- First attempt at making a beat on Ableton with midi screen shot: https://melchelsearts.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/sunday-morning-ableton/
Listening for Sound Track
Meetings w Bea
Process Work – Sound Track
- Radiator Rattle: https://melchelsearts.wordpress.com/2017/02/02/radiator-rattle/
Principles of Sound/Music
Bits and Pieces
- taking a sample from back up vocals I did over christmas w a friend: https://melchelsearts.wordpress.com/2017/01/22/back-up-vocals-w-dave/
Recording/Documenting Streams VIbration/ exploring acoustics
- making more contact mics: https://melchelsearts.wordpress.com/2017/01/23/contact-mics-last-week/
It started with the quote from Arthur Russlle’s biography “I think, ultimately you’ll be able to make dance records without using any drums at all. Songs with out beat would be the source of the most rhythmic reality.” this really stuck with me. Thinking about absence and presence and the space that creates the beat difference and reputation. It also really relates to my essay from first term which references Sonic Warfare… how sound its self is essentially rhythmic disturbances.
playing djembe and bass i played around with recordings wanting to speed up a drum beat into a drone. Brainstorming different possibilities for a performance.
I had this recording I recovered from foundation… a moment I had completely forgotten about when Karum recorded me playing piano or singing in the stairwell. His little recorder had loop functions and as he was recording me he was capturing little bits and looping them. I was interested in the possibility of doing that again as a live performance. I used that vocal track in Ableton with the Chopping Block effect. Another thing that I was interested in as the effect randomly captures and repeats bits of sound when you run a clip through it.
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.
“Yes, it was a huge, huge thing for me as an impressionable young person listening to these absolutely blazing techno sets on the radio. I was too young to go clubbing, so I tuned in for nighttime drives, or put the headphones on and spaced out at bedtime, which probably doesn’t jive with the gritty romanticism surrounding the early 90s Detroit scene. But those big tracks sank in so deep.”
Rather than be pidgeonholed as X, Y, or Z how would you describe your sound (or is it more of an approach)?
“I just like making stuff that, while being a little odd, still contains that sort of soaring, slightly heart-breaking synth lines of early techno. And big drums. Or I try, anyway.”
They feel like the least “vocal” vocals I’ve heard, because they’re entirely part of the track.
KG: It’s just an instrument, but people don’t view it as an instrument, they focus on it as the glue around which everything else is sticking. That was never the case, ever. I may come back to it, but the last time I tried to do vocals that were like that, I got laryngitis! It was on the Opal Tapes tour and I was like [makes strangulated noise] and I had to give up the vocals after two nights, but that was great, because then I ended up improvising my way around it and then after that, I was like, “Well, one really good reason not to do vocals again is that you can get laryngitis.” I don’t want to have to worry that I’m going to be like [strangulated noise] into a microphone when I mean to make it sound suitable.
re you working on new material at the moment? Does it sound different?
KG: Ah, yeah – very different. I can’t even listen to Needs Continuum – I haven’t been able to for a long time. I like some of the chords and the melodies, and at St John I played, largely, one of the Needs Continuum tracks, in a completely different way. A really, really dark scary, horrible way. Yeah, I feel like I’m still doing the same sort of things, basically, but in a totally different way, ’cause I think that it sounds so accessible! It’s just way too accessible. It’s the whole thing with No Pain In Pop – Tom King from No Pain In Pop has been absolutely wonderful and supportive and everything but just the identity of that label is one that I was not necessarily comfortable with. I’ve had him say stuff to me like, “Would you like to play some in-stores at Urban Outfitters?” It’s like, “nooo” I don’t think I should actually.
The main theme is that you are going through a heavily cerebral process when you make music, and it is not like that, it simply is not. You say, do you ever sit down and play 4/4? Yeah! But it might be saying do this up here [points to head] but it doesn’t happen that way, because I have my hands. You don’t ultimately have total control over what you’re doing.
Stephen Bishop of Opal Tapes has admitted to me that he has actively tried to find women who are doing good stuff, or at least I think that’s what he said, and that’s a sad thing. That’s just sad, it shouldn’t have to be like that.
So I got booked to play this Wysing festival at the end of the month – nobody told me at the time that they booked me that it was going to be all women, pretty much. When I found that out, I was like, “Goddamnit! Why don’t you just have ten men and ten women?” Just don’t perpetuate the novelty – we’re not novel; just a person, I’m not a novelty.
Karen: Could you talk about echo? It’s a wonderful thing — what if it had never been invented, and why don’t people use it more? What’s wrong with them? Or talk about your love for it because obviously you’re absolutely obsessed with it.
Paul: Yeah, obviously I’m obsessed with it. I think I love the way things sound when they’re indistinct, so anything that does that, that creates that room. I’m not like a drug person, but there’s probably something deep in my experience that make that appealing… I think it’s just the sense of something being hard to grasp, or far away, or fleeting, or in motion, that’s how we experience sound in the natural world, especially here in [this] space that has intense acoustic properties. I have a lot of records that don’t have echo, and I always think, wow, what restraint, how dry a world that person lives in. And sometimes I try not to use echo to understand that space, actually …. It’s just my natural state. I want things to be cascading and blurry in that way. As for why people don’t use it, I think it’s because they probably get confused.
Karen: [Laughs] It messes with things, and the cleanliness.
Paul: Yeah, the cleanliness and the rhythm, and it fills in the negative space. A lot of dance music and techno or whatever is about the “not notes,” so those pauses or important. I don’t really have that in my music. It’s just on all the time; there’s sounds filling up every space and it’s strata sound and echoes are really nice ways to fill those gaps. For people that don’t live in that world, they’re missing out on a certain kind of intensity that has a kind of deliciousness to it if you let yourself be there. That’s a great question!
On Lawrence Halprin
Scores are symbolizations of processes which extend over time” (RSVP CYCLES, 1)… while this is hardly gives a concrete image of scoring, it begins to find clarity in examples of application. Halprin notes that scores include not just musical or movement notation, but are actually omnipresent in our society. A grocery list is a score; so is a calendar, an almanac, a cave etching. They express through symbols (characters/ assigned notations) something larger, more meaningful than the symbol itself. Halprin saw this practice as highly suggestive of a design methodology which related more to process, deep involvement, and an activated collective than most design practice, which was result-oriented and didn’t consider more meaningful, non-static elements in design.