Colesbrough Mort & Company, by Lou Janssen

Colesbrough Mort & Company (or CMC) details the writings and sounds and arts and poem of queer Meanjin/Brisbane based artist - Lou Janssen. This website serving as an outlet of thoughts, a resume and portfolio, a catalogue of works and projects. 

Below, lies links to my personal music practice, art and words, and other more miscellaneous projects of mine (so far revolving around coding instruments and effects). Further below these links unfolds my blog - dated newest at top - which I use to discuss and share thoughts on various projects of mine.

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Print foundations

Hey all, as said in an earlier post, I went through a print foundation course this past semester at university. Attentive readers might have noticed my print portfolio available on a new 'printmaking' page of this website, however here I wish to give it a more deserving and elegant entrance rather than a quiet upload.

     

 

 

This portfolio spoke of two complimentary works, both reacting to the prescribed theme - fragments of time.

 

 

 

    The first work is a collection of lino prints of the Sun, and the second is a more experimental series making use of “resampling” to slowly manipulate and destroy the source material, paired with solvent transfers. The portfolio as a whole contains pieces which have been cut and reduced to size, then glued on sheets of sumi paper, all of which are kept in a folder of fabric glued to a larger sheet of sumi paper.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


//-//-// the full series can be seen at printmaking

The Sun & Variations

This series of prints explores the passing of time through various depictions of the Sun, each one shows the Sun in a different context, each one shows a unique fragment of time. Experiments with a lino cut Sun led to variations thereof: an over-inked blackened Sun at night, a barely visible Sun behind clouds, and a fabric Sun. Further deviations from traditional printing methods led me to take away ink from a rolled supply with the lino, then print the impression the lino has left, resulting in distorted and noisy Sun collapse.
























//-//-//                //-///-//

Resample Degeneration

 

Coming from a music technology background, I’ve attempted to bring over practices and processes into the printmaking world, namely resampling: a way to transform and degrade sound through a repetitive process of effecting and manipulation, while capturing each stage, or frame, of the process. The way I adapted this to print was to scan a monotype I created (Original Print A & B), digitally process and print it out on copy paper, then repeat the process about five times. What resulted was mouldy and aged, with a clearly documented heritage leading back to the youthfully crisp original idea.
Taking two of the later resamples, I used solvent transferring to bring new life into this aged print, advancing its metamorphosis tenfold in minutes. The sharpness and clarity of these prints show rumination of brand new ideas, completely unique of any predecessor.


























--/--/--

peace,

Lou

--/--/--

Monday, November 29, 2021

 the print is stained and on fabric it settles heavy. fabric seams are holy.

, I cant leave her, I would never. I look up and see textile ceiling reaching down to hold me. 

 

 




there is this time, after dinnerscene


 













Days passes, I have held her close always; storm passes with heavy rain, I reside elsewhere.

There lies a large bedroom with wooden walls and wooden floor; someplace I had not been before.

Algid howls air past windows; yesterday’s steam ran away.

My room holds me high; as said, wooden floorboards hold my weight.

Garden admires her I see; 

I can see her, even from afar.









 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 spider passed



spider has pass-ed




spider passing

 

 

 

 

 

 in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

spidergarden

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

- Lou

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

Fireball atop Mount Eerie

A first writing and entry of recent works, of which pertain to university studies and final graduations. This video was a second assessment for a writing course of mine, of which I briefly mentioned in my last entry, of which there lies another work - a writing titled Spidergarden - of which my intentions lie firmly on publishing within the coming months.

For now, Fireball atop Mount Eerie

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        Fireball atop Mount Eerie, an audiovisual interpretation of "II. Solar System" by the Microphones. Repurposed audio and abstract visuals stitched together into barely coherent vignettes depicting three stages of the story Phil tells through this song.

A huge thank you goes out to my friend Tess King, who walked me through the visual effects she used on her video The Storm and The Sky, which I then adapted to my own material.

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Further writings, notes for a class

II. Solar System is a song from the 2003 album Mount Eerie by alternative experimental folk rocker: Phil Elvrum as The Microphones. This song, and the album as a whole, deals with highly existential and introspective themes through a theatrical storyline following the narrator on their journey up a mountain where they die and later observe their own body and the environment it dwells in.

In this track in particular, Phil wallows in nature and gravitational metaphor depicting his inadequacy and awe when approaching this mountain, with the chorus acknowledging him as something temporary, something that will pass with time. This chorus, and especially the line “Blow over me solar wind” was huge inspiration for my film; the grainy and distorted visual style was one I had in mind far before any filming, as it promotes the idea of everything, even something as immovable as a mountain, washing away to dust. (see Visual Manipulation)

But not everything is decay, as instead of solely depicting this story as one of reduction I brought in ideas of movement and progression. In act one, the death of Mount Eerie is framed against a day passing: the Sun, or fireball, dawns, peaks, and sets as the mountain’s life reaches it’s end. There will be another day, another happening; as in the grander story of Mount Eerie, Phil’s death is not the end. Act two is a transitory stage of much more obvious movement and change. Inspired by the surreal and mystifying dream sequences of the classic anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion, often used to depict internal conflict or introspection, I made this scene to be abstract enough that the source image was unrecognisable, leaving the colour palette to do the heavy lifting. The sickly grey and purple migrate into warm forest underpinned by constant motion – nothing is permanent but new life will always find a way.

Later in the song, Phil reminisces on the memory of “a beautiful girl skilfully juggling a soccer ball on a sunny April Sunday afternoon in Tanto Gardens Park in Stockholm, Sweden” (from Headwaters), drawing this image into the storm of his own story, during which he repeatedly mumbles “I know you’re out there” to the girl and the greater universe. Early on I decided this to be the third and final scene of the film, but was unsure how to portray it, eventually opting for a less literal depiction of a faraway thing coming into focus orchestrated with the abstract beginnings of the Mount Eerie record and my own low grumblings echoing to darkness.

The music and sound play a prominent role to help move the story forward in this film; it makes clear reference to the original album (often times sampling from it) while also deliberately setting itself apart at times, being something new. The mountainous howling wind of the first act climaxes into the delicately unstable reed organ of act two – the audio and visuals are one cohesive piece of media, not a video for a song or a soundtrack for a film. 

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Visual Manipulation – Before production, my friend Tess King walked me through the visual effects she used on her video The Storm and The Sky, which I then adapted to my own material.

Headwaters – Some time in 2003, after the release of Mount Eerie, Phil started distributing a self-made book titled Headwaters, which provides insights and background to the album’s story and production. 

Friday, November 12, 2021

A long wait

It has been a few months passing since my last words, mainly due to me finishing my degree this past week - of which I am still recovering from, I managed a workload much more suitable and healthy leaving me in a less destroyed state once the semester wrapped up. But as I wake up and come back down to earth, I look towards next steps, the future of my workings, especially in regards to this website, which I am so eager to start back on again. 

For my last semester I took on introductory creative writing and printmaking courses, opening my world to whole new mediums of expression, and as the semester was coming to a close I found myself in possession of large amounts of painting equipment, of which I have already started to make great use of. So, as for what I wish to do on this website moving forward, I hope to document many more explorations into a wider variety of art forms, I wish to showcase my bad art. And I look to combining differing artforms into larger and more cohesive pieces.

One area I found myself falling in love with is creative writing (which might not shock anyone who has gone over my public writings over the past year). For my course I worked on a short story titled Spidergarden (of which I still wish to revise and expand upon slightly, something I'm hoping might be finished by the end of the year), and a short film Fireball atop mount eerie, which is currently publicly available on my YouTube page, and of which I plan on providing with a bit more of a ceremonial acknowledgement on this website in the coming weeks.

I have also begun writing on a not so short story of which I look forward to sharing more information about in the near future. 

Of course that doesnt mean I am dropping my music practice, as that is still moving forward with powerful strides - I also undertook another project study in which I worked towards mixing and finalising my album in progress Coasting. Currently, I am left with an album which may need one more track recorded, some final touches of mixing, and then mastering and publication. A release might honestly be viable in the next few months, an exciting prospect for an album which has been in the works since mid 2019.

As stated regarding Fireball atop mount eerie, I plan on retrospectively documenting some of my workings over this semester - writings, prints, music, and other arts. This was more a touching base, easing into this blog in attempt to make things a bit less jarring for myself.

Stay well,

Lou

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Rough Interlude Pt. 1

Bandcamp

Streaming

YouTube

Rough Interlude Pt. 1 sees a hurried and intense expedition into interdisciplinary experimental sound, word, and poem. Beginning approach with digitally manipulated guitar and synthesizer and voice; and, while voice continues throughout, moods shift and recording moves to tape and words eventually go to die.

In three months, one can do a lot. Rough Interlude Study brought forth waves of sound, sketches, prose, poem, art… of which gets sorted through and arranged carelessly into cohesive works joined together by their animosity towards each other, regularly stealing and destroying their siblings for their own personal gain.

    Sail Wind, pseudo-ambiance implied through looped synthesizers and vocals performed improvisationally using custom Pure Data software. Later, through arrangement and overdubbing, a canvas was developed, a broad structure, on which samples and parts and manipulations were laid and eventually sewn in with the other scraps and shards that make up a rough interlude.

    Stereo Attic Pt. 3, a strange collage of abstract word atop unrecognizably manipulated guitars; processes of which included writing and recording words to sample and letting them dwell for a month, cannibalizing four or five other projects/songs to bring forth the meditative repetitions and manic pulses which make up the instrumental, and processing, reprocessing, layering until the final product, Stereo Attic Pt. 3, removed itself completely from its predecessors.

    Noonbell one, quiet meditation of poem and sound; preliminary rough interlude sketches of guitar and voice later fleshed out with meat and bone. Crushed voice supporting poem lighter than air, I am the window and leave in the light, bathe in the warmth, and dwell on the earth. I build a home with bell and chime and call to prayer fulfilling my mind and song, echoes of melodies and useless ideas reverberate into existence. Noonbell sets an example for others to follow in suit, a living song accompanied by wind, attics, and sequels.

    Noonbell too, further meditation punctuating the end of time. Chimesong roars as noon approaches in despair. A song about life and quiet growth which shouldn’t have been so bleak.

    No further comments.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Conclusion

And finally drawing a study to a conclusion. This last update took its time, as accidents and surgeries were had with extensions in hand, but as I write this (the Monday approaching the final Friday 11th due date for the university side of this study) I prepare a whole range of finalities: documenting the whole process in a university-mandated fashion, mixing and mastering the album deliverables (titled Rough Interlude pt. 1), and readying a software launch. 

 Codingproject and Pdooll release

Working in reverse order of this list, Ill briefly discuss my software: Pdooll v.Pre1, which I have been meaning to talk about for the past two blog posts but have kept putting off. Tracking what has happened since weeks 4 and 5 (the tapeloop & rotor coding weeks), there’s been periods of silence and non-coding, and (generally over the past 3 or so weeks) periods of large and focused coding to polish this pre-release off for a public release. Initially this started alongside the preparation for my BSAF performance, of which I used Pdooll to perform: creating an oscillator and various apc oriented controller modules, evolving more into what I said before: fixing and working on already coded modules. This leads us into the final push, compiling a list of every module in Pdooll, its features, and its progress (of which can be found on the ‘Projects’ page of this website, which I will discuss in a moment), allowing me to more easily track my progress and what needs doing for this release. Finally, bringing us to today, I have completed the coding side of this release, and am now working on documentation: I have set up the projects page of CM&C to host and be a hub for my non-music and non-art projects: eg. Pdooll, I am recording and preparing various tutorials for Pdooll, showcasing the general workflow of the whole system and specific modules, and writing up general words about this software for promotion and accessibility. 

Rough Interlude Pt. 1 and future album launch

Next, a major part of this study has been the sound made, and the music made with that sound. I will be releasing an album made up of these Rough Interlude sounds titled Rough Interlude pt. 1 (also the second official release on Colesbrough Mort & Records: CMR002). I have been showcasing the works of this album on my YouTube channel, whether it be with the weekly updates/sound showcases, or with my performance videos, but this album has been further worked on and polished for a proper official release. I am putting this album out now on Bandcamp (mainly for submission purposes), and then a week or two later on all streaming (mainly for distribution purposes), and while the Bandcamp release is viable to change over the next week or so due to final final mixing and mastering changes, what is heard now should be considered pretty much finished. Later down the track, possibly this year or sometime next year, I intend to take various other unfinished and in progress tunes from this Rough Interlude Study and put together a Rough Interlude Pt. 2 (of which I did briefly discuss in the last post I am now realising).

I also think I might gather a larger collection of smaller pieces, oddities, and samples from this study (and possibly, by the time this comes to fruition, any other future projects) and release it (and whether it be an official or unofficial release remains undecided) with the intention of others sampling and manipulating and making use of the sounds. Tba. 

Concluding and videomedia

And so wraps this study up. Links for album and software lie below, alongside a variety of YouTube links to my various videoplaylists. Once Rough Interlude Pt. 1 is officially out on streaming in a week or two I will give it a bit more of a respectful launch and acknowledgment. On the other hand, Pdooll v.Pre 1 is out and fully available to download, alongside a large variety of YouYube documentation for it shown below.

Rough Interlude Pt. 1 on Bandcamp

Pdooll v.Pre1 Information and Download 

Hope all is well, peace & love,

Lou

Monday, May 24, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Week 9/10

Weeks pass and an end nears: as I write this introduction I sit halfway through week 10 of my university semester, with Monday of week 13 being the submission date for this project study. In week 9 I played a show, another Rough Interlude pt 1 (of which there are notes and thoughts on below) and in week 10 I will play/have played another another show, a new show this time for a dronefest at KEPK which will (hopefully) bring this study into its final stages of finalisation and completion: no more shows, just collating and readying a final body of work.

Notes from Tuesday, May 11

Played Tim Green show at the Cave Inn, same set as BSAF but in stereo; it went really quite well: because I was more practiced, and more familiar with performing this material, I was really able to involve myself with the performance and theatrics of the music rather than purely the technical side (which is what I was really striving for with my oscilloscape performance, as I said: I perform as the music, imitate it [or something of the sorts]). Despite this being the smallest of the three Rough Interlude shows Ive played, it might be my favourite out of them because of this, the familiarity that I have with the material at this point allows me to be more intimate and open with performing these songs.

This idea seems obvious to me now, and was always quite obvious to others, but it still seems a bit strange to me, or, its elicits discomfort in some ways... Let me explain: my music technology degree has (for obvious reasons) needed a completely new unique set/piece for each performance assessment, and I want one to perform at all before this degree, so my introduction to performance was one off sets and shows each utilising different means and technologies with vastly different styles of music. And when i dipped my feet into more performance outside of university, which was mainly in the electronic and experimental scenes, there lies a president of putting on a different and unique show every time you perform: fully ingraining this though into my head. So, breaking away from this pattern and following the more standard band performance: you have a set which you practice and perfect and each show is the same songs, with variations, yes, but generally performing the same material each show; in a solo electronic and experimental setting, this is incredibly useful as it allows a performer to be, as I said, more involved and performative with their music.

Moving forward, however, Im not intending to pick this one set and never play another, of course, but rather I continue playing this Rough Interlude set, but also revisit and rework various other performances and sets which Ive done in the past. Ive been wanting to work on my Birdfisher set from this past February, and also my Pdooll improv set from earlier (which I did, in fact, replay this March). This also combats another issue or fear I hold with replaying sets: the audience might get bored if they hear the same set again and again, but if there is a rotation of sets, even two or three, then (at least for me and the regularity at which I generally perform) there will be a good while between replaying the same set. Yet, even so, I have been watching my friend Tess King play and evolve the same/similar set of songs over the past year and still haven't gotten bored of her performances, so I feel at the end of the day there might just be some internalised repetiphobia... 

Of course, not even a fortnight after that show I play a whole new show: new music and new performance, for a dronefest on Saturday the 22nd of May. While, yes, contradicting what I just wrote and this big insightful discovery... I already had in mind to create this new work, titled Ruq, a noise based ambient/drone piece, and then was presented with an opportunity to perform such a piece at dronefest. And this brings me to a slight side topic: the future of Rough Interlude: I have grounded in place RI pt1 at this point (Sail Wind, Stereo Attic pt 3, Noonbell One, Noonbell Too), a album/collection of four songs which I am really happy with, nearing completion mainly in need of finalising and mixmastering. However, as one might have noticed over the past 2-3 months, I have created and written much more than four songs worth of content, and so enters Rough Interlude pt 2: another collection which is still in the conceptual and writing stages which will be worked on over a bit more time and released later down the track (as I do intend to release RI pt 1 pretty much how I submit it for this university assessment, and fairly soon after this assessment is due). This album so far has two pieces set in stone, the first being the yet to be named synthesizer composition from week 2 of this study, and Ruq. One or two more pieces will be included as well.

Notes from after show

Performance went well, aside from monitoring being a bit off: it was hard to hear much above the sub; despite, I had a good time and look forward to performing similarly again. The performance setup I settled on was similar to Birdfisher from this past Feburary, combined with mentality from Oscilloscape: Tascam 8 track playing stems (in this case it was just a full stereo mix on channels 1/2) routing through mixer to the main outs, then in parallel running a sp404 for effects and interactivity (which, for documentation's sake, was also routing back into the Tascam to record the performed effects).

This is a fun setup, allows for fully fleshed backing tracks and productions you would get using a laptop and DAW without needing to perform with a laptop on stage (similar to Oscilloscape 16 track setup). I've been thinking of ways for performance with Pdooll without a laptop, mainly based around using a microcomputer like a Bela or an Organelle, loading patches and systems onto them to avoid having a big laptop on stage. Thoughts for now, and I'm planning on resting from performances for a little bit, finishing uni and finalizing works...

        And so weeks will pass... Two more and then end of Rough Interlude study. I unfortunately must promise again, as in last post, updates and information about codings and more in depth detail about the goings of this project for next update, which will, finally, start to wrap up this project and bring things to a conclusion. Information on release of Rough Interlude pt 1 and the first public release of Pdooll tba.

Lou

Sunday, May 2, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Week 8

Hi week 8 and I am back with more regular work and scheduling: consistent coding for Pdooll and preparation for shows (one of which will be/was this Saturday, May 1st, for Brisbane Street Art Festival at Superordinary as part of Submerged). Preparing for this performance of Rough Interlude pt 1, except instead of taking the Oscilloscape route and playing it all off tape, I am loading parts and snippets into Pdooll and performing it much like one would with a live set in Ableton Live: looping scenes and clips which will play continuously until otherwise prompted & scenes change.

Pdooll workings and progress and notes of performance

While working on this Pdooll performance system for BSAF,  I had some thoughts and notes on the direction Pdooll is taking and its relation to similar softwares; notably Automatonism. I've copied the notes from my log and added them below:

 Wednesday 28th of April, 2021

I went into this project study thinking that I would streamline Pdooll in a way where you could easily set up a performance system with it and away you go. However, the more I work with it (and especially recently with this upcoming performance I am prepping for), the more I realise these abstractions are more of a time saver rather than an overhaul to Pd's fundamental workflow: I am still doing lots of back end coding and logistics, but Pdooll is an easy way to save time more than anything. Presets and quickly accessible modules for sound creation.

Going into Pdooll, from the very start, I knew I wanted it to be able to fit anywhere in Pd, and therefore I needed to strike a balance between nice shiny front end and barebones coding; I didn’t want my project to be something like Automatonism, which requires large amounts of support code for a basic oscillator to function (refering to all of the hosting code: presets, save states, the whole folder structure as well). While a project like this is easy to use and works amazingly for what it is, it's hard to incorporate it elsewhere without modification. As I said, I want Pdooll to fit anywhere: no matter where you are in Pd, you can open one of the abstractions and include it in a larger patch or project without hassle. Yet, by doing so I give up some of the niceties that a project like Automatonism basks in: easy preset and project saving/recalling, more straightforward use, and a very unified workflow.

But alas, I will continue to tread this middle ground, slowly figuring out exactly where Pdooll should sit.

And as the week progressed I worked more on my live set for BSAF: fleshing out all of the four songs of RIpt1 using Pdooll and rehearsing. Notes from my log, with reflection and thoughts on the performance written Sunday the day after, are below...

Sunday 2nd of May, 2021

The BSAF performance went well, I found this Pdooll system (and Pdooll in general) to be a great interface for a larger, multi-song show; akin to performing using Ableton Live: allowing for flexibility in timing and structure while still easily managing songs with many different parts and streams running at the same time. Yet, contrasting Ableton, Pdooll allows for unlimited flexibility with routing and control over parts and instruments, I am not constrained into any one workflow like with Ableton.

Comparing last night to performing the same work on my 16 track as I did at Oscilloscape: I found Pd to be more involved and engaging for me the performer, managing to strike a good balance between managed and unmanaged sounds, giving me room to change up elements here and there without having to micromanage every part of every song. However, because of how I performed (apc controller and laptop) there wasn’t as much visual interest as there might have been when performing with my 16 track, and while I'm not implying that performing with my 16 track was the most engaging performance ever, but having a very obvious representation of the sound is much more appealing than a laptop and a midi controller. So, I feel that incorporating a visual/audioreactive element to this system would be ideal. One path could be touch designer, however I am more drawn to GEM, a visual external for pure data, which allows me to keep everything within Pd instead of running multiple programmes. I have another performance of this set coming up in two weeks at the Cave Inn on the 11th, so I'll see what I can do for then, but I’m not keeping my hopes up that I'll have a full visual set ready by then. Although, even a simple audio reactive visual element which gets projected and slowly evolves through the set could help engage audience much more, especially since I'll be performing with the same setup of laptop and apc.

Concluding thoughts

Conclusion of week 8, without, I realise, much information on what codings underwent this week. Next week, or week after, however, I fully intend to overview and update about any and all coding progress with ideas and thoughts on a upcoming public release of Pdooll, alongside, hopefully, videos of performances, both Oscilloscape and BSAF, to demonstrate and showcase my full workings up until now.

Until next time,

Lou

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Break &Week 6

Week 6 which is a break week and repetition, gravitating towards previous workings and projects, sail wind, and reinventing sequels, noonbell too; pairing with improvisation and composition, krautrock influence. No coding was done this week, rather code was used, as intended. Then week 6 which was week 6 as scheduled with a hiatus and a recording and a performance. This post will cover the events of two weeks, with details and (eventual) videos pertaining to both weeks as the work of the past fortnight was fairly continuous from one another.

A video for break week detailed below, which can also be found at this link here.

 

Week 6 which is break week and Monday

The first day, with a full day studio session; here lies krautrock and beginnings of sail wind for the week: drumming leading to guitar leading to vocals, resulting in  psych kraut rock jam, something that without a doubt will be sampled time and time again in my projects to come, something which I plan on working on and fleshing out into something exciting.

Wednesday to Friday

Noonbell too recorded on this Wednesday reprising noonbell one from week one, delving into the same and similar techniques and methods of recording: spoken whispers through brickwall limiting compression and tube and tape sped up so it plays back slow normally. However this time I recorded with acoustic guitar layers, added bellowing reverb in digital, filled the spectrum with air and guitars and voices and sound of overwhelming noise.

videofiller, to be placed for week 6 which is week 6 here, a recording of the performance from week 6 oscilloscape performance at alchemix

Week 6 which is week 6 and Monday Again

Week six which is week six and repeating bells. Noonbell work and more voices work and sampler words wrote Stereo Attic three... Sampling spoken abstract poem from tape with distortion and overcompression into chopped collage, destroying it further in arrangement of overlapping ideals and thoughts with produced guitar and sounds coming in and out, explosion of noise over repeating lights words. 

Stereo attic three is one of my favorites so far of this study. Abstract and slightly chaotic and it embodies what I was going for and wanting to achieve. Combining my worlds and tastes of experimentalist sound collage with moody abstract poetry with guitars with synthesizers with my own words and. I will look to continue down this path for the rest of the study and into the future. The songs and pieces I have created so far which make up what you will soon learn to be called Rough Interlude Study, Part One are much more songs and while I value them greatly and love what has come of them, especially together, as a larger body of work (and especially noonbells), the idea of cutting them up and desecrating them with methodologies I used resulting in stereo attic three excites me more than anything has so far in this project.

And as notes say,,, the work for this performance would be named  

Rough Interlude, Part One

from Friday onwards.

Friday Onwards

Friday preparation for Oscilloscape and Saturday performance, then rest. Final performance setup revolved around the Fostex playing six tracks (three stereo stems), which were routed to a mixer alongside a reverb and digidelay looper pedal. Since Birdfisher performances this past February I have been moving further and further into this area of thought, of a less traditionally involved performance: one that doesnt need all sound to be played and made live, a backing track or even a full pre-recorded mix/stems (a genre of which this Oscilloscape performance falls into) can still make for an engaging and captivating performance, for both audience and performer.   .    .    My friend Tess King has been exploring many performances of this kind recently, where she will generally perform live visuals over a fully or mostly mixed set of music, which have been some of the most beautiful and inspiring performance I've seen in so long; while I was not myself performing visuals last Saturday, they were being performed by Andrew Gibbs,  and having a relaxed position as musician allowed me to fully immerse myself into the music, rather than have to manage it. I did not perform the music, I performed as the music, I impersonated it and embodied it.

Letting these notes and words lay somewhat abstract and uncomplete, resting minds over what would be called week 7 to continue work and path towards finality over the course of the rest of this semester at university, with regular intervals and interludes and breaks and resting periods.

More words and more sounds and more performance to come in due course.

Lou

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Week Five

Hey all,

Week five has now passed, a better and well paced week compared to last, but still not ideal. Next week more focus needs to fall on rest and time in between work, on interludes. However, wonderful and amazing sounds were still born of this week, alongside interesting and exciting coding endeavors.

I did not end up making a YouTube demo for this week, and even this blog write up is still not finished as of Wednesday the week after . . I fell a bit 'behind' (I wouldn't really consider myself behind what I need to do overall, just behind or not as large an output as previous weeks), and instead of pushing myself much harder than I really should (sure, the videos and blog posts seem fairly straightforward but they take a solid chunk of time and effort to complete each week), I decided to rest. Sue me.

Editing... on april 16

 I did end up making and uploading a video for this week on april 11, and am now getting around to putting it here. You can find it at this link here, or view it below.

Rotary coding

This week I coded rotor: a 'sequencer' which blends between a series of 8 inputs in a repeating rhythmic fashion, heavily inspired by the recent attention the Crystal Palace has gotten from Hainbach and Look Mum No Computer. The potential for sound exploration by using this in pure data is incredible, it allows for beautifully evolving and ever changing sounds, and my rendition of it is still incredibly basic, all it does is modulate the volume of the inputs; once effects such as saturation and more exciting modulation are implemented this device will be incredible. I ended up using this alongside my tapeloop module from last week extensively over the course of this week, which will be detailed below.

the two renditions of the rotor module
There are two renditions of the rotor module: the first of which uses a more tradition pure data sequencer with a metro, a counter, and a [mod] to continuously, although fairly mechanically, rotate through the inputs; however, the second rendition, aptly named [rotor2], uses a series of lfo's to more smoothly and realistically cycle through the inputs. This second rendition also allows for more varied envelopes for each 'pass' of a sound through waveshaping the oscillator controlling the volume of the input, its even possible to have a hard on/off square wave controlling the volume (crazy, I know...). At a certain point I decided I might as well turn this into a ring modulator, as the modulator oscillator/lfo can be turned up to audio rate and create wacky over/undertones to the source signal.

Although over the past two weeks, Ive made some pretty cool and weird effect, one area I've really been missing when using pdooll is distortion and saturation, something that has been on my hit list for a long time now. Over the next few weeks I'm planning on knocking off some simpler, more utilitarian, modules off the list to really make pdooll a versatile and accessible platform for sound creation and mangling.

Recording and songwriting

This week there were two main 'phases' of recording/writing/creating sound, which will be detailed below...

Phase 1. Guitar tapping and how to work an idea up to uninspiring results

My first recording of the week was an idea I've been hyping up for a little bit now: chord tuning my guitar and tapping/hitting it to create sound. I quite liked doing this recording, and the results I got from it were quite cool, but for what I had in mind they just didn't quite fit unfortunately; the cords were too pretty and the guitar tone was a bit too bitey and crunchy, sounded a bit to pretty-math rock for my current path. However I persisted for a while longer, recording some more and then processing the sounds through pdooll, resulting in some gorgeous gooey undefined flutters of sound which would be criminal not to use in the future; then tried arranging it and recording it into some form of a song, but alas it just felt forced and uninspiring to me at the end.

I most definitely intend on repeating this process in the future, however I plan on spending more time experimenting with sounds and tunings until I find 'the sound' that I'm after, rather than going with the first result that presented itself.

Phase 2. Sail wind and writing a full 20 minutes in under 24 hours

After frustratingly admitting to myself that what had been made so far wasnt it, I started from scratch; a decision that would lead to fantastic results.

Initial ideas we're recorded straight into pdooll tapeloop, with the output of the loops running through soundflower into reaper, set to constant recording. Starting with some synth drones (the main synth drone that can be heard throughout most of the piece, which yall will be able to hear in due course when I put together a video or demo for this tune), then layering vocals over the top, utilising the varispeed recording that I incorporated into the tapeloop module; this was the basis of the composition, and marks the end of the more involved recording for the first session, as after this I let the loops record out into reaper for about an hour n a half, changing parameters and feeding back and degrading the loops over time (also feeding the output through a hardware compressor chain in parallel). The final recording from this initial session were brilliant little loops which eventually devolved into destructive madness.

Over the course of the next sessions, I edited and arranged the piece, recorded some percussion on it using my ms20 and some lfo's, creating this strange clickity kick drum and shaker pattern that runs through the entire piece, and process and polish off the piece a little. The result was 'Sail Wind', 15-20 minutes of percussive ambient sample based electronica, of which I intend to work on more and present at Oscilloscape next Saturday, April 17th.

I have continued working on this piece into week 6, which I will write about in the next post.

Lou

Sunday, March 28, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Week 4

Howdy,

Week 4 has come and passed with many hours of coding modules, manipulating sound, and arranging abstract clips. The demo video can be seen below, or at this link.

Coding, delays and loops

Coding for this week revolved around delay: I set off with an aspiration to create a simple sub-1-second delay with all your average delay controls, as up until now I have been using my delay-looper for all my delay needs; which isnt a terrible delay scenario, but that thing is overkill for most delay cases, and it doesnt create fun wobbling pitch artifacts when the delay time is changed. So, delay-simple was born within a few hours and works flawlessly. What didnt take a few hours was my tapeloop module, which I was working on throughout most of the week, a terribly complex and absurdly beautiful module which I might say is one of my proudest achievements when it comes to pure data coding. 

What I wanted to achieve with this module was (fairly) simple: a tapeloop like audio buffer, one that your able to play slower or quicker therefore adjusting the pitch, and record audio onto. However, the catch is that when you record audio at a quicker speed, its both slower and pitched down when the playback speed returns to normal. This was incredibly hard to code in pure data. But I did it. I will explain further the processes and methods it uses, and about my coding practice in general;,,, Sometime in the future...        but for now I will just leave the screenshot images of the modules. of which can be seen displacing this paragraph, and apologies to mobile users as this website is terribly coded for smaller portrait screens. ill get onto this at somepoint but for now, university projects take focus

Sound, more slow piano manipulation

Sound this week was very much based off the tapeloop module: taking piano snippets from last week and processing and degrading through code and effects, then through my sp404 sampler, then through more effects. Once I had collected and mangled enough sound I arranged bits and pieces into a short composition similar to that of 'noonbell' from week 1 titled 'stereo attic pt 2.', which you can hear alongside other selections of sound in the demo, all of which revolve around one piano loop which i was particularly drawn to, so it does get a bit repetitive.                                                     n

Overworking and needing rest..........................................................

I'm going to leave my writing there this week, shorter than previous weeks but I just dont have the energy to do anything more fully featured right now. Over the past 4 weeks I have been progressively pushing myself harder and harder, climaxing in extreme fatigue, panic, depression, and terror since Thursday. While I will continue pushing, I need to stop and rest more; expect a bit less of myself

I have been listening to sound collage this week, at least when I feel up to listening to music. More modern sound collage, I intend to go back to 50s-70s and see what those eras have to offer, but I have enjoyed listening to artists like negativeland and matmos who the internet claim are good examples of this genre but I'm skeptical and look to dig further, as they all seem very much attempting a similar sound which I've known the books to do very well; for the purposes of this project and my own interest, however, I want to look to sound collage which might be much more abstract, less beat driven. Also I want to find less focus on vocals and word samples, more manipulation of sound, and other probably highly specific criteria which i intend to hold to all music I listen to .

Until next time,

Lou

Sunday, March 21, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Week 3

Three weeks done and dusted. Sounds and ideas are formulating, yet still in preliminary stages and rough. Work this week has differed from the past two weeks, taking a more thoughtful and planned approach, starting with research and thinking, mulling over ideas and then acting. Below is the week 3 youtube demo, also available through this link.

................_.........__.............Coding

Coding & digital for this week involved logistics: coding a wireless router module system for Pdooll and incorporating it into my mixing modules. 

The router functions using three modules, which sounds a bit obtuse, as its goal is to simplify routing, however its all fairly straightforward. The first, and most important module, is the ‘routebuffer’: a small and unobtrusive module that sits to the side managing all of the signals, routing the inputs to the outputs. Then, there are the ‘routein’ and ‘routeout’ modules, which take in and spit out signal. First, a routebuffer needs to be created and kept somewhere safe, and then ins and outs can be created wherever needed. Each routein is designated its own channel based on the unique abstraction number ($0), and then on routeouts, you can choose whatever channel you want. I have created this system with 16 stereo channels (32 mono channels), and I plan on creating more of these networks to allow for even more wireless routing. Additionally, I incorporated this system into my already built mix8 module, and then overhauled the interface a little bit, adding meters for each channel. This way, your able to create a series of 'routein' modules and they all get automatically wirelessly routed to the new 'mix8-route' mixer.

The only real issue one might run into using these modules is when using multiple patches at the same time, there can only be one routebuffer at a time, otherwise many wires get crossed and screw up the whole network. This can, and will, be fixed in the future by creating another network to work in parallel. With this workaround, the user must use a different network in each patch if they intend to use all the patches at the same time, which also allows for functionality when only one patch is being used. These future networks will be titled routbuffer2, routein2, and routeout2, with increasing numbers for future iterations. Another issue that could be faced is accidentally deleting an input or buffer, in which case all the user will need to do is re-create whatever was deleted and possibly restart their patch.

Recording & Unholistic Experimentation

This week in analogue-land, I explored a specific idea/mentality: after looking into some processes of Boards of Canada, I latched onto their idea to...

"Create entirely new instruments by sampling ourselves performing on real instruments and then destroying the sounds. So we’ll maybe spend days just playing various things, wind instruments, strings, guitars, bass, synths, for hours into the samplers and then feeding those sounds through stacks of destructive hardware and resampling them to make unrecognizable new sounds. This is all before we even begin writing any tunes."

This workflow and way of thinking fits in perfectly with what I've planned out for this study, and to put it in a more concise and eloquent way, I intend to 'separate the stages of songwriting and composition, resulting in unholistic methods and products'. 

To demonstrated this mentality, over the past week, Tess King and I recorded some abstract piano improvs and drumming, the next day (in a fresh headspace), I took those recordings and processed them through various systems in Pdooll, the day after, all of the sounds were then processed through a live feedback system (detailed below), and finally on Saturday, everything was sorted through and collaged into this week's demo video. There were four distinct stages to working on the same sounds this week, all of which were removed and unique from eachother, and while I've been doing similar up until now (in both my past practices and this study), this time focus and intent were on the staggering of the stages: resulting in a deliberately disjointed workflow, one which I wish to explore and detail much more over the coming weeks.

Here is an image I took of the system
As for the feedback system I mentioned, I took the dry and digitally manipulated piano samples and processed them through: two guitar amps pointed towards a grand piano with sustain pedal weighed down, amps and piano miced up, getting the ‘dry’ amp signal and the ‘wet’ resonated signal. Made a basic mix of the microphones used and recorded the output alongside the mics, then routed that mixdown out the system for the next iteration. After a few iterations the source sound is fairly alien to the new recording, lots of feedback-like tones and trashy atmospheres. While this isn't exactly what I might call 'live' feedback (an input directly feeding into an output that the input picks up), its more a staggered and controlled form of feedback, as I still am 'feeding back' the the recorded signal into the system again and again, degrading and destroying the sound one stage at a time.

final words for this week

Overall a successful week, it was exciting exploring something slightly more ambitious than previous weeks, and concepts which I look forward to exploring in the coming weeks.

As earlier might have hinted, Boards of Canada have been heavy on rotation over the past week, alongside other warp & related artists: my first time really exploring Aphex Twin, and revisiting the beautifully crushing tones of Vladislav Delay. These artists have been a good reference for experimental music making use of degrading analogue and digital practices, additionally, there is much documented about their workflows, which is exciting and a great help for this project.

Until next time,,,

Lou

Sunday, March 14, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Week 2

Hey all,

Another week has passed on this study, and more sounds and noises have been made. This week was lighter on the digital sounds created, as more time was spent researching and coding. Here is a link to this week's demo video.

 Digital Experimentation

To start off this week, I delved back into pdooll with some sampled juke & footwork beats, hoping to create some exciting rhythmic experiments, which I did for a short while, but ended up in my usual domain of strange ambient sound worlds. However, that aside, I was mainly getting back in the groove of things for this week, as I soon after booted up some other software (Ppooll & VCV rack) and processed similar sounds through them to get an idea of what I wanted in pdooll. I remember why started making my own software now. Ppooll, while awesome and inspiring, is such a pain to use. Routing and working with this software is a nightmare and honestly made me want to stop what I was doing multiple times. But I pushed forward onto (the much more friendly) VCV rack. I used both these softwares for a good 3-4 hours, made some fantastic sounds, and wrote notes of what I wanted for pdooll. The notes were fairly extensive and ambitious, so I decided (as I havent coded in Pd for a good few months now) to start on one of the easier ideas I had: Filter3.

Filter3 is a one input 3 output filter module which, instead of selecting which filter type you want and having one output, each of the three outputs correspond to a lowpass, highpass, and bandpass, allowing for easy access of parallel signals for weird and wonderful sound creation. All the filters are linked to one set of controls (besides the BP width control, which increases the width of the bandpass filter), and you can select up to 4 stages of filtering. However, in usual Pd fashion, its an incredibly broken and weird piece of kit: the width slider creates incredibly strange low end distortion, the oversampling creates wild digital aliasing, and the sound in general breaks and crumbles at higher stages. I consider none of this a problem. All of these bugs make this so much more fun than I was initially expecting, its unpredictable and strange. Its not just a filter, but a strange lofi distortion unit as well. Granted, however however, I do plan on creating an 'offshoot' of this module which works a bit more as it 'should'. Possibly rebranding this one to something more strange and fun.

Analogue Experimentation

Still treading on ground not particularly alien, but focusing on how to push what I am already familiar with more than learning brand new methods. Main idea of this composition revolved around having a beat or percussion element on tape, then recording synthesizer over it while sidechaining it to the perc track. I decided to use my MS20 and Neutron to do everything here, even the percussion. I managed to create a lovely irregular ‘kick’ pattern with lots of background noise I could manipulate and change when recording to create some kind of evolution or structure. Sidechaining elements to this, I used a Boss RCL10 compressor, then recorded a variety of synth parts and loops. But because of the high noise floor on the drums, especially in the louder sections, the sidechaining came out as awkward crushing compression. I love it so much.

Recording the synths and other parts, I used a submixer alongside my pedalboard, allowing me to mix in effects and loops onto one or two channels of my tape with ease. While I am only borrowing this mixer currently, I plan on getting one of my own, as it’s a freeing experience having another bank of 8~ channels on a smaller accessible mixer. For a long time I’ve thought about how tracks like Tomorrow Never Knows were recorded with however many tapeloops all playing at once and the mix of them being performed onto one channel of tape. I fully intend to recreate a setup like this sometime soon, have many loops from many sources playing at once, all processed through the small mixer and onto tape; creating a performance out of it, rather than all the individual loops laid out in a daw and arranging them in that fashion.

A conclusion and summary

Overall this was quite the successful week. I tried out some things with my synths and studio gear I've been wanting to do for quite some time now and made some progress with my coding, more exciting times are to come.

As for what I've been listening to over the past week, continuing on with more Slauson and SOTC, I've listened to red burns multiple times over the past few days, its just such an incredible record. Also been mixing in some more Books & Stereolab, as well as fully indulging my sappy queerness with the call me by your name soundtrack.

Hope yall are well, I look forward to next week's writing.

Lou

Sunday, March 7, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Week 1

Howdy,

Today marks the end of the first week of my study, which I wrote about in my last post or two. As a part of this study I will be documenting weekly updates here and on YouTube, and this is the first of those updates. Additionally, you can access my study proposal here.

To start with, I uploaded a short video collage showcasing some of the work I did, available here or below. For me, this week was mainly about getting back into experimental music practice, trading on fairly familiar ground and just starting somewhere. Nothing I did this week is something groundbreaking that I haven't done before, but in no way does that diminish its progress, as it is a first step forward on a longer track leading to unfamiliar territory. 

The first few sessions this week involved collecting sounds and samples from my library, past sessions, other artists, and YouTube; then manipulating them using Pdooll (see earlier posts from September/October last year for more about Pdooll), generating the first selection of sounds you hear in the demo. Alongside some further processing using Ableton, this constituted my digital experimentation for the week, ending up with a lovely range of sonic treats I'm sure to pull from in the future. Processes here covered a range of 'standard' Pdooll methods: weird delay loops, distortion, pitching, normalization, filtering. However my favorite process from this week has to be running sound through my unfinished 'filterbank' module, which takes cues from the MS20 in having two filters, a highpass and lowpass, allowing for incredibly quick sound shaping and mayhem. Cranking the resonance, saturation, and oversampling allows for some beautiful tones and resonation, turning noise into tones and adding notes into harmonies that went present beforehand.

My work in progress Filterbank module

My analogue experimentation involved mainly focusing on more abstract songwriting with some weird and strange sound design. Starting with recording of a guitar group, reminiscent of Velvet Underground, exporting bits and the crosstalk channel into digital, processing processing processing, then re-recording a weighty crushed pad of noise onto the same reel (while, for something a bit more fun, playing the whole thing over speakers while it was recording, with a mic hooked up pointed at the speakers, creating some strange tonal feedback layered on top of the noise). Over this I wrote a song. Abstract, with strange words I found throughout my notes, I recorded spoken whispered vocals at a higher playback speed, and layered delayed, weak falsetto vocals at a lower playback speed, so during normal playback we hear a deep and slow whisper supporting fluttering chirps of singing. Besides some more atmosphere design and distorted triangle solos, this constituted my analogue sound creation for the week.

I videorecorded the creation of some sounds which I plan on arranging into a proper video at some point, maybe in a few weeks once I've gathered more recordings.

With both digital and analogue experimentation, I found it quite freeing to create and explore sound without needing to think about how it will fit into a structure or song, I use to do it more with my electronic music, but have fallen out of habit over the past year or two. Even with my tape composition, which did align itself alongside a song rather than sound design, I still wrote it knowing that it will be chopped and manipulated, taking more 'risks' and straying away from structure and complete compositions.

Aside from my own music, I've been listening to Slauson Malone and Standing on the Corner this past week or two, fantastic brilliant musics using sampling and collage like not many other artists I've heard of. Taking many inspirations from their works. In words, ideas,  and sounds.

Peace & love

Lou

Thursday, February 25, 2021

Words for a study, February 7th-20th

 February 20th with pages

Pages on seam
where I do not write
Pages on sea
where they dampen
where they would dampen
Pages seen with words
I would write
Pages unseen
(soft bound books)
Pages unseen
Page rot, pages rot, page rot
Pages fire
Pages drown and fly away

 February 18th with satellites

Satellite rain,
Satellite raincloud.
Blue serenade falls,
serenade falling
Augusting and Commer,
Louise Alexander,
ramped wing explosion of roots
'Interlude, and decisions'
Augustine rots and
and sky on fire.
Drawn eyes to
brown green blue, 
behind clouds, too.
Satellite train rides
rides on at dark.
Tawny light park. 

 February 18th,

What face is this I see?
What places has it been?
Day radiates.

February 15th

Fold, freeing fold
over me fold
into your peace and fold
into pieces fold
fleeing fold free
Flying,
in the warm fly
over my fly
through the may
fly into me
Fold,
and free fold
fold
and free

Hold, or hold apart
hold
hands are free 
Hold hands
into me hold
and free Hold
Hands are free

February 7th, buildings are castles

 Words and format taken from another page

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Project Study, an Introduction Into Music Coding and Experimental Composition Practices

Hi all,

As of next week, I will be starting a project study as part of my forth and final year of university titled 'Music Coding and Experimental Composition Practices'. As part of this study I will log and document my progress, which will be done on this blog and my youtube channel. A brief description of what the study will entail lies below.

I intend to greatly expand upon my interests in music coding and experimental composition practices. Since I started making music a decade ago, I have always strived to find new and interesting ways to create sound and write songs, which has now led me into writing my own effects and sound processors using the coding language Pure Data, and pushing technology (especially analogue equipment) to its limits and using it in ways not initially intended. 

I intend to separate my study for this course into three distinct elements: coding and digital experimentation, hardware and analogue experimentation, and songwriting and arranging.

I will link the full proposal once its been accepted and refined, so I wont bloat this post with every detail of the study. Instead, I wanted to briefly go over some preparation I have been undertaking with this study in mind.

First and foremost, finding musical influences. I feel a project or study like this would be incredible difficult to do without any form of influences, therefore I've been going through my music library and scouring the internet for music that would fit this sort of project. Many of my core beliefs for this project revolve around Krautrock, contextualizing experimental sound in accessible rock music. Bands like Can, Neu!, Broadcast, Stereolab provide a more classic Krautrock lens to look through, but also delving into early Microphones (tests & early tapes) alongside albums like SF Sorrow by the Pretty Things and the Piper at the Gates of Dawn by Pink Floyd for some complimentary experimental weirdness. This music (alongside being fun to listen to) helps spark ideas and methods which I wish to explore over the course of this study, and specifically in regards to analogue and tape exploration and experimentation. I've especially been enjoying listening to the Microphones (shocker, I know) as many of these earlier albums deal with shorter form songwriting, with many songs revolving around one theme or idea; with my study I'm planning on doing something similar, short collections of songs and ideas which then get collaged into a larger, more cohesive project.

Another artists that has done something similar is the Books. Their album Music for a French Elevator and other Oddities showcases many samples and one dimensional song ideas which you can then hear in other albums arranged into structured songs. The Books also create an incredible digital sample based sound world, and as my project revolves around combining both digital and analogue, they serve a great reference alongside the aforementioned analogue experamentalists. Piling on top of the Books lie artists like Slausan Malone, Standing on the Corner, and burial for some of the most incredible uses of sampling and sound collaging I've ever heard, plus Fennesz and Tim Hecker for some wonderfully strange sound design.

Alongside this, I have been writing words, as I would normally be doing, but with intention of the study in mind. These words form poems and lyrics, even lists, which may or may not get used within the music created. However Ive found getting into the mindset of a project before its started, through whatever means available, is an incredible way to start sparking thought and process. So with these words I've been focusing on abstract words and patterns, repetitions, and cyclical phrasing, with intent on using them in a similar collage oriented way as my musical influences.

Overall I hope this gives a bit of an interest and idea of this project which will be documented here over the next few months, I will update with more information soon.

Peace n love

Lou

Sunday, February 7, 2021

Photos From Submerged

Both Submerged and Elektrolab shows have come and passed. As things dwell to a simmer in preparation for a fourth and final year of university, I found some time to sort through photos that the wonderful Theo Bourgoin took at Submerged.


Hope yall are well, peace n love

Lou

Monday, January 25, 2021

Upcoming shows and projects

Howdy,

Over the next two weeks I will be performing two shows, the first one on the 29th of Jan: Submerged, and the second on the 6th of Feb: Elektrolab (of which will be my second performance at Elektrolab, exciting times).

For both these shows, I will be debuting a project I've been working on for the past month: Birdfisher and variations, a range of folk and rock music warped and destroyed through various means. Additionally, I intend to release this project as an album or collection some time after the performances, once I'm satisfied with how they sound in a studio context.

I've uploaded a few demos of whats to come for this project which are available to look at and consume below...

A demo of visuals/animation

An audiovisual demo

A full recording of one of the songs

Peace n love,

Lou