Disquiet Junto Project 0503: Sing Song

Instructions went out, as always, via tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto. This new Disquiet Junto project asks participants to do something the projects rarely do: to sing. In the end, though, it won’t sound vocal.

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 23, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 19, 2021.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0503: Sing Song
The Assignment: Record a song using only your voice transformed beyond recognition.

Step 1: Prepare to record a piece of music using primarily your voice, albeit transformed beyond recognition. Disquiet Junto projects rarely involve singing. This one is an exception. All Junto projects are experiments, this one in particular.

Step 2: Your recording should consist of several layered tracks. Record one, perhaps a rhythmic one, to set the beat, first. Then layer two or three more. Keep each layer isolated, so you can process it later in the process. In the case of each layer, you might improvise your singing, or you might plan in advance with notation. Certainly you might need to do several takes of each track layer in order to get it right. Don’t think of your singing as the final audio. Instead, think of your voice as a sketchbook for a work-in-progress. You sing a bass drum, you sing a guitar line, you sing a synth bed, and so forth.

Step 3: For each of the the three or four layers you created in Step 2, process them drastically so the vocal elements no longer sound like the human voice.

Step 4: Mix the processed layers from Step 3 into a final track.

Seven More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0503” (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 “disquiet0503” (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:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0503-sing-song/

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 23, 2021, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, August 19, 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 “disquiet0503” 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 503rd weekly Disquiet Junto project – Sing Song (The Assignment: Record a song using only your voice transformed beyond recognition) – at: https://disquiet.com/0503/

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-0503-sing-song/

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 by John, and used thanks to Flickr and a Creative Commons license allowing editing (cropped with text added) for non-commercial purposes:

https://flic.kr/p/2hMq7fw

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.0/

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The project is now live. Thanks, everyone.

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Earlier this year, I bought a bass clarinet (my grade school instrument) and then a Piezobarrel pickup mouthpiece. I’ve played around with it a bit using my Empress Echosystem and Empress Reverb boxes and discovered that talking through the mouthpiece has an extremely haunting effect.

For this Junto, I took aspects of me trying to cover the backing track of “O Superman” and ran it through the dark filter of Scott Walker’s “Tilt” album, particularly the song “Patriot (A Single)” with the “Luzerner Zeitung never sold out” lyrics.

The entire track is me talking through the reeded mouthpiece’s pickup and processed through the two Empress boxes. I made a bunch of little sections, edited the best, and assembled in my DAW into what you hear.

It’s been a while since I’ve made anything new, so it was wonderful to knock this out - and so quickly.

Wear good headphones.

More about me and my music and sounds at https://www.markrushton.com

Edit: I made a video of me discussing my approach to this project: The Assignment Record a song using only your voice transformed beyond recognition - YouTube

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First I tried doing the “percussion tracks”. They started sounding to me like the intro to Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling”, which was a big hit when I was in junior high. So I went with that.

I tried doing a bass line and a melodic line, but anything I sang sounded horrible.

Since this is all about audio effects applied to my voice, here are the three audio effects I used on the three percussion tracks I made:

  • DTMF Frequency Shifter
  • Laundry Chorus (for the “Hooked on a Feeling” rhythm)
  • Robo Voice Beat Repeat

Each of the percussion tracks was a 1-measure loop. Anything longer than that ended up being out-of-time or less interesting.

All in all, I’m neither a singer nor a drummer, so that limited the complexity of my track.

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Wrote a bit about my process on my blog

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"Whew! Just completed this project, and, boy … am I pooped; most disquiet projects/experiments ‘write themselves,’ but this one was exhausting: due to the absolutely open-ended nature of Marc’s prompt, I had nowhere to begin; I just had to ‘go with it.’

I quickly laid down some vocal sounds into the DAW and then imported them into a software tool I don’t normally use: Roni’s ‘Amazing Slow Downer.’ [It’s fab and smooth-quality!] I only had recorded a minute or two of vocalizations, so I slowed them down drastically – some to 20% of their original speed. I also pitched them up and down so as to make my personal voice unrecognizable. Then I imported them back into my DAW and started composing.

It feels as if I have never been so deliberate with the placement of sound files and volume edits: I spent four hours formulating a ‘three-part rhythm’ out of the amorphous vocalized sections I had.

I orchestrated them painstakingly, and then ‘effected’ them – some on-the-fly, since I naturally had blooming intentions in mind for both the sounds, themselves, and the overall piece, as I composed it.

Here it is: ‘Knell.’ I chose the name for the dark and eerie nature of the piece."

~ Michael Ash Sharbaugh

Knell

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The playlist is now rolling:

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Made with o-vox vst, unfiltered audio’s spec ops and a recorded reading of the junto instructions.

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Multiple modulated voice recordings of the first lines of ‘The Iliad’, recited or chanted with additional sounds of a thumb piano.

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Ayyy it’s been a while but I’m back!

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This is the second version. After a good night sleep, I decided to make a less mangled version. In version 1 all structure and work were grinded to dust. Right but felt wrong. Version 2 is wrong but feels right.
Thanks for the haiku Nancy, whoever you are.

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Bit embarrassed truth be told, but here it is. Absurdly simple bass and melody but kept the original voice just a bit in there still…

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I used already recorded samples of my voice (originally made for a “voice beatbox”). All voice transformation was done in Caustic for Android, mostly via Speed, Looping, Filters, Bitcrushers. Remix with some FX in Reaper.

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I recorded myself humming different tonalities and performing single syllable utterances on my phone. I chose these sound types, since I wanted to create pads and rhythmic elements. I recorded 19 different sounds and used 5 of them. They were chopped up and transformed using Pigments and Straylight with sends to an Echoboy Jr and Little Plate. I processed the continous throat tone with FractureXT creating a steady rhythmic element. Everything was created with my own voice as source, no synths or instruments.

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Hey all, hope you’re well. Managed to carve out a few hours this weekend for some audio goofyness.
Started with a little fingerstyle guitar riff. Then I recorded the guitar riff, but one string at a time. And I tried to vocalize along with each of those single-string tracks, because I have a lot trouble without a guide. So I had about 6 vocal tracks, and I added a “hihat” breathy track. Then I copied it out 3 times, and automated the track faders to get some development. At the end I added back in the guitar bit, but pitch shifted way up. As for processing, one fun chain was about 6 reaper pitch shifters alternating up and down. Adds a lot of artifacts. Another plugin I like a lot is the soundtoys tremolator. Otherwise a lot of eq, delay, reverb, regular stuff. OK, take care!

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@krakenkraft Nice track, that clean voice snippet together with the undulating baseline sounds very similar too early Fluke. Great sound.

@gibbsdavidl Sweet track and a nice rhythm. Like the PS artifacting on the sides too :stuck_out_tongue:

@Glitcher Great track and execution.

@henklass Noice voice work, fooled me on the first listen.

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I created a few samples of my voice speaking rhythmic phrases including “duck duck goose” and a metronomic counting. Then I added melodic color using resonators in Ableton. I was particularly inspired to use Robert Henke’s PitchLoop89 maxforlive plugin (Ableton Live PitchLoop89 Masterclass With Robert Henke Pt 1 - YouTube).

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I first sang a high E and transposed it to a low C for the basses and then I sang a low G and transposed it to a high C for the leading voice and the harmonies. I also made a few drum sounds using only my mouth. I loaded all sounds in Nysthi’s Quadsimpler in VCV Rack and added a few effects (chorus, saturation, reverb).
Next question was: what to play? Purely coincidentially I stumbled upon a five year old video by Andrew Huang in which he invited the viewers to complete a musical sentence. And that’s what I did.

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Good timing for this one, as I’ve recently got two vocal transformation plugs VocalSynth2 and OVox. Nice to have a reason to dive deeper into them. I started with building a rhythm with Beatbix then some ‘singing’.

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Four recordings of my voice manipulated, largely with granular effects including Glitchmachines’ Fracture, AudioThing’s Frostbite 2, and Unfiltered Audio’s Silo. A couple of tracks are stretched or shrunk, reversed and pitched and pitch corrected. The kick uses Ableton’s Simpler. No sounds other than my voice are used.

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