Disquiet Junto 0164 Hay Fat Choy

The Disquiet Junto this week asked for music from fireworks.

My track draws exclusively on a collection of badly shot videos from about a decade ago, when I first got a small digital camera. You can see in the video I was a newbie holding the camera sideways. The automatic focus rarely catches up with the action and the sound was recorded using an in-built mic, which clipped a bit.

The fireworks were part of a semi-regular winter solstice night that my outlaws organise outside Wagga Wagga. I won't speculate on where they got the bangers but they were good. There was a rumour that the fireworks lit on the night of my 30th were leftovers from the Sydney Olympic closing ceremony. Anyway, you can hear the appreciation of the small crowd.

The sound of fireworks, particularly the Doppler effect, suggested a descending harmonic progression. At first I wasn't sure I could get a decent kick sound from the material. It took a few attempts to get the melody and rhythm but I wanted to work with the video rather than instruments this week for various reasons. There's EQ and compression, as well as reverb and a little delay. After the first export I went back and added panning effects to generate more interesting stereo effect.

Working on the Chain

The new year brings a new Shinobi Cuts remix chain. Toastboat was released last month and we've started a new chain with a track from DJ Pnutz -- whose track on the last release was astounding.

Embedded above is my first attempt at remixing her track Infrasonics. It felt a bit self-indulgent adding my kids but their voices add a lightness to the material. The bassline you hear was recorded last year for a friend's track but seemed to suit and ended up in the final draft.

The logo for Shinobi Cuts shown here was one I designed. We wanted a ninja to reference the Ninja Tune Forum where our projects originated. Shinobi is, of course, another term for Ninjutsu, and cuts are a term for tunes. There's a version of the logo on Bandcamp that shows ninjas passing parts for a song.

Remixed sex

It's no secret that I'm a fan of pornography. On my second album, YOUR, I sampled a bunch of videos to make the track Dance Naked. On another blog you can find an essay on how internet pornography empowers women that I wrote while studying feminism.

Above is a remix made from a recording of my partner Jo and I making fuck last month. At the time I felt reluctant to share the sound of my orgasm. It seemed a very intimate moment but then I started thinking about public declarations of love and, since I'm not married, this is a statement of my relationship.

Since then I've been thinking of a story about Robert Mapplethorpe, who responded to an accusation that he was exploiting his naked photography subjects by taking a picture of himself naked with a whip handle up his arse that made him look like the devil.

It was a story I remember thinking about when I posed naked for a university newspaper last century. Anyway, I think many sound recordists work hard to ensure they aren't recorded but it is an important experience to feel vulnerable. Sometimes I wonder if I'll hear my moans played back to me and how it'd make me feel.

Uwe Schmidt on blueprints

There’s a sense that people want to sound like something else. There are too many blueprints. People need to develop their own stuff. We have tons of musical history to refer to. The weight of history is bigger than the creative horizon. It’s as though the information we are accumulating is bigger than anything we imagine. As a young musician you are confronted with everything in real-time and have to negotiate your relationship to it.

Naviarhaiku 058 Still there, somewhere

Another improvisation on the gated guitar for the Naviar Haiku project this week.

Haiku poem by Botanka Shohaku
Picture by Tanakawho

Not much to write about this composition, as it flowed out of me once I hit record. I recorded MIDI as well, thinking I'd add a few synth parts but I realised after the last track recorded this way that it ends up sounding very busy.

Disquiet Junto 0163 Layering Minutes After Midnight

Junto this week asked we take segments recorded last month and layer them to create a new recording.

I listened back to the recordings, made notes on a few different themes that some shared in common, then disregarded these ideas and put a few sounds together until it started to sound interesting. I settled on recordings by KeithysDunimselfaMischief, Rizzi, and Peepingtomb.

Then I used TB OmniSone to change how the sounds were spatially placed in the mix, a bit of EQ and then exported the new recording. I think it sounds a bit like making two-minute noodles at night while camping, so I called it campsite.

Naviarhaiku 057 Shutting my eyes

The haiku posted by Naviar Laboratory this week prompted me to imagine being old.

Haiku poem by Takahama Kyoshi
Picture by Viktor Dobai

After I recorded my favourite spring-time-sounding guitar lick, I used the gated guitar rig to explore a mellow vibe before the unexpectedly youthful break. This piece was part of a longer improvisation.

Less Weird Australia

Had a morbid thought just now, what would it be like to be the guy that brings tuberculosis into a room? Dead, right?

Anyway, I was sad to see New Weird Australia announce their retirement. I was also happy to see they had included my track Having A Barney in their final collection.

Disquiet Junto 0162 Junto in a Box

The Disquiet Junto assignment this week is to use Paul Lamere’s “Girl Talk in a Box” to gain a new perspective on your own music. I've used a recording made on Wednesday of my son Oscar singing the Sanctuary Boss theme from Earthbound. Hear the original in the video below.

In hindsight, I'm not sure I've followed the Junto instructions as this isn't really my own music. I think the voice is an instrument that will always seem more jarring when edited like this, because we're so accustomed to hearing it. Then again, it's a very jarring sort of editing using this application.

The idea of using a generative process to gain a new perspective on a work is something I've done a bit recently. There was a bassline I made-up one morning and recorded that has been the basis of a few works that have developed this way.

I've been using the bar-loop setting in Audio Damage's Replicant to add repetition, so much so that I haven't done anything with the originally recorded bassline yet.

You can hear it used first in Rapture of the Raptor and then in Darkness Flows. Both tracks were recorded for the Naviarhaiku project.

More gated guitar

Here's the gated guitar rig I've recorded this weekend and another take. Even though it was recorded immediately after the Naviarhaiku track and uses the same drum loop and BPM, it has a different feel.

Naviarhaiku 056 Deep in the snow

So I dusted off my gated guitar rig last week and the Naviarhaiku project offered a chance to focus on recording a piece. A single-take recording of a riff I've been riffing more the last couple of days.

Haiku poem by Takahama Kyoshi
Picture by David Craig

Snow isn't something I see very often but I can remember walking in cold weather, if I cast my mind back a number of months. This track developed when I heard the percussive loop and imagined the crunch of ice underfoot. As the recording progresses you can sense the bassline slipping out of key and it reminded me of the challenge in staying positive when you're physically uncomfortable.

You can hear a more upbeat take on this riff in the alternate version I recorded. Funny how the same beat, tempo and (mostly same) chords can sound so different.