Disquiet Junto Project 0530: Minimally Viable Music

unfolding | disquiet0530

i started with a chord ‘blur’, if it can be called that. then, i was taken in by everything unfolding around us. i realized in the end, that i had strayed far from what felt minimal initially. but, i’ve let it be.

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Gold and Azure

tl;dr: 130bpm, 7/8, C-major. The simplest sound: a sinewave. The archetypal sequence: das Wohltemperierte Klavier.

This track is played live on Yamaha CP300 controlling Organelle. It’s using a patch I made. It started out as the tutorial polyphonic patch with regular sinewaves. However, I extended it to be stereophonic and to saturate the sound to resemble the distortion of Organelle’s built-in speaker. While I was already at it, I added some more pronounced digital glitches synchronized via the MIDI clock.

The sequence itself is a prelude inspired by Bach’s Wohltemperierte Klavier, the thinking being that there is certain purity in that work. It flows relentlessly but evenly which creates an ambience that focuses more on the timbre than the actual chord progressions. The result is a beat without a beat, a melody without a melody, and the simplest timbre stripped of its unnatural purity. Minimally viable music.


Recorded using Logic Pro X. Using Logic’s built-in Space Designer reverb.

Cover artwork: a photo of the statue of Adam Mickiewicz I took in Lviv in 2016.

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a very simple motif fed through reverb and granular effects

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The playlist in progress is now rolling:

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Something I often remark to people is that the essence of music is about timing. As long as there’s a beat, anything can be perceived as music. For this piece I recorded my clock, and then used the Raum reverb plugin to give some additional texture to the sound.

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Been a while since I did a challenge but couldn’t resist this one!

Done in a single take with the modular - full patch notes in the Soundcloud description.
Have a great weekend,
R

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Minimal Viable Product (MVP) is a development and commercialization practice in which a new concept is introduced to the market with basic features. The intention is to maximize the amount of learning, in order to assess product fertility, while minimizing the amount of resource investment.

The general template of an MVP consists of listing the key characteristics of the product that customers will deem essential, usually in the form of questions. These are then coupled with elements that can be designed and manufactured within aggressive time and cost guardrails. Subsequent iterations of the MVP render an offering of increasing maturity, ideally and hopefully, before it transforms the market for which it’s targeted.

Suss Müsik took an MVP approach to this week’s Junto project. The primary questions regarding viability might be interpreted as: to what extent do acoustic and electric guitar fragments, when pressurized under certain constraints, no longer render themselves as inherently musical? At what point do these fragments cease to offer acousmatic value to the listener? And to what extent would an audience be willing to subject themselves to that experience?

The responses to these inquiries, as with all instances of MVP concept testing, are subject to input from a respective target audience. In this case, that audience is you.

The piece is titled MVP v.1 and was recorded live to 8-track in February 2022. The image is a schematic overlay of an actual instrument prototype.

Major thanks to Saga Söderback for having come up with this project.

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Every once in a while, I amass a bunch of voice memos either for field recordings or to capitalize on the availability of tons of musical instruments. In this case, I was subbing in a music room, so I recorded myself playing as many instruments as possible to use for later.

In this case, the recording I selected was of a slit drum. The audio recording was pitch shifted up seven semitones, which not only affected the slit drum, but also the chattering of children from the hallway outside the classroom, resulting in some adorable noises.

The title derives from the Pete Townshend song of the same name.

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I’ve tried to be even more minimalist than I used to be, only a simple patch on Erica Synths Pico System III.

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As rain falls, wind sings

Noise is modulated and combined, shaped through bandpass filters to modulate timbre and create tones which form chords

I realized after recording that I was inspired by Nate Mercereau’s Golden Gate Bridge duets, the idea of such a huge object resonating and singing musical tones is really fascinating.

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Had to delete some tracks on SC to make room for this maybe minimum viable music piece.
I set conditions. “The machine” did the rest. I was cleaning the bathroom. The sound file is unedited. Just clipped after 8 minutes.

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I am new to this challenge and forum, so thank you for allowing me to try this out.

Recorded & mixed Feb 24-46 2022 by Jim Lemanowicz at Blissville Electro-Magnetic Laboratories of Massapequa.

©2022 Jim Lemanowicz

More on the Disquiet Junto at: disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here: tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Process notes -
For over 950 days, since April 2019, I have recorded at least 5 min of sound a day if I chose to record at all. Ideally, this would have been every day but there have been breaks. These have mainly included random note generation and improvisation in terms of “density” in its many forms.

For this assignment, I used approximately 5 minutes of a 30 min piece recorded as “Day 952.”

24 Feb 2022 - main recording session

  • Ableton Live 11
  • SonicLAB Fundamental 2 - I used this to generate random tones
  • Ableton Clean Delay - I used this to embellish
  • Ableton Filter Delay - I used this to embellish

26 Feb 2022 - editing, mixing and mastering session

  • Warped setting on Beat
  • Stretched to about 10 min and then snipped down to the final length
  • transient envelope forward and very short
  • these were all used to limit sound and add space
  • K-Devices Shaper - this is mixed in gradually from start to finish, also serving to limit sound and bring us away from the tonal.

I have a standard finishing process that includes Ableton Live’s limiter and utility plugins followed by applying iZotope Ozone Elements at my discretion.

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I considered what “Minimum viable music” means to me.

For me, musicality has always linked directly to musicianship. A great practitioner of their instrument has great musicianship, and great musicianship opens the path to great musicality. Musicality then breeds music.

So in a quest to go minimal, I took the road of a single C2 note from a Juno synth (TAL Uno LX) -a square wave oscillator, everything open. Nothing easier than hitting a note!
Then I sent the audio from that single note, looped at 134 BPM, into a load of effect tracks, comprising reverbs, delays, pitch shifters, overdrive distortions, and digital degradation effects units.

I wanted to expose my love for effect units. Nothing but a C2 on a Juno was used here. Musicianship is minimised fully - musicality comes from performance of ‘effects’, not of ‘instruments’. Set up and play the effect units in a digital DAW. Minimum Viable Musicianship…

Tal Uno LX, Wave H-Reverb, Eventide Little Plate, Surreal Machines Diffuse and Modnetic, Eventide Little Alter Boy, Eventide Effect Rack x3, Tritik Moodal x2, Replika XT x3, Glitchmachines Fracture XT x2, Sonic Charge Permut8. A shade of feedback here and there!

Initially messed up the upload (5 hours ago), re-up’ed there…

Thanks for listening…

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Greetings all. This is my first track in the group. This is exactly what I needed to unblock my creative process. Thanks all for your inspirational approaches to creativity.

When I think in minimal music, nature always comes to my mind. Birds and raindrops have been always there. Rhythm and melody, cycles and pulses are the expression of mother earth. This piece brings electronic pulses, cycles and noise together as an homage to music in nature.

To create the piece, I’ve used cycling envelopes (coming from Make Noise Maths) to replicate water drops and birds chirping. A dense background of wind is made with noise filtered by Serge VCFQ. Finally, a bassy and artificial pulse crosses the piece, altered and overdriven by Serge VCFQ, again.

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I messed up the upload, fixed now…

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My thinking was: early electronic music is as minimal as it gets. A sine wave oscillator requires no craft in playing and is very pure in terms of sound. A drone offers a harmonic backdrop to frame the chromatic arpeggio. Both are modulated to offer minimal development, but are cut short to not become boring and therefore be viable as music.

The composition was done in approximately 120 lines of ChucK to be fast and bypass any DAW.

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I really like this week’s project. Using computers to make music was never something I thought I would be doing - my “plan” after art school was for someone to pay me to paint huge abstract paintings (as it happens, not a viable plan). So this stuff is the next best thing to me, but I often resist doing things like this. Anyways, I’m happy with the result. It’s just three notes, played by a Vital synth and a fretless bass.

Oh, and I forgot to mention - I got one of my disquiet songs played on Sunny Govan community radio, and the host talked about the disquiet project - song is played at about 1 hour 36 secs in and then he talks about the Disquiet Junto project Mixcloud

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Yeah, so, tough one. Because there are just so many angles to approach this from, actually, just too many. Artsy, minimal, philosophical, experimental, and on and on. I decided just in the end to start playing something, something simple, then look at what kind of tempo, rhythm was that and add some simple harmony and melody to it. And then end.

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