Junto Project 0529: Squared Off [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 sun is not the well-behaved neighbor we would like to imagine,” says Sten F. Odenwald, the author of a book entitled The 23rd Cycle: Learning to Live with a Stormy Star. During the year 2000, at the peak of the sun’s 23rd cycle (according to when scientists began tracking solar storm activity), the number of observed sunspots reached its highest recorded peak to that point.

Geomagnetic storms are defined by changes in the disturbance-storm-time index (or DST), measured in units called nano-Tesla (nT). Think of it as something like barometric pressure, only on the sun. A geomagnetic storm is considered an intense “super-storm” when it reaches a minimum DST of less than —250 nT.

As the 23rd cycle closed in the year 2008, Odenwald warned that outbreaks of solar storm activity would only increase in future cycles. The historical models are already sobering; a geomagnetic storm caused the March1989 failure of Québec’s entire power grid, leaving six million people without electricity and causing auroras seen all the way to Texas. The minimum DST of this storm was —589 nT. (It would have been a delicious irony if the integer was 529, but alas).

With this cheerful tidbit in mind, Suss Müsik considered how the ionosphere of sound could be rendered unstable, causing fragments of foreboding beauty. A sampled bowl was refactored using a grain synthesizer, its shimmer used in parallel with a distressed organ sound. A Red Panda Particle pedal was used for the looping parts at 23 BPM.

The piece is titled DST —589 nT and was recorded live to 8-track.

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