Disquiet Junto Project 0477: Flying Blind

Disquiet Junto Project 0477: Flying Blind

The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which some substantial portion is performed without looking.

There is just one step this week.

Step 1: Play something blind. That is to say, record a piece of music in which some substantial portion is performed without looking.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0477” (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 “disquiet0477” (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 the end of the day Monday, February 22, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 18, 2021.

Length: The length is up to you. (You’re closing your eyes, not holding your breath.)

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0477” 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 477th weekly Disquiet Junto project – Flying Blind (The Assignment: Record a piece of music in which some substantial portion is performed without looking.) – 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 project is by Rachel Fox, and used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license allowing editing (cropped with text added) for non-commercial purposes:




The project is now live.


I was just about to log out of the virtual world, when this weeks Junto assignment ticked in. As it’s been a while, I thought - why not give it a try with this idea (which, I think, I actually picked up in some thread here on lines):

Inspired by a recent musical tool (the XLNAudio XO), using my mouse and a map of drum samples, I randomly traveled different samples by moving my mouse over the map with my eyes closed. The sampled output of that “journey” ends when the mouse exited the map and no sounds were left. Using the first and only recording of that exploration, i added some spectral noise (Mike Norris’ great plugins) and a few strings (Spitfire) and chords (with Felt Instruments) trying to convey the strange emotion that I encountered, listening to the XO samples.

Thanks (again) for another excuse to get experimenting…


Not sure there will be time to contribute this weekend, but the prompt reminded me of this most amazing installation Judith and I saw in Montreal a few years ago.


i interpreted this as performing without listening as well as not looking

i got 3 samples from freesound just by pressing the ‘give me a random sound’ link - i just looked to check they were cc0, didnt listen to them

made a midi file by playing something with no output and duplicating a few times
then put the samples through iris 2 and supermassive
as i dragged the samples i saw what they were - a duck pond, a beat, and a bass sample from modularsamples (i was relieved that i got a tonal sample - and not surprised - this user often comes up when i get a random sound from freesound)

exported the output without listening to it. pulled into audacity.
yesterday i happened to do a macro that automatically applies my most frequent fx to a track
so i clicked ‘automix’ and it applied amplify, echo, reduce pitch, delay, paulstretch, reverb, rx7 de-clip, filter curve, normalize

with trepidation i clicked play - paulstretching a beat is never a good idea - and it sounds… ok. more ambient than i thought it would

(the samples are Freesound - "Akai AX80 - Sync Bass - F#4 (67-2MA3.aif)" by modularsamples
Freesound - "ducks at the lake.wav" by monotraum
Freesound - "hats_peace.wav" by c.void)


Hi all, for this Junto I recorded a three minute take with Roli Block without looking. The midi track for this was then used for two other instruments in Equator 2 vst. Minimal editing was done on the result for the purposes of an intro bringing in the bass etc. The bass track was also pitched down an octave for a better fit.
The block is a continuous playing surface which made this approach considerably more doable.

Added note: I found a setting for piano mode in the Roli software. When on, this triggers individual notes when gliding horizontally rather than just a long pitch bend and so decided to turn this to on.
To sum up I used same blind midi track for three different instruments.


The playlist is now rolling:


@Glitcher - That is an amazing ruckus! Gave me JG Thirlwell vibes. Really nice.

@sevenism - What a composition! Love it!

Thanks to you both for sharing. I’ve got a direction now and am going to stay out of this thread until I record my piece.


I decided to go with the Borderlands Granular iPad app–I loaded in 4 samples, without looking, from my Audioshare collection (ok there was minimal peeking just to make sure I was actually getting the samples loaded in lol) then I tapped and swiped without looking for several minutes, recording the output into AUM. Pretty noisy for me but I kinda like the way it turned out. I took the liberty of applying a fade at the end (while looking.)

I believe the samples turned out to be a phone spam televangelist message, I think one track off my album from last year and several iPad noodles–unfortunately I closed out the AUM session before I got to take a closer look at the samples!


i always make the mistake of coming here to listen to submissions before attempting my own, and then i get intimidated by how good everyone’s is! this week i would’ve been intimidated by @PopGoblin’s great glitchy space sound and the soothing ambientism of @sevenism with such a cool approach (random sound link, awesome!!) and the lovely brooding plod of @Glitcher’s track. however. this time i purposely did not listen to those aforementioned before i attempt my own submission! so here we go →

playing piano blind is one of my favorite things to do so i made one of my blind improvised piano sessions into my submission. i’m using an electric piano routed through blndr which gives it a delay-tape-speed effect. i hit record on the norns and then i sit at the piano with my eyes closed and try to go after a feeling or idea and sometimes things solidify into a song, like this one. after recording i unblindly eq-ed the final recording to make it more retro (less bass).

i love this challenge because it forces me to really listen to what i’m playing and also gives me lots of opportunities to embed inevitable untargeted touches into the playing. also its crazy exciting leaping across the piano and hoping i land where i want to!


This challenge was right up my alley, something about blind squirrels and nuts. I opened up vcvrack, selected Hive as my sequencer and just blindly clicked to create some patterns. I patched everything with the sound off. When I turned it on, I found it too crowded so I deleted a few voices, tweaked a few settings to bring it together and then let it play without any interactions from me. Recorded a few minutes of it and here we are.


I interpreted flying blind as doing various things without looking or listening. Despite that the result sounds like a regular piece of music. I feel somehow disappointed by that as I was imagining something a little more “surprising”. I suppose if it was doing this again I’d try and be more outlandish in my choices Vs being quite safe as I was.

So here is my process:

  1. I picked presets by name from lists on my MPC (it has a lot)
  2. I played a loop (8 or 16 bars) without looking at the keyboard/pads or listening to the output (metronome only).
  3. I repeated this for each part until I thought I had enough (5)
  4. I repeated the process of recording for two more sections.
  5. I decided how to arrange the sections then drew in a few “velocity sweeps”.
  6. I routed each part through a mixer channel and (based on its function) set the EQ to cut out frequencies I wouldn’t expect to need.

After this, I listened to it for the first time. I edited the final bar so it would end (deleted about 4 notes in total), then adjusted the volumes to balance. I also realised one part was an octave too high and the bass was two octaves too low so I shifted them down/up.

I set my master EQ and Compressor then recorded the output. I took the recording into audacity to trim it and ended up doing a little EQ, and limiting.

What I found most surprising was that it felt almost like I could hear what I was playing: also, though I couldn’t hear the other parts, I worked very quickly (about 1 hour all told) so I had mental context. It was also interesting to be able to hear when I made a mistake. Most parts were just one take, but I probably “heard” mistakes and rerecorded 3 times.

This was a fun project and very quick for me. As I said earlier I might try this again another time with much more outlandish and challenging choices.


I’ve revisited the “layered sameness” technique from the Junto project proposed by Brian Crabtree.

Been a while since I played guitar, so there are a few bum notes.

Click here to hear my track ‘Not Looking’ and see the video on Youtube.


I interpreted this week’s prompt as suggestive of creating a piece where the composer isn’t looking at the notes while the piece is being composed. I decided to remove control of the note selection from myself and instead turned to Ableton’s generative music tools. So with this piece, I’ve set the parameters and allowed Ableton to grow these little musical seeds for me.

Ableton settings [from left to right]:

Drama Random tool > Film Noir Chord tool > Arpeggiator > Ukrainian Dorian Scale > Velocity [clip] > Velocity [gate] > Bell Electronic Piano instrument.


Decided to apply the “not looking” principle to sound creation as well as the music itself. Started with a patch created using the randomize function on the Korg Wavestate, which I used the Max4Live version of Tom Whitwell’s Turing Machine to play, quantized by Ableton’s scale plugin. I also used the Turing Machine for the rhythm programming. Then I added some fretless bass.


I sat at the piano, closed my eyes, and improvised. This is a straight recording of the first take. I wasn’t really feeling all that inspired when I sat down either, so this was quite a surprise!

I might play around with it and remix it into something else yet.


I wasn’t sure I was going to do this one, but as soon as I started playing with eyes closed, I liked the way it felt. Since I was just futzing around with the cat in my lap, I played a softsynth without looking. I reversed some of the notes, added some fuzz and gave it a little backbone. Weirdly enough, it still sounds a lot like most of the music I put tons of time, energy and eyesight into. You can go to a foreign land, but you can’t get away from yourself, I suppose.


I wanted to see if without hearing the parts together prior to recording, I could blend 8 tracks of various sound together blindfolded. Most sound sources were circuit bent kids toys (x3 keyboards), but just before comencing I noticed a sample pack by @sijafr (simonjamesfrench.com/) which I uploaded into my SP404 - this was randomly triggered by The Korg SQ1. The only other addition was the radio in the Koma Field Kit which was also triggered by the eurorack. All patterns and arrangements were left to the eurorack to compose with clocks, gates and effects all patched into the modular and outputing to 8 seperate channels on the mixer. This I manipulated live blindfolded, listening in headphones and recorded in Reaper.
Needed a second effort because the wife walked in halfway through and made me jump/uneasy!


I decided to use my modular. Made a simple sound. I made three recordings where I blindly sat the values on the cv sequencer. I recorded to SP-404SX. I did not care about the length of each recording. My intension was to pan the first recording center, the second slightly left and the third right, and one octave down. Don’t know what happened. On the fourth pad I recorded some short-wave radio. I just sat the radio on one of the short-wave bands and recorded, without listening (yes noise as you could expect). Added some reverb on the SP. I recorded without listening. This is the result. The quantizer in my synth was sat to “minor 7th chords”. When I recorded from the SP I did not listen.


I was looking forward to this Disquiet Junto Project since I really enjoyed taking part for the first time last week.
My approach for Flying Blind was

  1. Choose the sounds blind
  2. Play the music blind

For the selection of sounds I chose the following method: In the Mediabay of Cubase I searched for all content containing the word flying or the word blind in its name. Since there wasn’t any with the word blind I reduced it to blin.
This gave 9 synth sounds, 2 samples and 6 effects channels (4 Amp Racks for Flying V…). Surprisingly all electronic sounds or noise.
In the track I used all but 1 synth sound, 1 sample and 2 effect channels.
I only changed two sounds: For the “bass-drum” I shortened the attack, and for the “snare” I reduced release and delay.
No other sounds were used.

First I played the Pad-harmonies (without looking at the keys), then the lead melody and then the additional sounds (all neither looking on the keyboard nor on the screen).
Then I added the “drums” and additional sounds, doubled the lead sound, added effects, EQs, automation…
I rearranged the resulting score adding an intro, repeating the first beats and copying the first part to the end.

Choosing sounds blind was a succesful approach for quickly finding inspiration !