Disquiet Junto Project 0298: Dungeons & Drum Machines

I rolled my 20-sided dice at roll-dice-online.com: Die 1 = 15, Die 2 = 11. The site felt it necessary to show me the average (13) of the two rolls, so I put it to use.

Per the supplied chart, 15 gave me the melodic series GDBGG, 11 gave the rhythmic 442, and I composed the piece in a 13/4 time signature using Musescore 2.

The violin cycles the melody through crotchet, crotchet, minim until the loop completes. The viola splits the 13 beats–1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,3,1,2,1,2– with GDBGG falling on the 1s while also following the crotchet, crotchet, minim assignment. I’m sure there is a simpler way to have explained that, but I’m applying theory on the fly here. Judging from how much I hurt my brain completing this challenge, if I ever hear anyone saying chance operations take all the skill out of music making I’ll be setting them straight good and proper.

More on this 298th weekly Disquiet Junto project — Dungeons & Drum Machines: Make a track with two rolls of a 20-sided die — at:

https://disquiet.com/0298/

Major thanks to Jason Wehmhoener for initiating this project, and for co-plotting it.

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0298-dungeons-drum-machines/

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

Image used thanks to a Creative Commons license by Flickr user Konstantin Lazorkin:

flic.kr/p/4TvmQb

https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/

Disquiet Junto Project 0293: Emerge/Immerse

For Bassel Khartabil.

I’ve attempted to reference the cycles and pulsations of light that animate Paige Dansinger’s 3D models with a repetitive musical phrase, though with each pass of the phrase different elements are emphasised while new structures emerge. A discordant phrase appears at 45 seconds, and at the 1 minute mark the original phrase is forced into step with said phrase. However, it re-emerges at the original pace 30 seconds later. Finally, we hear the discordant phrase lifting to meet the original on its own terms, but the 2 minute time limit is approaching and the piece must fade out accordingly.

Disquiet Junto Project 0293: Emerge/Immerse
Make music for Paige Dansinger’s Palmyra 3D/VR images, paying tribute to the late Bassel Khartabil.

Step 1: This is the first of two consecutive projects we’re undertaking, following the news of Bassel Khartabil’s death. (If you’re new to the Junto, Bassel was an open-source coder who did a lot of work in CGI before being imprisoned in Syria. Word of his execution just recently became public.) Paige Dansinger is making VR drawings in Tilt Brush inspired by Bassel’s Palmyra CGI work, drawing from her own interest in making a better world. For this project we’re going to make sound, in Bassel’s honor, to accompany her 3D work. View Paige’s pieces at:

http://www.newpalmyra.org/projects/junto-emerge-immerse/

Step 2: Think about the sort of sound that might accompany, contribute to, or otherwise be a component part of a VR experience. Now, record a short piece of music, up to two minutes, that is about something emerging — something being brought to life, or coming out of a cave, or otherwise coming into being.

More on this 293rd weekly Disquiet Junto project — Make music for Paige Dansinger’s Palmyra 3D/VR images, paying tribute to the late Bassel Khartabil — at:

https://disquiet.com/0293/

Thanks to Niki Korth, Jon Phillips, and Barry Threw for encouraging this project, and to Paige Dansinger for the collaboration. View Dansinger’s 3D drawings of Palmyra here:

http://www.newpalmyra.org/projects/junto-emerge-immerse/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0293-emerge-immerse/

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

Image associated with this project is by Paige Dansinger, more on whom here:

http://paigedansinger.com

Disquiet Junto Project 0284: Creative Commonfield

The project this week was to make an ambient recording based on source audio from the artist Chris Kallmyer. Junto coordinator Marc Weidenbaum writes, “Among Kallmyer’s sonic objects made from the St. Louis clay are ceramic bowls. When making a piece of music from the source audio please do the following: (A) use no additional source audio, (B) aim for a sound that is just as gentle as the source audio, (C) consider using stereo effects to reflect the circular shape of the bowls.”

In keeping with reflection upon the circular, I started by slicing the 97m09s source file into 12 x 8 minute sections: think divisions of a clock, or circle of fifths. The final minute and nine of the source file was silent, so nothing was lost in the slicing.

From Kallmyer’s website, “Chris attempted to create a kind of ‘future folk music’ through hyper-regional materials and communally authored music.” Following from this hyper-regional material viewpoint, I used Audacity to convert each section to a U-Law raw file, then Irfanview to open as raw planar image and save to bmp, resulting in 12 x RRR, GGG, BBB regional remixes. An example of how this works: this process applied to an 8 tone row of 0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7 recorded in common time will produce a bitmap that, when converted back to stereo in Audacity (and sped up by a factor of 3) plays 0,3,6,1,4,7,2,8 with each note’s original pitch and speed, but in one-third the track time due to overlapping.

I lined up my 12 regional remixes in Audacity, discarded 3 that I felt were confusing the mood, panned a few tracks left and right to enhance the stereo effect, tweaked the levels on the frequency spectrum, and poured into one-third of an 8 minute cup.

This is my first official contribution to the Junto, and it has been loads of fun. Thanks for the challenge, Marc.

More on this 284th weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Creative Commonfield: Make ambient music from the sound of clay bowls. — at:

https://disquiet.com/0284/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

https://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0284-creative-commonfield/

There’s also a Junto Slack. Send your email address to twitter.com/disquiet for Slack inclusion.

More from Kallmyer at: http://www.chriskallmyer.com/

RGB Barcode Composition

The Disquiet Junto–Association for communal music/sound-making on Soundcloud.com–is a constraint based group partly inspired by the tradition of Oulipo. I became aware of them just a couple of weeks ago, thanks to an excellent post on The Ethan Hein Blog – Demographics of the Disquiet Junto. Ethan’s impressive survey of the instruments and software tools that the Junto participants use was just the ticket I needed to step confidently into the world of digital music education and production, since previously I had often been discouraged by the overwhelming array and complexity of software, hardware and acronyms. As a result I now have my eyes on Ableton Live and have rearranged my study with plenty of desk space for things like a MIDI keyboard and various gadgetry.

However, in the spirit of constraint based creativity, I felt I should attempt a Junto project with what I have at hand before letting said hand go to my wallet prematurely. After all, the levels of discouragement might return if I can’t even get a handle on the few basic tools I do have.

Disquiet Junto Project 0282: Berio’s Bach
Make a piece of music based on one composer’s observation regarding another composer.

I have since missed the May 29, 2017 deadline for this but I kept going until I had a finished product, so I guess that means I can justify upgrading my gear. Here are the steps I followed. Full details at the end of this post.

Step 1: The composer Luciano Berio once said that part of the attraction of some of Bach’s music is in its clear distinction between which notes are “structurally significant” and which are “decorative.” Consider this observation.

Step 2: Compose a short piece of music that opens and closes with there being a clear sense of which parts are “structurally significant” and which are “decorative,” but that in the middle gets ambiguous in this regard.

Re: Step 1. I think what Berio was getting at was Bach’s use of ‘melody’. I’ve read it said that certain of Bach’s music can be reinterpreted and genre bent all you like, but the identity of the melody remains all Bach’s. It must be Australian composer Andrew Ford who put that idea in my head: I’ve been reading a lot of him lately.

Re: Step 2. I loaded a barcode image into RGB MusicLab and resized it to 15 pixels x 60 lines. I also forced a rest at the end of each line, thus creating a 16th beat per line to give me 4 bars of 4 beats per line. This would be the ‘structurally significant’ part.

RGB Barcode Composition

After playing it back in black and white to get a sense for the inherent beat of the thing, I opened the Colour Sound Editor and started composing: the first 8 lines in red, the next 8 in red and green, and finally 17 lines in red, green and blue. The remainder of the barcode was left unused. I used the Analog Drum kit for the red notes, Woodblock for green, and Synth Bass for blue. These are the parts that are technically ‘decorative’, though theoretically an awful lot of the process could be described as structurally significant. Surely I played it back during construction many hundreds of times until I was satisfied, and conversely my neigbours were silently screaming at my beeping and chiming laptop.

I recorded the final into Audacity, then flipped the barcode over horizontally and vertically so it would play through the lines from back to front, and recorded this onto a second track. Finally, I joined the end of the original recording to the beginning of the second recording, at the middle. As instructed, the middle gets ambiguous in this regard. If you have a sharp ear, you might recognise the musical quote I placed in this section: the notes are transposed from part of Oops Up, by Snap.

“say oops upside your head, say oops upside your head”

More on this 282nd weekly Disquiet Junto project — “Berio’s Bach: Make a piece of music based on one composer’s observation regarding another composer” — at:

https://disquiet.com/0282/

More on the Disquiet Junto at:

https://disquiet.com/junto/

Subscribe to project announcements here:

http://tinyletter.com/disquiet-junto/

Project discussion takes place on llllllll.co:

http://llllllll.co/t/disquiet-junto-project-0282-berios-bach/

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