Disquiet Junto Project 0501: PKD Playback

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, August 9, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 5, 2021.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0501: PKD Playback
The Assignment: Record the sound of a Martian daydream, interrupted.

Step 1: Early on in the Philip K. Dick short story “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale,” a man name Quail has a daydream interrupted. He dreams of visiting Mars, but then reality intrudes: “the daylight, the mundane noise of his wife now brushing her hair before the bedroom mirror – everything conspired to remind him of what he was.” As the reader will learn, Quail has in fact already visited Mars, subsequent to which his mind was wiped free of the visit. His daydream at the start of the story is as much a remnant memory as it is a wish to be fulfilled. Keep this scenario in mind, and maybe read the short story.

Step 2: Record the sound of some realistic-feeling alien landscape, perhaps Martian, and then at the very end of the recording have real-world sounds appear to break the spell.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0501” (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 “disquiet0501” (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 track in the following discussion thread at llllllll.co:


Step 5: Annotate your track 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.

Note: Please post one track per weekly Junto project. If you choose to post more than one, and do so on SoundCloud, please let me know which you’d like added to the playlist. Thanks.

Additional Details:

Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, August 9, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 5, 2021.

Length: The length of your finished track is up to you, with or without the Martian time-slip.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0501” 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 501st weekly Disquiet Junto project – PKD Playback (The Assignment: Record the sound of a Martian daydream, interrupted) – at: https://disquiet.com/0501/

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-0501-pkd-playback/

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

The image associated with this project is used via NASA/JPL-Caltech:



The project is now rolling. And thanks to @otolythe (aka Peggy Nelson) for this interview she conducted on the occasion of the 500th Junto:


Dozing off in Detroit II on Mars and waking up in Detroit I on earth.

I finally got all the Serge panels calibrated and wired in to the studio last night. I patched this up… My wife looked in and said “It sounds like you’re on Mars.”
So I was surprised to see the prompt for this week!


What could sound more alien than twelve-tone serial music? (Other than a theremin.). So I recycled an old twelve-tone composition of mine. I should have written something new, but I didn’t feel up to it. I then added the sound of a clock-radio alarm going off with today’s local weather report.




Reward is a great reinforcement of good habits, and so it is that when I post the Disquiet Junto early enough (California time) on a Thursday, there are usually enough tracks for me to start the playlist rolling before dinner. Today is such a day.


Hey All, (Place Holder for write up later- maybe - I need to marinade my thoughts)

Peace, Hugh


Here’s a combination of two separate sessions. First session is a textural piece made with a circuit bent toy and contact mic. Ditto looper and a diy small copper resonator with small pieces of gravel dropped on the copper were also used. Some of this goes through ‘Wires’ vst. Some through Unfiltered audios fault vst.

The second session is mostly my baby steps with Teletype and Just friends (sound,cycle). These working together with diy Befaco Lich running a polygonal vco patch and Skorn da bask on drone duty. I’m still a noob with Teletype but I’m already in love with it.

These two sessions were mixed together and a field recording I made added at the end. Added some pads and sound effects too.

Hope your all doing well :slight_smile:


Yes it keeps going repeating changing branching into itself.

Three synths, three virtual tape loops. Some LFOs on the volume and pan. Too much chorus.


Ah, another week, another Disquiet Junto project. I couldn’t miss this one: PKD acts a trigger for me.

This is “Martian Flash-Forward”, my contribution to this week’s prompt.

Both parts are based on field recordings. I associate a Martian landscape with heavy wind and sandstorms, but I couldn’t find anything in my archives with wind in it. Or anything with good-quality wind (you know, wind, microphones, etc.) So, for the “dream” part, I resorted to an electromagnetic soundwalk I recorded with a coil pick-up around the Fine Arts Faculty in Cuenca, Spain, while teaching there. It could be interpreted as a Martian Rover scanning and sonnifying environmental data, or maybe Interplan agents scanning Quail’s brainwaves as he dreams.

The second part is a “normal” soundwalk by a river.

The way the “awakening” soundscape appears uses what is known as a Flash-Forward montage technigue: that is, instead of fading in or simply interrupting, we have a series of flickering bursts that anticipate what’s going to happen next. This technique was used in films such as “Easy Rider” (the acid trip scene, and others), and seems to be becoming popular in films and series. I though it appropriate here, since transitions from dream states to a state of awakening rarely happen all at once; and also because Quail’s dream of Mars is a memory, but also a desire that foreshadows something (even if, in the story, that something has already happened).

More about the Flash Forward narrative device here: Flashforward - Wikipedia


Hello everyone.

Here is my alien landscape. It’s alien to me, because I’ve never recorded anything quite like this before… also, I hope it involves a little gesture to the idea of “playback.”

I cut ten or twelve two-bar guitar riffs into Ableton, panned them left and right, then used the “follow action” feature to have them looping in a random order.

I did the same for a basic drum beat and bass line.

I let everything play for four minutes, recording the result in arrangement view.

Other than cutting the last minute or so, there was no editing.

The dream ends with a clap of thunder recorded from my balcony.

It was so loud that you can hear my Zoom H2 utterly fail to register the boom of it all!!

EDIT: @Paul_Reiners – your track is fun… the playfulness reminds me of the first song from one of the aphex twin demos (funnily enough, i think it’s called “melodies from mars”!!)


Again I used Arturia’s Buchla Easel emulation to create the daydream with a generative patch. Reality is represented by a field recording of a train.


I did not want to use wind or other obvious choices, so it’s more an immersion into the landscape…


This can’t be Mars; it’s water all the way to the horizon. What are those robots talking about? I don’t like the way they’re looking at me…and is that four moons up there or five?

The water and machinery sounds (subsonic, waves, rain) are field recordings* of my countertop dishwasher made with a pair of contact microphones and heavily processed with Landforms. Landforms also provides the klaxon of despair. The robots are two different instances of CYCLES, one chewing on Lyra samples and the other on Ether samples. Reality is an audio recording of the same dishwasher.

*Is it really a field recording if you do it in your kitchen?


I put this together on the bus to the airport and on a grounded plane. Mixed with earbuds, so that might not be great. Used some samples recorded around my parents’ house.

This kind of reminded me of 499, the field recording one.


Being a long time PKD fan, I had to take part this week! Luckily a meeting was postponed and my Sunday was suddenly open.

Imagining Mars as a busy yet desolate place, am I underground in this dream, what am I watching, I am traveling and so are other things…

Combining softsynths and field recordings, some distortion and reverb to put things in there place.


Thoroughly enjoyed working on this one, thank you once again @disquiet for arranging these assignments every week. Took inspiration from one of my favourite tracks off Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2 album, ‘Grass’, which has always reminded me of treks across desolate planets.

A rudely interrupted Martian daydream. Sounds from modular synthesiser and field recordings.


Set up several instruments in Ableton that could handle microtonal scales: various configurations of Sforzando and Pigments. Soundscape and “melody” was done in 19-tet, added some bell-like sounds. Then at end the tuning goes back to normal, and chords play, melody once but now more consonant.