Disquiet Junto

By: Peggy Nelson
March 1, 2012

Sometimes the best secret societies aren’t secret at all.

The Junto went from “What if you throw a party and no one shows up?” to “Uh, someone needs to go out for more beer.”


0008 Giving Voice
Rework a spoken-word recording of Benjamin Franklin’s autobiography.

0.17 seconds [disquiet0008 – voice] by bigpause

Methodism [disquiet0008-voice] by A. Castillo


In the early 18th century, Benjamin Franklin was up to something. No not that. Or that. Not yet. Or rather; yes, all that, but something in addition to all that. In 1727 he participated a few of his buddies out of the social ether and shaped them into something more artistic and focused, The Junto (alternately, The Leather Apron Club), a social club “dedicated to mutual improvement.”


0005 Layering Reality
Add sounds to a pre-existing field recording of everyday life.

SLEET_[disquiet0005-layer] by L-A-J

Every Day [disquiet0005-layer] by Michel Banabila


They would gather and discuss the affairs and ideas of the day, and brainstorm for the public good. Meetings were held in taverns and living rooms, but were approached seriously: a list of formal questions was drafted to encourage and direct discussion. Sound too earnest? It had importance: it lasted in its initial form for 40 years, and spawned not only the American Philosophical Society, but free lending libraries, volunteer firefighting brigades, public hospitals, paved streets, and more.


0003 The Expanded Glass Harp
Record a live performance for “expanded glass harp.”

Pb Dehleit [disquiet0003-glass] by Otologist

Delegates’ Brief Farewell [disquiet0003-glass] by krseward


0006 Spinning Cylinders
Remix three archival Edison cylinder recordings.

nofi, gleaming the metatron cube (disquiet0006-cylinder) by nofi

Boiler Room Etiquette (disquiet0006-cylinder) by Emma Hendrix


“A social club dedicated to mutual improvement” might be a #TweetsOfOld description of remix culture, if we extend social into media and networking, and aim improvement at the artworks instead of their makers. Exchanging leather aprons for a screen and mouse, Disquiet Junto is a fresh update on an old, but still very much alive and relevant, idea, applying social and improvement to music remixing.


0004 Remixing Marcus Fischer
Remix the Marcus Fischer piece “Nearly There.”

Nearly There (Disquiet0004-mfischer Collected Noise Remix) by vourtsis

Nearly There (Disquiet0004-mfischer Love Hurts Remix) by :l


Disquiet Junto does this by tapping the creative potential of another old-skool participation technique: the homework assignment. Each Thursday, a new music assignment is announced, which includes the approach, the limitations, perhaps a sound file or two to play with, and a deadline. Each Monday by midnight compositions are due. Tracks are collected in sets on SoundCloud, a free audio sharing platform, and also on the disquiet.com website.


0002 Duet for Fog Horn and Train Whistle
Duet for fog horn and train whistle — using only those two provided samples.

Pillowing [disquiet0002-duet] by devinsarno

fog chant [disquiet0002-duet] by jukkapekkakervinen1


0001 Ice Cubes in a Glass
Record the sound of ice in a glass and make something of it.

Cinchel [disquiet0001-ice] by cinchel

Iced Coffee [disquiet0001-ice] by cpmcdill


And best of all, membership in this society is open. The only requirement is to do your homework. Miss one? It’s not like that — you can do as many, or as few, as you want. Not a musician but want to try it out anyway? There are no prerequisites except curiosity and a willingness to try.

0007 Subtraction and Sculpting
Create by removing material from an existing field recording.

Wavescrushing.wav.mp3.wav.mp3.wav.mp3.wav.mp3.wav.mp3.wav.mp3 [disquiet0007-subtract] by stringbot

Going Under [disquiet0007-subtract] by xyzr_kx


OK class. Settle down, and listen up!


Additional music reporting by LRJP!

The next Disquiet Junto assignment can be found here.
Disquiet Junto on Disquiet.com
Disquiet Junto Group on SoundCloud.com
Read HILOBROW’s interview with organizer Marc Weidenbaum.


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