Naviar haiku 099 At the deepest point

The haiku from Naviar Records this week prompted me to record sticks being snapped and add a bassline. It's an approach that I've been meaning to try again, as I did something similar when I recorded stones being knocked together for the stone-cutter story, which worked out sounding good.

The recording of the sticks didn't go to plan, as I forgot to 'arm' the track when recording and had to use the sound from the video. Below is an excerpt.

Within a couple of hours I'd shaped these sticks into a collection of percussive loops and a few notes on a VST synth, as well as one part that I'd treated with a Sinevibes effect to create an upbeat bassline. It added a lot of vibe but wasn't the key I wanted. When I returned to the track the following morning, I knew it had to go. I remember thinking there must be an Oblique Strategy that says to destroy the most obvious element in the track.

I recorded a few takes on the fretless bass and could hear a few different chord progressions. The take used was the second or third, which only needed a couple of edits but I think I could've changed one more note. Then again, it sounds a bit 'broken' at that point, so maybe it works with the theme?

Disquiet Junto 0204 Under Beat

For the Junto this week I recorded a couple of takes on the drums and half of one on bass guitar, accompanying “Beacon, For Marissa” By Toaster. My playing feels a bit messy, as it has been ages since I played a musical instrument.

In the computer I layered up the drum parts and looped a bar of bass. As a kind of challenge to myself, I've been recording single-take parts for the Juntos. It was something I found myself questioning when the drum parts drifted apart. Yet it seemed important after I gave up on trying to record a single take on the bass.

Then I used Ableton Live's convert to MIDI function to create harmony and melody parts that were run through Phosphor and Absynth VST instruments.

This six-minute result feels a bit long. I might edit my parts without Beacon... and tidy it up.

Disquiet Junto 0203 Beat Basis

The Junto this week asked for an accompaniment to the track 'It' by Name Constant.

The track was a bit of a headfuck. I don't know what the time signature is but I eventually settled on counting four twice and then two as I played bass guitar this morning. Does that make it 5/4?

This bassline was only a few notes but every time I had an idea to add more or try a different bass, I ended up struggling to remember the feel.

Once it was settled, I added a simple drum beat and picked a few notes on the guitar. Then my kids started fighting and I had to stop.

This weekend has been the third spent pulling up carpets, underlay, staples and tacks. Carpet moth has infested my house and drastic action was required.

After calming my kids, I returned to pulling up and hummed melodies to myself while thinking what else to record with 'It'. Conversation turned to reading horror stories, as my youngest insisted we start something scary. My partner pulled out a copy of Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes.

As I read aloud the blurb on the back of the cover, it occurred to me that it would work sung to the melody I'd been humming. My partner encouraged me to record my idea while the inspiration was fresh (love that woman!) and what you hear was my second take.

Wasn't sure about the direction "do not change the source audio," since adding anything is going to cause it to change. I've EQ'd 'It' and turned it down, also edited the beginning by keeping the opening and then fading into a part about a minute later in the original track. To be honest, I probably didn't care much for the direction as I like to use the Junto as a prompt to develop new material.

This track recorded for the Junto took about six hours from start to finish. I think it's my 111th Junto project.

Naviar Soundbook

My track 'Polish' is part of the new Naviar Records compilation. See video below!

Naviar haiku 095 First autumn morning

The haiku by Murakami Koji resonated with me for capturing a sense of heading into one's middle years.

The more I thought about it, the more I thought I should use it as a springboard to explore another sense of paternalism.

The melody on the bass guitar was one I started humming in Easter this year, a time that became associated with the murder of Stephanie Scott. I spent the following weekend thinking about the symbolism of her death at Easter, which in the southern hemisphere marks the start of autumn.

Since then I've been thinking about the feminist argument that the personal is political, so this poem led me to think how a father is a symbol of patriarchy and how governments are patriarchal in claiming to act in the best interests of citizens.

I think governments are influenced by lobbyists, who are largely acting on behalf of corporations. Just look at the TPP and the secrecy in which it was negotiated and signed by governments, making a farce of democracy.

Anyway,  the Naviar haiku was a prompt to record a first draft of this idea that I've had in my head for half a year. It's good to have a deadline to realise such ideas and I almost missed this one as various events have kept me busy this week.

Layering up three bass guitar parts is a recipe for a muddy mix, as well as a similar number of vocal parts. I think I can better realise this track but it's good to have made a start.