Disquiet Junto 0261 Audio Journal 2016

For my fifth audio journal exercise prompted by the Disquiet Junto, I've used 48 snippets of around one and a quarter seconds each.

One of the biggest changes to my Juntos this year has been abandoning Soundcloud to protest their closure of the Groups functionality.

In hindsight it's interesting that a result of this decision was concluding I needed to film myself making a toasted sandwich as a way to share a song I'd produced in the computer.

The toasted sandwich videos have been remarkably popular and started a series of conversations where I learned things like I've been mistakenly referring to spring onions as shallots and learning my knife skills are shocking.

The other thing that jumps out for me is how much deeper my son Oscar's voice now sounds.













Return to The Wires

Here's a shortish recording of The Wires.

Disquiet Junto 0260 Tone Fade

The Disquiet Junto this week asked for one note played repeatedly over three to four minutes. It brought to mind works by John Cage and Brian Eno where repetition encouraged a listener to hear the subtle differences in performance.

I'm visiting my out-laws for Christmas, where 'The Wires' were installed by Alan Lamb and Abre Ojos in 2004 for Unsound. When I worked with Lamb for Unsound in 2006, he introduced me to contact microphones and also bowing. Both of these techniques have been useful to me and I've recorded a variety of objects this way, including a slippery slide for my playground recordings.

'The Wires' have also influenced my listening, as their shifting harmonics mean the noise they produce is constantly changing. I spent many hours recording them and hearing how they responded to the environment. Some of these recordings were used in the three-hour collection Vibrating String.

I pruned the treelot around 'The Wires' with plans to record myself bowing on it for the Junto this week. However, it's been windier than forecast and the results included a lot more of the "pew pew" raygun-like sound than I wanted. It was distracting from the close listening aspect of the exercise.

When the local water authority sealed a leak on the nearby water distribution tank, they added the ladder seen in the video. Previously we were able to climb up and get a 360 degree view of the surrounding region, as the tank is on one of the highest hills in Brucedale.

Anyway, when we lost that view we gained this resonant metal and I've been thinking for a while that it might be interesting to record it. So the Junto was an opportunity to hear how it sounds.


Just been trimming around 'the wires' as the treelot has started muting this large-scale aeolian harp and I want to make recordings while I'm visiting.

There were lots of Christmas beatles on this tree, although they stayed at a height beyond my reach -- even though I was standing on two milk crates.

Disquiet Junto 0258 Sonic Climate

The Junto this week asked for a short piece of sound that expresses your local climate this time of year.

This subject matter brought to mind Junto #106 that used the weather as a graphic score, which had been a productive direction for me as that track was used by Regional Arts NSW. However, I was a bit reluctant to take that approach again this time.

After reflecting on the term "climate" and seeing the word "mileu" suggested, I began thinking on notions of personal context as well as the weather.

At this time of the year the Western Riverina of New South Wales is characterised by warm days, although when the Junto email arrived temperatures had dropped as winds from the south brought a cool change. So I had in mind the track would feature a break of some sort and I guess the pitch dropping is a representation of that.

Earlier in the week I'd been playing an old treadle-powered organ and thought it'd be good to use, although I haven't yet properly recorded it.

I looked at other video recordings I've made at the Museum and decided these could reflect my mileu. Most of these were made for the Instagram account.

You can see in the video the samples include Griffith's town band, who provide horns and also the kick drum. There's also Mr Grumbles, the sometime resident emu, as well as another bird that I haven't identified yet.

My son is in the opening using a hand-operated water pump, there's some of steam machinery shed and you can hear the steam-blown whistle there in the shot of the horses that were pulling a replica of Mickey Cush's carriage, as well as couple of hits from a blacksmithing demonstation. Near the end you can see the large button that's for a foot-operated bell that can be heard through out too.

There's also the sound of cicadas, which are a familiar noise during the Australian summer. This week I heard them for the first time this season, although it was cooler and they were making a lower-pitched sound. I also read they can be as loud as 120db, in contrast to a lawnmower at 90db.

While remixing environmental sounds is something I've done a bit of for projects like my playground remixes, this was the first time I've manipulated audio recorded on an iPhone.

It was going okay until I started adding compression, then the higher frequencies started to hit my hearing. This was accentuated by the headphones, which I've been forced to use since I bought a brand new secondhand Macbook earlier this year and have had problems using my Firewire soundcard in combination with my Universal Audio devices.

Another drawback was Ableton Live kept crashing while exporting video, so you only get a brief glimpse of the cowbells that play throughout the track and only a bit of the three Town Band samples too. You can see bandleader Trevor Peacock wearing a band uniform from decades earlier for the "exhibition day" we held to mark the centenary of Griffith.

There aren't many effects used on the loops, although most have been repitched. I EQ'd mostly lower frequencies for everything except the kick drum, which is only lower frequencies.

Everything has a gate as well, although for my son and the cicadas it starts a little way into the track. The cicadas has Live's Beatrepeat acting as a rhythmic gate for a high-hat sorta sound, then it turns off during the organ break in the middle.

The title 'One Man's Dream' comes from a book written by former museum manager Perry Howard about Pioneer Park Museum and is a reference to Charles Sharam, who was instrumental in establishing Griffith's community-run museum that celebrated 45 years of being open to the public earlier this year.

Bread robot

My bread machine was kneading dough on the weekend and I thought the rhythm was interesting, so I recorded it. Then I listened back and thought it was less interesting, so I decided to convert it to MIDI in Ableton Live.

Naviarhaiku 152 - Fading light

Last weekend I was trying different chords on the ukulele, when I found a couple that made me think of disco.

Then I started humming and wondered what sort of lyrics would go with it. I settled on something a bit codependent, along the lines of “hold me close, hold me tight, I couldn’t dream without you, I couldn’t sleep at night.”

At first I wasn't sure it suited the theme of the haiku shared by Naviar Records this week, but I think it does capture a similar sentiment.

After finishing the Junto, I thought I’d better try recording my ukulele riff as it’s hard to remember song ideas sometimes. I set up the Rode NT4, as well as putting the VideoMic on the camera. Neither got my voice very clearly but I thought that might be better.

When I opened the recordings in Ableton Live, I could hear my foot stomping and decided to put a four-on-the-floor kick underneath. Then I remembered Pepe Deluxe’s beaut track ‘Girl’ and thought it had a 303 riff but, as you can hear in the video below, it doesn’t.

Disquiet Junto 0257 Remember Noisevember

The Junto this week looked like a process, with this image:

It brought to mind Stuart Hall's influential essay Encoding, decoding and I set about recording myself reading the introduction.

Then I took my voiceover into Ableton Live, where I had it encode a simple part played by the Massive VST synth using the Vocoder effect.

To keep it interesting I added bass and drums that were recorded late last year.

Selected Ambient Covers Vol. II