Disquiet Junto Project 0562: Sheep Music

hello.

i enjoyed working on this project; i have always been interested by the subject of sleep and dreams and often try to reflect some element of that in my music.

by coincidence, i’d had the melody of a lullaby stuck in my head for a week or so before the project went out, and so my initial thought was to try and recreate that. it turns out (once i did a search for ‘lullaby midi’, hoping to find something to easily incorporate into a track) that the lullaby in my head was brahms’ wiegenlied. while it was stuck in my head i made up some lyrics for it and was originally going to use these in the piece, but eventually decided against it.

my concept was quite simple: i thought what if i played the lullaby, but extremely slowed down, to make a very ambient piece, maybe adding in some other subtle elements as well. i brought the midi into bitwig studio, and my first thought was to use karanyi’s lofi keys instrument (which i had recently bought) to make a nice gentle keyboard sound. i made a duplicate of the midi track and set this one up with arturia’s analog lab v, i wanted to use a synth pad this time but it took me a while to find one i really liked.

however when i played it back it seemed too quick and still sounded too coherently like the original composition, even though i had slowed the tempo from 110 bpm to a mere 30. bitwig studio has a feature where you can scale timeline events to preset values or arbitrarily; i’d previously used this to speed up/slow down samples, but i did not realise that it could also be applied to midi events. i scaled the midis to 200% and this was satisfyingly slow without completely losing the sense of the original composition. i also added in two identical tracks (panned opposite each other) of some free ambient beds samples i’d got from ghosthack, to give the piece a fuller sound.

i started adding effects (grain effects and reverbs on the ambient beds, mostly reverbs on the midi tracks) but even then it felt like there was something just slightly missing. i realised that bitwig had some built-in note effects that could be applied to tracks with midi events, and i decided to try those out. i used the ‘humanize’ device on the track with the lofi keys, and used ‘bend’ and ‘note delay’ on the one with the synth pad. this made it sound better, as did adding in a variation on the mastering chain i’d used for an ambient/drone project i’d been working on.

during the course of making this, i realised that it was essentially a companion piece/follow-up to something i’d made about 10 years ago, for junto project 20: narcoleptic’s lullaby. this had been very well received and i felt a sense of hope that this new piece might be well liked as well.

i went to the thesaurus to come up with a title, and i wanted to call it something similar to the older piece, but not just call it part 2. i came up with ‘broken-down berceuse’, which is to some extent synonymous with the older title, and the alliteration pleased me.

for the art again i went to nightcafe; i see many others have used ai art to accompany their pieces this week, and i feel like the results of that art often have something of the quality of dreams, especially in that they often seem to show something vaguely familiar.

overall i’m happy with my piece. it’s a very gentle and soft track, and i’ve been enjoying those kinds of styles recently. i feel like it also has a personal element: like narcoleptic’s lullaby, there’s a bit of a hazy, medicated feel to it, and for many years now i’ve had to take prescription tablets to help me sleep; if i’m not able to fall asleep fairly quickly, i can often become pretty zoned out. talking of, i need to get to bed. goodnight friends.

eta: for a while i got hung up on that one word in the prompt, ‘record’. to me that suggested some kind of performance, but i didn’t perform anything here, unless you stretch the definition to count the operation of a daw. it bothered me for quite some time. but i looked up a dictionary definition for the word, and got ‘to set down in some permanent form so as to preserve the true facts of’, which i suppose i have done, in as far as anything on the internet is permanent or true.

10 Likes


Hey all,
Lovely prompt Marc. Thank you.
Had some idea I needed to make water in Pure Data.
Not sure why but I did.
Two hours passed. I had something. Into Bespoke for a slowdown. Into Logic for a couple of edits and out. Cold.
Or my ode about falling asleep listening to Station to Station…

3 Likes

I would find it a minor miracle if I fell asleep within 5 minutes of getting into bed (and no matter how many times this looped in my room while working on this last night I didn’t drift away)

I felt like I wanted to create a foggy, hazy, half remembered kind of atmosphere. With shifting layers moving about the audio field. I worked in Ableton mainly with VSTs that I was finding sweet spots with, resampling the sound, moving on until I had a bunch of tracks I thought worked together. I added a few bits of field recordings too just to amplify a dream like state. At some point I changed the tempo to 0.75 of what I recorded the clips at to stretch things out a little

I think some of the higher frequencies could’ve been a bit more under control, I would’ve liked the bell sounds to be a bit more soft and lush

6 Likes

Was reminded of times when my friends from college came over and, after a few beers, I put on Chiastic Slide from Autechre. Beautiful, but also so calming that soon everyone was asleep. Same thing with putting on a video tape of Bob Ross. The sound of brush strokes on paper and canvas has that ASMR quality that brings on the Lord Morpheus :wink: Used this as inspiration, added gongs, slow pads, changing reverb, but also a step down in tempo 2/3 of the way in. Bit short to really fall asleep; for that I shoud make it more like 10 minutes (maybe hours for some people actually), but hey.

7 Likes

I did a lot of tracks, all of them endet in being “too full” for my idea of falling asleep. This one, based again on my breathing, felt monotonous enough to to the job.

4 Likes

I’ve always wanted to do something like this, but felt it was maybe too self indulgent. I decided that it should be at least 20 minutes long, and should be played quietly (like Discreet Music). Not sure if it works for sleep but I like the result. It involves the use of Stochas for two synths, then a main “theme” that has a nice foghorn type sound from Dexed, then a LABS piano and Izotope synth. In the background there is a recording I made of the M8 motorway near where I live, that I ran through PaulStretch. The image is a print a friend of mine made.

4 Likes

Berceuse is a fine word for a music title! The artwork looks cool too. Is this https://nightcafe.studio/ what you meant?

1 Like

My first contribution to this thread has a fair amount of AM radio noise because that is what lulls me to sleep when nothing else will. It comes from many roadtrips with my family across the desert in the 1970’s. When there was nothing to see but sand and nothing to hear but static, the radio stayed on until something came through.

6 Likes

yes, that’s the one i use. and i’d never come across the word ‘berceuse’ before, but it seemed perfectly apt.

2 Likes

https://soundcloud.com/ohm-research/sacra-via-disquiet0562

I have relocated to the midwest to take care of my 95 year old father who is the last living member of his generation in his family. This has required some adjustments to my working methods, so it has been interesting. The community in which I am residing is historical, being the first settlement in Ohio and the Northwest territory. There are multiple Native American effigy and burial mounds here, and the story of Sacra Via has always interested me on more than one level. This piece is inspired by the sacred way, and is an exploration in the world of convolution reverb.

3 Likes

Over the weekend, I deployed an AudioMoth on a reef south of the town where I grew up on the Fleurieu Peninsula. I’d configured it to record over 24 hours at one-hour intervals for a minute at a time. Once I retrieved it the following morning and listened back to some of the recordings in my car, I got pretty much what I expected: lots of tidal movement and the transient sounds that accompany it.

Back home in the studio, I took a couple of short excerpts of the scratchy sound of sand and broken shell that accompanied the wake of passing tides. I recorded two different excerpts L/R to my Morphagene and controlled some timestretching and pitch parameters with a clock and CV. The output from the Morphagene is broadcast to a network of small loudspeakers - some of which are housed in paper cups or with little bowls on top (to act as resonators.) In addition to this, I placed my iPhone with some soft noise playing in the background and recorded a few minutes with my portable ambisonic mic. The resulting recording was rendered to a binaural mix - ideal for headphone listening.

I’ve always liked rough, slightly consistent (non-musical) textures to facilitate sleep sometimes, so I often find myself listening to Rolf Julius or Steve Roden. I guess this piece - and the aesthetic of its visual presentation - is quite Julius/Roden-esque as well.

5 Likes

When I was younger, I used to listen to jazz at low volume when working on art or design projects late into the night and early morning. Something about that genre at that hour, was calming and meditative. Going to sleep after that was pretty effortless. These days, I rarely stay up too late working on art projects but when I do, I might listen to some lofi hip hop before eventually heading off into slumberland. The unobtrusive soundtrack and slow BPM, has a similar relaxing effect on me as jazz.

I have very little experience producing lofi, but decided to experiment in that genre and see what happens. Ended up using mostly loops and samples processed and arranged in Ableton Live. Not sure how close I came within the definition of lofi, but I was sleepy after I finished, so at least it helped in successfully completing the assignment for me.

5 Likes

Hey all. I hope everyone is well.

My track started as some guitar samples which I mangled with MAX, then took the output of that, and manipulated it further in modular land using:

Morphagene>QPAS>Mimeophon>Timiszoara>ES-9 (main voice)
Phonogene>Echophon>ES-9
Wiggles from Maths and Wogglebug

The initial goal was to mimic R.E.M sleep and that is kind of what it sounded like before I took it to modular. Im not sure if this puts anyone to sleep. I think the previous iterations might have though.

5 Likes

It was really pleasant to spend time listening to your music.
It was a great piece of work!

2 Likes

Just a little something to help relax the brain a bit. A simple composition with various Decent Sampler instruments and lots of reverb. Shhh, go back to sleep.

4 Likes

I grew rather fond of playing “piano” lately, so this track is again an improvisation on the keyboard.

I created a first track and added some other sounds (CS80, choir, …). I like it a lot, it is calming, and has interesting sound aspects, but is not suitable for falling asleep. If you are interested: Stream Counting Stars, not Sheep by RabMusicLab | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

So I started a new track, really with the aim to create music that could help my wife to fall asleep.
I was again improvising on the piano, but trying to create something more pleasing, not demanding attention.
And I added more soothing instruments: Harp, cello and harmonium, also improvised. For the background I found a great field-recording of rain hitting a window - a sound my wife loves to hear while falling asleep.

4 Likes

At first I wanted to have lots of repeating chords, so you can zone out a bit, instead of being constantly confronted by new elements. However, that felt kind of boring, so I tried to play around a bit and introduce new sounds in a subtle way.
I am not totally satisfied with all the parts, but at least I got another one out there. And I also might try going to bed with the song.

6 Likes

My first contribution in a long while. My goal was to make a gently noisy guide to box breathing with a beat or indicator every four seconds, but I think I mostly just ended up with some noisy drone and I guess I’m okay with that.

A click and a note from the OP-Z into the Softpop SPII, then over to the NTS-1 for tape echo and space reverb, then onto my adorably unreliable Seiko Instruments Personal Cassette Recorder. The tape was converted to a digital sound through my Tascam Porta05 with heavy use of the DBX noise reducer to compress things and make sure the noise didn’t get out of hand.

3 Likes

Struggled with this one. Kept overcomplicating and torturing the synth sounds I was working with (VCV + Kaivo) which didn’t feel anywhere conducive to sleep. The obvious trick of sending everything through huuuuge reverbs (40+sec Valhalla Room) helped turn the busy things into something sleepier. Threw in some chaotic amplitude modulation on the source sounds to add movement. I couldn’t resist over processing the reverb tails…

3 Likes


I recorded the white noise from fans in my bedroom one night. I was working on another song that had a melody played on ukelele and handpan sampled sounds. Took those notes and used the chance setting in Ableton to lower the chance notes would play to very low. Wanted to have very subtle, sparse tones, nothing to think about too much as you try to fall asleep, but something melodic and mysterious for the background and dreams to come. Added a few tracks of droney things, and some outdoor nature sounds from Freesound.org (Guz99 - freesound.org/people/Guz99/packs/30169/).
It may still be too busy and too much to fall asleep to, but it was fun experience to try. 'll have to try it out tonight. it’s hard to create something to fall asleep to when you’re awake. I wish I could make music while falling asleep.

5 Likes