Post-classical ambient minimalism for crepuscular airports

Junto Project 0277: Chew Some Concrète Sounds [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

There is a lovely moment beginning around the six-minute mark of “Chew Cinders 1” by C. Reider. What appears to be randomized white noise degrades softly into retreating tones, followed by the rumbling of a deep bass presence that explodes into blankets of industrial haze. The effect is both unsettling and restful, reminiscent of classic Zoviet France (for those unfamiliar, their album Shouting at the Ground is a good starting point and well worth your investigation).

“I believe in the future resolution of two states,” wrote the Surrealist André Breton. “Life and death, the real and the imagined, past and future, the communicable and the incommunicable, high and low, cease[ing] to be perceived as contradiction.” Composers who work in such contexts remove sounds from their original source material, thus creating a dichotomy in which even the most experimental music can reside within the realm of familiarity.

For this weird piece, Suss Müsik adhered to a philosophy of “sharp attack, gentle decay” — an unfaithful reproduction of casually played instruments. You’ll hear washes of synth, glitchy electronics, the tinkle of a piano, the heavy drop of a microphone. Deeper listens may reveal the distorted whine of a saxophone, or perhaps the rumble that occurs when a Boss RV-3 pedal is pushed to capacity. A chopstick is tapped on a piece of paper to replicate a snappy drum snare; somehow the hum of a dehumidifier sounds like a choir. Plus there’s a guy talking. Instant dada.

The piece is titled Creideamh, a derivative of the Old irish word creitem meaning “to believe.” The image is a red baseball, torn in half, with a picture of Salvador Dali on its surface.

Junto Project 0276: 808 Blockchain Beats [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

“I’m not just singing,” The great Mick Jagger said to an interviewer who suggested, at 70 years of age, that maybe Jagger was a little too old to be dancing the way he does onstage. “I want to do a performance, as well, so that’s waving my arms and running around. I hear the music and just can’t help dancing.”

Mick Jagger might be the most illustrative lead singer in rock and roll history. Perhaps the least engaged vocalist of all time is a relatively unknown Californian named Su Tissue, lead singer of an obscure 80’s outfit called Suburban Lawns. Dressed like a schoolteacher and looking decidedly uncomfortable, Su Tissue (real name McLane) didn’t have what you’d call stage presence. Her singing was something of an acquired taste as well, resembling a weird mix of Yoko Ono, Deborah Evans-Stickland of the Flying Lizards, and someone who’s just returned from having a root canal. Naturally, the Lawns were a brilliant slice of New Wave art-rock.

What does this have to do with Blockchain? Suss Müsik has no idea. We do know something about the 808’s “systemic cooperation” with our understanding of rhythm. As individual sounds, the 808 doesn’t exactly embed the urge to shake one’s booty to the ground. Once assembled into a recognizable beat, however, all disassociation evaporates as the synthetic beats are decentralized, distributed, indirectly coordinated.

For this effort, Suss Müsik considered the strange, wonderful aesthetic of Su Tissue in the context of Bitcoin. (Hey, somebody has to.) The 808 rhythm was purposely antiseptic. Two phrases were played on piano to roughly match the 808 sequence: syncopated yet awkwardly immobile. We kept the BPM as close to 88 as we could, although to our ears it might be a bit slower than that. There’s a fuzzy bass in there someplace.

The piece is titled Dosimetry, which is the measurement and assessment of ion radiation dosage on the human body. The SU-E-T-808 is a improved sequential booster for treating cancers of the head and neck.

Junto Project 0275: Revisit Something [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

Suss Müsik owns a copy of Pearlman’s Guide to Rapid Revision, first published in 1965. The book is currently in its eighth printing. This means that an instructional manual on how to revise is, in and of itself, a revision.

Although Nietzsche considered eternal returns to be the heaviest of burdens, poet Alice Notley had a different take. “Your face comes clearer as time passes,” she wrote, “as if goodbye were forever younger like your face.” When it comes to developing an idea, sometimes putting distance between effort and output helps to clarify things.

Suss Müsik re-examined Junto 0272, a project in homage to the TRAPPIST-1 planetary system. The original piece is constructed around polyrhythms played in various ratios, which we simplified to eight phrases of six notes apiece. Each sequence was played on piano, strings and marimba, then phased according to orbital frequencies we attempted to recall from memory. (Some “cheating” was likely involved along the way. Apologies to TRAPPIST-1 enthusiasts.)

The piece is titled Meiosis, which is a type of cell division in which sperm and egg cells are produced by reducing the number of chromosomes in the parent cell. Without this form of “revision,” human life would not exist. The image is liquid soap in a glass jar.

Suss Müsik deeply appreciates the kind feedback we received from our fellow Junto 0272 participants. It is an honor to take part in this weekly exercise among such wonderfully gifted and talented contributors.

Junto Project 0274: The Genre of Broken Sound [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

Suss Müsik is egalitarian when it comes to concept development. We asked our friend Carvin to describe the experience of listening to a genre called broken sound. What does it sound like, Carvin?

“The sonic equivalent of H.P. Lovecraft’s description of the Old Ones,” he replied. “Incomplete, phasing in and out of dimensions, and the sight of which drives one to insanity.”

Love it. Tell us more.

“Tonally frustrating. The rhythm and phrases are out of time and place. They’re there and then they’re not. Cohesion and confusion buried deep. Like DNA with chunks of helixes missing and replaced with something else.”

For this project, Suss Müsik distorted the concept of a broken consort, which refers to Baroque music composed for instruments of more than one family (i.e.; strings and woodwinds). We used piano in addition to such nontraditional “instruments” as power tools, electronic gadgets and mechanical toys.

The result is an amorphous, glitchy mess of a piece: creepy, unstructured, atmospheric, dissonant and decidedly unrefined. It’s not exactly ambient in the usual sense, yet you’d be hard pressed to score any notation except in rare bits.

The piece is titled Nyarlathotep, named after the evil shape-shifting deity invented by Lovecraft who is capable of assuming 1,000 unique formations. The image is a blob of clear liquid soap.

Disquiet Junto 0273: Alarm Clocked [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

The timing of this week’s Junto project oddly coincides with a new Suss Müsik obsession: hitting amplified objects with handmade mallets. This is the fundamental mechanical concept behind every alarm clock invented by Yi Xing, Levi Hutchins, Antoine Redier and Seth E. Thomas. The intention is to establish a firm break in a sleeper’s circadian rhythm. Once the serotonin pipeline is disrupted, there’s no going back.

An aside: striking something (or someone) with a heavy object is also a fundamental component in any Tom & Jerry or Three Stooges sequence. Suss Müsik hopes that this linkage is not taken literally in the Junto, and that no participants are harmed for the sake of creativity. For our part, we ruined a perfectly good rice cooker in the process.

For this short piece, Suss Müsik used an actual alarm clock purchased in Japan. As clocks go, this one’s pretty weird. The alarm settings include traditional bells, cute electronic songs probably lifted from video games, an odd take on Beethoven’s Für Elise, and a muffled voice shouting “hello.” We’ll let you identify which samples were used.

Anyway, the piece begins with lightly bowed and tapped guitar strings, which were run through a Vox amp on rotary reverb and recorded straight from the board. A cyclical counterpoint of marimba, synth and bass drum follows, everything rising in volume until the alarm clock announces its arrival. After the three-minute mark, clanking percussion and fuzzy bass take the listener on a tribal march to consciousness.

The piece is entitled Inemuri, named after the Japanese word for “snooze.”

Disquiet Junto 0272: Exoplanetary Intervals [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

Suss Müsik is fascinated whenever a new planetary system is discovered. We imagine the excitement must be similar to a child finding loose change while building sand castles, albeit at a much grander cosmic scale. It’s evidence that life could have existed before we entered the scene, giving resonance to our actions.

According to an article on Gizmodo, a new Harvard University study raises the compelling evidence that the TRAPPIST-1 planets are close enough to each other that microbes could hop from one planet to another, skipping over rocks suspended in space between forms. Some scientists even suggest that life on Earth could have started this way, but don’t tell your Sunday School teacher that.

For this short piece, Suss Müsik created a series of simple polyrhythms on piano: 3:2, 4:3, 5:3 and what we think is sort of close to 8:5 (we lost count). These phrases were cycled “in orbit,” giving the effect of emerging and receding into listening distance. Individual notes were then allowed to “travel” from one phrase to another within a four-octave range.

The piece is titled Panspermia, named after the theory that life on our planet originated from chemical microorganisms who traveled through outer space searching for an environment suitable for habitat. The image is a chunk of marble pilfered from the cliffs of Carrara, Italy.

Weird Combinations

Lately, Suss Müsik has been exploring a number of odd combinations in our compositions. The latest transgression in our musical roadmap can only be described as “what would happen if Brian Eno collaborated with Black Sabbath while recording My Life in the Bush of Ghosts.” That should give you some idea of what this monstrosity sounds like. Another way to describe the piece is that it’s rough, sloppy, loud and mechanical. We really like it, of course.

The new piece obviously needs to go through a gestation period; however, this might be what Decatenation needs before its delayed release sees the light of day.

Disquiet Junto 0271: Prison Sky [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

“Wait, for now,” wrote the poet Galway Kinnell. “Distrust everything, if you have to. But trust the hours.”

When one is incarcerated, life is nothing but empty hours. It’s a peculiar sort of time that is both structured and unstructured, shaped by the constraints of geometry and dictated by astronomical cycles. If one is fortunate to have a window to the outdoors, the view of the sky is framed not only by the size of the opening but also the sun’s rotation on its axis. Six hours of sky, half a meter square.

The ordeal of Bassel Khartabil is a heartbreaking love story. Suss Müsik imagines Noura Ghazi staring out her window and wondering if her husband might be alive or dead. Perhaps there was a moment when they gazed upon the same patch of sky at the same time, their thoughts locked as one.

For this piece, a melodic phrase is twinned on piano and flute accompanied by organ. The mood shifts at the 2:30 mark and becomes increasingly more foreboding. A drum machine clicks off time as the atmosphere deadens, recalling the anxious footsteps of a loved one awaiting bad news that may never arrive.

The piece is named after the Arabic word for “heart.”

Disquiet Junto 0268: In Tribute to Jiro Taniguchi [repost]

Someone suggested that Suss Müsik repost our contributions to the weekly Disquiet Junto projects, because they enjoy reading the explanations of the tracks. While you’re reading the original post, make sure you check out the other contributors’ works as well.

Suss Müsik recalls reading an interview with Ryuichi Sakamoto, another Japanese legend who had a strong affinity for walking. Sakamoto mentioned his dislike for automobiles and admitted that he had never driven a car in his life; however, he enjoyed the sound that cars make while in operation.

Walking is a solitary activity that lends itself to mind expansion. We rarely concentrate on the destination or even the process of getting somewhere. Rather, we remain lost in our own thoughts as images and sounds blend into the background, superseded by the bitter noise within.

For this short, quiet piece, Suss Müsik consciously investigated “the space between” while walking. A simple piano motif replicates the heavy, soft footsteps we heard during our nocturnal stroll: thalum-thum, thalum-thum. In the background is the sampled sound of a distant train, manipulated beyond recognition, which accents the phased piano.

A strange thing occurs just after the two-minute mark, where it sounds as if nothing is happening even though the mix appears rather busy. That moment operates, perhaps, as a metaphor for how the mind travels while not thinking of anything in particular.

The piece is titled Mawaru, a Japanese word meaning to “wander about.” It can also mean to feel dizzy. The image is the rear plate of a plastic timepiece — we liked the little arrows.