This week's Disquiet Junto proposed a minimal techno remix of Franz Haydn’s String Quartet in F Major.
It took a couple of attempts before I found short loops of a bar or less were best for a techno feel.
The violin sounded a bit like Bernard Hermann's score for Psycho until I threw it down a flight of stairs.
The deep bass runs provided a nice kick sound by looping a small but dynamic section and adding a gate. I re-pitched loops, starting a 12-bar blues riff before it got patchy.
The structure was done on the fly for a live warehouse party in the early '90s-type vibe but the main influence was Ritchie Hawtin's music as Plastikman.
P.S. -- I've revised this remix after listening back and realising the glitch was a bit overdone. It was a sore thumb.
The instinct to make music with jugs, musical saws and washboards is an instinct that takes the abundant, inexpensive artifacts from your life and transforms them into something roughly musical. I don’t think there’s anything else that parallels that tradition more than transforming dollar-bin thrift store toys into magically glitchy musical instruments.
It’s really like a 21st-century junkyard band aesthetic. I think this generation is particularly reluctant to acknowledge the phenomena, possibly because many of the toys that are subject to the transformation — like the Speak & Spell, Casio SK-1, Touch & Tell — still have this aura of childhood futurism. It’s as if admitting that these toys are obsolete is to admit that the promise that they held for us in childhood is no longer relevant today. The reality, however, is that circuit-benders are turning trash into sonic treasure, a concept that I feel is rooted in American folk music.
This week's Disquiet Junto is based on a four-loop composition, specifically one 2 seconds in length, one 3 seconds, one 5 seconds, and one 7 seconds long with a 3-second pause to one of the elements and a 1-second pause to another of these elements.
The material comes from a recent collaboration and it was challenging settling on the final loop. The bass and bell-like pipe were given but I spent a while trying out other loops. I also cheated a bit I think, the loops length mightn't all be strictly following the rules.
It was an interesting approach to composition and one I'd like to try again. I like writing haiku for the framework and this offers a similar set of rules but I'd probably shorten it.
Kinda reminded me of John Cage:
In Zen they say, 'If something is boring after two minutes, try it after four. If still boring, try it for eight, 16, 32 and so on. Eventually one discovers that it is not boring at all, but very interesting.
Another result from my community recording sessions during the school holidays, this time in and around Leeton's Mountford Park.
The pipe organ sits in a church just across the road, so I bent the rules a bit but it really deserved to be part of the track as it's also celebrating a centenary. And I love pipes, so it was an opportunity to hear how it sounds without sitting through a sermon.
Thanks to local maestro Dominic Vella for the melody and thanks to the kids who joined in too.
PS -- Nice follow-up piece in The Irrigator today
When I was young and studying music, like most music students of the time I was into Jazz. My professor once said to me, 'Why are they playing so many different notes? They're searching for the right note.' So I have nothing against improvisation but I'm more into defining what note I want to have. That's why I've always been keen on visual pictograms, like traffic-signs as its pure information. If you can find a chord progression and a pure, authentic melody it's all you need. The most important information is definite pitch because it's the purest information our brain can remember. That's why everyone can remember so many different melodies.
After having a laugh and then shaking my head about this post on the homogenous sounds in Beatport's EDM chart, one talented producer whose work appears on that service pointed me toward the video above. Ha!
Labels: pro tip :)
You have ideas, and I always say ideas are the most important thing, and the idea tells you everything. The idea is like a seed. The tree is in the seed, but it doesn’t look like the tree. So, when you finally see the tree, you might make some changes, but when you get an idea you really do see the whole tree, but it’s in an abstract form.
Tonight was the last of the three screenings. Mountford Park looks magic at night and tonight it sounded magic too, as the church bells chimed six o'clock during one of the Mountford remixes.
The response was positive and it was satisfying to see my work projected large.
If you’re comparing a drum machine to a master drummer I would be one of those who argue that drum machines and quantization don’t have the same feel as a real drummer. But I don’t think most people use drum machines to replace history’s great drummers. They use drum machines to create a particular looped groove that works well in a particular musical context, with full knowledge that the drum machine won’t respond in dynamics or tempo to the other musicians, won’t spontaneously think of creative and complimentary drum parts drawn from a lifetime knowledge of thousands of recordings, and won’t produce subtly-nuanced percussive timbres by tapping, rubbing and bending a drum in hundreds of possible ways.
This month I'm revisiting my project remixing Leeton playgrounds for the centenary, as it's closing and I wanted to give my videos a local screening before they join Albury's urban art programme in August and September.
I promoted that people could come and record with me and appear in the screenings. The first recording session was in Central Park on Monday and I was joined by about half a dozen with three kids taking an active interest.
They encouraged me to try the contact microphone on a couple of things I hadn't tried, such as listening to my pulse and recording the water tower in the park. It was really gratifying to see how enthused they were about the sounds and their potential. The youngest at one point exclaimed there were hundreds of sounds to discover.