Disquiet Junto Project 0442: One Sentence

Disquiet Junto Project 0442: One Sentence
The Assignment: Make music that explores the shape, tone, cadence, and content of a favorite section of prose or poetry.

Step 1: Choose a favorite single sentence. The sentence should be from prose or poetry, but not a song lyric.

Step 2: Say the sentence out loud, slowly, several times in a row. Consider its shape, its tone, its cadence, and its content, and how these connect with each other.

Step 3: In some way that you can understand, map the exploration of the sentence from Step 2.

Step 4: Compose a piece of music that follows the map from Step 3. Note that the finished piece shouldn’t (or better yet: needn’t) include the spoken sentence (that is, it’s best if it’s purely instrumental), and it might last much longer than the sentence would take to say out loud.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0442” (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 “disquiet0442” (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, June 22, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, June 18, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0442” 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: It is always 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 442nd weekly Disquiet Junto project, Disquiet Junto Project 0442: One Sentence — The Assignment: Make music that explores the shape, tone, and content of a favorite section of prose or poetry — 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.


And the project is live.


Created on June 19th 2020, in a rush, for Disquiet Junto Project 0442: One Sentence
The Assignment: Make music that explores the shape, tone, cadence, and content of a favorite section of prose or poetry.

Sociedad, escuelas, servicio militar, oficinas, periódicos y cinematógrafo, política y hembras, modelaban así un tipo de hombre de clase media, alcahuete, desalmado, ávido de pequeñas fortunas porque sabía que las grandes eran inaccesibles, especie de perro de presa que hacía deportes una vez por semana, y que afiliado a cualquier centro conservador, con presidencia de un generalito retirado, despotricaba contra los comunistas y la Rusia de los soviets.
La psicología de estos tipos, primaria y malvada, se estropajaba a través del tiempo.
Roberto Arlt EL AMOR BRUJO, Buenos Aires 1932

I choose this long sentence and then paragraph by the great Roberto Arlt, his last novel (1932).
No, I can’t translate the title ALCAHUETE DESALMADO, but the point of the text is: Society, schools, military service, offices, newspapers and cinema, politics and females, transformed this tame standard guy into a sort of pathetic bastard…


Broken Is The Golden Bowl used the poetry of Edgar Allen Poe in his poem, Lenore.
Ah, broken is the golden bowl!
The spirit flown forever!
Let the bell toll! — A saintly soul
Glides down the Stygian river!

Broken Is The Golden Bowl was written for Clarinet, Trombone, Violin, Viola, Cello and String Bass.

The score is available at https://bit.ly/2Nf4Rws


I’ve not had much opportunity to participate in the Junto for some time because of this global pandemic thing. I’ve kept sane through the crisis by getting lost in the modular wormhole.
Things seem to be settling down so I took the opportunity of an early finish at work to use the Junto brief to direct my post work synth session.
I like the phrase “Those that mind don’t matter, those that matter don’t mind”. It’s a mantra that helps me weather attacks of social anxiety. When you say it out loud repeatedly it takes on a call and response rhythm. I recorded myself chanting it and fed it through the resonator setting on a Monsoon with modulation On the harmonics to get a stringy pluck and then overdubbed with another instance to get a more smeared drone. Toward the end I started feeding a lfo into the wav playback , rapid rates created a strummy effect and vocal snippets. It’s rough and simple but it felt good making it.


T.S Eliot - Choruses from ‘The Rock’
“Our gaze is submarine, our eye look upward
And see the light that fractures through unquiet water.”

Tried to create and capture a sound that is on the edge of fracturing and distortion to be played as a performance piece. Using a 30 note sequence through the mixer and looking for a watery sound I mistakenly left the record outputs up on the mixer producing the inevitable feedback and found that position where the feedback added some texture. Made in one pass using a TE OP-1 with a Yamaha O3D, captured and mastered in Logic.


Thanks, folks. The playlist is now rolling:


“People are just as wonderful as sunsets if I can let them be. In fact, perhaps the reason we can truly appreciate a sunset is that we cannot control it. When I look at a sunset as I did the other evening, I don’t find myself saying, ‘Soften the orange a little on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color.’ I don’t do that. I don’t try to control a sunset. I watch it with awe as it unfolds.”
-Carl R. Rogers, A Way of Being

this quote used to mean a lot to me but it doesnt resonate at the moment; i struggle to find solace from it.

the music does contain the quote but obstructed to the point of disappearance

i recorded myself saying the quote through podfarm
vocoded through a cello sample
paulstretched then a duplicate pitched down 25%


Sometimes I resonate with a certain poem by Bukowski, concerning creativity, and all the excuses we make to ourselves about why we’re not creating. It ends with this:

“baby, air and light and time and space
have nothing to do with it
and don’t create anything
except maybe a longer life to find
new excuses”

Exploring this sentence, I ended up with this small piece.
It involves some 8dio samples of chanting, NI tabla’s and a bit of the new Spitfire library by Lea Betucci (Acoustic Shadows)… I love it :slight_smile:


A piece of music inspired by one sentence from a John Cooper Clarke poem.

‘When a cyborg chef served up moon beams
Done super rapid on a laser beam’

Full poem johncooperclarke.com/poems/i-marrie…om-outer-space

Instruments used - Soft synth ‘old piano’ and Arturia keystep. This follows the metre of the words with an arrangement of notes playing in my head.

Virtual ANS https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=nightradio.virtualans3 This creates a nice Sci-fi vibe and is also used for the sound of the creation of the moon beams at 2:31


My starting point was the fact that sentences have structure at multiple levels (sounds, words, phrases…). A good part of my day job is figuring out how these structures are processed in the brain, and a partial answer is that different structures correspond to distinct brain rhythms, or oscillations (for example). So, I decided to try to isolate the distinct structural rhythms in a sentence from the beginning of Alice in Wonderland:

And what’s the use of a book, thought Alice, without pictures or conversation.

Since timbre is just rhythm at another time-scale, I use that too.

all the weedy details

I start with a clip from the audiobook of Alice in Wonderland at librivox.org.

Sound structure is represented by the intensity contour (the acoustic envelope, more or less). I use the contour in two ways. For rhythm, I take the top three spectral peaks in the waveform and scale them against a constant into reasonable BPM rates to generate three phasing beats. For timbre I treat the contour as a waveform whose envelope is triggered by the beats.

Word structure is represented by converting each of the words to a 100-dimensional word embedding (word2vec, pretrained on wikipedia). These are concatenated to a single vector. Again, spectral peaks define rhythms and the vector is also treated as a waveform. The rhythms are scaled to be ~1/2 as fast as the sound structure.

Phrase structure is represented by counting the number of phrases that are completed at each word. The step-function from these counts is another contour that is treated as a waveform and whose spectrum defines a rhythm (scaled to be 1/4 as fast as sound structure).

The pieces are combined in VCV rack along with filtering (vult lateralus) and gentle reverb (valley plateau). Playback position for the waveform is modulated with S&Hs, kind of like a wavetable, and filter cutoff is modulated by the audio envelope at 1/2 speed.

In the recorded take, the sound, word, and phrase contours are played sequentially for about 20 seconds each, and then they are brought in together.

The result is a sort of quasi-rhythmic drone… very different than I expected! How wonderful :slight_smile:


“So what hovers along with the general unhappiness of everybody with things as they are?”

That quote is by the American poet Robin Blaser, spoken as part of his July 1992 lecture on the nature of belief and doubt in politics. You can listen to the entire digital transcript at the Naropa Poetics Audio Archive.

“Inside that sense we may positively read the future,” Blaser continues. “And as a consequence [humankind] becomes one of the pieces of the puzzle … to try to make a difference.”

Suss Müsik finds this idea both relevant and fascinating. One almost imagines current events operating as a sociocultural trompe l’oeil, a layer of ornamental unrest necessitating our advancement as a kinder, more empathetic species. One hopes so, anyway.

Suss Müsik original’s attempt was to translate the cadence of Blaser’s voice into notation, something like Steve Reich’s excellent Different Trains. Suss Müsik is not Steve Reich, however, and what you hear are various sonic fragments in major pentatonic scale played on fake strings and woodwinds. One of these fragments comprised a four-chord piano phrase, which marks the transition to a synthetic wash approximating the same cadence.

Suss Müsik was struck not only by the content and inflection of Blaser’s sentence, but also the raspy quality of his voice — cavalier, droll, almost indifferent to the importance of his question. For this reason, Suss Müsik accepts Disquiet Junto demerits for including it in the final piece.

The piece is titled Atrococo, a mashup of the words atrocity and rococo. The image is an overlay of Suss Müsik’s attempt to map Blaser’s sentence to some form of notation.


Rules are meant to be broken so the sentence I chose is in the tune. In fact, it’s the centerpiece of the composition. However, since it’s but a program for vocoding the Subharmonicon, and the recording is time-stretched as well as drowned in reverb in Ableton Live, it’s no longer easy at all to decipher it.

What’s the sentence? One of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite scientists.


‘The impeded stream is the one that sings’
-Wendell Berry from the poem ‘Our Real Work’

A phrase that colours much of my thoughts on art and life. Song created using a tape loop of part of a badly played banjo recording of ‘Cripple Creek’ - because what’s an impeded stream but other words for a cripple creek. With background rain because a storm just rolled through.


I chose the following sentence by Buckminster Fuller: “So we have inspectors of inspectors and people making instruments for inspectors to inspect inspectors.”

I was drawn to the repetition and symmetry. I interpreted it as three parts in the form A-B-A’. (“So we have inspectors of inspectors — and people making instruments — for inspectors to inspect inspectors.”)

I wrote some synth lines that mimicked the rhythm of the sentence. Afterwards, I started playing with ideas around imitation and multiplication, but ran out of time before I could get that working.


By obscure reasons I choose “All joy wants eternity” from “Zarathustra’s roundelay” …

Made with Ableton Live, u-he Zebralette, Sonic Couture Thunderdrum plus recordings from my own noiseboxes. At the end of the day it may be somehow off topic to shape and cadence, though an exploration of tone and content of the sentence (and of ‘Eternal Recurrence’ as an idea that is maybe not unknown to looping ambient musicians) (hence the lenght of this single sentence ;-)).


I took a sentence that is an aphorism from a famous German philosopher, about how you only learn when you actually do, appropriate I thought. I used the rhythm and inflection of the words to arrive at a melodic pattern, after which I just kept adding sounds that I thought went well together.


Around the time the Junto direction arrived, I read a poem that uses musical terms and decided that it might be considered a long sentence.

Today I had some time to record myself reading the poem and used Ableton Live’s MIDI mapping function to compose the music, then added drums.


Hello everyone, finally had some time and energy to contribute. I’ve been meaning to reread Chaucer for a while now… But, instead, I recorded my guitar into my phone, then added EQ and compression in Ableton. You can hear the traffic and the birds outside my window. Take care, htnc


Dry clash’d his harness in the icy caves

And barren chasms, and all to left and right

The bare black cliff clang’d round him, as he based

His feet on juts of slippery crag that rang

Sharp-smitten with the dint of armed heels—

And on a sudden, lo! the level lake,

And the long glories of the winter moon.

– From Morte d’Arthur by Alfred Lord Tennyson

This passage evokes the mountains and lakes of North Wales and my childhood there, walking in the mountains with my late father (whose birthday it would have been today, coincidentally).

I threw the kitchen sink at this one. There’s all sorts of reverb, echo, shimmer, drones (courtesy of SonicLAB and Hainbach’s Fundamental), Paul streching, and various pitch modulations.

[Cover image has been processed from an original, public domain, photograph of Llyn Cwellyn by jon57 off pixabay.com and downloaded from Needpix.com]

Sorry, Marc, I’m a little late this week (it’s still Monday in two-thirds of the world!),