Junto Project 0308: Giving Thanks [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.

Gratitude is a quality that seems to have been imported from a long-ago and less complicated era in music. “Thank you for the days,” the Kinks sang in 1968, “those sacred days you gave me.”

Just a few years later, Alex Chilton took a moment to say “thank you, friends” while recording Big Star’s most harrowing work: “I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.”

Led Zeppelin, Sam & Dave, Aretha Franklin, Earth Wind & Fire and Etta James have all shown gratitude in song form. Even Styx, of all people, crossed linguistic boundaries with their weirdly bicultural 1982 expression of thanks. Our personal favorite is Sly & The Family Stone’s “Thank you (Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin)” covered by Magazine.

Counting this offering, Suss Müsik has now participated in 46 Disquiet Junto projects. For several weeks we lurked, frankly intimidated by the quality of output among Junto contributors who demonstrated such wonderful gifts. What we found upon entering was a community of practice among like-minded devotees, a labour of love designed and executed with genuine affection.

“I no doubt deserved my enemies,” wrote the American poet Walt Whitman. “But I don’t believe I deserved my friends.” Like Alex Chilton, Suss Müsik chose this moment to reflect and give thanks to all of you who spearhead, sustain and support this wonderful collective.

For this piece, Suss Müsik started with a phased rotation of chorale samples, each 4-second bit distorted beyond recognition. (We don’t often use samples, but it’s difficult to assemble a full SATB choir on short notice. Also, the Suss Müsik studios are small and there’s only so much beer to go around).

From this phrase, a notation sequence was identified by ear and played on fake strings and piano. From there we built a typical Suss Müsik wall-of-sound using rejected bits from previous Junto projects: a CR-78 with homemade percussion here, a dollop of trumpet reverb and clumsy organ there. We knew when to stop.

The piece is titled Wengerlave by mashing the names Wenger and Lave, a pair of cognitive anthropologists who first proposed that domain knowledge improves when participants learn and share in groups.

To paraphrase the writer Anaïs Nin: each Junto member represents a world not possible until you arrived. Thank you, friends, falettinus be house elves agin.

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