Disquiet Junto Project 0550: Abrupt Probability

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, July 18, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 14, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0550: Abrupt Probability
The Assignment: Make music based on a chance graphic score.

This project is the first of three that are being done in collaboration with the 2022 Musikfestival Bern, which will be held in Switzerland from September 7 through 11. The topic this year is “unvermittelt,” which is a little tricky to translate. Literally it’s “unmediated,” but it can also mean “sudden,” “abrupt,” or “immediate.”

We are working at the invitation of Tobias Reber, an early Junto participant, who is in charge of the educational activities of the festival. This is the fourth year in a row that the Junto has collaborated with Musikfestival Bern.

Select recordings resulting from these three Disquiet Junto projects will be played and displayed throughout the festival.

Also, if you post your graphic score (see below) for this week’s project, it will be considered for display at the festival, either in public viewing box or in the Cage Room.

Step 1: Consider the nature of everyday randomness.

Step 2: Devise a situation (thrown coins, drained tea leaves, patterns in condensation, etc.) that depicts randomness visually.

Step 3: Take a photo of the chance-inducing scenario you decided upon in Step 2.

Step 4: Edit the photo from Step 3 to create a graphic score.

Step 5: Create an original piece of music that is an interpretation of the score you created in Step 4.

Also: When posting the track, describe a bit of your thinking and process.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0550” (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 “disquiet0550” (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-0550-abrupt-probability/

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, July 18, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 14, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you. Maybe leave it to chance?

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0550” 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 550th weekly Disquiet Junto project – Abrupt Probability (The Assignment: Make music based on a chance graphic score) – at: https://disquiet.com/0550/

Thanks to Tobias Reber and Musikfestival Bern for collaboration on this project. More on the festival at:

https://www.musikfestivalbern.ch/

https://www.instagram.com/musikfestival_bern

https://www.facebook.com/musikfestivalbern

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-0550-abrupt-probability/

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And the project is live. Thanks, @TobiasReber, for the invitation!

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I’ve taken four images, displaying the randomness in nature - boards from a deck, a flower, the sky and 3 pigeons on a roof, and enhanced, extracted and encoded random figures from it. (See the accompanying image).

The resulting sequences of numbers are used either as rhythmical or pitch “notes” - and everything is scaled around A Super-Locrian scale. Four tracks are thus constructed (theme, bass, pads and bd) around these encodings.

I’ve added small fx and extra “pulsing rhythms” for interest.

This are the “clean images”

These are the “enhanced and encoded” images:

Thank you for a fun prompt…

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Brain Wafers - Abrupt Probability - disquiet0550: As I walked around the side of the house, this lily blossom was looking directly at me. It caught me by surprise, and threw my orientation askew. I captured with my camera, brought it into SnapSeed and mirrored the image. When I read Marc’s description for this project, this image and this happenstance - this abrupt probability - is all I could visualize. The accompanying track is inspired by the image and the happenstance. I used a simple percussion track, a classic Wurlitzer piano track, and two guitar tracks representing the petals of the flower.

Stream Brain Wafers Disquiet0550 Abrupt Probability by Bobo Lavorgna | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

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There was an incident at Suss Müsik headquarters this past week. During the overnight hours, a bird appeared to have met its abrupt demise as the result of an encounter with another animal—a cat or raccoon, perhaps. Nature is cruel and often mysterious. “[It is] in the womb of nature,” wrote the artist Paul Klee, “at the source of creation, where the secret key to all lies guarded.”

Dunno about that … but whatever took place, Suss Müsik’s porch was the stage for an ornithological unvermittelt featuring a random arrangement of blood, feathers, and at least one disembodied talon. Darwin might have described the scene as one species demonstrating “injurious variations” over another; in other words, natural selection at work. For Suss Müsik, it was an unexpected opportunity to test the garden hose’s pressure-jet feature.

(Apologies to squeamish readers. There’s no way to describe this creative process without a few gory details).

For this week’s project, Suss Müsik began with a photograph of the debris described above. The image was rendered for high-contrast in order to isolate the lines of the porch floor and placement of organic matter. The blood splatters comprised a basic three-part chord structure. Ten feather clumps were divided into two sets of five; one was used to design an arpeggio for piano, the other as a motif for grain synth and second piano using particle refactoring.

The piece is titled Tatort, which translates to “crime scene” in German. It was recorded quickly to 8-track in July 2022. The bird deserved a better epitaph.



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first I took a black piece of paper and sprinkled ash on it
then I took a picture of it
I drew four lines
decided on four tone generation
determined the x/y parameters
then I recorded

the result was immediate
have fun listening

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So much great work. I started a Twitter thread to share the art:

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These are lovely just for the art alone.

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The playlist is now rolling:

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Graphic score based on interpretation of drained tea leaves.

Patch on my modular system is built on a repeating sequence of 8 triggers from which the pitch is also derived (Turing Machine) - on/off state initialised from the graphic score shown. Sequence flips in and out of double speed (intrinsic to patch, not part of score).

3 latching gates (gt1, gt2 and gt3) and two control voltages (cv1 and cv2)are used to control various parameters of the patch. These are also as shown in the graphic score and determined by arrangement of tea leaves.

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First I had no idea from where to draw my inspiration. When I looked into my bowl of cereals I recognized the random pattern there.

I took a photograph of the bowl and chose the middle “strip”. I interpeted that as an orchestral score showing when which instruments are playing. So I numbered all the different ingredients seen on this strip, repeating the number if the same ingredients was identified.

For every ingredient I chose a sound, for ease and lack of time two Hauschka Toolset sounds and then different Spitfire Labs instruments.
I set out to create the score in Cubase, just putting the graphic on the screen below the pianoroll and drawing the appropriate sections in Cubase. I created the harmonies as I proceeded from left to right and put them on complete bars and not the borders of the cereals to enforce harmonic changes while one sound was playing. I created the notes by drawing the Midi and often didn’t touch the pattern afterwards.

I thought some continuous sound was missing. I got the inspiration that the cereals remind me of a bed of a brook and added my first longer field-recording I made during a hike two week ago. I even uploaded it to freesound :grinning:

It is a great inspiration to search for graphical scores whereever one looks!

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Went for a walk today and was on the look out for random patterns having seen some of the posts here.
Then I saw a wooden post :slight_smile: . Upon closer inspection I noticed there was a pattern of nails in it. This pattern was used to create triggers within IanniX. The midi from IanniX went into loop midi. From there it went into Bespoke synth and UA lion synth and other vsts, effects. I randomly turned triggers on and off for variation.


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Apart from events like throwing dice, in my mind randomness is also a part of what makes things feel organic and natural. But sometimes it can emerge due to a malfunction, for instance when a man-made machine breaks down. I wanted to combine two examples of things I observed myself:

(1) Man and nature: I was visiting the Montreux Jazz Festival and when walking along the lake in the morning, I noticed some blocks that had been dropped and which had fallen randomly in place. Their position in turn makes the water ripple and bump in an irregular pattern that changes unpredictably based on wind and fluid dynamics. I made a recording of the sound which I used in the track.

(2) Man made but going wrong, malfunctioning: I bought something today and the machine that prints the ticket got into an error-state and it started outputting gibberish.

Both pictures I ran through the Vosis app, so I could use the generated sound in the track. The way I “read” the scores is: first the water and the rocks, top-down - the sound and the pattern inspires the notes and sounds, then the printer, left-to-right, with a crescendo at the end.

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I recently read the essay “Ritual and its Consequences” by Adam Seligman and Robert Weller.
In their typology of rituals, there is an “aleatoric” ritual, characterized by affirming roles (the diviner, the oracle, the composer, …) and at the same time subverting control of the self. So I conceived of a little “partitura divination” ritual which puts control over the outcome to a tool:

  1. I contemplated a little on “everyday randomness” as suggested. Most energy we spend every day goes into securing an outcome regardless of the random factors around it. Today I had to call a business associate to make sure a previously sent mail had arrived since we were having issues with mails in the past. So I spent time and resources on securing a “successful” communication in spite of random mail delivery problems. (Of course, if we investigated the matter thoroughly, there wouldn’t be anything random about it; some server or spam filter might just have a misconfiguration. Yet, for human beings with limited time and too much to do this problem can be regarded as “random problems” since we will never convice our respective IT departments to search for a causal connection. It might just be a ghost in our machines, for all practical purposes.)
  2. I chose a Lovecraft themed Tarot deck – part funny, part fishy, part creepy.
  3. I drew one card for the title and theme of the track: 6 of swords. The set of Swords tells the story of “The Dunwich Horror” in this deck. Unfortunately, the minor arcana aren’t named, but the card depicts (I guess) a midnight summoning by Wilbur Whateley and his grandfather. So the theme is clear and the title will be “Grampas Curse”.
  4. Next, I shuffled and drew 2 cards for an A and B part of the track. A: Page of Pentacles (story: “At the Mountains of Madness”), B: Wheel of Fortune (X).
  5. For each of these, I drew 4 cards to determine an 8-bar loop each, so every card stands for 2 bars of music.
  6. The result: a visual, random score which can be interpreted in many ways.

I included the rest of my process in the Soundcloud description.

Unfortunately, the thinking took all Friday afternoon; on Saturday I was busy celebrating my birthday; and after cleaning up on Sunday, I only had about 3 hours for the track. So I recycled old patches and samples and tried to make it fast. I’m not happy with some melodic decisions, but I had to call it a day.

I’d love to hear an interpretation of this score by someone else. I hope that’s next week’s assignment!

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Hello, here is my contribution:

wow so many elaborate graphical score interpretations. I spend most of my time with trying something technical, as in assigning lines and shapes and instruments and scanning the image, but I got angry with it.
Still I wanted to share this nicely random pile of trash made of very different materials, and was more or less happy with just looking at the picture while playing and layering some sounds to that. Some sounds express the material, some express the angle, some express the imagination of how the objects landed there. This is how the mind works.

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The 40th motorbike festival in Faro took place this weekend, and though this is not everyday randomness, I based my piece on a cellphone recording of the parade, which takes place on the Sunday when the festival bikers ( numbering over 40000 this year) drive through the streets, gunning their motors and honking their horns.
The noises are random, but of course all within a particular framework : the celebration.
I opened my cellphone recording of this cacophony in Audacity, made a screenshot of the wave form, and manipulated this variously in Gimp to get scores for three instruments. In the end I just used two of them, one for the bass and one for the quad synth, the recording from the parade is the third element of sound. Working from a score which doesn’t specify specific notes was a tough challenge – how to represent those shapes in sound ?

The image includes the festival logo and the bass line (black on white) and the quad synth part ( blue and white)

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Hey All,
Growing up in Tennessee a common term that I often heard was “junk drawer”. A junk drawer is a drawer, usually located in the kitchen, where all small things that don’t have a home but you don’t want to throw away go. I am sure this applies elsewhere and across cultures under a different name.
My junk drawer is a desktop where I put all the junk that accumulates in my pockets. I sort every so often and push the stuff I want to keep under the wooden shelf where I used to keep some of my music hardware. Here is a picture of it.


I used this as a starting to point to get some randomness going. I didn’t do any fancy diagramming of it. People that do that sort of thing do not have junk drawers because they have a place for everything. I am jealous of organized people but I find them hard to trust because something must be wrong with them.
I ended up with a big glitchy random mess but was not too into it. I converted that mess to midi and slowed it way down. I find that slow randomness builds tension and fast randomness is just chaos and the randomness gets lost.
I like the Stage-73 keys plug in from Arturia because of how the sustain decays on it. I also added some random drums that sounds like popcorn popping in the microwave which is a great random sound.
I come from a chaos country that is sometimes called the United States. The festival is in Switzerland. I think the festival will be well run and organized. People will put their garbage in the correct can and recycle all things recyclable. People may have too much beer but no one will get out of hand. The concept of randomness will explored but I doubt that any will make it a part of their daily routine. I want to live in Switzeland but my messy ass definitely belongs here on Planet Rando.
Hope all are well.

Peace, Hugh

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As an open water swimmer, I encounter randomness on a daily basis when I compare the tide & currents chart to the actual experience of swimming in the San Francisco Bay.

When I went for a swim on Saturday morning around 9:30AM, the current chart showed that slack was at 9:42 and max flood of 1.9 knots at 12:54. The information on the chart allows me to plan my course (e.g. head out before the flood tide becomes too strong and ride it back on my return) and prepare me psychologically. But the chart never holds the full picture. Us swimmers always collect information from those who just came back from the water and ask, “Is it coming in?” “Is it going out?” “How strong is the flood?” etc.

Then, you get in the water. And no matter what was on the chart and whatever other bay creatures said, your experience is always unique. So, that’s my daily randomness made into this piece.

I used the numbers from the chart and the letter F for flood to sketch out my melody, starting on the pitch F as 1, the starting point. Then, I set 9x 1 beat counts, 4x 2 beat counts, and 2x 3 beat counts moving 2, 5, and 4 half-steps. I set my starting bmp at 80 by dividing 190 (1.9F) by 2. I also recorded the sound of the water and swimmers’ conversations.

The piece starts with information gathering from the chart (melody & counterpoint) and a comment, “it’s moving pretty good,” meaning that the flood current is strong. The drum comes from the rhythm of the words, “it’s moving pretty good.” The swimmer’s words, “funny,” “obviously,” and “certainly” demonstrate his thought process as he takes in the information on the strong flood he’s about to face. There was a fog horn in the background of this recording. So I exaggerated that on the strings.

The final 1/3 of the piece is swimmer heading out, “Have a good swim!” “We’ll keep an eye out for that orange hat.” And the sound material develops into the swimmer’s own experience, remnants of information from the chart and all transformed into something familiar but different as you swim.

There’s more I could’ve added - the wind factor, the air & water temperatures, etc. - maybe for next time! I love the randomness of the water - every single time I go swim, it’s different. It’s also always scary and cold, no matter how long you’ve been swimming for. Facing that fear is one of my favorite things.

Update Aug 1 - I guess I was visually inspired? I made a comic based on the piece - our cats acting as swimmers.


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My mind was transfixed, as I stared into the coffee drip scum of madness. I heard low and dirty brown tones surrounded by high punchy radial slides.

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