Disquiet Junto Project 0490: In Conversation

Each Thursday in the Disquiet Junto group, a new compositional challenge is set before the group’s members, who then have just over four days to upload a track in response to the assignment. Membership in the Junto is open: just join and participate. (A SoundCloud account is helpful but not required.) There’s no pressure to do every project. It’s weekly so that you know it’s there, every Thursday through Monday, when you have the time.

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, May 24, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

These are the instructions that went out to the group’s email list (at tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto):

Disquiet Junto Project 0490: In Conversation

The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured like dialog.

Step 1: Think of someone to have a conversation with. It could be a friend, or it could be someone who is gone, or it could be someone you actually don’t want to talk to, or it could be someone entirely fictional. It’s up to you. Who do you want to be “in conversation” with?

Step 2: Compose a piece of word-less music that takes the form of a conversation, of a dialog, with the person you identified in Step 1. Your piece of music will move back and forth between the two “speakers,” who also may occasionally interrupt each other, or pause for thought. Those individuals may be represented by individual instruments (I’m a cello, while you’re a Buchla Music Easel), or by some subset combination of sounds.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0490” (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 “disquiet0490” (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, May 24, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, May 20, 2021.

Length: The length of your finished track is up to you. Is this a quick chat or a long debate?

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0490” 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 490th weekly Disquiet Junto project – In Conversation (The Assignment: Compose a piece of music structured like dialog) – at: https://disquiet.com/0490/

More on the Disquiet Junto at: https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: https://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0490-in-conversation/.

There’s also a Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

The image associated with this project is by Suzie Blackman, 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. And we’re 10 weeks from the 500th consecutive weekly project.


I bought a bass clarinet in the past month. I’d been wanting one for a long time, having played it for 5 years in junior high and high school. After the bass clarinet arrived, I found a guy in Brisbane, Australia, who makes pickups for wind and brass instruments. It’s called PiezoBarrel. I ordered one, and it arrived this week. The intent was to play it into my Empress Echosystem and Empress Reverb boxes and get some different sounds. Out of the box, it worked perfectly. Then I stopped by my buddy Jon’s home studio and we played into his Focusrite Scarlett and Reaper - Jon on his trumpet, me on bass clarinet + empresses. He saved off my track.

For “People Watching”, I used edits solely from my playing. Left side is processed normal bass clarinet playing, and the right side is processed squeaking of the bass clarinet. The squeaking was on purpose, but the Empress boxes really smoothed it out. Throughout the middle of the mix, heard more prominently towards the end of the track, is the faint sound of me “talking” into the bass clarinet.

Recently, I got Jon watching various web cams around the world. I like most of the webcams from Odessa, Ukraine, particularly the one by the statue of the Duke of Richelieu. It’s fun to “people watch” this way, and we try to figure out what everybody is doing based on their actions.

Find out more about my music at: https://www.markrushton.com



this is a musical conversation to me: two like-minded guys just meeting and playing an improvisation with no preconception or limitations of what would happen, just agreed on some chord changes and go!. No words needed.

DD: fretless bass
Frank Joannes: Lap steel guitar

The first lockdown was very strict here in France, I had some online musical encounters with friends and collaborators I was missing, like this one that remained buried on the web as a little video (here: youtu.be/NWgPUsrLgx0) that we did mostly for us, just to have a musical chat.

I’m sharing this as an audio file for the first time, this is the last conversation I had with Frank, will call him in the next few hours for sure!
As the country is opening up a little, this encounters and the improvised music they produces is the silver lining of this plain bad past year.
21st may 2021.


Ocarina and tabla - talking and getting together.


The playlist is now rolling:

For the two sides of the conversation I’ve used a cantus firmus and a counterpoint from Johann Joseph Fux’s Gradus ad Parnassum. I’ve been trying to work through that book off-and-on for years now. This project forced me to read a bit farther.

The two voices are first played completely separately. I used a (software) cello (with wah) for the cantus firmus, and a (software) clavinet (with wah) for the counterpoint part. They then gradually start ‘interrupting’ each other more and more frequently until they’re ‘talking’ on top of each other. The two voices also pan from the sides to the center as this happens. I then apply some transformations to this and then repeat the exposition at the end.


I used @infinitedigits Plonky for norns to create a dialogue. I ran norns through my modular into Magneto, with Big Sky for Reverb. The loop lengths are slightly different so the voices drift apart as it moves along.


Hey :slightly_smiling_face: Made with modular and DAW. Used radio music (dialogue) into envelope follower which controlled an envelope for dirty glitch vco. Spent a while sifting through a lot of glitch Algo’s for the most voice-like ones. Recorded two takes, one for each droid (live attenuating the pitches to sound like words was fun). Arranged the conversation in the DAW and added drums. This was by far the strangest Junto in a good way. Trying to imagine what the droids are saying and trying to arrange an imagined conversation… Enjoyed it very much, thanks Marc :slight_smile: I could of gone the other route with two instruments but decided to aim for something that might sound like speech instead.


This is a phone conversation between two synthesizers. The mood is a casual conversation between two friends or family members. I improvised each “speaker” separately on my (recently acquired!) volca modular synthesizer, then layered in a few field recordings of around the house noise. Listen for the screaming baby (also from the synth) in the background near the end :slight_smile:


Enhanced live electronics, sounds created in Pure Data.


For this disjunto I decided to search on Youtube for “famous dramatic scenes in movies” with the intention of using one as a template to improvise music on top of. I ended up choosing a scene from the movie The Notebook due to its balanced use of pauses and gradually increasing intensity. Both characters in the movie are represented by different instruments and sounds.

Ryan Gosling’s character= Beginning organ drone, marimba, and squeeky facet/warbled distortions (made with a Blofeld processed through a Mood pedal).

Rachel McAdam’s character= Harp and Flute (Logic Pro’s virtual instruments)


Took me a few attempts to reduce the number of notes in the dialogue between the guitar and the bass. Recorded these takes on those instruments this morning.

Chris_Hobbs · I Don't Have it Today (disquiet0490)

Done in PD then cubase with Granular synthesis and rich layers from several comb filters.

My first submission for the Junto. I actually bent the rules a bit as the voices in my conversation source sample become clearly audible at points, then realised I’d broken the rules when I’d nearly finished. Hopefully it doesn’t detract too much - I’ve been intending to use this sample for years.


I imagined animals and machines talking to each other under the driving impulse of energy. First the machines set up a chord scheme and the natural sounds attempt a melody, then the roles get reversed and the voices try the lines of the others. Technically, the machines are 4 different layers of sounds made with Pigments and the animals are woodwinds and strings (with a music box sound blended in). First try of doing anything in Locrian scale, as well.


Chic Chat
• Key: C major BPM: 142 Time signature: 4/4 DAW: Reaper
• Instruments: Voice
• Plug-ins: alterEgo, Reaktor (the mouth)
• Created 2 tracks and put alterEgo and Reaktor on separate tracks
• Created a cross track conversation


This topic made me think of conversations I’ve had with my Mom over the course of the pandemic. She’s pretty far into dementia, so she asks me the same question over and over. It’s become something of a (sad) joke between me and my siblings. Anyway, she’s got it in her head that I’m always taking this sad walk to work in the rain. Which I don’t, never have, and haven’t physically gone to work in 1.333 years at least. I’m a bike commuter, so maybe that’s where it comes from. Anyway, this piece is her asking, then me denying it, and repeating that.

PS: I was able to recycle a chord progression from an earlier disquiet that didn’t get completed. That’s always nice. :wink:


I made a dialogue of two speech synthesizers doing basic smalltalk. Pitched down to drone frequencies then added some overtones, recorded, streched, pitched, reverbs, delays. Done!


An awkward conversation between Spitfire LABS Soft Piano and a single side-band shortwave recording.