Disquiet Junto Project 0581: Helsinki Downspout

This post went live at disquiet.com/0581 (thank you, powers of automation) shortly after 12:10am Pacific Time on Thursday, February 16, 2023. (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), and then I posted them here, on the Junto Slack, and my Mastodon account, and Instagram, etc. (I’m taking a Twitter break at the moment.) And if you’re posting your work on social media, please consider using the #DisquietJunto tag. Much appreciated.

Disquiet Junto Project 0581: Helsinki Downspout

The Assignment: Use a rhythmic field recording as the foundation for a new track.

Step 1: This is a shared sample project, one in which all the participants will utilize the same provided recording, about a minute and a half long, as the rhythmic element for their own music. Access the track, originally recorded by Scott Fletcher and used with his permission, here:


Step 2: Listen to the provided track several times. Think about ways to map its content, perhaps making notations about when certain unique, momentary aspects surface.

Step 3: Record an original piece of music for which the provided music is the underlying rhythm. You might take this quite literally, using the source as it is, resulting in a track that is precisely 1:35 long. Alternately, you might elect to sample and rework the source material. If you go the latter route, make certain that the original sound is, at least at some point in the finished track, recognizable.

Step 4: Because this is a Creative Commons resource, be sure to identify Scott Fletcher as the original recorder of the source material, and include a link to the source track. Identify the license as: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0).

Eight Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Include “disquiet0581” (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 “disquiet0581” (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:


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:

Length: The length is up to you. How long did the rain last?

Deadline: Deadline: This project’s deadline is the end of the day Monday, February 20, 2023, at 11:59pm (that is, just before midnight) wherever you are. It was posted on Thursday, February 16, 2023.

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 581st weekly Disquiet Junto project, Helsinki Downspout (The Assignment: Use a rhythmic field recording as the foundation for a new track), at: https://disquiet.com/0581/

Thanks to Scott Fletcher for having provided the original material. It is used thanks to a Creative Commons license: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0). Original track at: https://soundcloud.com/disquiet/helsinki-downspout/

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-0581-helsinki-downspout/


And the project is now live


Please note that the Creative Commons license in the initial post and email was wrong. Thanks, @RPLKTR for having noticed. I’ve now changed it to the correct one: Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0).


Great idea for this week Marc and Scott Fletcher!

I loaded the field recording into Ableton and put it into a drum rack. I then took all the bits between the beats (hiss and non rhythmic parts) and started to mess about with these, adding filters and effects and also playing them as drum hits - that is how the track opens.
I them loaded all these hiss parts into a synth and stretched and played them as keys, creating the additional synth sounds with effects changing the sounds somewhat. After jamming about for 30 / 40 minutes I hit reccord and laid down a fairly basic arrangement.
I tweaked this slightly, adding a little more effects until I had a nice short experimental track i’m pretty happy with!

More or less the whole track was made with the source sounds but it’s debatable if the original sound is recognisable? However I took the prompt to “to sample and rework the source material” as a guide!


Thanks for the great idea and the inspiring sample. I used the TAPPED GATE DELAY by Count Modula for VCV Rack and clocked start and stop time of the provided sample (among some other things that I tried). After some time the arp’ed synth synchronizes with the sample. This was an unexpected result - my idea was to manually tap in the rhythm but it worked out much better than in my imagination.

Here is the result:


Love the evocative downspout sample! I kept it as is and riffed on the “tapati-tapati,” all on GarageBand.


I took the recording, slowed it slightly and roughly synced my modular using a tap tempo. Didn’t quiet work as it phases in and out after the first loop of the sample. I used Beads and a Pluck module triggered by beat divisions and fiddled around with modulation and fx.


I used the recording complete and as is except for editing out a click at the beginning. Played two tracks of pedal steel over the top through a Boss SY-300 guitar synth. That’s it for this rainy NYC day.

Thanks to Scott Fletcher for the field recording.


This track needs more cowbell! Cool prompt Marc.


At first I listened to the pipe and appreciated how the splash kinda swings against the drip.

Then Soundcloud wanted a log-in, so I thought I’d look for a drain recording of my own.

It was weird looking back to 2015 as this week I returned to the job I started then.

I couldn’t find drains, but I did find drips.

Can’t remember why I recorded various objects in the shower.

So I’ve edited my drips to get an effect like what I remember liking in the Helsinski downspout.



First thing that came to mind was the track title… Helsinki reminded me of Aki Kaurismäki and all his beautiful films. This is one of my favourites.

In Rabbit’s Delight (Disquiet0578) I already used the rhythm of a field-recording. And I decided to proceed like i did in Orpheus’ Lyre (non-entry for 0573) with the track of @tristan_louth_robins, that is creating the track only with elements extracted from the recording.

First I created two PaulXStretch versions of the original, both unstretched. One with a wide fft-window for a pad-like sound, one that transforms the rhythmic sounds. They can be heard alone in the last seconds of the track.
I listened to the field-recording and tried to find out relevant frequency regions besides the predominant beat. I created one version low-passed at 200 Hz and one high-passed at 500 Hz.
For all three versions I extracted first the hit-points to Midi and then the pitches to another Midi with Cubase. I separated the hit-points of the original recording according to their velocity, resulting in one midi-track for the main beat and one of the quieter off-beats.

Then I chose synth-sounds for the respective 6 Midi-track, low-pitched sounds for the Midi from the low-pass version and vice versa. For the higher sounds I used step-wise appegiators to change the pitch for the hit-point Midi. One of the higher synths has the cutoff randomized with CCStepper.

To pay tribute to the process and the welcome result I decided to leave the track as it is, that is not to change any pitch or velocity, not to automate the volume of the different tracks, etc.

This was a great way to enjoy some hours of my day off today!


And the playlist is rolling:

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I started with slicing out some bars, mostly with irregularities. For whatever reason I thought I have to do this in 5/4th, so the samples had a lenght of 10 noise events, 2 for 1/4. I extracted 6 samples and looped them in Live. Because I wanted to have some irregularities I used two tracks with randomly chosen samples for placing them in a stereo field. I also just had bought Mac for Cats Synthie Cat which made nice noises on two tracks. I rendered the Stems and went on in Reaper, to add some flutish musical themes and place the Downspout noises in stereo.

Much more time went into in EQing out stuff from the Downspout tracks, but I wasn’t conviced with the results and the Downspout sounds were so nice and fruity in itself, so I deleted all this EQing parameter automation. I sometimes wonder how many things you do that are not in the final track …


Reading the assignment I knew I wanted to make something with envelope followers in a musique concète piece with a performance feel. I used a digital tape based workflow.
Listening to the recording I thought of a sewer in Helsinki, cold, damp and rusted metal. The track is based on the recording running at various speeds, forward and reversed. There are four downspout recordings running in parallel. The recordings are sent through a chamber or plate reverb. The backandforward track was sent through a delay. The different speeds were based on the rhythms that revealed themselves when played in parallel. The root rhythm track, the first one hears, was sent to different envelope followers that modulated all the effect processing chains.
I created a drone, by loop recording some notes played on a Wurli piano. I also performed some howling swells with the Wurli and an Easel (Arturia).

Big thanks to Scott, for the recording :+1:

@bassling Biscuits in the shower, nice combination :astonished:


I know, right? With snacks you can extend your showers.

Really enjoying the woodwind-like sounds you’ve wrangled from Helsinki’s waterworks.


Never occurred to me, have to try that then :smiling_face: Heard good things about beer in the shower too!


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Hi all, nice to be back :slight_smile: For this one I sent two instances of the recording through different plugins and added some random melody in bespoke synth.
Silo and tantra 2 do the rhythmic work on the recording and some kontact voices add to the fun.
The train-like sound comes from Silo.


I took the provided field recording (cool recording btw. thanks Scott!) and mangled it on my Octatrack. Everything you hear, aside from the bottle blowing type sound that comes in around at the halfway point, originates from the downspout sample. That’s not obvious for most of the sounds, but the two main voices, panned hard left and right, are snippets of the recording with shifting start points put through resonant comb filters. If you listen to the impulse that pings the filters I think the sound of rain striking the downspout is preserved in an interesting way.


Hey All,
I have a musical theory or hypothesis that for everything you pitch down an octave slows the tempo by half. So I did 4 more tracks eached pitched down an octave from the previous one. I added some hats and drums heavily fxed which I played live all the way through and added a solo . It extends a little longer cause the other tracks are pithced down so longer.
Hope all are well.

Peace, Hugh