Disquiet Junto Project 0528: Landscape Architecture

In 1925, Helen Keller challenged members of the Williamson County Lions Club, located about 20 miles southwest of Nashville (USA), to do more than just be business leaders. Keller instilled upon them the responsibility of better serving their community by adopting a philosophy that acknowledges accessible biodiversity. With that message came a commitment to providing experiences that a blind person could appreciate, even something as simple as being outdoors on a sunny day.

The result was a sensory park for the blind, located behind Grassland Elementary School and cared for by local volunteers. This small but inviting nirvana offers a feast for all senses, even if a visitor isn’t able to use one or more of them. A circular walkway features different stations, each devoted to exploring the possibilities of the soundscape, with natural earmarks (bubbling fountains, buzzing bees) helping visitors navigate the grounds without having to rely on visual clues.

Suss Müsik considered how auditory clues might be utilized to prevent blind travelers from trampling on fragile vegetation. The result is this strange and thankfully short piece. All the sounds are composed entirely from VCV Rack. Midi inputs were run from a Leap Motion controller, programmed to respond to gestures that move from side-to-middle. An Electro-Harmonix 8-Step CV sequencer controlled a Meris Enzo pedal from the mixer’s send channel.

Suss Müsik’s performance of this piece looks ridiculous, so of course there’s a video of it. Enjoy.

The piece is titled Liminality, a word to describe the status of being on a threshold. The image is a refactored bucolic scene somewhere in Pennsylvania.

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I’ve been thinking hard about this one, there were so many ways I could go about this. Among the ideas I didn’t end up pursuing were:

  • an organic drone with evolving frequency spectrum, around which only subtle solo music is built;
  • a singing child with instrumental harmonies applied after the fact;
  • a typical solo singer + guitar recorded from afar in a live setting;
  • a cover of a track from NIN’s “The Fragile”;
  • letting Subharmonicon do its surprising thing, filling in as many patch connections as I can and seeing what will happen.

In the end what ended up happening was I received a Norns sold to me by @Toaster (thanks!). My first few hours with it resulted in really observing what the device is generating on its own. I recorded a short excerpt of this here. It’s Euclidigons. I let it run pretty much unaltered, with only occasional nudges of notes to provide some gentle variation to its fragile sound. That’s how I “stayed on path”, taking the raw beauty that was in front of me without a need to alter, augment, overdub, edit, filter, post-process.

I do feel like this particular patch does have a bit of a Subharmonicon feel. The sound is taken straight from Norns through a Roland go:mixer into the iPhone. The only post-processing was on the video side, I removed Norns’ screen flicker recorded by the phone using Davinci Resolve.

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This week I have a high track count. 3x tracks of norns triangles, 3 of granulated choir samples, a wavetable synth (in Bitwig),a guitar track and a field recording of bees. Some debt to t buckley. hope you enjoy.

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This has a certain Tiersenesque feel, and not just through the accordion-like timbre of the melodica lead! There’s some nostalgia here and minimalism he often employs.

At the same time the production is, dare I say it, better than some of his later work in the sense that it’s less forceful, more spacious without lo-fi sounds and distortion.

I understand that comparisons between artists can be sort of controversial and unwelcome, so sorry I went there if you thought this wasn’t warranted! I did feel a certain connection though, and since Yann Tiersen is pretty important to me, I felt it was fair to share.

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Thanks for your comment @RPLKTR , I actually have a lot of interest and curiosity when somebody compares me to another artists, particularly if I never heard of her/him.
I’ve been compared to Tiersen in the past when I wasn’t acquainted with his music at all (once it was my own wife who came after a ballet with his music and told me I sounded like him, or for her vice-versa)
So I went check him out (I downloaded his then last album called “Infinity” I think) and couldn’t get into it at all ! lol
Never heard about him again since, but now that you mentioned I have to go back and check him out, what he did since, I’m probably missing something .I enjoyed the film Amelie (and soundtrack without knowing who composed it) upon release, but it was 20 years ago. Have to go back to this guy…
Thanks, cheers
dd

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Get his album “Les Retrouvailles”. It’s my favorite of his besides “Tabarly” (but this one is solo piano so not representative).

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Awesome video, the hand language adds and explains a lot about the sounds.
I would suggest to make a new take using hand puppets (or finger puppets for the last segment after 1:44), that would be great.

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Hahaha. Muppet-synths!

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Started out with two sounds that constitute the “vegetation”. One was created using VirtualANS and the other was a set of stacked C and G notes in multiple octaves playing a nicely modulating patch in Pigments. Together they cover off a large part of the sonic spectrum, but with small subtle changes, like digital wind blowing through them. Then I took a part of a track I was working on, which is a pumping dancy thing. I Faded that in and out again, but did so by starting with a narrow EQ and automated it to become wider, letting more through, then going back, this being the path that opens up to finally close off.

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For this project, I used two synths hooked up to Stochas to provide the “vegetation”, and another synth creates the “path”, echoed by a guitar. There is also a bird I recorded in Overnewton Park, who I hear from time to time - no idea type of bird but I always think he sounds a little tropical.

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Striving for the sound of walking through swathes of grass in a virtual reality park, while a floating android gently urges you to stay on path. I was thinking of a Japanese movie with soldiers fighting on a hill in deep grass but do not remember its name; or of Russell Crowe walking through his sepia-toned farm’s tall grass in the opening of The Gladiator. And also Battlestar Gallactica, where the cylons have VR environments thrown up around them.

I’ve been playing guitar again and doing exercises to lessen the clams. For anything slow tempo I always want a pulsing synth. The synthesized voice was generated at fromtexttospeech dot com. It was pleasing to plot out this composition and mix down within two hours as an exercise, instead of a “constantly micro-editing on my EP for bandcamp” dilemma.

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Sequenced and randomised but quantised Pluck and self-oscillating LPG from my modular passed into Ableton alongside a recent recording of cicadas from my lounge. These are then manipulated with EQ, delays, tape effect and granular delay.

Wasn’t really sure how to approach this one as the fragility is off the path but the path is our vantage point. I decided to try to imply it was our fragility on the path that should be preserved and that there may be menace amongst the off-path fragility.

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Hi! This is the track I made for the disquiet junto challenge with the theme ‘Landscape Architecture’ - an unobtrusive path through musical flora…

IDEA
With this assignment I immediately thought of long walks in forests following the smallest wildlife trails instead of marked paths. Sometimes you start somewhere that seems an almost impassable wilderless, but gentle steps in the soft green leads the way to a path unfolding.

COMPO
I started with simply Cmajor. The happy feel associated with the major scale felt appropriate for the feeling you get when you know you are on the right track. Like I did before, I played with a generative tool for a while and took some fragments.
The percussive/drum part is quite heavy (an 808 kick, snare and crash) for my normal way of working, but I felt like it really underlined the idea of a path getting more obvious as you go.
Now, I dont know wheter the end result does fit the assignment “unobtrusive path”, but all the same I’m happy with what came out.

GEAR
DAW: Samplitude X3
VST: Arturia Jupiter-8, NI Kontakt instument, heavy use of stock plugins
HARDWARE: Elka Rhapsody, Roland D10, Zoom R24

Oh, and this time I used a photograph I took myself serving as the cover image.

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I used the phrase “Please Stay on Paths Fragile Vegetation” as a way to build a system of notes based on each letter of each word. There’s 6 small “movements” in the piece - one for each word. In addition, I recorded a short walk through the woods just after a snow fall. I was trying to stay off of the vegetation, but had to cross several small piles of sticks that gave way under foot. There is a guided walking meditation obscured underneath some of the notes. This track was intended for inclusion in the Disquiet Junto Project #0528 - Landscape Architecture. (I tried like mad to embed the link…to no avail)

STAY ON PATHS


OP-1
Zoom H5 Field Recorder with Lom mics
Logic


Been following for a while, but finally participated. Super work here. Thanks! Just a few newbie questions:

  1. How do I embed my soundcloud link in my submission here? I’ve tried many many times using the url, the embed code, etc.
  2. How do I make sure my track gets added to the soundcloud playlist for this week’s project?

Delete this comment if needed!
Thanks!
Kevin Gilmore

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After reading the project anouncement I had to look up the word “unobstrusive”, and then I was immediately enthusiastic about this great concept.

I thought of laying out the musical flora first, to create this musical environment. I started with field recordings (from freesound) of trees and birds. Then I added instruments, many from Spitfire Labs (six differents Labs were used here). During this process I had the inspiration to “walk” through two different sections of a botanical garden. Both sections were mainly improvised, with minor corrections and layering of sounds afterwards. Adding of different effects followed.
Then I added the path. As unobstrusive instrument I chose the Hohner Organetta from pianobook. I improvised a continuous monophonic melody through both sections and tried to make it discreet but recognisable. Some EQing shall help to stay on the path.

For me this project had a very strong poetical side, and I savoured the creative process.

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Hi all. An imaginary walk in the woods. I tried to make an evolving but repeating musical pathway, with some elements changing place in the mix as I move meandering through the piece. For this effect I used DearVR. The field recordings are from my local woods, and the main birdsound is an European Nightjar recorded in Ski, Norway. Most instruments used was from the Polish one man company Felt Instruments.

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@PaulBeaudoin : I totally get the underwater vibe! It sounds nice and dark, but dreamy. You chose not to think in terms of fragile vegetation, but more in lost civilization I guess?

@33per : I feel like this track is absolutely the epitome of the assignement to find an unobtrusive path through fragile vegetation. I love the way the song is structured with the (soft but bright sounds of the) sequence coming back after a quiet part in the middle of the track. Love it!

@DeDe : love your analog approach! the sound of the harmonics really fits the ‘fragile’ sensation.

@Bick_Brannigan : lovely trippy (reversed delay?) synth. quite dark bass sounds. like!

@Sternklang : starting light but quickly becoming an emersive listening experience (also because the try to keep following that 3d/dearvr sound in space). lovely little track!

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Thanks, yeah, the harmonics are my “to go” fragile little sound…
Great shares this week, a real pleasure.

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The idea of going left and right on a path made me think of panning left and right in the stereo field, so I made that the basis of this one. I improvised a melody on my baritone horn that tried to simulate someone taking a winding path (no leaps, only steps…get it?).

I attempted to use Anarchy Sound Software’s “Spectral Autopan” plug-in to move the baritone horn from left to right as it went up and down its tonal range. I’m not quite sure it worked (or maybe it did and it’s very subtle?)

The musical flora was created by some samples of Delawarean nighttime and morningtime soundscapes.

So, mixed success. I like the idea of solo baritone horn accompanied by “the musical equivalent of fragile vegetation,” but I’d like to further develop the technique of moving through the stereo field based on the pitches being played.

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Thanks mate.
I just finished another track and now all I hear is sprinklers in that too…
Must be summer.

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