structure had a “surprise” in the middle, with a symmetrical first part and last part. As the track evolved it became more lopsided.


Well, this one came to me in a dream last night!

I was sitting in a darkened theatre. A round of sorts with elevated seating looking down upon a circular wooden stage, with a single globe illuminating the centre. Although I sensed there was an audience there, I felt as if I was the only one present. Music came from beyond the stage and a female dancer tentatively took the stage. She danced awkwardly (yet beautifully) for only a couple of minutes before visibly fading from the stage - like she was being crossfaded out of a moving picture. The music continued to play on indefinitely.

So, to realise this I created a modular patch for an accompaniment to play over the top of. I’d like to think that the accompaniment is the music I heard in the space, whilst the bits played over the top is the dancer. For the ‘dancer’, I used three patches from my iOS Mellotron app interfaced with a Korg microkey.

As a sidenote, lately I’ve been really enjoying routing signals through my Moog ring modulator whilst controlling some parameters (e.g. modulation mix/LFO rate) with slow LFOs from the modular. The ring mod’s got such wonderful warmth and ripples sounds so beautifully.


And the playlist is now rolling:

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A choral meditation, with horns and hiphop beat added in the middle, rounded out with Hauptwerk virtual organ.


At the moment there are over one and a half million confirmed cases of Americans contracting COVID-19, and within a few days the death count will reach 100,000.

However, at the center of everything is a leader with a serious psychological condition that demands him to be at the center of everything.

Accordingly, a Trombone with limited vocabulary is challenged by a Clarinet attempting to inject logic, only to be ignored by a chorus of sycophants. America is living under occupation.

Individual 1 (Living Under Occupation) was written for Clarinet, Trombone, Harpsichord, Accordion, and Chorus of Sycophants.


I am on a real roll with the Junto lately! These projects have required just the right amount of time and mental commitment for my creative resources lately - which is to say “not too much” - and so while more involved projects have been taking a back-burner, it’s been nice to have a series of small, quick little tasks to keep from going completely dormant.

So: this week I interpreted the instructions using the “as I choose to” method, and decided to define “very center” as “heart”. At the heart of this track is a looped snippet from an old cassette I found this week - I used it back in 2001 or 2002 to record a song on a 4-track recorder with my wife based on our wedding text. We were living in a new city, in our first apartment together, in the first years of our marriage, and so yeah, that’s special.

I digitized the cassette into Reaper using a regular cassette deck, two tracks at a time (the second 2 tracks imported in reverse and then flipped). Then the audio was sped up to get almost back to the original speed and pitch (but not quite), and then I created a loop.

Around this special center, I have added a stack of free granular plugins from soundhack. And in the temporal center I added an extra excerpt from the recording.


“Continual activity and excitement seem to me a true perception of the nature of things,” said poet Kenneth Koch. “Because everything is always changing and turning into something else, and, as we’re sitting here talking, monkeys are jumping around in the trees, and waves are going across the Hudson, and new poets are being born, and covers are coming off books—I mean, all sorts of things are going on.”

We think of quarantine as a time of stasis and repose. Suss Müsik imagines something quite the opposite, however: small quarks of nervous energy, found in rooms inhabited by the impatient and restless. Carpets worn threadbare due to constant pacing; the passing of ambiguous deadlines; a flurry of activity in all directions without a compass.

The term Poka Yoke is a Japanese term used in manufacturing since the early 1960’s. Literally meaning “mistake-proofing,” the intention is to eliminate defects in production in order to prevent human errors from occurring. One imagines the chaos that ensues when the constraints fail and behavior can no longer takes its shape: the well-oiled machines break down. Covers get torn off books.

That’s how Suss Müsik approached this week’s Disquiet Junto. A cyclical counterpoint of organ, malfunctioning CR-78 and fake woodwinds provides a background for simple piano chords. When the rhythm is disrupted, all hell breaks loose. Everything comes back together, eventually, but not before we hear a passage of Numachi, a short story written by Ryūnosuke Akutagawa on the theme of insanity.

The piece was played live and recorded quickly to 8-track, minus one overdub for the text.


“I immediately thought of 38 Special,” is probably the most unexpectedly awesome thing ever written in a Disquiet Junto description. :smiley:


The center of all is our search for the reason of existence, and language is our tool, and language is breathing. We inhale the world to understand it, and if you can’t breathe, you will stop talking and it will be the end of comprehension …

Does anything I write here make any sense? OK, maybe I was simply in love with the CC0 recording https://freesound.org/people/felix.blume/sounds/117470/ from Felix Blume and wanted to use it (again). Listen to it! It’s really something special :wink: