Disquiet Junto
By: Peggy Nelson | Categories: Kudos, Popular

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.”

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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

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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.”

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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“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.

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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

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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.

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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

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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

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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

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OK class. Settle down, and listen up!

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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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Peggy Nelson is Arts Editor at HiLobrow, covering art, art-makers, and the virtual life; she was also HiLobrow's first Artist in Residence. She is a new media artist whose work involves fractured narratives in film, augmented reality, Twitter, and even objects on occasion. Follow her on Twitter at @otolythe.