Disquiet Junto Project 0529: Squared Off

Thanks to @YaWha for plotting this one! The instructions popped up at disquiet.com/0529 (thanks, powers of automation) shortly after 12:10am Pacific Time on February 17, and then at twitter.com/disquiet a little further along. I sent the email containing those instructions via tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto later in the morning (after I woke 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, February 21, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 17, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0529: Squared Off

The Assignment: Explore the number 23.

Major thanks to Eanna Butler for helping come up with this project:

Step 1: This is the 529th consecutive weekly Disquiet Junto project. The number 529 is what happens when you take the number 23 and multiply it by itself. Consider various interesting aspects of the number 23. For example: Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. It’s the number from the Birthday Paradox (read up!). Also, 529 is an “octagonal number” (read up some more!). The earth’s axis tilts at 23° (rounded down). Anyhow, have fun exploring.

Step 2: Make a piece of music that engages with the number 23.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0529” (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 “disquiet0529” (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.

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, February 21, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 17, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you. Some variation on the number 23 might be in order.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0529” 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:

Major thanks to Eanna Butler for helping come up with this project:

More on this 529th weekly Disquiet Junto project – Squared Off (The Assignment: Explore the number 23) – at: https://disquiet.com/0529/

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-0529-squared-off/


The latest project is live. It’s actually been live for about 8 hours, but now that I’m awake I’ve sent out the email and posted it here.

This began as a project in Nodal 2 with a network of nodes, with a bpm of 23 and 23 different notes distributed in the nodes. Some random choices for note order were made and this midi info was sent via loopmidi to the DAW. From there it goes through UA’s Lion synth and some other instruments. I have tried to make a piece with both light and dark elements so later on there is some subharmonicon and Strega as the piece gets darker. A field recording of rain lashing the window was also used.
Hope all are well. Thanks Marc for this interesting challenge :slight_smile:


I decided to keep counting back through Juntos in increments of 23, then remix elements from those tracks together.

Turns out I didn’t join in project 0414, so there were four Juntos to use this week:

  • Sunset [disquiet0506]
  • Lettera [disquiet0483]
  • Blossoms [disquiet0460]
  • A (distant) neighbour might be a pianist [disquiet0437]

The result is one of those unlikely Junto tracks, with a rock band supporting a typist while accompanied by a field recording.


Hey everyone,
Cool concept Eanna Butler.
I decided to make quite a tight straight jacket for myself.
So 23 BPM.
23 bars long.
23/16 time signature, now that’s a weird one.
The melody had 23 notes until I started to cut shit up.
The drum track is arranged 2 bars then 3 throughout the track.
In Ceclia5 I made a bunch of samples all 23 seconds long which I then used to populate the track.
I was going to post at 23.00 but I got tired waiting.

Most importantly I now know what the Birthday Paradox is ( thanks Marc ).
Keep well.


Short explanation. Coincidental nonsense with 23 patch cables.

Long explanation: When the Junto-mail arrived. I was soldering on a eurorack module. I read the mail. No idea what to do. Later, as I was baking a sponge cake, I thought about the assignment. Still no idea. Well, I thought, I don’t have to participate every week. I let go of the assignment.

Later I was testing my module. I worked fine. I built a nonsense patch around it. As I was listening to the noise. The number 23 came to me. 23… How many patch cables are being used…? With rising excitement, I counted used patch cables. I counted and recounted, with sweaty hands. Twenty-three! 23!

I added a bit of reverb and recorded. Made the sound-file loopable. if you want to, you can listen 23 times to my modular farts.


I instantly wanted to do something with probabilities. So here are a lot of probabilities at work, thanks to Ableton: The pad (23 notes of A minor scale, with a 23% probability of being played an octave (8=2^3) higher) and the gongs have a 23% probability of not to be played inside 1 bar with 1 note in a loop of 23 bars. The cymbal has a 23% probability of being played and, if played, a 23% probability of being a rainstick. The voices saying ‘The Probability Is 23 Percent’ are made with ttsmp3.com and I downloaded 23 different versions which had a switch probability of 23% (so not all of them may have been played; the ‘stutter effect’ is by accident, I did not found the cause and liked it anyway). And so on, with 23 bpm.

I wanted to do 23 Minutes but to honor the “squared” prompt (and to spare you some repetition) it’s only 529 seconds (8:49min). Be assured that, although I was a huge fan of The Illuminatus! Trilogy by Wilson/Shea and it may sound otherwise here, I didn’t take all that too seriously…


I like this “numerology” challenges ( I remember a couple where I did some maths before I kicked the music, junto 296 and 272 and surely others)
I just made a measure of 23/8, created a groove for it, and repeated for 23 measures.

Above that weird groove I tried to swing and float to justify the harsh 23 beat loop with repetitive phrases, little melodies, and some drums performed on pads and quantized. At a certain point I picked up my guitar, some of that take is there. I added Stings because I was hot working on a “spy trailer” and just wanted to see what it sounded like (the “spy” strings kind of soften the harsh groove)
Most of this mess is actually played (on keyboards) even if it still sounds robotic.
Blame it to the 23.

Kudos @YaWha and @disquiet for this great idea.


I went with the 23 bars of a 23 count bar as my structure. its kind of obvious, I suppose but a nice way to measure out a track. Also how do you compose with 23 beats in a bar? a nice little challenge. more detailed notes are in my description on Soundcloud.
Used bitwig for the drums . Spitfire Audio free instruments for soft piano and strings. I probably mixed those screechy violins a tad too loud but I really loved the texture of them.


(having a bit of trouble with the link at the moment, likely because I had to reupload the song)

As pretty much always, I used my Digitakt, Digitone, and Microfreak for this.

Went outside the box a bit on this one. I’ve been diving a bit into tarot as a creative tool recently, and when I saw this prompt I immediately thought of doing a spread of some sort to come up with the parameters of the song - there are 22 major arcana cards, just shy of the magic number of the week. I initially thought of combining cards together to make 23, and using their themes to dictate the course of the song - Force and the Hanged man, for example, would make 23, and I had some ideas on how I could represent the two musically.

Ultimately, I decided it would be more fun to do a spread representing the number, and get the form of the song from there. Instead of drawing 23 cards, I decided to have the number “2” represent the stable, ongoing parts of the song, and “3” represent changes, or the overall shape of the song (I also took some inspiration on “left/center/right” for these three cards, based on the the “Magic Number” projects we just did). I shuffled the cards 23 times (which is honestly way too many times to shuffle a stack of 78 cards) and drew to the positions that I had assigned.

I made some notes on the paper here , and you can try to decipher my handwriting if you dare - it’s pretty inside baseball if you’re not familiar with tarot. But the gist of it is that I determined based on the cards that my “stable” elements were in fact going to be rather chaotic after all. For drums, I drew “The House of God/The Tower” - chaos, a sudden change. The bolt of lightning inspired me - all the drums from this track are sampled from clips of lightning strikes. To add to the chaos, I set the probability to trigger for many steps in the drums to “23%” - probably most notable in the hats, which are both playing straight 16th notes 23% of the time.

For the progression, I read 5 of wands as being a disruption of some stable energy. I went with D Minor phrygian for the mode throughout most of the song, which lends a bit of an unstable minor feel to it.

On to the "3"s - On the Left is the Lover. The drawn bow inspired me to do a “plucked” sound, and I thought it would only be fitting to do an Arp of 3 notes spanning 2 octaves. In the center of the song lies the Empress, which I took to mean “acting from the gut” - I brought a healthy dose of improv into this track as a consequence, especially in the form of synths and the piano at the end. Lastly, the Two of coins spoke to me of something grounded, an ebb and flow that is persistent. I put the 2 note synth pad in the right ear to represent this, which helps to add some more stability to this track.

The microfreak’s speech synthesizer is providing the “Two/Three” sound throughout - I built a patch which randomly picks between two words in the synthesizer, and set it to pick between two and three.

All in all, probably one of the least direct possible interpretations of the number “23” in music! But I had fun regardless.


The playlist is now rolling:


It’s so cool to see so much engagement with 23 and 529 as a subject.

23 is a good number.

The Birthday Paradox one is a good one… I first came across it in honours maths course in first year university. We were in a class where the maths behind the birthday paradox was described to us (‘what is the least number of people you need to provide a more-than-50/50 chance of having two people with the same birthday?’). The counter-intuitive result of ‘23 people’ left us visibly incredulous. Lecturer said “OK so, let’s try it here now! How many have we today…?”… (counted) - “23 exactly!”.
So he asks a girl - March 13th. Then asks a guy - March 13th!! He even verified by checking their student cards.
The chances aren’t outrageous - 1 in 365 - but in the context, was a real buzz for us all, not least the lecturer, to have hit upon the ‘bet’ in one go.

Considering the number 23 here…
Three percussion tracks, of 23/4, 23/8, and 23/16.
One percussion track, of 23/8, with a bouncing ball algorithm for repeated fading midi notes with Mass and Gravity set to (sensible multiples of) 23.
One 4/4 loop, trimmed / stretched to 23/8 (I think!).
One 23/8 synth part, with two sends into Replika XT for a tasty wash.
And since Psalm 23 is the lovely “Sheperd” Psalm, I used two Shepherd Tone tracks to flesh out the tonal structure.
Finally, to tie in the 23 - the track title Zytoge - human zygote formation is the moment whereby a new 23+23=46-chromosome human potential lies from its parents. Evolution at work…

Track image - Lahinch beach, Co. Clare, Ireland, 13th Feb 2022

Hope you enjoy…


“The sun is not the well-behaved neighbor we would like to imagine,” says Sten F. Odenwald, the author of a book entitled The 23rd Cycle: Learning to Live with a Stormy Star. During the year 2000, at the peak of the sun’s 23rd cycle (according to when scientists began tracking solar storm activity), the number of observed sunspots reached its highest recorded peak to that point.

Geomagnetic storms are defined by changes in the disturbance-storm-time index (or DST), measured in units called nano-Tesla (nT). Think of it as something like barometric pressure, only on the sun. A geomagnetic storm is considered an intense “super-storm” when it reaches a minimum DST of less than —250 nT.

As the 23rd cycle closed in the year 2008, Odenwald warned that outbreaks of solar storm activity would only increase in future cycles. The historical models are already sobering; a geomagnetic storm caused the March1989 failure of Québec’s entire power grid, leaving six million people without electricity and causing auroras seen all the way to Texas. The minimum DST of this storm was —589 nT. (It would have been a delicious irony if the integer was 529, but alas).

With this cheerful tidbit in mind, Suss Müsik considered how the ionosphere of sound could be rendered unstable, causing fragments of foreboding beauty. A sampled bowl was refactored using a grain synthesizer, its shimmer used in parallel with a distressed organ sound. A Red Panda Particle pedal was used for the looping parts at 23 BPM.

The piece is titled DST —589 nT and was recorded live to 8-track.


I had a lot of fun making this!

23 tracks
23 bars long each



I always associate the number 23 with a pair of skate shoes (Etnies Sal 23) I had aged about 15, which had the number stitched on the side. So for this I started with a field recording I had taken at my local skatepark last year with me riding around. I also recently had an overhaul of my music setup so processed some OP-1 sounds through a new modular effects skiff I am putting together, mostly Beads and Mimeophon.


For me also, a 23/16 time signature came to mind. I did this as a polymeter: a pattern of 23 over a pattern of 24.

Polyrhythms and polymeters are something I find interesting, but I don’t get around to incorporating them in my own music very much. I’ve done some experiments, but they usually don’t turn out very satisfactory.

But hey, this Disquiet Junto assignment was as good an opportunity as any to give it another shot.

Specific inspiration came from a Youtube video I watched recently by drummer Yogev Gabay, who uses his channel to explore rhythmic ideas.
Ibrahim Maalouf wrote the PERFECT polymeter?

The video analyses a song by composer and trumpeter Ibrahim Maalouf: Free Spirit
Ibrahim Maalouf - Free Spirit

Maalouf’s song uses a 17/16 over 4/4 polymeter, which works great: the song is quite lovely, and while it’s probably hard to play, trying not to get sucked into the 4/4 by accident, as a listener you don’t have the feeling of listening to something that’s super contrived.

So, borrowing this concept, my little sketch of a track does a 23 over 6 (I think…) polymeter. That is: the plinky plonky riff is a pattern of 23 16th notes which keeps repeating. Simultaneously the keyboard motif is 6 16th notes long, which adds up to 24 when repeated 4 times.So, after a cycle of 24, the patterns have drifted one 16th note out of sync, the riff now being a bit early.

By the end of the 4th repetition of the 24 beat cycle, with the patterns about to go 4 16th notes out of sync, the keyboard part suddenly does a little sprint to catch up, getting both parts to sync up again.

This was a fun track to make. I can imagine using this procedure again sometimes.
Having a nice, memorable melody to work with as the pattern that has the irregular time signature is key, I think (mine is so so; the one by Ibrahim Maalouf is killer) since as a listener you’ll easily hear it as just some variations around the main rhythmic pattern, instead of it’s own cycle. Also, the way the two patterns interact rhythmically and harmonically as they are in different stages of ‘ out of sync’ is an interesting thing to explore. So, great prompt!


My exploration of the number 23 was not a very deep one - the number 23 makes me think of Michael Jordan, Air Jordan, the Jumpman logo and next: the 2015 song by Drake and Future of the same name.

Coincidentally, I recently made a Pure Data patch that generates rhythms with the numbers 2 and 3 at important points. I can get into very footworky rhythms with that so using that to flip Jumpman into a kind of Footwork tune made sense, too. Because it’s not really an original track but more an edit or a remix I used my DJ name DJ Homealone for this one.

I used demucs to get the original sounds, put them on my digitakt, figured out some patterns and recorded for a bit. Afterwards i just shortened the recording and added the original songs beginning and end.

Another 23: In the intro Drake says Halloween, Jumpman came out in 2016 and in the Halloween Night of 2015 i turned 23 :birthday: - and theres my Slamdunk into the Birthday Paradox :basketball:


Which module did you DIY ? :slightly_smiling_face:

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It was a convoluted process recording this track.
I started recording 115 bars (23x5 (5=2+3))of a Numerology drum and synth patching 3/2 time fed into Beads. Playback was slowed to 2/3 speed and I played over the top by hopping through recordings on a Radio Music module to emulate Burroughs 23 Skidoo cutup piece.
My MacBook kept crashing when trying to bounce the track down and would hang whilst rebooting - this behaviour was probably coincidental and unrelated to the number 23.