Disquiet Junto Project 0449: Page Machine

Disquiet Junto Project 0449: Page Machine
The Assignment: Read a page of text from a book as if it were a musical score.

Step 1: You’ll be reading, so to speak, a page of text from a book as if it were musical score. Select such a page from such a book, perhaps that has special meaning to you, or perhaps at random.

Step 2: Make a copy of this page, or be prepared to write on it directly.

Step 3: Study the page, less as a work of writing, and more as a two-dimensional sculpture. Take note of the shapes inherent in the text. Are there a lot of paragraph breaks? Are there snakelike descending curves where spaces occur between words? Are there a lot of o’s. Or periods. Or question marks? Find some patterning that is of interest.

Step 4: Make a set of rules for yourself as to what these symbols mean. Is every paragraph break a beat? Is every capital I a stately chord? Is every apostrophe a cowbell?

Step 5: Record a piece of music based on applying the rules in Step 4 to the page selected in Step 1.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0449” (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 “disquiet0449” (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, August 10, 2020, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 6, 2020.

Length: The length is up to you. Remember: it’s a page, not a novel.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0449” 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 449th weekly Disquiet Junto project, Page Machine (Read a page of text from a book as if it were a musical score), 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.


The project is now live.

Morning All,

This came from a Metasynth-ed image of a paragraph from a Peme Chödrön book - thoroughly messed with in Ableton …

Have a great week!



Super. The playlist is rolling:


Oh, gosh, you don’t have to do every letter. Just find an approach that works for you.

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A piece of music developed from the writing on the back of a box of medicine.

On one side there are seven entries in bold, on the other five in bold.

This equalled five different arpeggios with seven notes in each pattern.

This was done twice for the number of tablets to take so the paraphonic mode of monostation was used for that.

Glitch storm diy synth went into the audio in for banjo-esqe sounds at the beginning and also managed to make a drone with it by altering the sample rate.

Hope your all doing well and thanks to Marc for another eye opening Junto.

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I chose one page from Sunita Namjoshi’s tongue in cheek stories from her book ‘Feminist Fables’. I drew all over the page with felts and pencil crayons, crossing out vowels that corresponded to the title “Whore, Bitch, Slut, Sow”, highlighted capital letters of names that stood out on the page, and drew lines of colours connecting repeated words and obliterating others.
For corresponding sounds, I used some field recordings unearthed from the voice memo app on my phone. Loosely referencing the title of the piece of writing, I chose four samples that to me matched the mood and shapes of the word fragments that remained of the original text, influenced loosely in context by the fragmented derogatory words and the humour that the original writing held. I layered it together to create similar shapes of the drawings on the page following the haphazard bendy lines that provide contrasts and dis/connections of meaning and mood. muahahaha. spooky and silly. serious and squeaky.


In his book Tales of Beatnik Glory, Beat writer and former Fugs co-leader Ed Sanders combines elements of classical Greek literature with the avant-garde bohemia of 1960’s New York City. Sanders poem, “Sappho on East Seventh,” constructs an East Village fantasia where the poem’s protagonist is haunted by visions of the Tenth Muse.

Sanders’ poems are visually inventive, with their creative use of tab-indents and double-spacing. His lines appear to sing from the page, with the occasional sketch or handwritten word to be found in the poem’s margins.

For this short piece, Suss Müsik studied the composition of a single page to detect three distinct patterns. The vertical margins create the body of major-scale notes, which are split between two diagonals at the lines “There was a near-sob tremble” and “The wall cleaved apart.” The two capital O’s signify two percussive hits that repeat in a phased loop.

The piece is titled Sappho and was recorded on piano and prepared mbira fitted with piezo pickups.


I am currently reading the latest book in Martha Wells’ Murderbot Diaries. For this Junto I went back to the first book of the series, All Systems Red, and snapped the first page of Chapter One as it is rendered on my Kindle: 11 lines of text, each line containing from 4 to 7 words, and up to 30 letters.

Each line became a part played by an instrument, played simultaneously. The number of letters in each word determines the duration (in quarter notes) of each note played. The number of letters in each line determines how many quarter notes before the line repeats, therefore each line loops independently from the other lines.

The pitches of each note are played randomly, quantized to a Dorian scale.

The first 9 lines are all played by marimba, making it sound like one player performing those 9 simultaneous but independently looping parts. Lines 10 and 11 are played by violin and cello. A percussion part was added to ground the tempo.

The title comes from the phrase “35,000 hours” which appears twice in the first page.

I can imagine this as an ambient soundtrack for one of the media series Murderbot watches to take his mind off whatever current situation is at hand.


This page is from Everything in the Universe is Unfinished by Yoko Ono. Since the center naturally draws one’s attention, I interpreted it radially. I took “i ii iii” as both a chord progression and a count-off. I interpreted the dotted border as a constant fast percussive element. Then the sentence at the bottom I read melodically based on the amount of ink above the midline or below the baseline:

acenorsu all became C, the root, so I played with their timing a little. The initial T is the highest note, F, and the y in “anywhere” is the lowest note, G. And so on. I was going to play this on bass, but that uh didn’t work out, so I had Monark (the Minimoog emulation for Reaktor) play it. This is the most “distant” layer so it has more reverb and more high cut than the chord layers or the drums. Monark’s Feedback is inversely linked to a delayed envelope follower, sort of a lost-in-the-wind effect, or else the melody is the wind through the fence (the dotted border; think Flatland) and the feedback is the wind drawing a breath between bursts. Or something like that. You know? What? I mean? Then there’s also Airwindows MV reverb with another envelope follower inversely-modulating its Regeneration.

I was kind of thinking about Beckett’s short stories where there’s a figure or figures in a vast still emptiness. Like this page. My sound isn’t very sparse but sometimes you just have to do the opposite.

The chord layers are all Kontakt: Session Horns & SonicCouture’s Choir Horns (kazoos) (both pitched down an octave) plus two flavors of Kinetic Metal.


I settled on page 18 from the introduction to Matsuo Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North .

The layout of the page appealed to me, as it looked like it might be a drum intro and it was 8 August – so I thought I should use 808 samples.

My process was to tally the syllables, since the text was largely haiku, as well as capital letters and punctuation.

The syllables became high-hats, while the capitals denoted kick drum and the punctuation triggered sound effects from the M-Tron Pro VST.

Then I decided to add a riser to convey the interpretive text, as it kinda serves to raise the rest of the writing.

And, finally, I flicked back to the contents page and took that last entry’s page number to be the tempo.


My score for this piece is page 220, the last page of Mirlitonnades, in The Collected Poems of Samuel Beckett, edited by Seán Lawlor and John Pilling, New York: Grove Press, 2012. This page contains three poems, which are separated by asterisks. I read this page as a score of a composition in three movements. The first part is full of i-s and c-s, which I interpreted as two different percussive sounds. The frequency of these two letters is decreasing significantly in part two and in part three there is only one c. The frequency of these two letters is so high in part one that I decided that the first movement will have the two percussive sounds only. Part two is characterized am overall circle structure. The beginning phrase “silence vide” recurs at the end, but in retrograde form: “vide silence”. Correspondingly in my piece the same sound moves from simple to complex at the beginning and from complex to simple at the end of part two. The blank line before the last one I interpreted as a caesura which corresponds with a rest in the music. The i-s and the c-s are still the two different percussive sounds from part one. The final part again has a circular structure with three words at the beginning which recur at the end, but in different order. I assigned a different musical element to each of the three words.



I used the cut-up technique to deconstruct Tennyson’s “The Palace of Art” and then reconstructed it in an abridged version. I then used this abridged version as a score for this recording. I recently (hopefully temporarily) experienced the loss of hearing in my left ear, so it could be said I only half know what this sounds like. The sonic direction the piece took was inspired by an interview with K Leimer that I read recently.


For my piece for this weeks project I took a poem that was 2 paragraphs long, where each paragraph was offset, followed by random squiggles.
Each paragraph was a voice, where the second, offset paragraph mimicked as if in call and response or a round.
The paragraph voices were made with Tides, with one part of the harmony delayed through Clouds in delay mode.
I recreated the squiggles by drawing the patterns with my finger on ears into rings.
Lastly I recorded the melody in morphagene and reversed it to recreate the mirror images of the squiggles.


i’m reading the mirror & the light by hilary mantel which i’m really enjoying
took a photo of the current page and converted that to text with an online ocr

converted text to midi using this page:

ran this through iris 2 with scale mapped to c minor harmonic. the only other fx i used were hornet chorus and supermassive


For this assignment, I chose Leslie Feinberg’s seminal genderqueer novel, Stone Butch Blues.

One of the most striking elements about Stone Butch Blues is the constant juxtapositioning between moments of sweetness [between the protagonist, Jess, and their community], and moments of violence [imposed by others outside of the community]. Sometimes this will even happen on the same page. Random Number Generator gave me one such page, where a tender moment between Jess and their partner at a bar is abruptly halted by police-instigated violence outside.

I viewed the two sections of the narrative as contour lines, like a landscape - the tender, curving paragraphs on the first half of the page being interrupted by the angular, confrontational lines on the second.

Created in Iannix and Ableton 10.
Original sound sample of broken glass courtesy of Zeinel @ Freesound: https://freesound.org/people/Zeinel/


This week I wrote a program in Go. I took the instructions for this week’s project and passed them into the program, which ran them through a parts of speech algorithm from a natural language processing library I used at work recently (github.com/jdkato/prose). I relatively randomly had the program assign the parts-of-speech to notes and to voices. The program then created a three-track MIDI file with various note lengths depending on the some of the parts-of-speech and with each track covering, for the most part, a different range of notes. The program also quantised the result into the Cm scale.

I imported the MIDI into Ableton, then applied some filter effects and various VST instruments to create the track.

It would have been interesting to spend more time with the parser-processor to create more complicated rules around repetition and chords but time was pressing.

Another really interesting project.


Been a little while since I contributed, but this challenge kind of spoke to me.

I took my page from a book of poems by Pablo Neruda, one of my go to sources of random inspiration. Text from page is as follows.


From every one of these days black as old iron,
and opened up by the sun like big red oxen,
and barley kept alive by air and by dreams,
and suddenly and irremediably vanished,
nothing has taken the place of my troubled beginnings,
and the unequal measures pumping through my heart
are forged there day and night, all by themselves,
adding up to messy and miserable sums.

So that’s how, like a lookout gone blind and senseless,
incredulous and condemned to a painful watch,
facing the wall where each day’s time congeals,
my difference faces gather and are bound in chains
like large, heavy, faded flowers
stubbornly temporary, dead already.

Technical things.
After some searching on the web, I discovered http://kickthejetengine.com/langorhythm/ and used it to convert the text into midi. Used the midi file to drive my normal process of recording sampled audio through effects and further processing into drones with time-stretching and filtering. Tried to create something that reflected the mood of the poem.


This was the opportunity I was looking for to finally try to use Iannix. So I did. With some text about music from good old Shakespeare, I added trigger points at the edges of each letter. Pulled that as midi into Ableton, added it to a synth track and just kept building drums, bass and other tracks on top.


I used a translation of a Wang Wei poem in Richard Powers’ novel “The Overstory:”

An old man, I want
only peace.
The things of this world
mean nothing.
I know no good way
to live and I can’t
stop getting lost in my
thoughts, my ancient forests.
The wind that waves the pines
loosens my belt.
The mountain moon lights me
as I play my lute.

You ask: How does a man rise or fall in this life?
The fisherman’s song flows deep under the river.

I built the idea of a “musical cryptogram” and assigned each letter a note in the chromatic scale. Then, I “translated” the text.

After that, I played through it at the piano, finding left-hand chords and leaving the rest of the notes to be melody.

If I tackle this again, I think I would use a shorter poem! Also, the piece really works when I stuck to certain rhythms. I had entertained the notion of using words of a certain length (3 letters, 4 letters) certain rhythms. I might want to try that.

Production-wise, I used AfroDJMac’s 100 year old piano samples. I tried to use processing to emulate Brian Eno’s ambient recordings (especially the one with Harold Budd).