>June 20th – June 30th
June 20th. Untitled: this track was made primarily using the Korg MS 20 software synth – i bought this a few years back – including the scaled down controller that looks like a real MS20 (including patch cords). Big rumbling filtered bass sounds start this track off and some kraftwerk – like synth chords fade in. I particularly like the oscillating distorted sound that goes throughout this song (a sustained 4th?) A muted looped voice fades in 2/3rds of the way thru followed by Paddy Considine saying ‘look what you made me do’ taken from the fabulous movie by Shane Meadows ‘Dead Man’s Shoes’. The rumbling, filtered MS20 bass closes the track
Another effort to make a piece of music for the macjams ‘one synth’ challenge using only the freeware software synth TAL NOIS3MAKER. I also made a video for this and used that as my submission for the challenge
June 22nd: 3rd Song
I think this one was made primarily with TAL as well (I honestly cant remember and I will have to pull the Logic project up to check). One of the magic things about Eno’s Before and After Science, is the slow hymn-like pieces he did, and that beautiful crystalline square-wave sound that floats above the tracks. I had that ‘musical memory’ in mind when I created this texture. Mystified took this track and placed a fantastic vocal over the top. It fits so well, it was as if it were almost by design. Her lyrical version is called ‘Dark’ and is a response to Death Cab for Cutie’s ‘I will follow’ This will be developed further….
June 22nd: Song 1 and Song 2
Using the same instrument set as song no 3. Used the screeching guitar synth noise as the initial building block. The time change on the organ chords is a result of severe quantization at that last part. I liked how it twisted the rhythm of the keyboard chords on its axis. Song 2 is basically the same piece with a drum track added – the drums are firing all over the place and kind of in time with the piece, but its almost like the drums are coming from a totally different piece of music
June 23rd, Untitled:
A slowly evolving piece made up of disparate components. Logic EP88 electric piano (always a good staple). Logic tape delay feedback fading in and out (http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifagain another thing I fall back and use a lot) I found some vocals from a version The beach boys ‘forever’ that i recorded a number of years ago. These vocals have been used in a number of other projects also, so they have proved very useful over time. I also found some guitar playing from my friend Spencer that he sent to me years ago. Bits and pieces of spencer’s guitar drop in and out of the track strategically
June 24th: fell asleep
I don’t know what it is. The stress at work, a lot on my mind with forthcoming events, feeling of not enough time, panic. Anyway, at the end of the day on a few occasions over the last couple of weeks I have been falling asleep in the chair at the end of the day – and waking up at 3am realizing I am not in bed. A symptom of stress? maybe. Anyway, over the years I have made many pieces that are either directly about insomnia or allude to it in some way. A trawl thru my collection of the voices I have collected over the years on my hard drive allowed me to find a few people talking about sleep or relaxation. 1st voice is my friend Nicole who I helped to make a mindful relaxation mp3 that she could use with her clients. The 2nd (british) voice is prosperine, talking about how cutting herself brought a sense of release and ultimately sleep. The 3rd voice is kara roschi, from an interview i did with her in 2010. She read one of her pieces called dreamsigns. Interestingly, all of these voices somehow fit together but they were recorded many years apart from each other and in distinctly different geographical locations. I think the synth textures are coming from Absynth 5
I had a conversation with a counselor recently. We talked about the sense of needing to maintain some kind of control and therefore meaning within our lives whenever everything else around us is going crazy and increasingly makes less and less sense. He used the analogy of someone who was in a concentration camp in Nazi Germany, who literally had everything taken away from him bit by bit. One thing that the Nazi guards would do was to make the captives move piles of dirt back and forth one side of the camp to another, day in day out without any explanation why. A story my friend heard was that one person managed to survive this madness by creating rituals/routines during the day that were meaningless to his captors, but were very important to him. This way, he was able to devise a way of making moving piles of dirt meaningful to him
Perhaps for me, with this project, I have also simply been moving piles of dirt around? The title is interesting enough in its own right I think (which may be more than can be said about the track on this occasion.
June 26th Untitled:
I had a conversation with my friend and collaborator Cat this morning. As part of the conversation, I mentioned how hard this ‘challenge’ was becoming for me. I asked her to suggest 3 instruments for me to use and I would write the piece using what she suggested. So, the instruments that Cat gave me to use were ‘clarinet’, ‘harpsichord’ and ‘cello’. In between a few other phone calls that morning I put this piece together together which has some similarities to the baroque SISCOM GURU pieces that Cat and I worked on with many collaborators a few years ago. Michael Nyman and Philip Glass maybe influences that a re brought more to the forefront as this piece develops in the future.
June 27th: Neural Networks
FM8 synth was primarily used in this track to create the chimey, bell-like sounds. A simple acoustic guitar riff is looped throughout and fed through a subtle logic audio tape delay plugin. The voice comes from a 90 minute discussion at socrates cafe in Phoenix AZ. I beamed into a part of the discussion randomly and found this section where DeJa Pritchard is talking about neural networks. I used 3 instances of his voice…1 has extreme warped reverb effects on and is creating the bird-like sounds. The a dry version of his voice slowly fades in so you are actually able to hear what he is talking about. Finally a more traditional reverb takes over (reverb track only) as everything fades out. A lot of the pieces i do are built on repetition and slowly evolving textures. I think this one takes repetition to an extreme as the other elements shift and change around it
June 28th Untitled:
Another nod to those textures on side two of Before and After Science, also maybe filtered somewhat through the Boards of Canada’s mixing desk. I think that this was Absynth 5 again (but I will have to check) Its kind of ironic that I am creating a ‘glacial’ piece like this as the temperatures outside are constantly hitting 115 degrees now
June 29th Untitled:
A collision of styles that I am not sure works. I love the sinister drone that is hovering in the background of this track. The little bossa-nova bit is coming from the M-tron mellotron and is totally out of time with the tempo of the track, but it acts as a nice counterpoint to the other stuff (for some reason I envisage that famous long tracking shot in Orson Well’s ‘A Touch of Evil’ (perhaps that should be the title of this tune) Not sure if the clumsy melody played on the bass works. Interestingly I left myself a note on the keyboard this morning telling me to only use bass instruments – so that is how it started. Of course, as you hear, i went in a totally different direction
The last day. I got up really early this morning and did this. Decided just to use a piano sound. I had David Bowies ‘Word on a Wing’ in my head, so that’s where the initial bits of melody came from. I built the track up piece by piece, using melody, chords, counterpoints. I tried to make it mathematical using divisions or multiplications of the number 30. So the track is 90 bpm (30 x 3), there are 15 notes in the melodic phrase which ended up being repeated 4 times but altered each time using the midi randomizing algorithms in Logic audio. 15 divides into 30 twice. Finally, there are 4 chords in each 15 note phrase (one for each week of the month) Probably not explaining this as well as I could – it really is simpler and more obvious than it may sound here. I tried a version with an awkward synth bass sound that doesn’t quite work, but I may return to this later – developing the bass line with a more appropriate sound
The midi on the original sounded kind of clunky so I did a bit of editing to make that better and added a nice space designer reverb.
Finally I slowed it down by 5 or 7 semitones (my favorite trick I think), double the piano to give that slightly de-tuned sound and for the month of June, I am done!