RPM Challenge 2013 (Woman in the red dress with a violin)

For RPM 2013 I came up with the strange notion of doing something with a young lady I met during some of my activities in the downtown phoenix art scene. Through the miracle of social media, it became known to me that she has epilepsy, has had brain surgery and that she plays the violin

I made an initial approach to Haley at the end of January with the proposition – how would you like to get involved with an extremely intense creative process during the whole month of feb that is ‘something’ to do with how epilipsy has shaped your perceptions and creativity

She seemed very keen to do it from the get go and so I set about figuring out a modus operandi but truly had no real game plan as I drove to her house to begin initial recording at 5pm on Feb 1st

I arrived armed only with a zoom H2…my basic idea was to record her reflections and thoughts about epilepsy and then create some kind of soundscape around it, possibly even some song sketches…In some way it seemed like it would be pretty easy/painless procedure however, Haley indicated she actually wanted to play and be involved with the music to some degree

This was not as easy as one might imagine. When starting with a completely blank canvas and working with someone creatively for the very first time, not to mention using equipment I am not as familiar with as I thought (the Zoom H2) has made it difficult for me. I ended up with loads of recordings of violin improvisations, all basically around the note of G. And lots of discussion/reflections on epilepsy and the way it effects Haley on a day to day basis

Some of this stuff is good and very usable – specially when i start manipulating the recordings…some wasn’t

So now i find myself in the position of trying to incorporate Haley’s violin into almost every track I decided that this would be my challenge and to some extent, my limiting parameter which would help shape the sound

So far what I have produced has got a very lo-fi indie film soundtrack-like quality to it which to my ears is very reminiscent of tuxedo moon and/or the residents. Haley’s violin has been manipulated beyond recognition on some pieces, sounding more like baritone sax, cello or bagpipes. I have also augmented some of Haley’s playing (which has been judiciously spliced and rearranged already) with some synth tones using mainly Omnisphere and Absynth synthesizers

As per usual with the initial RPM challenge burst of activity, it is a case of throwing as much as possible at the wall and seeing what sticks.

Its becoming clear to me as things progress that this will become a kind of sound track to a non existent film – Haley has conveyed some compelling stories which will be the thematic links for all of the pieces

Initial drafts can be heard on sound cloud


On a side note…I have contributed a couple of tracks to Kevin Jones which he may use in his ‘duets’ project. I also tried playing along with a mungo track called bad connection the other night too….that was a tricky time signature and i think i basically created a pile of crap over his track


One thought on “RPM Challenge 2013 (Woman in the red dress with a violin)

  1. Interesting, I look forward to hearing the finished project. In the song you’ve posted I can hear the abstract sound similar to the residents. Keep up the good work and Good luck

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