The change of season has left me feeling a bit down, so I've channeled my mood into this simple chord progression and rendered it with piano, strings and woodwind via Ableton Live's suite of instruments.

Naviarbook 002 The Star

HG Wells' story The Star is the subject of the Naviar Records Soundbook exercise this week.

Once again I've MIDI'd an arrangement and used Ableton Live's suite of orchestral samples to render it in strings and brass.

Naviar Haiku 063 Like two spinning tops

The Naviar Records haiku project this week prompted me to reflect, not so much on the message as the reflections.

Recently I read of a work by Alvin Lucier, 'I Am Sitting in a Room' (1969), that created a bell-like effect on a vocal recording by recording the piece being replayed in the room where it was recorded. I've tried to do something like that here using a modeled studio, as well as some crazy reverb. It didn't really work but neither did the idea I tried earlier in the day, so this is what I've got.

I like the sense that the drifting apart is heard in the increasing reverb, with its implied emptiness.

Naviarbook 001 Music of Erich Zann

Naviar Records' laboratory started a new experiment this week, asking musicians to respond to a short story by HP Lovecraft.

The Music of Erich Zann is a classic and features the trademark character out of his depth narrating a strange tale.

Unlike my usual approach, I decided to take the inspiration literally and attempted to record a violin part via MIDI. The sound of the instrument comes from Ableton Live's suite. Like my usual approach, I recorded a single-take and edited it a little, including copying and pasting the MIDI to drive Absynth's demented string preset.

During the recording I was surprised to start thinking about playing in pitch blackness, so I closed my eyes and imagined a wind blowing through the room as demon lurks in a corner. Unlike Lovecraft, I reveal the supernatural musician at the end with a few solo notes.

Disquiet Junto 0168 Three of a Kind

For some reason it took a while to follow the Disquiet Junto instructions to make a single track with three different parallel lines this weekend. It might've been because I decided to use a slap and a moan as the sample material.

It's a sound I'm very fond of hearing and the percussive aspect appealed to me for rhythm. The moan from my partner and "oh yeah" from me also provided varying tones, although mostly the track is built around the slap.

The rhythm part was assembled on Friday night. It took a few drafts as I changed my mind and tried other samples but returned to the bum part.

On Saturday morning I started experimenting with an ambient foundational bed, which ended up working better as a bassline. By afternoon I was adding loops from our voices for a melody but it pretty much just went "yeah" and "oh yeah". The distortion on the bass obscures it.

I think it strayed a bit from the Junto instructions but I sorta like the result. It's hot. I'm biased though, I've been conditioned to respond to the sound of a slap on the bum.

More megamixes

Following my mix of eight tracks in eight minutes, I've continued marching into my archives this month to produce a couple more Bassling megamixes.

Both are from last decade, particularly 2005-08 when I was living outside Wagga Wagga. The seven-minute mix above features 'the wires', while the six-minute mix below has a few tracks from the SHAKES album of 2004. Both have theremin.

Naviar haiku 062 Cicadas Singing

The other week I shared my haiku with Marco from Naviar Records and was stoked when he selected one for their weekly project. My enthusiasm increased as Lee Rosevere shared his musical response.

The haiku was written at work late last year as the temperatures rose. The cicadas in Mountford Park were drowning out my tinnitus, leading me to wonder about using their songs for ambient noise.

My musical response was recorded on Tuesday afternoon in a single take. I used an oscillator for the shrill sound and then improvised using my gated guitar rig. MIDI was later sent to Oddity VST synth. The slow pace and beating rhythm are meant to convey the dry heat of summer as the cicadas song rising with the slight gusts from the west.

Early on I discounted the idea of using cicadas as too literal. The result sticks out like an angry sore thumb in the Naviar playlist but I like the sense that it sounds a bit like a mild migraine. That's what summer is like on the days when the drone is loudest.

Wisdom from Stanislav Sharifullin

“Amateurism,” says Sharifullin, “is what defines provinciality. On the other hand, it’s hard to stay professional when you’re surrounded by philistine stereotypes. People think you’re a weirdo if your happiness doesn’t depend on the size of your bank account. So you must have balls of steel to do arts. It’s not that bad if you have a few like-minded people around, though.”

Disquiet Junto 0167 Free Bassel

It's good the Disquiet Junto is returning to the subject of Bassel but I was sad to learn he is still imprisoned.

The idea of remixing silence perplexed me a bit. I opted to record my son's room at the far end of my house but used a 10-second section where we made our way outside. In part I was inspired by the video about a father of four that appeared at the top of the Music of Sound 'detritus' blogpost recently to include the noise of children's activity at my place on Saturday morning.

There was a bit of noise from a handball game in the backyard and the sounds of the rice co-op a few streets away, including the hum and the beep of a forklift. Neither sound source was directly outside the window but the neighbour's house is and it seems to reflect a lot of noise into this room. You can see my son keeps it very messy, the carpet you can see is most of what isn't covered by Mad magazines and clothes.

Listening back to the recording there were a couple of door noises that stood out in the waveform. These formed the basis for most of the sounds in the track. I also looped my son asking why I was leaving my recording gear running in his room. It seemed appropriate to include the question 'why are you leaving?' being asked over and over.

Often when I remix field recordings it'll take me a few attempts to get a track but today I was mostly happy with the dubby techno direction from the first brush with the material. The door slams were stretched and resonated for the chord washes, as well as re-pitched for the kick and tom-like percussion parts. Delay was added to the latter, along with a bit of colour and EQ, as well as increasing reverb elsewhere.

Naviar haiku 061 A life is like a garden

When I saw the quote from Leonard Nimoy last weekend, I immediately added up the syllables to see if it'd haiku. So I'm pleased to see Naviar Records have used the actor's final tweet as stimulus this week.

The piece above is yet another version of my track 1992. It's a bass arpeggio that I've been playing since around that date. In this version I experiment with alternatives to the chord progression, as well as different tones from two basses.

Artist In Resonance

Bassling: Artist In Resonance from bassling on Vimeo.

Disquiet Junto 0166 Slow By Steps

The Disquiet Junto this week outlined a process of selecting a sample from Eugène Ysaÿe performing 'Rondino' by composer Henri Vieuxtemps and slowing it down by stretching the sample in successive steps. It's the sort of process that gets me excited because it's a technique that I then want to try with a track of my own that needs help.

When listening to the piece 'Rondino' I liked the start and end for loops but thought they'd be a bit obvious. Jumping around the track, I found a section at 2.18 that seemed good as it would loop back onto itself. Ableton Live defaults to a timewarping setting that kept the original pitch and accommodated the changes to the transients in a way that didn't lead everything to sound lower. It sounded good so I kept it.

Then I played along using a bass synth VST and found a few notes that worked. Then found a synth sound that complemented the original piece, so I copied my MIDI part and pitched it down an octave and made a new bass part. The drum loop was added last and I wasn't sure it'd suit the timing but it came to sound right.

And last, I played a bit with the EQ and spatial positions of the parts in the mix. Also added a few effects to make the parts sound rough so they would sit alongside the recording of 'Rondino'.

100-year old pipe organ

When I was thinking of pipe organ earlier this year, I remembered the improvised piece Dominic Vella recorded for me on St Peter's 100-year old instrument.

Above is Dominic accompanying one of my remixes of Mountford Park, which is across the road from the church with this beautiful instrument.

And in the video below he's accompanied by my drumming.

Disquiet Junto 0165 Bertoia chair

The assignment this week is to create a composition that explores the sonic resonance of Harry Bertoia’s iconic side chair.

On Saturday I procrastinated away my opportunity to go to a main street cafe. My son sorta hijacked my recording to develop a cover of a TV theme.

While I don't normally pay much attention to chairs, it seemed very unlikely to find a Bertoia chair in Leeton. An aluminum chair was needed for the resonant properties but I could only find a matted sort that didn't seem ideal.

Then I spied the public seating and noted it was made of metal. I tapped the seat and ran my fingers over the surface until I settled on a spot with a lot of vibration to place the mic.

There were a few tones from tapping resonant spots, which I tapped while making a few recordings. Those passing by pretended not to be interested, except for pets and children.

Once in Ableton Live I applied a lot of EQ and tape saturation emulation to the recording from the contact mic. Three busses added reverb, bass and echo, each with their own saturation.

The track shared with the Junto came from the start of the second take. There's a nice part at the end of the first take where a magpie's song resonated on the seat.

For more, hear my remix on main street.