Disquiet Junto 120 Readymade Rhythm

The Disquiet Junto this week involved interpreting the heartbeat of artist Marcel Duchamp.

The graphs of Duchamp's heartbeat reminded me of arpeggios, probably because I've still been playing around with picking the notes used last week. This track is a variation on that chord progression.

I guess it was readymade.

I've added an 808 kick as a heartbeat to the piece. It was mixed on headphones, hopefully it sounds okay.

Hiroshi Yokoi's Dream Tide

We are about the enter a period of major historical change not often witnessed in the long history of mankind. I believe that people involved in media have an important obligation to fulfil. That is to truly grasp the spirit of the period. And at the same time use their imaginative powers and practical skills to create a ‘dream tide’.

Naviarhaiku 014: Sunrise

This tune was recorded for the 14th Naviarhaiku project. It was inspired by a haiku by Marios Schismenos, presented below with an image by Flavio Jota de Paula.

My idea was to make an upbeat track that could be in the soundtrack to a modern Western. I'm not sure I've really managed the latter but the idea of a modern Western is an oxymoron. Brass would be good with it and an organ, or maybe a harmonica?

Disquiet Junto Paperback Beatmaker

This week the Disquiet Junto worked with rhythms inherent in text:
Step 1: Locate a section of a piece of written fiction that you admire. The section should be roughly between 125 and 200 words long.
Step 2: Record youself typing those words. Please note: You need not type it perfectly, and you should feel comfortable making some corrections as part of your typing. That said, you should come as close as possible to typing it straight through. And you should, if possible, record this in stereo in a way that distinguishes between the left and right sides of your typewriter. That text should account for roughly between a minute and a half and three minutes.
Step 3: Listen through the recording, making note of rhythmic themes, such as repeated sequences of letters, or natural pauses, or intriguing spacial separations across the keyboard.
Step 4: Record a piece of music to accompany the typing, music that uses the inherent rhythm of the typing as its foundation. Imagine, if you will, that someone could listen to this music while writing, and get into the groove, the zone, the mindset of the original writer.

I disregarded the direction to use fiction. Kerouac's On The Road came to mind because it's the first example of rhythm inherent in fiction I immediately think of, particularly the section about watching live jazz. I also like James Baldwin's Sonny's Blues, another piece featuring jazz.

Instead I decided to be cheeky and use Marc Weidenbaum's book about Aphex Twin's album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. As I've been reading it most recently it was close at hand and because Marc is responsible for setting the Disquiet Junto projects it seemed logical. I also decided to try making a track in the style of Aphex Twin's ambient work, ensuring a rhythm and heavy reverb on synth pads.

The section I located was the first page of the second chapter:
Background Beats

The critical evidence is overwhelming. The vast majority of discussion, especially as represented in writing — in music journalism, in criticism, in online discussion — about Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Volume II does not simply take the genre associations of its title for granted. It actively embraces and proliferates the idea that the record is largely if not entirely devoid of rhythmic and percussive material. The operative tag throughout such discussions gets to the point quickly. That tag is “beatless.”

##Meet the Beatless

Two takes were recorded using my Rode NT4 stereo microphone and the computer keyboard, as I couldn't locate a typewriter. The first take was used. In the second I typed the full page and it was over six minutes, which seemed too long.

There was a guitar riff I had in mind, which was recorded loosely as MIDI and run through a few Absynth presets. These were treated with plate and room reverbs.

It was put together quickly and I don't think I've nailed the spaciousness of Aphex Twin's arrangements. It feels more like Cliff Martinez' Solaris soundtrack to me. I probably would've made it shorter but I liked the way the typing ended with the two s's. It punctuates the piece.

Smug As a Sicksquid remix

Today I remixed a tune by Sicksquid. Above is his version, below is mine.

You can hear I've sped it up a bit and left out his piano part, as well as the percussion and bass. In their place I've added an 808 and synths, both a bass and a pad.

It was fun mixing a track by someone else, particularly working with vocals. I like the sentiment of the track.

Austin Kleon on imitation

The reason to copy your heroes and their style is so that you might somehow get a glimpse into their minds. That's what you really want -- to internalize their way of looking at the world. If you just mimic the surface of somebody's work without understanding where they are coming from, your work will never be anything more than a knockoff.

Naviarhaiku 013: Sunday afternoon

For the Naviar Haiku Project I returned to my acoustic guitar. The poem I've responded to was by George McKim:
Sunday afternoon 
The phone ringing 
In a vague way
I've responded quite literally, although it was recorded on Saturday afternoon. The idea of sitting on my bed for the recording was inspired by the blanket used as a backdrop for the poem.

The chord progression is the one I used in my Brush Brush Brush Brush Junto (below) because I'm thinking this version will lead into it nicely when I put together a compilation of tracks latter this year, like I did with the Junto tracks that went into While in 2013.

P.S. I've also responded with a haiku of my own.

Disquiet Junto 118 Internet Room Tone

“What is the room tone of the Internet?” asks the Disquiet Junto this week and you can hear my answer below.

It was a question that stumped me for a few minutes, then I remembered the digital-sounding interference recorded when using my Sony Cybershot camera while recharging.

To minimise other noises I covered the microphone on the camera with Blu Tack, on tape to ensure it wouldn't get stuck in the microphone holes. Two takes of around six minutes were recorded, which is the maximum possible on each side of my old memory stick.

These were cut into three and layered in Ableton Live. I panned them in various directions and removed the one with the most noise from elsewhere in the house. Then equalised them before running through an effect to widen the sounds.

The image below comes from a Reddit thread about a pregnant woman emanating WI-FI.