Make a Sonic Palindrome (Disquiet Junto 0252)

Placeholder until the project goes live.

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Disquiet Junto Project 0252: Sonic Palindrome
Make music that sounds the same backwards and forwards.

Step 1: Consider the palindrome, which refers to a word (e.g., “madam”), phrase (“Never odd or even”), or sequence (“5290330925”) that reads the same backward and forward.

Step 2: Consider the ways in which a palindrome might have a parallel in music and sound.

Step 3: Compose a short piece of music that is informed by a concept that arose from Step 2.

Five More Important Steps When Your Track Is Done:

Step 1: Per the instructions below, be sure to include the project tag “disquiet0252” (no spaces) in the name of your track. If you’re posting on SoundCloud in particular, this is essential to my locating the tracks and creating a playlist of them.

Step 2: Upload your track. It is helpful but not essential that you use SoundCloud to host your track.

Step 3: In this discussion thread please consider posting your track. (Assuming you post it on SoundCloud, a search for the tag will help me construct the playlist.)

Step 4: Annotate your track with a brief explanation of your approach and process.

Step 5: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

Deadline: This project was posted in the afternoon, California time, on Thursday, October 27, 2016, with a deadline of 11:59pm wherever you are on Monday, October 31, 2016.

Length: The length is up to you. Two minutes feels about right.

Title/Tag: When posting your track, please include “disquiet0252” in the title of the track, and where applicable (on SoundCloud, for example) as a tag.

Upload: When participating in this project, post one finished track with the project tag, and 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 preferable that your track is set as downloadable, and that it allows for attributed remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track online, please be sure to include this information:

More on this 252nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Sonic Palindrome: Make music that sounds the same backwards and forwards” — at:

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

Subscribe to project announcements here:

Project discussion takes place on

There’s also on a Junto Slack. Send your email address to for Slack inclusion.

Photo by Ian McKenzie, used thanks to a Creative Commons license:

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My first thoughts - now is definitely the time to break out this super-duper plugin from Funk Logic!

No Stop Pots or Stunt Nuts tho… coming in v2 we hope…
*EDIT: Maybe it’ll come in v4… or should I say, vIV

Best of luck this week folks…!


Nice. Do it up. (I need to check that plugin out.)

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My initial idea was to pick through Em and G chords on my guitar with MIDI pick-up, then double the parts and reverse one. So it would play backwards then forwards, moving from a minor key to a major one to get a sense of resolution.

When I started reversing the part in Live, I noticed it changed the placement of the notes. Where reversing the audio means the notes fade in, reversing the MIDI seem to make them start in about the same spot.

So I resorted to exporting the MIDI part through the Oddity pad with Valhalla reverb, then importing it in and reversing it. The forward and backward parts now sit on top of each other and the result is more like a palindrome in sounding the same in either direction.

At the last minute I decided to add another instrument using the MIDI part with bowed vibraphone samples that are part of the Live Suite. This isn’t doubled with a reverse part, so it kinda ruins the palindrome approach but adds a lot more interest to the song I think.


Hey all,

Let my dog murder my mother in-law’s cats, take some bleeps/beeps & cracks, add a sitar and some more bleeps, hocus-pocus & mingle-mangle. There really isn’t that much to tell about the making of this song.


I think it’s really cool the way you video yourself.

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You know that thing when you listen to your own voice? It’s like that filming one’s self.

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That poem really suits the theme.

It nails a lonely mindset too. I don’t like thinking like that but I recognised it a bit.

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I may not get time this week, but this is something I have explored in the past. 20 years ago I was making a piece of music on my XP-10 and MC50 combo, and accidentally wiped all the sound settings from the synth. What I ended up with was a weird ambient piece, which I quite liked so kept. About 5 years later when I had a bit more kit, I re-recorded it and realised that it needed to resolve, so I thought about reversing it, and then thought it would sound well as a pair of tracks. I then went further, and blended them so that it became a palindrome, and then repeated the whole thing so that it has an ABAB structure but still sounds the same backwards and forwards.

I also later took the same original source track and used one of the functions of the MC50 to turn the midi notes upside down (so note 1 becomes 127, 2 becomes 126 etc…) which became a separate track.

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good timing. i have been interested in reverse delay.
sampled from vinyl of koto. used m4l effect “reverse delay”.


Damn, this is a really interesting and inspiring challenge. Unfortunately I’m leaving on the road till Wednesday and didn’t carry my laptop, so won’t be able to join but will follow on my phone.
Very good idea. Wish I could add something, I worked a lot with reverse delays trying to get palindrome-like phrases.




i was worried about being too obvious; my initial thought was just to use an existing soundscape and add a reversed layer. the new ambient online compilation came out today so i thought i’d use one of my tracks off that. then i was worried it just looked like self-promotion.

i looked up palindromic sentences for inspiration ‘a car, a man, a maraca’ i thought i could do a field recording but i don’t have maracas. then read

‘drawn I sit; serene rest is inward’

which is right up my street and based on that i thought i’d simply go with my initial idea


  • I toyed around with a palindrome of time signatures, and a couple other approaches, but the “sounds the same backwards and forwards” brought me back to the more obvious approach. Record a piece of music and then reverse the recorded version and slap it on the end of the original.
  • I created a four bar riff in 5/8. It’s only heard for eight bars at the the end/beginning of the forward/backward versions.
  • The riff was put on three other tracks with reverb from Logic’s Space Designer with 100% wet and 0% dry with three presets. Those are the drone tones.
  • The kit was pieced together to provide some more interesting tones in the backwards section.
  • The forward and backwards sections overlap for four bars in the middle where I left in the tail of the forward part.
  • I tried it out and the piece does sound the same backwards and forward;)

felt a lil crappy not participating last week but realize i just won’t be able to do this every week. plus i’ve never been a parent nor do i ever intend to be so that leaves me slightly out of place in parenting topics.

this week i loved the topic. i wanted to keep it simple. like what i could do in a single sitting no more than 2 hours. so i figured i would attempt to (barring disaster) use all first takes and just fly by the seat of my paints meditatively allowing my subconscious to call the shots.

started with moog bass arp line palindrome with little fun modulated fx. sync’d it by ear in daw. wrote a fake 808 tom palindrome tuned a bit. then felt need for beat which i don’t think signified cheating per se but was stretching. then did palindromish sh101 lead. been focused a lot on the “low music” concept of morphine and i guess it has always been stuck back there in my vocab being a bass player. so just trying to embrace but also not conform to that limitation.

thank you and have a nice day!


My fear of creating a musical palindrome was that it would be too predictable so I broke a number of things up, like the initial chords are mostly played in retrograde but are separated with a measure of staccato notes. This short piece is a palindrome itself, with the eight quarter notes in the middle separating the two halves.

If there is any interest, the score is available at, and as always, is available through Creative Commons.


I’m amazed that this (seemed to) work. Then again, that happens a lot lately…


bummed you are out this week. was looking forward to your work :slight_smile:


disquiet0252- Palindrome: > Επιπε Even Am I Man Eve Επιπε <Made in Python, Pure Data, Aleph-Dev Tools, and concrete splice methods for a concrete Palindrome…Επιπε
is completely fluxus for a title, after learning about the
Palindromatic DNA of certain virii called επιτε… then with LEVEL in
mind, after the score was made - a fluxus bible reference was aquired in
the same fashion - both influencing not only the score - but the sounds
of the track as well. Some sounds were chosen by “Leonidas” who would
like to introduce himself later…