Disquiet Junto 0393 Mix Master

The Junto this weeks asks for a new piece combining elements from three previous tracks.

Some weeks ago I noticed my song 'Alright' was the same tempo as my Junto track 'Somewhat' and found they worked well together.

I'd already used the bass part in my track 'Bad Politics' so I set about recording a new part.

Now I've realised those three tracks, although some might say it kinda bends the Junto project a little.

Cursed chords

Space in music

Marc Weidenbaum's email newsletter, This Week in Sound, recently shared this information from Robert Fripp's diary:
The primary factor in choosing a setlist is the performance space. Only part of this is the acoustics. Each performance space / venue / auditorium has its particular spirit of place: churches, burlesque theatres, rock clubs, classical halls small and large; with performance and listening practices, determined mainly by the culture and history of the region.

It prompted me to reconsider another piece of information about a musician, Johann Sebastian Bach. Some while ago I'd read that he composed for Thomaskirche in Leipzig, the church where he became Kapellmeister nearly 300 years ago.

While looking for information about Bach composing with reverb in mind, I found this:
Acoustics has been an important influence on music. Many composers have had in mind, consciously or subconsciously, the acoustics of the space in which their music will be played.

That piece outlines the role of space in shaping music, like:
Greogorian chant was written for medieval cathedrals with long reverberation times; similarly organ music of any period requires a reverberant space. E. Power Biggs said: “An organist will take al the reverberation time he is given, and then ask for a bit more…. Many of Bach’s organ works are designed …. to explore reverberation. Consider the pause that follows the ornamented proclamation that opens the famous Toccata in D minor. Obviously this is for the enjoyment of the notes as they remain suspended in the air”. Church music sounds wrong when performed in a small non-reverberant space with a lot of acoustic absorbent such as curtains and carpets.

And I've spent a couple of days considering the provocative idea "that the most important single fact in the history of music" was "the insertion of galleries in Lutheran churches" as they reduced reverberation in those spaces where music was performed.

For a while I've been pondering the influence of technology on the development of music and reverb is a beaut example, particularly since different types have become associated with genres.

As I was a watching Craig Schuftan's panel conversation from Loop this morning, he mentioned that Bertolt Brecht described "the mirror and the dynamo" as the tension between tradition and innovation in the arts.

So, I'm jumping across topics here, it fascinates me how this plays out in the reverbs I use in my music.

The mirrors are emulations like the EMT140 plate and the models of Ocean Way's studios, while Valhalla Shimmer seems (to my naive ears) as something distinctly new when I use it for a big ambient pad-like effect -- although, now I looks at the website, I see it was based on older models.

I'd guess the dynamos in more recent years are developing in convolution reverbs which, while imitations of existing studios use that to mimic their spaces, can shape sounds in ways that are without precedent.

Thinking on how the acoustics of a space shaped composers like Bach led me to consider how UAD effects users are now able to use modelled spaces like the Ocean Way and Capitol Chambers plug-ins in their own productions.

Given how those reverbs impart a famed character and can be used to connote an atmosphere, it seems like we're getting back to writing music with specific ambiences in mind.

Part of me enjoys the reverb response that put my music in those spaces that mirror expensive studios, while another part hungers to push on and create something distinctly my own.

It seems like that tension underlies so much music, walking a line between helping audiences recognise something and forcing them to try and find their way in a new space.

It also reminds me of the epiphany I had a few years ago while listening to music that could be described as drone. The way those notes hung while I lay with my eyes closed led me to realise that I couldn't gauge the space I was in. It was simultaneously without space and all space, which led to a transcendent quality that I've only previously experience in an altered state.

How to get a killer vocal

Yes the planet got destroyed

Disquiet Junto 0392 Another Country

The Junto this week asks for an anthem for a fictional country.

It stirred a number of thoughts for me, rekindling my desire for Australia to have a better national and then remembering my curiosity about an inland state that might have been in that country.

A while ago I shared a passage from The Plains by Gerald Murnane, which I'd read because I've been fascinated by a proposal during the nineteenth century for a separate state covering the floodplains of southern New South Wales and northern Victoria.

In my mind I pondered whether it might be a separate country, one which addressed a fundamental issue in Australian history and had established a treaty with the First Nations.

It often seems incredible to me that Australia is the only English colony without a treaty, particularly given the projections for growing identification as Aboriginal.

The state of Victoria has been moving toward developing a treaty and it saddens me that the Uluru Statement met such a muted response.

It was with issues of inclusivity that I approached writing my anthem, as well as environmental sustainability.

You can see these themes in the lyrics:

Where the songbird has flown
from the start of time
in our hearts we know
we hold all humankind
through the night and through the day
love grows where we play

We’re the future of the earth
we live in freedom without fear
we cherish our pleasure
and hold each other dear
walking lightly on the ground
we improve how it was found

We learn all worth knowing
your voice can join our tune
we share and we receive
our land goes to the moon
with our words we give a lift
praise each other’s gift

Our future like sunrise
beating hearts like soaring wings
full of promise is our sky
in unity we sing
growing power with the sun
of the new millennium
hear our song in unison
we stand as one

After recording myself accompanied by my baritone ukulele today, I had an idea that a marching band could make a better backing track.

So I set about creating a MIDI track and ran those chords through Ableton Live's woodwind samples.

Unfortunately the baritone peeks through the vocal track in a couple of places.

Someone who lied

Cities and Memory

After getting involved in a couple of Cities and Memory projects, I started an email interview with founder Stuart Fowkes for Cyclic Defrost that was published this week.

Their latest project, Space is the Place, also launched this week and uses the sounds in this video produced by The Guardian.