Coles Custard Creams - *When I was a child I had a scented eraser that resembled these biscuits, so maybe I've a sentimental interest in Coles Custard Creams.* Their smell is ho...
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.
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.
"Again, going back to Eno and his Oblique Strategies card, “Honor thy error as hidden intention.” I’m a great follower of that. I think that magic comes through those little moments that someone might perceive as everything going wrong. That’s actually an opportunity to take things in another direction. Maybe it’s like the Leonard Cohen line, “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in” [from “Anthem”]. It’s great. I’ll give you an example…
"I had a little pocket calculator and was working out some sums. I did a couple of figures, and it made this little melody. I thought that was great. It became the melody. I actually put a mic on that pocket calculator. It’s all around us, there just to be seized. If you’re not tuned in, it’s just noise. But the more you tune in, the more you hear it."
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.
Naviar Records' laboratory started a new experiment this week, asking musicians to respond to a short story by HP Lovecraft.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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'.
Labels: Disquiet Junto
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.
My Prime Minister described social media as being "electronic graffiti" and I thought it was a description for this remix of my recording of public seating on the main street of Leeton.
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.
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.