The final incarnation of the video and sound track for our offsite show Cue 2 Cue. The film was played in three sections which were interspersed between the performances and installations of our peers.
The first section was made out of conversations with Bea around chant, lord byron and organ music.
I attended one of the organ concerts at St Paul’s Cathedral.. which was grandiose. The organ is inevitably very different in the resonant acoustics of a cathedral than the space of electronic music on a computer.
This is the introduction to the home of the Delecouir owner? (the harlequin character seen at the end of the sequence dwells in the dungon) who’s character is partly inspired by Lord Byron, famously known as being “mad, bad, and dangerous to know”. Interested in making a chant out of this phrase I recorded Manj and I whispering, growling, and chanting “mad bad and dangerous” in different intonations, speeds, unisons, ect. We also experimented with a little karaoke machine i found at the market for 10 pounds. Really low quality with broken cassette desks but the delay worked nicely on it. Into the mic Manj started making weird psychedelic alien laughs.
I did not use the whole phrase but sliced up little sections of ‘mad’ and ‘bad’ which become a theme, reoccurring in the online auction scene with a very different feel. In the intro to this scene I sliced ‘mad’ in audition creating a little loop phrase. Instead of getting a clean phrase I kept the inhale breath and fragmented and added space to accent it in a disjointed kind of way. Then in Ableton with middi mapping I started with the chopping block effect at 100% chance and slowly brought it to zero. The chopping block randomly captures bits of sounds and repeats them making irregular rhythms. So it goes from a distorted rhythm of breath and voice and slowly reveals itself as chant.
This was the one scene that I initially worked closely with the video, uploading it into ableton and matching each organ and each alien laugh with the movement of the shots of gothic architecture and fade into the red carpet.
I started over complicating and crowding the sound by trying to write counter parts to the organ synth.
In the screen shot on the left you can see the bottom of 6-M Tron Strings and 1-Organ2 Church Slow parts which were added in and eventually taken out. Bea and I both felt that it wasn’t as affective and this was the point where I stopped working as closely with the film – as it was in a continual reshaping and rebirth and used film clips and conversations with Bea as a reference point.
The second section is what I call the Online Bidding Scene. The sound track started in response to a scene which is no longer featured in this section which was the online bidding scene. The clips I got next were of the Byronesc character on the phone. I was making the beat for this small section but it ended up extending into 2:40 min segment.
The first fully formed beat I made on Ableton and that I showed Bea was Radiator Rattle. I made the piece around a recording of my hand rhythmically running over the radiator. Using two different drums and two different beats fading from one to the other. The drum it ends on (Wicked Chillin) has a predominant upbeat shaker.
That Sunday meeting ended with Jole coming over and listening to these two
I tried to make a beat like dance music listening to these and the constant techno which blasts from my flatmates room 24/7. It turned out more like ‘left field trip hop’ according to Manj.
I also started listening to these two folks for the first time:
this time I used 6 different drum racks. Unsure where to go next I dowloaded Virtual DJ and started learning the ins and outs. I was experimenting with what kind of sounds I could mix with the beat I made. Using a saxophone solo from youtube and making loops out of it, a recording of Manj playing dig, sounds of Foxes screaming from youtube. On VDJ you can not save a project only record a mix. This was really good practice/pushed towards live mixing. At one point I couldn’t get the sax sample to synch tempos with the the drum beat.. no matter what I did I couldn’t get it to work again.
next step was recording a bass line with Stan. The bass line really gave the beat direction and I started adding sounds on top. moving away from VDJ and back into Ableton.
I recorded a little guitar riff, played with a pocket operator office synth that I got for the experimental jams Lucia and I were running at Goldsmiths and Chelsea. Fox sounds were put under effects in the intro to the track. I recorded the music box featured as a prop in Bea’s film creating two looped segments and played around with effects & middi mapping. and of course “Mad” made a reoccurrence.
Like the whole sound track the Online Bidding Scene was mastered in the theatre where we were showing.. running up and down between the sound booth and the middle of the audience seating area between the speakers.
The final sequence is when the harlequin takes off the mask. This is the first part of the film where the sound track was made and the film was discussed and chose to match it. the loop image serves to give the track more autonomy. I started by getting lost in the synth and making two parts that were quite magical for me.
One synth part was made with DigiNoise Choir a synth I used for Radiator Rattle and decided to explore further and the other with Detune2 Sync Lead.
I wasn’t sure how to use these and structure them into a piece as they were completely improvised and didnt have a set tempo or key or something. I brought them into Virtual DJ and mixed them. I added in white noise that I generated and ended up leaving out of my sub bass composition in territories of practice. I recorded Jack (in third year who i often have little jams with Dan and who always shares his tracks w me at uni) and I singing and whistling in the stairwell. He listened back to our recording and made a list of the delays he liked (on audition) I choose one of them. I felt like in needed something more and used the full recording of the music box prop. I played a lot with filters while mixing to give it depth and a journey.
Before bed one night I mixed in one of the out takes of stan’s bass lines from the online auction. I tried again to get the mix and couldn’t get it again. I also thought about adding drums. But it was all a bit off so I just left it as is.
Mastering in Audition was tricky. Unlike ableton when you make a mix on VDJ you only get the final mix and not the separate parts. This piece however has many different tonal ranges and I didn’t want it to be muddy but rather shifting fq. I split the track into different segments so I could master them all separately and then faded them into one another so it still sounded like one seamless track.