Sunday, March 7, 2021

Rough Interlude Study, Week 1


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


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