My first thoughts on this project were to record all the clocks in our house ticking away for a minute, and see what sort of phase effects might occur. I didn't really like the results, so having completed the 5-7-12 piece, dug out the resonator guitar tuned in DADGAD and played along with one of the clocks keeping time...
Self-obsession taken to new areas previously left untrampled...alternating bars of 5 and 7 beats, overlaid with the sum of the two: 12, as all this came to be at the moment procrastination switched to feverish activity - the weekend of my 57th birthday, on 12 May 2012. Numerlogicalitastic...
Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? I originally had plans to construct a complex sequence of comparisons between the various houses I've lived in over the years and what made them homes (or perhaps crucially didn't - places I never really settled etc) but then time drifted as it does and with the deadline looming, I used one of the tracks from my intended blues album as the background for a tour of our current home - very Viv Stanshall - how is a home more than the sum of our accumulated clutter and possessions? All the objects in some way contribute to a collected memory...or maybe I should restrain the urge to (over) explain...shut up and play the guitar...
David's track is the perfect opener for domestic.Aguide that shows us around his house.His guitar playing translates colors and moods. It reminded me of seventies open air copncerts with clouds of marihuana perfume above the heads. There is something of Captian Beefheart's Moonbeams and Bluejeans in it.
Harmonics generated by electric guitar and then processed by Line 6 M9, primarily the Frequency Shifter/Ring Modulation settings, plus various delays and reverbs, with post-production re-pitching in Acid Pro 6. At various points, the random harmonics generated by a Fernandes sustainer guitar were added to the mix.
it's a duet between two guitars, one electric, the other electro-acoustic, both parts performed on the Parker Nite-Fly. Reverb effects are primarily supplied by the Line 6 M9, mainly the Octo and ParticleVerb, with some Chamber 'verb in places. The whole track then received some post-production additional 'verbing in AudioStudio to accent various moments of suspension and drama
dco - guitars (electric, semi-acoustic and electrocoustic) variously strummed, plucked, picked, e-bowed and Jellyfished). Constructed in Acid Pro 6; edited and recombinated in AudioStudio 8.
The piece was inspired by last year's 125th anniversary celebrations of the august academic organisation which permits me gainful employment in one of it's libraries. 125 is used for notation and tempo. Also notes derived from the letters of the geographic location - C A D E F - inform other tonal information. Chord structures were derived from these notes and numbers, hence a melodic structure CDG DEA GAD, a 7/4 pattern CA/D/FF (transposed a 5th at one point for reasons of lax information management but retained for musicality), and amongst others, a chord sequence incorporating minor and major relative tones:
C Dm G - Am F Em - D Em A - Bm G F#m - G Am D - Em C Bm
And a finale in 9/8 based once more on the upward spiral of CDG DEA GAD speeded-up with a touch of time compression to achieve the 4 minute time frame.
Several attempts at home made instruments were stymied by my lack of practical skills, so the tried-and-tested standby of hitting things til it sounds ok came into play. Fortunately, we had quite a few bottles left empty after the seasonal festivities... These were combined with sounds from cardboard tubes now denuded of wrapping paper; empty Pringles tins; a reusable plastic tub (confectionary contents long since consumed); bits left over from Christmas crackers (including a comb) and possibly other now forgotten detritus, all recorded on a Zoom H2 mic/recorder, then pieced together in ACID Pro 6 and edited with SoundForge / AudioStudio. So there you have it - "Wintervallic Fabrique".
In the UK this year it rained. Not perhaps all year, but seemingly most of it was moist. So this became the theme of what is a cyclical sound collage thing - starting with a light shower in Penarth (overlaid with various birdsongs etc), moving on to a downpour, shifting across to sounds from North Carolina and the stream running behind my cousin's log cabin, on past a waterfall also in NC, to the Atlantic Ocean hitting the beach at Manomet, just south of Boston MA, disappearing beneath the waves and reemerging to more rain in Penarth. All this interspersed with the dog that barked in the woods and more gulls than you can shake a stick at (believe me, I tried, they're not remotely concerned) - and a brief observation from Sharon Orton. Recorded variously on mini-disc, and video DVD, then processed and collaged via Acid Pro 6
"The Fruit Fly's lament: what Katy did's not just Cricket(s)" - David Cooper Orton
Three bugs - fruit fly, katydids and crickets. I sourced these from the Bug Bytes website: http://www.ars.usda.gov/sp2UserFiles/person/3559/soundlibrary.html
Although they have been quite radically changed in the process of composition, the ideas for the somewhat melancholy melodies were suggested by a snippette of sound from a male fruit fly which couldn't itself be used, but provided the inspiration for this piece, such as it is. Much editing and ACIDification occurred, and quite a few liberties taken, including re-tuning of samples etc.
Ozark resonator guitar, up-turned wok lid, cymbals, edits, production, ACiDification etc. Guitar parts recorded to minidisc, transferred to computer, then chopped and changed into something approximating an orchestra of resonation. Final section constructed from a single string scrape which caught my attention.
The birds of Penarth, South Wales, recorded in local parks, gardens and streets, accompanied by passing observers, planes, cars, scaffolders and bottle banks. Field recordings by DCO: September and October 2007. Selected, edited, repitched and mixed: November and December 2007. Essentially a vérité re-presentation of real-time recordings, overlapped and juxtaposed for a little additional narrative flavouring, and perhaps a sprinkling of non-diegetic inserts
I thought this track was a brilliantly woven tapestry which segues from one piece of music to another, each in a different style, interleaved with passages of spoken word, and with a gradual building up of subtle references to spam as a plague. I still cant work out how it all hangs together, but it does, exquisitely. Probably my favourite track on an excellent CD.
Chronologically recorded after I'd finished work on Act IV, I decided that - in the spirit of the project, I should attempt to conjure an entirely different piece of music, rather than reiterate themes established in Act IV. I also elected to use a completely different tonal palette - a Yamaha MU5 Tone Generator which had been gathering dust for several years.
The idea of commencing the piece with the sound of scratchy, crackling ancient media which would then blossom into the fully restored glory of the digital era was, admittedly, a thin conceit, but got things started. The dream-like (nightmarish?) mood of the whole film influenced the use of a slightly sinister music box theme, moving on through other instruments grouped with it on the sound module. In other scenes I went for a more light-hearted feel, whilst suggesting the protagonist's butterfly-like attention span by interrupting the flow with sounds from the street below.
The sound of Caligari himself was a synchronistic happenstance find whilst wondering around the high numbers of the sound module's midi mapping. "String noise", it's supposed to be - sounded sufficiently eerie for my requirements: in it went. Considerable pitch-shifting was used to suggest his mood swing(s), especially as he hatches his cunning plan.
Other thoughts - the fairground themes clashing from different stalls and sideshows, intersected with processional waltzes (now that I think of it, how would a mass of people march in 3/4?) have an undeniable Waitsian influence (of course, if that went un-noticed, it was a brilliant invention of my own devising). The ringing bell will return in Act IV in a less strident, more melancholic mode. That's all, folks...
Many times over the years, people have told me your music sounds like it should be the soundtrack to some weird sci-fi film, and sometimes, this was even meant as a compliment. So I really wanted to do something good for this project - just what my music had been waiting for, so it might seem.
I had a bit of luck - I won a copy of Acid Pro 6 from those nice people at AcidPlanet/Sony just as I was thinking about how to sync my sounds with the images from the film, and without it, I'd probably have been stuck.
The composing was done, often as not, by improvising along with the film, scene by scene, and then editing and recomposing and cut'n'pasting like crazy, and then getting right down to a pains-taking process of lining up the notes to the action. Most of this was generated by guitar, ebow, reverb, delays, loops (Digitech JamMan in real time, then edited with Sonic Forge). I planned not to use naturalistic Foley sounds at first, but some gradually crept in, including the funeral bells (chiming 13), and the creaking doors.
My son, Michael, added some drums at appropriate points, and hopefully, viewers will jump out of their respective skins at just *that* precise moment.
The bit which sounds like someone's finger tapping on one end of a guitar lead plugged-in to a large reverb unit is indeed just that. I wish I could say that the lengthy glissandi sections were recorded on strings stretched from one end of my kitchen to the other, or better yet, a Long String Instrument, but it's just multi-tracked, spirit of Gong, screwdriver-on-guitar-string with added processing. The chase sequence, as scored by the Gang of Four - who can resist?
And after all that I got the levels wrong, so the quiet bits should probably be turned-up - but watch out for the crescendos. What more can I say? I've already said too much...
dco: ACID Pro 6.0 manipulations of sounds produced by paper (including The Guardian Travel pages to make the sound go just that extra bit further), card, sand paper (3M P180 & P120), various cardboard tubes, and a home-made papier mache replica of a Green Bay Packers football helmet. Minor noise reduction to reduce cheap-mic-induced hiss (wherever possible); elsewise, no effects or processing utilized.
Hi This was the first track that i heard and it is most reminiscent of living in the bush, the back waters of Kerala or other jungle settings. here the spheres are alive with winged creatures gathering food, moving broad leaved foliage, hamock dreamers, and weavers of palm fibers.
My attempt to produce a traditional version of film music - a main theme which is reinterpreted in a variety of ways throughout the film to enhance/underpin/contrast with the prevailing mood of the images at any point in the film. Possibly there are insufficient variations on this theme to fully uphold the thesis, but that's the theory, at least. The main melody is some 30 years old; one for which I've been attempting to find a home in all that time. It was almost included in a documentary about arctic exploration, but the main protagonist fell-out with the production company at the point of departure, so that film was never made. Nor indeed is there yet a film for the music in its current form. You'll need to indulge me quite a but here, but: keeping in mind the idea of long distance journeying that was the subject of the abandoned film that was not to be; having myself reached the milestone age of 50 this year (and as a Thursday Child, I have far to go), and in search of a motif, I became drawn to the idea of "spanning the ages", and - albeit a somewhat thin conceit - started taking a series of images of the Severn Bridge which crosses between Wales and England as I drove across it twice a week, enroute to London from Penarth. Rather than a "movie", these pictures form a slow-dissolve montage of the bridge in changing light and weather conditions. Or will do, if I ever get around to completing it! DCO - guitars, ebows, sustainer guitar, sound manipulations, loops
Finally, my own primary instrument (the guitar) comes to the forefront. And this song has a melody, which is refreshing. The reverse work is a nice touch...OH, and a bass solo (or guitar an octave down?). Magnificant! A real player? Flesh and blood on the fretboard? One can only hope. :)
London, Croydon, Surrey, England and Penarth, South Wales
Manipulations of sounds recorded in and around central and south London, Croydon, Surrey, and South Norwood in England; and Penarth in south Wales. Recorded on mini-disc, then chopped and changed in ACID pH1 on a PC. July/August 2001. As additional information - although the actual construction of the track took place in July &August 2001, most of the sounds were recorded during the previous several months, in which time we as a family moved house twice, although I managed to move three times for reasons I've yet to determine. Anyway, doors shutting and opening became something of a motif, virtually and on the recordings. The conversation at the beginning actually took place - I didn't stage it - and seemed too obvious not to include. There's also the voice of an estate agent telling me all the keys to our present property are available for collection ("I say all the keys - the keys to get in"), and the piped music of the ice cream van - good humour wagon? - that circles around and around Penarth all summer, driving me to distraction. Plus London's Babel-like panoply of voices, accents and languages, all melded together on the public transport network, of trains, trams and the Tube. The last section uses all of these to reconstruct the sound of the UK dance scene - arguably the dominant sound of summer over here. Or may I just made that up, not sure...
David Cooper Orton - resonant domestic surfaces and appliances, kitchen `accoutrements' (eg: up-turned wok lid), wooden banisters and chairs, drum kit, computerised restructuring of these using Sonic Foundry Acid pH1 Michael Orton: drum kit, prepared drums, assorted percussive intercessions
Basically, Michael and I spent an afternoon wandering around our house at that time in Cornerswell Road, striking any immobile objects (resonant or otherwise) we encountered, until we had a fair number of sounds. I then recorded Michael playing some drum patterns, and edited-out some loops. We also did a sort of free form, Chris Cutler-style "waving sticks at the kit" duet which forms the last minute or so of the piece. All of this was then sliced and diced in Acid pH1 on the family PC.
The Ortones are: David Cooper Orton - acoustic guitars, slide guitars, ebowed guitars, wooden wind chimes, ACIDification Michael Orton: drum kit
Michael's Christmas present unleashed upon the world. Early random thrashing around his kit was interrupted by moments of lucid beat-keeping and pattern weaving, which I edited into loops and over which I wove some six-string meanderings of my own. The neighbours got the blues even if we didn't, I'll be bound.
The title is inspired, in part, by a visit with my son to the Whispering Gallery at St. Paul's Cathedral in London and looking out across the Thames at Tate Modern, the art museum housed in the former power station, a building which my father had pointed-out to me many years ago from his office window on Queen Victoria Street. Cycle and re-cycle.
Oblique Strategies random selection: Remember quiet evenings
Raul and David - a piece of research and development, a work in progress, perhaps. In the spirit of the chain tape idea, as the next recipient after Raul, I borrowed some of his work and swathed it in ebows and guitars, with some extra percussion, and ACIDified the whole melange.