Disquiet Junto 0213 Complex Signatures

The Junto this week was another interesting challenge, this time posed by artist Charles Lindsay. Dunno if I can describe it, so have a look at the Disquiet page.

In some ways it's not surprising that I've taken the tracks and remixed them into a dubby feel. It's an approach I've taken with many other samples but here it also reflects the rhythms that the three audio recordings had in common.

The request to explore "notions of perceived techno-organic intelligence" lent itself to an IDM remix and then I started getting all cosmic thinking about cycles falling in and out of phase, as well as the idea of a pulse or heartbeat that's central to all things.

Yesterday I opened Lindsay's recordings in Ableton Live, applied gates to help identify useful transients and then made loops to create rhythms. The percussion mostly came from the hydrophone recordings, then the computer whir was used to create a bassline by pitching it down.

I got a nice dub-sorta track going at 120 BPM and then sped it up to 126 because it swung better there. Before long I was jamming along on my bass guitar and I recorded a part but found it seemed to define the track too much, so I took it out again.

This morning I listened back and thought it was done, then started uploading. Then I listened again and decided to cancel the upload, as I'd had an idea to make the rhythm more complex.

Opening Live again, I exported the track at 94.5 and 189 BPM before editing these with the version at 126. I like the result, especially the way the track seems to slow down then speed up as the kick parts fade in during the last third.

I called the track 'Signature' because, as mentioned, the remix approach is a bit of a stock response from me. Another signature is my use of a three-quarter-length rhythm, like the 3/4 alongside the 4/4. This was why I used tempos at 94.5 and 189 against the main one at 126 BPM.

Then at the end I reversed the opening so it can pull up to where it started to be looped.

Naviarhaiku108 - Midnight

The haiku from Naviar this week is written by Kyle TM, whose name I recognise from Soundcloud. It was surprising to me that it was about the night as it approaches dawn, as I had an early start at work this week and composed a haiku about that time too.

First a confession: My track was started ahead of seeing the haiku. After thinking I needed more drum tracks, I spent last Sunday recording a couple of rhythms. I picked the one I liked better and quickly sketched a couple of chords and a bassline. It's a bit wonky, so I might fine-tune it a bit yet.

Naviarhaiku107 - The sleet falls

Sleet isn't something I see much but I can think of those times when it looks like rain but it's cold enough for snow. Last time I saw this was in Armidale last year.

For this track I started at 117 BPM, a favourite. 4/4 sounded a bit dull, so I started experimenting with 3/4 but ended up reversing my recent formula. This has a 3/4 percussion track and a 4/4 bassline, I think.

Disquiet Junto 0212 484 Hz Love Songs

The Junto this week asks for a seductive song that features 484 Hz, which it turns out is between A# and B. This frequency attracts male mosquitoes, presumably because the females beat their wings around eight times a second or so.

I've just realised that I didn't pay attention to the direction for a brief song. I did consider editing the track down to four minutes and it probably would've been better for it. Anyway, I'm very happy that I've contributed to a Junto topic and this is my 120th project with Disquiet.

To start this Junto I opened an EQ in Live and found 484 Hz by playing the highest A# on my bass and bending it halfway to B. The octave lower seemed to show in the EQ too, but my bass could go no higher so I filtered that out. Then I considered tuning a low B a bit lower, before picking up the fretless bass and improvising with that against that looped swell first heard.

There are a couple of voices in the mix. One isn't legible as it was someone yelling when I recorded the drums last week, so it's been gated. The other was my partner singing the chorus "Play that funky music white boy" which came from a Hot Cherry song that was repurposed by Vanilla Ice. She was singing in the kitchen as I started and was playing the 'Under Pressure' bassline, which led to her being recorded as it was picked up by my camera and then incorporated as I use the video footage in Live.

The drums were recorded last weekend and I had considered a micro-tonal sorta bassline on the fretless to accompany it but I'm not sure I thought much about what micro-tonal might mean other than sliding the notes around a lot. I added a key change too. And lots of Valhalla reverbs.

The title refers to Barmah Forest virus, which is often found in the blood of sentinel chickens during late summer. These birds are monitored by Leeton's council for mosquito-borne illnesses and it's one of a few nasties that are found locally. I've met a few locals who've had extended illness from mosquito bites, so it's a hazard I'm conscious of during the late summer months.


Here's a video for the Naviar Haiku track recorded last weekend.

RPM Challenge 2016

Done this a couple of times now and reckon it's a beaut way to set a deadline. Not sure it suits me this year, as I've got a stack of already recorded material to pull together but maybe I'll just use their deadline to make it happen?

Nashville tuning

That Naviar haiku track I recorded yesterday is possibly remarkable for the guitar for the wrong reasons but I wanted to record it to hear the 'Nashville' tuning.

If I remember right, it's the use of thinner-gauged strings to transpose the lower three. The EAD moves up an octave to kinda compete with the GBE. Each time you strum through a chord, you something more like a melody than steps up a scale.

It sounds really interesting too. When I play the 'Nashville' tuning I hear a lot of recorded guitar parts from soft rock tunes. I think it is meant to be good for recorded music as it clears lower frequencies without the need for EQ.

Naviarhaiku106 - Sunrays

Okay, back with an edit to both the blog and the recording.

After listening back I thought the sloppy guitar playing was too crap for the track. So I've tidied it up by making loops and arranging them into a better stucture, as well as treating one guitar part to Valhalla's Shimmer reverb.

And I've uploaded a video for the track 'Refill' here.

My Naviar Records' haiku-inspired recording this week came about because I've been jamming on a broken hand-cranked coffee grinder for weeks and looking for an opportunity to use it.

The poem this week didn't really grab me but the mention of sunlight reminded me how excited I am to get up to a cup of coffee in the morning. Ever since I bought an Aeropress I've been hopelessly addicted to drinking caffeine again after years of avoiding it.

Anyway, to record I jammed along with an old Solid Steel mix. First playing the drums, then the coffeegrinder, then a 'Nashville'-tuned guitar, and then bass. I feel like it needs something else, like running water or the drone of an airconditioner. Couldn't really decide what to add, so I left it awaiting that final element but I've really got to work on my guitar playing.

Naviarhaiku105 - Through the ages

The haiku shared by Naviar Records describes the moon and the sense of being part of something bigger, like the movements of the solar system. It got me thinking about things that move us, and I'll spare youse a discussion of horoscopes by going to the base, like sex.

Actually, it was thinking about the moon that reminded me of a line I'd improvised while singing on the way to work. So I added a few more words and got this verse:
Moonlight knock on my window and it call me
into the night where the frogs are performing
calling a mate with a song because they're horny
listen and you'll hear them sing until early morning
Baby, baby. Won't you come to me?

Morphine-influenced to Morphine cover

This is cool! Detritus Tabu took my Morphine-influenced Junto track and made it into a Morphine cover!

Disquiet Junto 0210 Ice Coda

This is the fifth time the Disquiet Junto has proposed recording the sound of ice in a glass and making something of it, and my fourth time doing so. And it's the third time I've made a video.

In my first year I recorded the ice creaking and cracking and then added a lot of reverb, as well pitching samples to create a sense of harmonic progression. In the second and third years I recorded the ice being agitated within glasses and also ceramic mugs. Here's 2015's result, which is probably still my favourite:

This year I thought I'd let a tap drip onto the ice in the glass. I'd made a few tracks using recordings of my dripping tap last year, however I'd fixed the tap and it didn't drip anymore. So, using the wiper wrapped around the faucet, I got a steady drip and put contact mics on the glass. The results were underwhelming.

Next I found my files from last year and began looping. These sounded more promising and soon I had a rhythm that held my interest. I began jamming along with it on bass, then guitar and eventually the four-string guitar that I've been experimenting with after my recent obsession with Morphine.

The guitar uses an open D tuning, like Sandman's bass, but instead of his two strings I've added two that harmonise. My thinking was that since he uses a slide, an added drone would provide a similar sorta sound. It sounds more like a guitar chord but it's been fun, although I wonder if I haven't built a baritone ukulele. Could a bass mandolin be a bassolin? Basslin?

So, after combining my old ice cube files with the new ones and jamming along in a few keys, I ended up with a few riffs that I edited together in a way that made it surprise myself. I like the way a few different approaches has led to a Frankenstein-sorta result.

Soft skin

While I was reflecting on my recordings from last year, it surprised me again just how popular my sex-based experiments had been. And, because it was the holidays and I was having a lot of sex, I thought I'd record a new piece to share.

William S Burroughs argued that audio-collage using the 'cut-up' technique can be a form of magic. He believed that by composing particular sounds together and playing them at a location, one can influence an outcome.

With Burroughs' idea in mind, I've layered two audio recordings and am hoping to have a threesome this year.