Disquiet Junto 151 Reliving Dead

The Disquiet Junto this week asked for a soundtrack to George Romero's film Night of the Living Dead using sound from within the scene being scored.

After experimenting with a later scene, I settled on this earlier one for the knocking sounds and the telephone. Both were used for percussive effect. The drums come from the first couple of knocks looped, with a couple of instances of Ableton Live's Beatrepeat effect.

The chord progression was created from the word "Food". The elongated vowel was suitable for looping, then I pitched it up and down to create the progression and ran it through a resonator. The crescendo toward the end is the result of the Valhalla reverb Shimmer.

The bassline is the same loop of "food" but pitched down an octave and rhythmically gated. There's also another "food loop that's ran through Quad Frohmage.

One small hurdle was ensuring my soundtrack led into the one that starts at the end. At first I thought it didn't matter, then decided it was a challenge I should meet.

Steve Albini on our musical environment

Music has entered the environment as an atmospheric element, like the wind, and in that capacity should not be subject to control and compensation. Well, not unless the rights holders are willing to let me turn the tables on it. If you think my listening is worth something, OK then, so do I. Play a Phil Collins song while I’m grocery shopping? Pay me $20. Def Leppard? Make it $100. Miley Cyrus? They don’t print money big enough.

Warwick fretless Rock Bass

Bought this secondhand Warwick fretless 'Rock Bass' the other week. It's quite nice for the price, which was about a third of retail.

There's a pleasing phasing effect when both pickups are balanced, like a subtle chorus.

One drawback is it has created a desire for a fretted Warwick bass, which will be the subject of a future blogpost.

Disquiet Junto 150 Sonic Perfume

The Disquiet Junto this week drew on an idea from Jorge Colombo:
Step 1: Consider the time you heard quiet music and didn’t know where it came from, only to realize you’d left your MP3 player running in your pocket.
Step 2: Record a short piece of music with that as the intended purpose. That is, imagine a world not too far in the future when people regularly have a quiet music, a personal score, surrounding them, just as one might wear perfure or cologne.
Step 3: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.
Step 4: Listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

I had the idea that, since male fragrances are often like a refreshing breeze, I should include wind noise in my track. As it's a personal score, I also included the sounds of the landscape in the form of birds.

The track also had to have bass and I wanted something that wasn't too upbeat or too melancholy, settling on this old tune for the regal sounding chorus riff -- which seems kinda heraldic.

This combination of bass and wind seems an appropriate statement as a regional musician.

Nick Mason on records

Music is capable of tapping directly into a particular phase of your life, and you can maintain affection for dreadful songs for years and years ('Extraordinary how potent cheap music is' as Noel Coward put it ). For recording musicians, the odd thing is that this time-frame is out of kilter, as the reality of an album actually exists in a period up to a year prior to its release.

Disquiet Junto 149 Pine Ave

Interesting Junto this week, involving a field recording in the left channel and a processed version in the right.

I experimented with recording at Waipukurau Park near my home on Friday night, before remembering that there was going to be lots of interesting sounds in town on Saturday morning.

This weekend is the annual Leeton Outback Band Spectacular with marching and concert bands converging (and tonight merging). The main street had no less than three musical acts performing as I walked a short lap along Pine Avenue, starting and ending at the landmark Roxy Theatre.

The processing for the right channel involved a couple of reverbs (Audio Damage's Eos and Valhalla's Shimmer) with Ableton Live's resonator effect using the 'Berlin' preset as a starting point.

This is my 75th Junto and 20th video.

Disquiet Junto 148 Peripheral Listening

The Disquiet Junto this week asked for a loop-able soundtrack to suit a description from William Gibson's new novel, The Peripheral. There were options, which were all great. I settled on:
“Then a ringing silence, in which could be heard an apparent rain of small objects, striking walls and flagstones.”

The reason I choose this passage was it brought to mind an old field recording I'd recently used in the background of the first track on AND. It captured rain on a tin roof and seemed like it would suit.

The tinnitus-like ringing comes from Absynth, as does the low note. Both are treated with a lot of reverb, some delay, as well as compression.

State of Origin: Willimbong

The video above is for a remix I've made for the Naviar Records State of Origin project:

The Assignment: Record a piece of audio using sounds from your surroundings. The idea of the exhibition is to represent how the local environment can affect the artistic process: composers are to record the sound of their own environment and develop an original piece.

The idea of being influenced by the environment has been a theme in my work for much of the last decade. Elsewhere I've discussed how the Wagga Space Program inspired me to consider this influence and how I started remixing field recordings, beginning with a remix for the Ninja.Trax project on their Ableton Live-themed compilation using samples I'd recorded for their field recording compilation.

In more recent years I've been remixing playgrounds around Leeton for my For 100 Years project to celebrate the centenary of Leeton. Some of this material appears in this remix, specifically recordings made within my suburb Willimbong. Waipukurau Park has been the setting for many recordings and you can see the slide and swings, as well as fences and treetops in the videos here.

Willimbong has a mix of industrial and residential properties, as well as the Park that centres around River Red Gums. As well as birds like the noisy gallahs, the ambient noise includes the hum of the rice co-operative and trucks and sometimes I can hear the orange-juicing plant that is at the northwest corner of the suburb. This hum is buried in the remix but the gallahs feature and they are a sound I associate with Leeton, leading me to write and record the track Raucous Chorus.

The final remix (above) was the fourth attempt at the track and includes Native Instruments' Absynth VST. Earlier drafts were more upbeat and used the same samples. Below is the third attempt, which I also like but didn't seem to be quite the right vibe for the suburb. I think I got a bit more of a Boards of Canada sound in the final version, using a tape-style delay for a bit of warble and an amp simulator on the drums for a bit of grit.