Aeolian Metrics

This week the Junto was a bit more challenging than usual for me. The exercise was to use the sound of a wind chime as the rhythmic foundation for a track.

When the email arrived I thought immediately of a bamboo wind chime that I'd seen hanging outside my partner's parents' house but I wasn't sure it'd been there when I last visited. As my common law brother-in-law was visiting the next day, I called and asked if he could bring it over.

It turned out the wind chime I wanted had left in the garbage a while earlier but he brought over a very nice aluminium chime. A short ride around the neighbourhood and I found another couple of bamboo chimes outside a house not far away and the guy mowing the lawn had given a friendly wave, so I grabbed my camera and took my son too as he's cuter than me.

The bamboo model appealed to me because it makes a 'donk' sound rather than a 'ding' or 'dong'. I also recorded a couple of smaller metal chimes they had and while conversing with Frank I learned his brother-in-law had formerly owned my house.

Once the recordings were loaded into Ableton Live I created loops and used gates to remove background noise. Once again I got an interesting collection of sounds but it lacked progression. A melody came to mind and I wrote lyrics but, once I returned to the track after going to the pool, I'd lost interest and started again.

The next draft focused on a progression created by re-pitching loops and using Live's follow function. Percussion was created from the bamboo chimes with loops of varying length and I tried keep a sense of that lopsided sorta way they sound. I wasn't entirely happy with it and started a third draft but then went to sleep.

Today I went back to the second draft and had a few new ideas to keep it interesting, particularly pitching down a kind of chorus section. I experimented with adding other instruments but nothing seemed inspiring, so I settled on adding a low synth part to fill in the lower frequencies using NI's Massive VST.

The end result is more of a wind chime remix than a foundation. It sounds a bit like instrumental hiphop to me, possibly influenced by the book Check the Technique: Liner Notes for Hip-Hop Junkies that I've just finished reading.