Disquiet Junto Project 0552: The Radio in My Life

And it’s time for another collaboration with Musikfestival Bern, thanks to @TobiasReber. This post was due to pop up at disquiet.com/0552 (powers of automation willing) around 12:10am Pacific Time on July 28, but the automation didn’t work, so I posted it manually around 6:30am, and then announced it on twitter.com/disquiet and sent out the email instructions via tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto.

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, August 1, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

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

Disquiet Junto Project 0552: The Radio in My Life
The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation.

This project is the second 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.

Step 1: There’s a great moment in the recorded conversations of composers John Cage and Morton Feldman when they discuss a trip to the beach. Feldman isn’t pleased by the way transistor radios let music, and sound in general, appear in places it hadn’t previously. Cage jokes that having composed music that involves multiple radios, whenever he hears them he thinks, “[W]ell, they’re just playing my piece.” You can listen to it in the first 2.5 minutes of this excerpt:

https://youtu.be/chEvxoypyUo

Step 2: Think about Cage and Feldman’s conversation, in particular about the idea of what is and isn’t a sonic “intrusion” in our lives.

Step 3: Record a piece of music that reproduces or otherwise suggests the sympathetic (i.e., non-intrusive) commingling of radio and everyday sound.

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0552” (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 “disquiet0552” (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-0552-the-radio-in-my-life/

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, August 1, 2022, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, July 28, 2022.

Length: The length is up to you.

Title/Tag: When posting your tracks, please include “disquiet0552” 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 552nd weekly Disquiet Junto project – The Radio in My Life (The Assignment: Record music in response to a John Cage and Morton Feldman conversation) – at: https://disquiet.com/0552/

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-0552-the-radio-in-my-life/

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The project is now live.

Leon Clowes · somethings won't erase - disquiet0552

Hi, this is the first time I’ve made an entry to Disquiet Junto.

I took old audio cassettes where I’d recorded music off the radio in the mid 1980s and blend three things I’ve never found recordings of since: Gershwin’s funeral march (from Radio 4 maybe?), Richard Rodney Bennett’s Siesta (arrange for piano and theremin I think) and the Brylcreem TV ad. Overlayed on this are the annoying bits where the radio presenters talk over the music. Presumably to stop people like me making pirate recordings. These were bits I couldn’t/wouldn’t erase as I wanted the whole track (often live sessions).

Felt this fitted with the Cage / Feldman conversation (great to have a link to that, thanks) as I was consciously blending radio memories that surpass time beyond their brief broadcast and these clips have personal poignancy as moments preserved on something fragile, which I’ve melded here to create something new.

thanks. looking forward to hearing other contributions and feedback very welcome.

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I’ve been listening to the classical radio station this year.

It started when I fatigued of hearing news headlines while driving to work.

One day I got frustrated with the repetitions of grabbed snippets, switched over to an instrumental and felt muscles relax across my brow.

When the Junto arrived I looked at the lightening sky and decided to use whatever was being broadcast after I got to Mark Taylor ovals.

Then I added subtle reverb and more birdsong.

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hello.

i decided to work on this project after not participating for a couple of weeks (and before that, it had been a number of years). i was stumped for ideas in #549, in #550 i did not entirely understand what was meant by a ‘graphic score’ (and only began to comprehend it when i saw examples, by which time i’d left it too late to do the project) and #551 simply passed me by due to extreme heat conditions here making it very hard to focus on anything.

in any case, the idea of this week’s project appealed to me, and i had been feeling depressed, so i thought working on a relatively simple piece might help me to feel better. (i always try and complete the junto projects as quickly as possible; there is some quote somewhere about how acting decisively and going with your first thought in an artistic piece can often be better than deliberating over every aspect.)

anyway, i listened to the relevant part of the conversation between cage and feldman (though not the full thing; i didn’t have 4 hours spare) and the key terms stuck in my mind of “beach” and “radio”. i got to thinking that both of these often have quite a lot of white noise (in the sense of the waves at the beach, and static on the radio - though i suppose that’s less of a thing with digital stations) and i thought that could lead to a rather ambient kind of piece. perhaps it fits with the previous project i did, which was to make drone music out of the sound of your voice.

my first port of call was freesound.org where i went looking for field recordings/soundscapes/ambiences of beaches, and radio recordings, seeing as i can’t readily make such things myself. i chose somewhat arbitrarily; once i’d settled on an appropriate license (creative commons 0 in this case) i simply picked ones that were of an appropriate length and had an appealing waveform.

once i had a selection of samples (i decided, again rather arbitrarily, to have three each of beach ambience and radio sounds) i brought them into acid pro, because i still haven’t got around to learning a better daw. once the beatmapper had done its magic, the suggested tempo of 100bpm made the piece longer than i desired at almost 8 minutes, so i tweaked that to shorten the piece to around 5 minutes. i alternated tracks between the two types and panned them around the stereo field to give a sense of fullness. i also tweaked the levels as the volume between the different samples was inconsistent, as you’d expect with them being from completely different sources.

next i applied effects to each of the tracks. i used grain effects (arturia efx fragments, audiority grainspace) on the beach sounds because they were already quite ‘ambient’ in nature (plus, perhaps some play on grains of sand…) but used more glitchy kinds of effects (sugar bytes looperator and effectrix) on the radio recordings; more than one of them had the creator switching through frequencies which is inherently quite a glitchy sort of sound.

once that was done i set up the master bus. i wanted to make this a very spacious sounding track, so i started with dj swivel’s spread to bring up the width. next, i used the audio damage eos2 reverb to absolutely drench the whole sound in reverb and add to the ambient nature of the piece (it’s a very nice plugin for doing just that). i also added some light mastering with izotope ozone and neutron, then ran the flac through platinum notes to get it properly normalised.

the last two steps were the title and the artwork. for the title, i looked up the key words of the project title, ‘radio’ and ‘life’, in a thesaurus, and came up with ‘transmission’ and ‘flesh and blood’ respectively. a simple ‘of’ joined the terms together and i thought this perhaps conveyed that a real person is making these sounds, they’re not generated artificially.

what was made artificially was the artwork. i fed the track title and some keywords into nightcafe studio and generated a rather unsettling image. (previously i would google image search the song title and steal the first thing that looked nice; this way involves less potential copyright issues).

so this is my piece. sorry for the rather long post, but i guess i had a lot to talk about this time. i look forward to seeing what other people do with the idea.

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Here’s a piece with software defined radio recordings I made. These sounds are combined with Teletype and JF. The SDR dongle used was this one https://www.rtl-sdr.com/about-rtl-sdr/ with the software SDR sharp. Being able to choose filter types and record within the software is very useful for creating interesting textures for use in tracks. :slight_smile:
The teletype script, a probability based sequencer used with JF by @zsazsaroboto can be found here
@disquiet Apologies, I messed up by tagging my track incorrectly. I have now corrected this.

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This piece is composed from various tracks I’ve created over the last 10 years or so.

The piece, for me, represents the musician/creator as ‘antenna’ … absorbing the broadcasts of others around them; trying to tune in to those elements that attract them whilst tuning out that which doesn’t spark interest, the aim being not to create something which says this is how it must be but rather serve up the pieces of a jigsaw suggesting that there is something here of interest if you allow your mind to enter that often elusive, ‘free-association’ state.

Technically -
Each track is subject to one of five ‘master’ amplitude curves; 89 bars long with a peak at 8,13, 21, 34, or 55 bars. They are then gathered in groups of 5 with each of the member tracks being shaped by a different curve. Each group of five is then displaced by a duration of 8, 13, 21, 34, and 55 bars respectively. Finally, within each curve the track is subjected to further amplitude modulation controlled by an LFO, the frequency of which falls within the range of 32 bars to 1/16 bar - arranged symmetrically around a central track.

It was a compositional choice to neither add background sounds nor degrade the quality of the source material to sound like broadcast media as, for me, it was the effect of dipping into recognisably structured sounds in a random manner that most accurately put my own ‘listener’s ears’ into a situation similar to that of hearing multiple radios/sound sources impinging on my own listening space, or scanning through music channels on either tv or radio. When you play this music at a reasonable volume you will also get the ‘bonus track’ of your own ‘everyday soundscape’ all around you which will give it that uniquely personal context. :slight_smile:

Too much info? :slight_smile:

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the radio task is great
i went to the green with radio and guitar
made my own environment nice with playing guitar
then came the red radio

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This was fun. I thought about intrusions. Mostly it’s the loud street in front of my window and kids running in the flat above mine and people shouting at Siri, Alexa and OKgoogle in the backyard.

I checked my field recordings and there it was: the f… church bells. A bad ambient track, repeated relentlessly every sunday, never changing, a transcendent single-track playlist …

I threw the field recoding of the bells into deCoda, and it calculated Aminor and 84bpm. I started a track from scratch with these parameters and improvised some beats and pads. The idea was to have a peaceful ambient track … that could be disturbed by acoustic intrusion of the church bells.

The track seemed finished when I read the algorithm again and listened to the Cage-Feldman-Talk. I liked the pure oddity of the first minutes, so I added some parts of the beginning, accepting that this will draw focus to the conversation, so I didn’t care that you don’t understand much.

Next sunday at seven, they will play my track …

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I really like this idea, and love the conversation between Cage and Feldman, but I think my idea of what it would sound like is a lot better than the actual track :joy:.

I thought of Cage’s 12 radios and recorded twelve snippets from random stations on Radio Garden. Then I added in beach noise, and then I ran it all through Primal Tap and Augustus Loops.

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Hey All,
I had first read the prompt and thought it was sounds that you hear everyday and nature together and did a track for that but when I reread it it had to do more with radio specifically so i did another track.
I used sounds from freesound(see SC description)
I also used an old track of mine and put and eq filter on it to get more of a radio sound for it. I reused the bird sounds since I like birds but I had to pitch them way down otherwise it annoys me very much. hope all are well.

NON-SUBMISSION Here is the first one I did if anyone wanted to check it out

Peace, Hugh

5 Likes

An exploration of noise and minimalist music using AM radio, a field recording of various birds, and a generous amount of audio processing. The original idea was to interlay various phrases from AM radio announcers throughout the composition, but this would have been too distracting. Instead, I looked for a more suitable AM station using the following criteria:

  1. Another sonic element other than static must be present
  2. Avoid any station with a recognizable instrument or voice
  3. Take advantage of AM radio’s low audio fidelity

After much searching, I came across a station that fulfilled all of the requirements. It quickly became apparent that the glitchy grooves coming through the speakers were radically different from what the song’s creator(s) actually recorded; the limited technology of AM radio transformed their piece of music beyond recognition.

My submission takes advantage of these unintentional obfuscations from AM radio, resulting in a soundscape that manages to be both unobtrusive and (in my humble opinion) fairly interesting.

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And the playlist is now rolling:

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Radios. transistors, primitive people, rock’n’roll, intrusions, transitional points, noise of the environment…
Anthropology and sociology of the contemporary musician in the 60s and 70s.

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Tarapia Tapioco

When I first read this week’s call I wanted to elaborate on my aesthetic assumptions as Ossimuratore that verbal communication is corrupted music.

I was a bit struggling until I listened to @Marco_Marongiu’s INTRUSIONS. This made me realize something odd about my musical education: as many italian kids grown up in the seventies and eighties I didn’t study english until middle school, so I used to listen to a lot of foreign pop and rock music without understanding a word of the lyrics.

In this track I use an exerpt from a cult italian movie called Amici Miei where Conte Mascetti gives what has been since then popularized in Italy as supercazzola (i.e. gimmerick italian used to persuade someone).

The idea is that gimmerick language, by dropping its semantic transport function, can retain musical significance.

Made with NI Maschine+

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Thanks for the quote!

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So I first listened to the opening of the discussion of Feldman and Cage.
And I must admit if there is one thing I hate is when somebody brings a radio on the beach :wink: I rather enjoy the sound of the waves.

But I always love the idea of ‘scrolling through small segments of music and sounds’, whether it is listening to shortwave radio, or listening in the evening at my balcony to sounds outside, or small segments of audio in a film.
I think ‘Rear Window’ from Alfred Hitchcock has such great transitions of music and sounds, and ‘Himmel uber Berlin’ from Wim Wenders has that too.

I just recorded some sounds at my balcony, sounds of wind through leaves, and music and sounds from my old radio and sounds from a radio app in my mobile where you can scroll the world, zooming in and out of sounds, and WebSDR. Then finally I added some chords on my keyboard with a sampled strings sound. Play on soft volume [Disquiet 0552 - The Radio in My Life] | Michel Banabila

I am terribly sorry I did not check here first before deleting my Junto tracks on soundcloud, if I could actually replace them with bandcamp versions: it turned out you can not edit posts here that are older then a certain time, I could only edit my very last post. From now on I will use bandcamp instead of soundcloud.

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While listening to the two gentlemen speak, I thought: why not do it the other way around? I record me just randomly turning the dial of an AM radio, staying when it is kind of interesting, otherwise searching. I put these different recordings together, as if they were playing at the same time throughout the night’s sky. But then, I created the scenery for these recordings by trying to fit an abstract, atmospheric soundscape to them, very artificially.

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When I read the prompt, the first thing I thought of was driving through Nebraska and hearing an announcement of corn and soybean prices on the radio. The landscape was cultivated, and the airwaves were filled with commentary on that cultivation.

I sampled, granulated, and looped some online Nebraska radio, fading it in and out of filtered noise to simulate the ambience of a car ride.

6 Likes