Disquiet Junto Project 0538: Guided Decompression

Instructions went up at disquiet.com/0538 (powers of automation willing) shortly after 12:10am Pacific Time on April 21, and then at twitter.com/disquiet a little further along, also thanks to scheduling. (I was asleep at the time.) The email containing those instructions went out 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, April 25, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, April 21, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0538: Guided Decompression
The Assignment: Get someone from tense to chill.

Step 1: Your goal with this piece is to guide someone from a place of intense stress to something more sedate. Keep that in mind.

Step 2: A lot of meditation-oriented music takes the end point as the start. Consider that it can be jarring to listen to calm music when you are anything but calm.

Step 3: Compose a piece of music that starts in a state of accelerated tension, allows the listener to align their own tension with that of the music, and then slowly proceeds to calm down, until the music is sustainably peaceful.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0538” (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 “disquiet0538” (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:

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co: https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0538-guided-decompression/

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, April 25, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, April 21, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you. How long does it take to calm down?

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0538” 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 538th weekly Disquiet Junto project – Guided Decompression (The Assignment: Get someone from tense to chill) – at: https://disquiet.com/0538/

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-0538-guided-decompression/

3 Likes

The project is now live. Thanks, folks.

This started with some morphagene sessions. Some atonal, granular sounds made with drone boy for gameboy, scissors and a switch on an led torch. In a separate session a feedback patch with morphagene, qpas, & mimeophon. An additional recording for morphagene of a recent DIY module, Thomas Henry’s VC quadrature function generator was also used. This was switched to LFO mode after the recording for modulating Qpas stereo filter.

The atonal and feedback sounds are used along with SR88, a vst drum for the tension part of the track.

The bridge is a live performance of Wingie being triggered with two door protector springs one of which has a screw rattling around inside.

The second relaxed part is the sounds of the TH VC QFG through morphagene and a field recording from just the other day of a babbling brook :slight_smile:
On that note I will stop babbling myself. Hope all are well.

8 Likes

Hey All, I just put down a live synth track and added a beat, The beat drops out when the deep dive into a connected consciousness gives into oneness and openness. This openness results in a grief bomb so powerful tears may flow. Do not be disturbed by these tears or the tears of others.We are connected in this.

Hope all are well. Peace, Hugh

6 Likes

Made a loop from a VCV-rack patch. First the loop is unedited. Then I apply more and more high-pass and low-pass filter to each loop. The final loop is high-pass filtered 1000Hz, low-pass filtered 2000Hz with (24dB roll-off dB per octave). Worked in Audacity :man_in_lotus_position:

6 Likes

And the playlist is now rolling:

Sleeping With A Grease by Gossamer Horatio

I woke up this morning with a simple idea - do the OPPOSITE of what I am supposed to do and then just reverse the whole track.

Recorded, mixed & mastered 21/22 Apr 2022 by Jim Lemanowicz at Blissville Electro-Magnetic Laboratories of Massapequa.

©2022 Jim Lemanowicz

Process notes
Random generation of one MIDI part, Ableton Live Suite 11

  • to focus more on the MIDI generation and effects here, I chose a preset for Live’s Wavetable device named “Drunken Flutters.”
  • added MIDI randomization of notes/velocity plus a scale quantizer and settled into a nice peaceful Hirajōshi scale meditation
  • I picked parameters I would change slowly when I hit record - wavefold distortion, the amount of notes being randomized and what notes I would change in the scale as the piece unfolded
  • Set up a resample audio track and I hit record, changed parameters until I ended up with a more distorted & chaotic piece - about 5 min long
  • Copied the resample to a new audio track, muted the other two, reversed, condensed it down to about 3:20 in the texture warp mode.
  • Added two more noisy Live devices - Erosion and Redux & drew in automation to reduce these near the end of the track
  • Added Reverb and Delay, did the opposite, adding more of each as it went.

Samples

  • added two slow stretched excerpts of outside birds and lawnmowers from 04/21 in panned stereo and faded them as the piece progressed

9 Likes

Back in the Paleolithic Era, Suss Müsik had a day job in a print shop. It was stressful, physically demanding work; the craft of mechanical reproduction requires meticulous attention to detail and firm adherence to bulk scheduling. It was not uncommon for tensions to erupt during the course of a working day: yelling, crying, illness, threats, even the occasional fistfight.

Still, there was also something comforting about the work’s repetitive nature: an almost soothing glow that takes over the mind and body, not unlike the euphoria experienced during vigorous exercise. One felt a sense of camaraderie, of being an essential component of a successful process. We were merely cogs in a machine, yes, but it was our machine and together we cultivated an ability to convert stress into sedation.

Walter Benjamin (author of the seminal essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction) once wrote: “The relationship between life and purposefulness reveals itself, seemingly obvious yet almost beyond the grasp of the intellect, only if the ultimate purpose toward which all single functions tend is sought not in its own sphere but in a higher one.” This piece attempts to explore this process of manifestation.

A sonic facsimile of mechanical process was “played” using a simple melody. The same melody was then replicated using a “breathy” glass harmonium voice, amplified into a rhythmic synth pattern. The effect is calming by nature, its native rigor gently evolving while not disrupting the pattern. The glitched voiceover is a recording of a factory worker, describing how he had been given a warning after arriving at work three minutes late during a snowstorm.

The piece is entitled Jeckel, named in honor of a former coworker who sadly passed away in 2013. This effort is dedicated to the the laughs, frustrations and wisdom we shared during our time together.

9 Likes

I was doing random sound design with Cataract 2. I had the randomization at just 10% so that the changes would not be intense but the piece would still evolve. I noticed that it went from a sort of calm sound toward chaos and remembered the Junto project. So I reversed the recording. I set up a few reverbs to gradually go from 0-100% Mix and a low pass filter to go from 12k to around 200. Then the real challenge was to tackle a lot of harsh frequencies, which I think I did a decent job of. I can’t say I really like it but it completes the assignment.

6 Likes

I took a bunch of loops I made and ran them through fx chains to create a cacophony then stripped away the samples and dialled down the fx. The whole process was very calming to carry out although I wouldn’t recommend using the track for ASMR

8 Likes

Chill by degrees [disquiet0538]

By a strange bit of synchronicity (always sounds better than ‘coincidence’), I was already working on something inspired by this same concept.

Very simple, just a short burst of sound culled from a work in progress, subjected to many passes through Audacity’s “Sliding Stretch” and further enhanced by modified sections of drone sourced from the stretched results. Some unexpected rhythmic pulses appear as well, adding to the fun.

6 Likes

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Awesome prompt; thank you Marc.

My main idea was to use rhythm as a guide to regulate the mind-body, for the very obvious reason that heart rate naturally falls as one relaxes into a meditative state. During a panic attack, heart rate can go around 200 bpm. That’s a bit extreme, but it’s a bpm I have never used so I started at that number. A relaxed, peaceful state usually has the heart beating around 60 pm. Lower than this can be unhealthy sometimes. I automated the tempo to go from 200 to 60 bpm within a few minutes. If I were really designing this for actual application, I would spread it more across time but I usually strive for relative short and listenable pieces.

For my last junto (536), I had really enjoyed using Hisschemöller’s Music Pattern Generator so I used it once again to create an Euclidean rhythmic pattern which triggered a drum patch of relatively short, snappy, clicky sounds I created with Microtonic. I created relatively unpleasant and pleasant versions of the same sounds (e.g., more vs. less distortion) and morphed gradually from the former to latter (Microtonic has a very nice “sound morph” slider that makes this very easy). I thought the chaotic fast-paced pattern represented the “monkey mind” well and I took advantage of the fact that the slower version no longer feels chaotic. Adding reverb to the rhythm section gradually was another thing I did. I kept the rhythm more at the center of focus (volume-wise).

Notes for melody were generated in NodeBeat (iOS), sending MIDI via rtpMIDI to Waveform. I recorded two such tracks and ran one into Ample Sound Cloudrum and the other (with some manipulation) into a sub bass sample from LABS. I applied distortion with Ruina (Noise Engineering) on the Cloudrum track and automated it to go from a distorted to non-distorted sound. I originally designed these to be in E major but somehow I think they ended up being in C# minor but it worked fine. I added a pad with just a few chords running into Surge XT.

8 Likes

Fin d’Orage - ‘the end of a storm’, uses dissonance, comprising about a dozen different string samples, to depict the chaos of a storm, which could be meteorological or emotional. The storm resolves to drops of rain falling from trees, represented by harp and bell sounds.

5 Likes

My first ever Junto submission :slight_smile:

Norns and 1010 Lemondrop, with some Hologram Microcosm.

It was really fun to do. Maybe should be longer, 2:30 not long enough to calm down??

7 Likes

By accident I today stumbled over the Sonic Texturizer by Mike Norris. It takes one sample at a time only and adds desynchronized voices to the output, while all these voices are based on this one sample. UI challenge: You can only add voices (1/20/100), so I thought: Why not use this to create something from quiet to wild and then reverse the output?

For this used three (reversed) samples. For every sample I created a track from silence to stress, lenght and dramaturgy by feeling. I added the sonicly texturized versions together in Reaper, reversed them again, and added some basic fx gimmickery.

The 3 samples: A longer loop I once recorded from a lent Mescaline (mostly sounding like crystalline pads and electronic errors). A 16sec loop with the flickering of a starting fluorescent lamp (mostly sounding like strange seagull noises). A fresh 23sec loop with some pops from the Bastl Softpop2 (very water-like till the end). The result was way better then expected. May it calm someone…

7 Likes

Hi guys,

It’s been a while!

I needed some decompression so I made a submission this week. It begins with fragile nerves and stressfull chaotic strains of thought. Everything is tense and unstable, but it gradually transcends into a slower tempo, finishing with calm nostalgia smash. I used Arturia’s OB-Xa for most of it and some recordings of trains and/or is it birds(?)
I had a grand initial idea, but it mushroomed into someting too complex, so I had to cut some corners due to time. However, it was fun making the assignment and the piece ended up with the intended feeling.

Hope everyone is well.

5 Likes

My idea was to write a piece with a few movements that brings together various instruments for a diverse sonic palette.

It was an opportunity to use a couple of new items, but first I had a decompression of my own to undertake.

The Junto instructions arrived as I was preparing for the 1000km drive home from the coast.

This ended up being somewhat inverted in the piece, as a recording of the waves concludes my musical journey.

4 Likes

Wavefolded and distorted piano, electric bass, ANA2, Felt Ciemno and Arturia Augmented Strings Intro morphs decompresses to piano, Ciemno and strings and some Valhalla Shimmer.

5 Likes

This was again a perfect inspiration!
Thinking about where to start and where to go I thought of chaotic traffic as starting point and underwater calm as goal. I searched and found appropriate fieldrecordings on freesound. I enhanced the underwater recording by using two instances of MultiTap Delay.
Then I started at the beginning, building a stressful environment. I looked for metallic and “strenuous” sounds in the Cubase Mediabay, built some instruments (Padshop and Sampler Track), and started to compose a section for this situation. Then I proceeded to the next sections, step by step, slowing down the tempo, thinning out the drums, replacing sounds, finding new harmonies and melodies…
I had no clear goal how to structure the track, I only wanted to terminate with piano-sounds, so I introduced some Hauschka Toolkit sounds as in-between step before finishing with the new Cubase Verve piano and (again) a little bit of (Olafur Arnalds) Stratus.
In the end time was running out, so some transitions are not completely worked out. And I had difficulties exporting the track since my computer did run short of memory…

5 Likes