Disquiet Junto Project 0524: Sunset Waveform

Thanks to everyone who joined in last week for the 10th anniversary weekly Disquiet Junto project, and to everyone who’s signed up to participate at some point in the future. Since we have so many new people, I want to return to a statement I make on occasion: No one in the Junto should feel any pressure to participate weekly. The point of the Junto is not endurance. You should participate when you feel like you have the time and interest. It is, certainly, intended as an encouragement, but not as a demanding one.

And one further qualification: When I say when you have “time and interest,” by “interest” I don’t necessarily mean the given week’s project is inherently appealing to you. Quite the contrary, after 10 years of doing this, I feel confident saying that some of the most valuable moments have been when people put aside their impression of their own taste, their own habits, their own methods, and simply do the week’s project as a means to push their comfort zone, to hear things (and to make things to be heard) from an unfamiliar perspective.

And that about covers it. The project again went live, third week in a row, when I was deep asleep, both at disquiet.com/0524 and at twitter.com/disquiet, after midnight California time. This method seems to be working. The tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto newsletter, however, doesn’t have any automation capabilities, so as always I sent it out manually this morning (around 7:20am) now that I’ve woken up.

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, January 17, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 13, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0524: Sunset Waveform
The Assignment: Read a photo like a graphic score.

Background: This photo was taken at 5:34pm at Spreckels Lake in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The temperature was roughly 54º. The untouched image eerily resembles the sort of mirror-effect waveform ones sees representing sound visually online.

There is one step to this project: Interpret the above photo as if it were a waveform.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0524” (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 “disquiet0524” (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-0524-sunset-waveform/

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.

Step 8: Also join in the discussion on the Disquiet Junto Slack. Send your email address to marc@disquiet.com for Slack inclusion.

Note: Please post one track for this 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, January 17, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, January 13, 2022.

Length: The length of your finished track is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0524” 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 524th weekly Disquiet Junto project – Sunset Waveform (The Assignment: Read a photo like a graphic score) – at: https://disquiet.com/0524/

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-0524-sunset-waveform/

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And the project is now live. Thanks, folks.

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https://soundcloud.com/user-507251108/sunset-anthias-disquiet0524

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First, I wrote a little melody. I voiced it with an organ. Then I added a flanger. I thought I would draw the trees on one of the envelopes. I drew the silhouette of the trees on the frequency envelope. It wasn’t exact, but it was okay. But then I realized I really didn’t have the reflection. So I duplicated the track. The logical thing to do would be to draw the envelope on this second track to be an inversion of that on the original track. But that seemed too hard to get exactly right. So I decided, instead, to invert the pitches of the melody and not mess with the frequency envelope on this second track. So, I did that. But I realized that I was mixing my metaphors, so to speak. So I simply removed the envelope on the first track. Now I had the reflection in the water, and, moreover, it was exact. However, the melody wasn’t the same shape as the trees in the photo. But, so what, I decided. Trees are trees. The point isn’t to replicate the exact same tree-scape and its reflection, but to do some tree-scape and its reflection. Or, at least, I decided that that’s not an unreasonable thing to do. So, I was done.

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And the playlist is rolling:

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I formed an envelope. The captured moment repeats.

(No, it’s not the bass tone. I had to move the envelope up in the positive territory to be able to form tree line and reflection. So it’s the droning/pulsating sound that uses my envelope shape (envelope art). The bass tone envelope probably looks like the tree line (without reflection).)

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Always fun to read a Disquiet Junto challenges and think “there must be a tool somewhere on the internet that does this”. After a quick search I found the app Phonopaper which might be my new favorite noise maker.

I grabbed the image with the app (took a photo of a screen) and let it send the noise to my mixer, where I had delay, distortion and reverb on an aux channel. First time around is without effects and the coda is just the aux channel feeding back into itself.

Fair warning: It’s mostly noise…

@Paul_Reiners Very cool interpretation!

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I drew a (poor) copy of the photo into Alchemy’s spectral editor, mangled the output and looped a part of the result, doubled the rhythm on a banjolin, and feed everything through heavy distortion.

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I got a new iPad this week, the 9th Gen. I went looking for apps I bought a decade ago and found the Korg iMS-20. It runs smooth now, so I thought it would be a good instrument for this week’s Junto. The sound was routed into my Empress Echosystem (green tape) and Empress Reverb (green ghost). I couldn’t think of a good name so I repurposed some marketing propaganda I’d seen recently.

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Hey All, I had originally done a sort of drone track but I felt it didn’t quite relate to the photograph enough. so I took that track and drew the following onto the volume of the clip.


I think it is truer to the prompt. I know for me it was a good exercise cause I most times don’t have parts where the volume swells like this.

The title comes from thinking about a funeral I have to attend tomorrow for my best friend. He died from Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. It is disease where proteins start becoming malformed in the brain and is fatal. I just can’t believe he went so quickly. He was never in much pain so there is that. Why did he have to die? Nobody knows why and that is just the way it is. Hope all are well.

Peace. Hugh

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This was a fun one! I started off by turning the shape of the water into a black and white outline, and did my initial planning on paper from there. My general plan was to try and get the overall volume and intensity to match the shape of the outline, and I tried using loops as a unit to measure time, though I made some adjustments from my initial plan. Here is a picture of that:

The goal was to try and reproduce the waveform without using my DAW, just using my general impression of the loudness as I was listening, and I used my standard combo of Digitakt, Digitone, and Microfreak for this. The Digitakt is doing most of the heavy lifting here - bells, guitar, noise samples, and vocals, as well as all the percussive elements. The Digitone was mostly pads, and the Microfreak provided the main arp patch, which I was controlling live.

All in all, I’m fairly happy with the outcome - I feel the shape that I had the hardest time really getting into the music was the two swelling bumps towards the end. I tried matching the Arp to them a bit to achieve the effect, but it doesn’t really show up in the waveform. I could have added some pads on after the fact in the DAW, but I’m trying to stick with recording one live track as much as possible these days.

EDIT: Here’s the Microfreak Patch:

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It’s more an interpretation than a direct implementation. I started with a choir track I used from somewhere else. I mirrored it adding a reverse version of it, because the lakes image mirrored. Originally I wanted to stop here, because I liked the result and it had something from a lake mood.

But the waveform was missing, so added the sequence and it’s volume tend to follow the trees shapes. I added some pad of different colors at some points which could be interpreted as the yellow areas. One choir track is decently rippled by a phaser …. etc. Bottom line: you may not hear the wave form, but it’s there!

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Worked with a drone piece I recorded a few weeks ago - editing for this Disquiet Junto project was done in Live with various automation lanes drawn to replicate the ‘sunset waveform’.

I’m not that happy with how well the result reflects (ha!) the prompt’s image, but at least I learned a bit about how automation lanes work and finally grokked how to draw automation… (as someone who mainly uses Live as a glorified .wav recorder)

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So after 17 attempts, this is what I ended up with. Found it difficult to try and get the waveform to match the photo - it’s close, but no cigar. I also tried to capture the feeling and tone of the photo - again, not sure if it was successful!

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I dropped the image into Serum as a wavetable and used a LFO in Ableton to slowly cycle through the layers with added effects. Also did a quick Google to find an image to sound tool which promised great things and returned static. Not particularly happy with the outcome but I spent longer than I’d care to admit trying to shape into something so would be pointless not to post it.

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What if FM synths but jazz?
What if synthwave but soft acoustic drums?
What if Disintegration but in 7/8?

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I saw a guitar in the sunset pic and was pressed for time.

So I recorded a couple of takes using the gated guitar rig and tried to keep in mind the shape of the treeline.

There are a number of inputs all triggered by the guitar, through its pickups and the MIDI and the submarine on the lower strings.

It’s largely a single take, although I added a little reverb in post.

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