Disquiet Junto 158 Syllable Gumbo

The Junto this week set an interesting project that was different again. The instructions were:
Step 1: Select the least important story on the front page of your local newspaper or the home page of your local newspaper’s website.
Step 2: Select the first or first two sentences of that story. Combined the resulting text should have between roughly 15 and 25 words.
Step 3: Record yourself, or someone else, reading the text aloud. You can use text-to-speech, though it is by no means required.
Step 4: Break the recording from step 3 into tiny parts.
Step 5: Produce an original piece of music in which the randomized “noise” of those tiny parts heard out of order slowly, over the course of one or two minutes, comes to form the full original statement.
Step 6: Add tonal and rhythmic material to the results of step 5.
Step 7: Upload the finished track to the Disquiet Junto group on SoundCloud.
Step 8: Then listen to and comment on tracks uploaded by your fellow Disquiet Junto participants.

My local newspaper is The Irrigator and the least important story seemed to be the first of two pieces looking back at 2014. You can see the blurb in the bottom left-hand corner in the image shown here.

I asked my son Oscar to read the text because I knew the higher pitch of his voice would make it easier to put a rhythm under the fragments of speech. He was keen to improvise comedy and delivered a lengthy spiel on crap inventions. They were literally inventions that made crap.

After he'd exhausted his ideas, I got him to repeat the line a couple more times with less enthusiasm as he was peaking the recording. Then he left for his grandparents for the weekend, allowing me to focus on the fourth step.

Ableton Live's Beatrepeat effect was used to gate loops of Oscar's voice. There were eight instances in total, each starting a bit later then the previous. Then I automated the effect to increase the gate, allowing more through as the piece progressed for two minutes. It sounded a bit stuttery, so I reversed a couple of the loops. Later on I sped up the tempo at the start to exaggerate the shorter parts.

Something about the pitch of the voice made me think of a disco bassline sampled in an old De La Soul tune. I had it in mind early on but set about adding drums first. In hindsight it probably would've been better to pick snappier sounding drums but I settled on an 808. The 808 samples come from a set I got from Studios 301.

I recorded the bassline using my Warwick fretted bass. My playing seemed kinda sloppy as I haven't picked up a guitar for weeks and I had a glass of wine with dinner.

The bass and drums needed something more but it was starting to get late, so I put a few notes in the MIDI and experimented with presets in the Oddity2 VST. A bell sounded nice, especially after I pitched it up an octave.

Then I EQ'd away lower frequencies on everything except the drums and added echo and reverb, as well as the Panstation effect in places to enhance the stereo image.