I had my birthday. I took the day off, or, rather, moved around my working days so that I had the day off. I didn’t do anything special.

L— also had her birthday. She had booked the day off, but covid spoiled that plan: one of her colleagues was obliged to stay at home, and she had to work.

The Christmas tree arrived. It’s the earliest I’ve ever had one up, but this way I feel like I’m really getting my money’s worth. I used to find Christmas very stressful, almost entirely because of the present buying part. Now that I’ve managed to cut that out, all that’s left is some cosy traditions, decorations that cheer up a cold, dark, damp time of year, and the bit I really like: mince pies and Christmas pudding.

I managed to pick up two big jars of medlar jelly at the Surrey Docks Farm Christmas Fair. I try to get some every year, but there’s only a limited amount and it sells quickly. Last year, there wasn’t even a fair. But this year, I was in luck. The medlar is an interesting fruit, not one that’s eaten much today, but I like it.

I recorded a composition for Disquiet Junto Project 0518. The assignment was to combine sounds of nature and civilisation using pieces recorded for the previous two instalments.

I was inspired by Diana Deutsch’s speech-to-song illusion and by the idea that we tend to hear rhythms in any repeated sound. I wanted to try to bring out rhythms and melodies that are already lurking, so I set myself a few additional constraints:

  • no effects except low/high cut
  • no other sounds
  • no pitch shift or time stretching
  • the whole piece should be around 3 minutes

I made this on my MPC One. I build a percussion loop out of a train recording, chopped a little for a fill every four bars, and built up multiple layers on top of that. Then I pulled it out to three and a bit minutes in length, brought voices in and out, and tweaked it a bit.

Some sounds are single hits, but most are a bit longer so that they have some kind of inherent rhythm in them.

It came out sounding a bit like a carnival rhythm, so I named it “Carnival of found sounds”.