Disquiet Junto Project 0459: From a Distance

The lap steel is the cheap Rogue brand, and only has a single pickup, so there’s a lot of “noise” if it isn’t run through something.

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Yes, I took the picture. 5:30am or so. Not long after, the power company planted trees and shrubbery around the fence, so the view from the street isn’t the same. I should go back and get some more photos from the side.

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My lapsteel is also noisy. It was cheap, though, and it sounds good. And it was a gift from my wife and kid… and I like noise.

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this track was recorded in a covered area in a campground in western Washington using just a kalimba and po-32, recorded via the mic on a h1n.

i recorded the same song several times from different places around and in the covered area and combined the best two takes. no other instruments / effects (except compression and a little delay at the end).

some takes had a crow that seemed to be singing along with me, and some takes captured the rainfall more than others. it became more immersive as i combined them as you can hear all the sounds from all the distances at the same time.




Pitched down, ring-modulated, sine wave from a self-oscillating ladder filter with various LFOs modulating a VCA, processed with echo and reverb and modulated panning and filtration in Ableton Live.

(There’s some crackling/popping in the SoundCloud version that was not present in the original—am looking, er, listening, into it…)


I live near some spacious fields, so I decided to experiment with how instruments sound when played far away (perhaps an homage to their use on battlefields).

I didn’t have time to actually write a melody, so I ended up improvising on a simple theme.

I tried to pace it out so I was 2:40 minutes away (and thus I would walk towards the camera and be there at in roughly 2:40), but apparently that was 2:40 at a brisk walking pace, not at a “improvising on an instrument” pace. Once I started recording, it actually took me almost twice as long to reach the camera! I think this is an interesting idea, but I’m not sure it’s got 4 minutes of interest in it. So I used Ableton to timestretch the audio and video down to about 3 minutes, which felt right.

My favorite parts of this are how the birds sometimes seem to be filling in the gaps in the melody, providing accompaniment. Also, “outside” is a pretty sweet reverb preset.


Kinda phoned this one in but I was feeling Junto withdrawl symptoms so decided to whip something together last night. The idea: piano… drifting through an echo canyon, then out into space (somehow) where the digital signal gets decomposed over the light-years.


Music From a Distance has to be slow and deep. I wanted to do something with fog horns, but did not found something I liked. So these samples are just abused trombones, plus some drum and noise samples.

I think the original idea was to hear it withouth the distance, but I liked it more this way. Thanks to Valhalla Space Modulator, Valhalla Supermassive, Valhalla Delay and Riviera it sounds as it would be heared thru a large area of foggy mountains, I could imagine the alps, maybe an encounter of fog horns and alp horns and some breaking glaciers.


This week immediately put me in mind of Dying Air by Kevin Drumm (https://kevindrumm.bandcamp.com/album/dying-air), which comes with the recommendation “Play this on a stereo and go into another room while listening”, which I’ve always loved the idea of.

I wasn’t able to actually play around with playing sounds through speakers into rooms this weekend, but put this together with two recordings I already had to create a sort of similar feel. I wanted this to sound like “something is happening” in the room, with an element of the mystery / ambiguity of Dying Air. It has clear sound events, but also lots of background texture which I hope should blend interestingly with the sounds of the room, and be interestingly muted by the distance from the listener.

This is to be listened to from another room.


This week, I made a sound art installation piece which becomes explanatory as you experience it. It is quite literally meant to be listened to from a variety of distances. Below is a transcript of the piece:

"This is a piece about the relationship between distance and the perception of sound. Specifically, it is a sonification of the Inverse Square Law. Before we begin, make sure that you have set up the following:

(feel free to pause this recording at any time in order to make adjustments to your setup)

A sound-emitting source, such as a speaker. It should be placed at the same height as your ears. This is the source from which you should be listening to this recording.
Five markers of distance in a linear path away from the sound-emitting source. The distances of these markers should correspond to:
1.5 feet
3 feet
6 feet
12 feet
24 feet

These distances have been chosen, as they are easy measurements to make accurately utilizing a 25-foot tape measure, which should be easily accessible to most people in the United States. However, the same effect can be realized by measuring out any 5 distances in a linear path from the sound-emitting source which plays this recording, assuming that the same proportional distance is kept between each marker.

The Inverse Square Law states that as the distance between a listener and a sound-emitting source doubles, there will be a perceived negative difference of 6 decibels in the loudness of sound. In other words, the sound will be heard as 6 decibels quieter when the listener doubles their distance from the source of said sound. For example, a sound which is heard at 36 decibels from a distance of 5 meters, will be heard at 30 decibels from 10 meters away. If the distance doubles yet again, the same phenomenon occurs. Thus, that same sound would be heard at 24 decibels at a distance of 20 meters away. This very piece which you are now listening to is a sonification of this law.

At this moment, you should be standing at the first marker, which is 1.5 feet away from the sound-emitting source. Take notice of how loud the recording seems to you. Keep in mind that this piece is as much about your own perception of loudness as the listener, as it is about the theoretical principles of physics that pertain to this particular sonic phenomenon.

Now, take one step backwards to the second marker, which sits at a distance of 3 feet from the sound source, double the distance of the last marker. Take notice again of how loud the recording seems to you. At this point, you should notice that the sound appears to be the same volume to you as compared to from the previous marker. This is because the gain of the recording has been increased by 6 decibels to compensate for the perceived decrease in loudness due to your increased distance from the sound source.

Now, begin walking backward toward marker #3, which sits at 6 feet from the sound source. Once you arrive at this marker, you should again notice that it is the same perceived volume as compared to the previous marker, which is also the same perceived loudness as from marker #1.

Now, begin walking backwards toward the fourth marker, which sits at 12 feet from the sound source. As you do so, continue taking note of how loud this recording seems to you. Once arriving at marker #4, you should yet again notice that my voice is perceived at the same loudness as compared to from the previous 3 markers.

Finally, begin walking backwards toward the fifth marker. Again, continue taking note of how loud the recording seems while you are walking. The 6 decibel increase in gain has been automated in such a way that it attempts to create no perceived loudness difference, even during the process of walking between markers. However, the effectiveness of this approach may differ depending on your particular backwards-walking speed.

By now, you should have arrived at the fifth and final marker. For the last time, notice again that the perceived loudness from the distance of 24 feet appears to be the same loudness as from the previous 4 distances.

This piece has been a sonification of the Inverse Square Law."


Awesome! I’m so glad to see that the biophonic sounds of your area became an integral part of the piece!


I was confined to headphones for this, so I don’t have a sense of how it might play in farther away spaces, but – in lieu of actual distance – it was put together at very low volume and without much HF content as a proxy, so at the very least it should be played quietly. Uses a couple samples and some synthy stuff at 70bpm, inspired by the sound of hallways adjacent to music practice rooms.


I imagine walking across a meadow, approaching the edge of the forest. I see the flickering light of a fire. As the wind rises, a ringing melody and the steady pulse of a hand drum can be heard. Even from a distance I know this is where to go next. Where many hours can be spent losing ourselves in sound and laughter until the sun rises.

This is a single-take recording of an improvised session on my new Rav Vast steel tongue drum in D Celtic Minor. While watching the video playback, I then played a djembe drum along with the recording. It’s a funny feeling playing along with a recording yourself. I had both the usual sensation when improvising with others that I wasn’t really sure where they would go next, but I also felt like I knew this person pretty well. Some good chemistry there. Repeated the process with egg shakers. No edits made to this version. Light EQing and some level adjustments, and did some auto panning of the shakers (the guy on shakers at the campfire kept dancing around).

I did more of a beat driven song from this session for the Weekly Beats project: https://soundcloud.com/miraclemiles/distant-tongues-remix
Added bass, more percussion and some zeze string instrument. Still figuring out how I want use this tongue drum in productions. Some calm, subtle pieces like this one, some beat driven fun … we’ll see. I do know I’ve found a new friend in this drum, and it’s already brought me great peace.
This is my first Disquiet Junto, excited to finally participate! I make a song a week over at Weekly Beats, but that will be ending in 2021 (an every other year project), so I plan on participating in more Juntos


Inspired by the fog in San Francisco, samples of lighthouses guarding the coast of the UK interact with a melodic sequence. To be listened to just above audibility. My first Junto project.


Howdy. Do you live in SF, too? The fog horns have been insane the past few days. I’m just loving it.


I live in Menlo Park. A world away, unfortunately.

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Yeah, no fog horns there, I imagine.

I like that the hoovering noises aren’t easily identified as that. The closed door seems to have made a big difference in a good way.

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I knew it was the Hotel California.

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