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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Walking Music – A Disquiet Junto Project

About seven months ago I began participating in the Disquiet Junto, "a series of weekly communal music projects [that] explore constraints as a springboard for creativity and productivity." Weekly assignments are made on Thursday night and are due by the following Monday night. The word "junto" is taken from "a club for mutual improvement established in 1727 by Benjamin Franklin in Philadelphia. Also known as the Leather Apron Club, its purpose was to debate questions of morals, politics, and natural philosophy, and to exchange knowledge of business affairs." The Disquiet Junto is primarily a Soundcloud group found here; there is more about the project on moderator Marc Weidenbaum's Disquiet website.

There is no expectation that contributors complete each assignment – you can come and go as you please. I appreciate the challenge of responding to such widely varying assignments under short deadlines, and the very different responses made by a diverse collection of musicians and sound artists from all over the world. It is a supportive and enthusiastic group.

These are the instructions for the latest project:
Disquiet Junto Project 0091: Walking Music

This week's project takes as its source material that most natural and quotidian of rhythms: the sound of walking.

The instructions are simple. You will make four recordings of yourself walking. You will then combine those recordings as you see fit into a single original piece of music. You will add nothing to the four recordings. You can cut up and otherwise transform the source audio as you see fit, but it should always be recognizable as the sound of walking. The resulting track will explore various themes, including texture, rhythm, percussion, momentum, and the inherent musical qualities of field recordings.

Deadline: Monday, September 30, 2013, at 11:59pm wherever you are.

Length: Your track should have a duration of between one and five minutes.

Information: Please when posting your track on SoundCloud, include a description of your process in planning, composing, and recording it. This description is an essential element of the communicative process inherent in the Disquiet Junto.

Title/Tag: Include the term “disquiet0091-walkingmusic” in the title of your track, and as a tag for your track.

Download: Please consider employing a license that allows for attributed, commerce-free remixing (i.e., a Creative Commons license permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution).

Linking: When posting the track, be sure to include this information:

More on this 91st Disquiet Junto project, which explores the musical qualities of footsteps, at:


More details on the Disquiet Junto at:


Associated image found via Flickr:


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I made a field recording as I walked through the rural property where I reside, along lanes and trails and through meadows, over a variety of surfaces that included gravel, grass, leaves, snapping twigs, and a creek crossing with chunks of concrete as stepping stones. Throughout the walk I kept a rhythmic pace to facilitate combination of different segments of the recording. I selected four excerpts of the recording that had distinctive sonic qualities, including a graveled portion of a lane, tall grass in a meadow, a creek crossing, and a squirrel’s chatter.

In the project recording, the four excerpts are first heard unaltered and in sequence; the excerpts are then combined and processed in various ways to complete the piece. Here is the result:

This is a section of the path I walked to make the initial field recording.


  1. Mesmerizing - I felt myself as a participant, running or walking and creating my own rhythm at first.These became muted by the rhythms of the woods, animals and the ground. I like the way it all came together.

    1. Thanks, Darrell. I'm constantly amazed when listening back to my field recording at the differences between what I consciously heard at the time and what the microphones picked up. I've been striving for months to get a clean recording of cicadas and every time I think I might have got one, listening back reveals a truck on the highway a mile away, or an aircraft passing overhead. In the walking music piece, specifically, there are huffs of my breathing and the back-up beeps of a grader working on the county road.


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