Disquiet Junto Project 0541: 10BPM Techno

This post popped up at disquiet.com/0541 (thanks, powers of automation!) shortly after 12:10am Pacific Time on May 12, and then at twitter.com/disquiet a little further along. (I was asleep.) The email containing those instructions went out via tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto later in the morning, after I woke up).

. . .

Just this past week, the Junto explored 5/4 time. This week we’re playing music at 10BPM. Next week’s project will be a third numerically inspired one, courtesy of an idea proposed by Alan Bland (aka @morgulbee).

The week’s project originated with a mistake. I’d seen an advertisement for an event and it said something about it being a “10PM show.” I misread that as a “10BPM” show. I’m still not going out to shows, myself, but either way, a 10BPM show is an enticing concept, a kind of corollary to a silent discos or overnight sleep concerts.

Misreading can be a key creative tool, a source of inspiration. Misreading is difficult to engineer, though, which is why we’ve never really had a misreading-themed Junto project. However, a theme inspired itself by misreading is pretty close. Hope you enjoy participating.

We’ve done one 10BPM project before in the Disquiet Junto, back in mid-September 2017, inspired by the 10 BPM Dance Club from One Take Records:

https://disquiet.com/2017/09/21/disquiet-junto-project-0299-10bpm-waltz/

For that 2017 project, we made waltzes in 3/4 time. (Longtime Junto regular Jason [@bassling] Richardson of Australia noted that the last time we did this project was the first time he realized that Ableton Live’s BPM bottomed out at 20BPM.) This time, so to speak, we’re making 10BPM techno, presumably in 4/4, but certainly following your own drummer’s beat.

Also, please not that there are two proposed “options” for this week’s 10BPM project, more on which below.

And thanks, as always, for your generosity with your time and creativity.

. . .

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, May 16, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, May 12, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0541: 10BPM Techno
The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.

There are two ways to do this project.

Option 1: Record some 10BPM techno.

Option 2: Record what you imagine it would sound like to attend a club event of 10BPM techno, including crowd noise.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0541” (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 “disquiet0541” (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-0541-10bpm-techno/

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, May 16, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, May 12, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you. Slow doesn’t necessarily mean long.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0541” 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 541st weekly Disquiet Junto project – 10BPM Techno (The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats) – at: https://disquiet.com/0541/

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-0541-10bpm-techno/

Image used thanks to this license: Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Grapevinesnail_01.jpg.

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When Marc tweeted he’d misread 10PM Show as 10BPM Show, I had an idea it’d be the Junto assignment.

We did one like this a while back and it was then that I discovered Ableton Live only goes down to 20 BPM.

It turns out my JX-08 also only goes down that far.

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And the project is now live.

Creative misreading is a great form of inspiration, like I got Bassling from hassling.

In relation to sound I’ve seen a similar idea described as a “miraculous agitation,” which seems kinda prolix but I remember enjoying the article.

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Stream Disquiet0541 - Black Hole Vacation by Bobo Lavorgna | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

10BPM Techno - Anders lays down a heavy, 10 BPM drum track, and BatU layers a warm Arp Pad synth arpeggio track, accompanied by delicious Galactic Layers on a journey to their Black Hole Vacation

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Thought this would be a fun exercise as someone that enjoys techno and sometimes makes music in that style. I will admit to finding the whole thing disconcerting. It reminded me of a Youtube video I watched recently in which the presenter examined the limits of the human brain to “feel a groove”. Turns out the slowest BPM our brains can track is around 30 BPM, depending on the person. So, at 10 BPM, this really messes with your head. I found myself hearing the individual sounds and not so much how they related to each other. It is difficult to experience it as music, but I do see a value in recognizing these limits. The title, “Good luck” is a reference to trying to dance to it, good luck.

Technical things. I tried to approach this as I would a techno track at a “normal” BPM and work in the same manner. I did use a good bit of delay and reverb to fill in some of the space, this might be cheating, but it is something I do often, even in techno. I found it difficult to actual compose the track and kind of gave up after a bit as I don’t think I have the skills to make this sound good. I find the end result rather awful as far as music goes, but also that reaction helps highlight some of the things that makes techno work when done well.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0541: 10BPM Techno
The Assignment: Make some snail-paced beats.
Option 1: Record some 10BPM techno.

For this weeks project I chose option 1.
I used Logic Pro (it goes all the way down to 5BPM), two instances of SonicVibes Microtonic, time stretched samples and various synth plugins. Trying to make something this slow was interesting, the space between things is more apparent and made the sound selection more important, the space needed “space”. Its only 16 bars long but runs for just over 7 minutes… It’s quite the dirge, with a few moments that reminded me of a certain soundtrack…

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High Pasture. No one here?? But the wind is a crowd.

Beat from Sub37. Skimmed off the peaks with FAC Envolver to make some Dm notes and send them to the Hydrasynth. Then some cowpoke showed up with a guitar.

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I relate to this! After a bit of mucking around I basically surrendered on the actual music and worked on the second option of trying to make it sound at least a little like being in a 10BPM club night.

I wrote a sequence at a normal-ish techno tempo, then slowed down the master tempo in my DAW to 10bpm. (Technically, Bitwig goes down to 20bpm, so I slowed it to 20bpm then highlighted all the midi clips and stretched them to double what they were.)

I used convolution to feed the whole mix through a night club’s PA, using some free impulse responses.

I mixed the music with crowd and bar noise recordings from freesound.

I faded the thing in and out, to give a bit more of a feeling of just a captured recording of a club night - and, to be honest, because I was finding the thing boring to listen to. Techno typically evolves slowly, in blocks of 16 or so bars, and while I didn’t quite stick to that, I thought it wouldn’t feel like it was really 10bpm if I messed with the structure or elaborated in the gaps once I slowed the thing down. But, yeah, I think this desire to make it “really” 10bpm also makes it disconcerting, as @melondruie wrote.

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Made beat in about 138BPM. Slowed down. Adjusted envelopes. Done.
(Sorry! It’s 12BPM. Checked in Audacity… )

FL Studio starts at 10BPM. Had to check… :eyes:

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As Ableton Live does not go below 20BPM, I stretched the midi to make it 10BPM. Very interesting to see how different the listening experience is when you slow down a beat that drastically!

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A common trope among social media posts are videos with enticing clickbait titles, such as: “Homeless Person Sits Down At Piano, Then THIS Happened.” The reveal is that the figure at the public piano is actually a professional musician. These scenes typically take place at a shopping mall, where an impromptu audience is delighted by the player’s unexpected dexterity.

Franco Bifo Berardi reminds us that “The goal of the [analyst] is to give him/her the possibility to see other landscapes, and to change the focus, to open some new ways of imagination.” One might imagine the reaction at Carnegie Hall if a virtuoso flubbed a performance so badly that it bordered on an Andy Kaufman skit.

This is why Suss Müsik cannot fathom a dance club scenario in which techno music plays at 10BPM. It’s not impossible, however, for such an event to occur in a setting such as a shopping mall. And rather than a DJ playing electronic techno music, it might be a very strange string quartet attempting to fit their odd time signatures within that 10BPM timestamp.

This is the approach Suss Müsik took with this week’s project. A series of four cyclical phrases were played on fake violin, fake cello, fake harp and fake dulcimer. A single strike of a mallet keeps time in 10BPM; meanwhile, the instruments are bowed and plucked in 1/64 and 1/128 to give a sense of movement. The constant repetition is perhaps a nod to techno’s reliance on looped beats.

All of this happens in front of a bewildered audience of mall shoppers (courtesy of public domain audio), who would just as soon be left alone in the food court without this distraction. Then again, as Violet Trefusis once wrote, perhaps it’s true that “love thrives on indifference” and some appreciation would be detected. Maybe we’ll try it one day.

The piece is titled Trefusis. The image may or may not be a shopping center somewhere in the US.

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OK- haven’t had time or brain space to take part in these for a while but oddly BECAUSE I’ve already made a piece at 10bpm before this one sucked me in (Marc replying ‘yes’ to my speculation I maybe should do a piece didn’t help :wink: )

You can read more about the creative aspect here Dancer on the plateau — junklight (yes I’m going old school with a blog again)

On the technical side:

The beats are my new Syntakt - as I’m sure everyone in this thread is aware 10bpm is sloooowww absolutely nothing happens. In particular high hats don’t work at all (well not for me anyway).

As with the last time I tackled this I found the whole Sunn O))) and Earth approach drawing me in. This is no exception - although this time around it was more Dylan Carlson than Sunn O))). However I needed something to make it techno alongside the beat - so that’s the Syntakt driving the WMD Synchrodyne (which is just nuts - love it) though a the Noise Engineering Viol Ruina.

Then the “guitar” sound is the Argon 8 though Box of Metal, Particle 2 and Slö guitar pedals played on my brand new Linnstrument. I got utterly fed up of Roli and I wish I’d made the switch sometime ago. The Linnstrument is straight forward, super playable and I’m finding is really nice with the Argon 8

I did an overdub with the Schlappi Interstellar radio through Valhalla delay for the background noises. You can be rest assured I was doing proper “metal” faces while making all those noises…

The big struggle I had, especially since my timing is pretty rubbish at the best of times, was counting THAT slowly for the ‘guitar’ part. There were a lot of versions with “shredding” just to get it out of my system before recording it :slight_smile:

Play it so loud your room shakes and play it super quietly - I find both work really well!

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I made a short piece of 128 bpm techno, then timestretched it by a factor of 12.8 until it turned into roaring, whooshing ambient textures.

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Magnificent ending ! I ran it thru the studio speakers and slowly blew the roof off!

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Recorded two bars of “acoustic techno” at 130 bpm (faintly heard at the end of the piece) and stretched it to 10 bpm using Logic’s smart tempo. Mashed up the audio a bit and added guitar part.

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Hey All,
BPM is a relative term. It all depends on where you put the one and that one is hard to find at 10 bpm. It becomes all most impossible as I learned when I tried to clap along to it.
I did a track last night inspired by my son’s shiny patent leather shoes for prom. It entered my subconscious and resurfaced as “Venus in Furs” by VU when I was thinking what to sing to what I had. That track seemed to be slowed down but nowhere near 10 bpm.
I took that track and pitched it way down to get close to 10 bpm. I added some of that same track with fx added that added some high end to it like ring modulations and panned them around in the stereo field.
I also took that and warped it to BPM but for some reason ableton live makes the BPM lower the faster you warp it. I have no idea why that happens when others have stated ableton does not go below 20 bpm. I took a pic for proof I am not a homicidal liar.
Screen Shot 2022-05-13 at 5.21.06 PM
Anyhow, I did crossfading with the fast track with the slow and penciled in little cut ins on it and it ending up sounding like this.

NON_SUBMISSION
Here is the track I did last night if anyone is curious for a “Venus In Furs” cover.

Hope all are well Peace, Hugh

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I went with Option 1.

I started in Logic by taking an algorithmically generated drum loop at 150BPM. I then exported this and changed the BPM - very crudely - in Audacity to an obliterated 10BPM version of itself. This is the rippling, jittery percussive sound heard throughout.

I then pulled this audio into Logic again and set up a new algorithm pattern at 10BPM with a basic kick and percussion pulse ‘following’ the bass it hears in the obliterated drum sound. I wanted to make the kick as transparent as possible, so that the 1 on the 10BPM was evident.

I overdubbed some synth textures and then committed some vocals to it.

For the vocal, I intentionally sang flat/sharp into a pitch-corrector, so I got a wobbly melody that sounded very digital. I then exported this vocal track, stretched it in Audacity and brought it back into Logic. I then cut it up and layered it into a three-part harmony with the second and third voices pitched up and down respectively. A bus channel with some cavernous room reverb was included in the post along with copious amounts of squashed compression. Whew!

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I made a handful of tracks in late 2020 as demos for the Portage Garage Sounds label. Since I am not really a techno producer, writing for a techno label was fun and challenging. When Marc announced this 10bpm techno theme, I immediately thought of these unreleased tracks, and on reviewing them, this one (written on Christmas Day) seemed like an especially good choice. All that was done in terms of editing was cutting the extreme lows and boosting the highs and some high-mids, plus compression and limiting in order to match a reference PGS track.

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