Hardly at Work


The Disquiet Junto project this week is another in a series of projects about background music. The assignment:

Record a piece of music appropriate for collaborative workplaces, such as newsrooms, design studios, software development teams, and so forth. Think about music that (1) isn’t distracting and (2) suggests momentum, and that makes sense played on repeat or as part of an imagined playlist of like-minded compositions. Keep the length between three minutes and six minutes.

I immediately thought of trip hop instrumental music, which is often what I listen to while I’m creating visual art. That style of music fits comfortably into the background when I want to concentrate on my work, yet I can pause my work and listen when I need some creative think time.

I started off with a drum beat in Ableton Live, reshaped until I liked the beat and tempo. The piece evolved as I added layers of repeated phrases. As the song progresses it gets more energetic, then winds down back toward the starting point. The instrumentation is comprised of flute, viola, cello and double bass accompanying an electronic percussion section, including a synthetic harp seemingly stuck on repeat.

I continue to use the weekly Junto projects to help me learn Ableton Live and to make me think more creatively about music composition.  Each week I get a little more productive in Live, and I hope a little more creative with my music. I’m also working through the composition exercises in William Russo’s Composing Music: A New Approach which I think will help over the long haul.

The cover art is an original piece I created for this song, intended to imply a horde of knowledge workers in a bullpen.

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