New Space

July 31, 2008 at 5:21 pm (Experiments, Reflections & Planning)

I moved house 2 weeks ago. I am very much enjoy my new environment and am feeling motivated and productive. After sorting out the clutter that intially inhabited my room, I began to realise how wonderful the space is. High ceilings, lots of natural light, mountains of space! My mind somehow feels like it has more freedom.

I’ve spent the last 2 days experimenting with overdubbing again – making one composition from several layers of improvised drums. What was interesting was not so much the drums themselves, but the soundscape behind it. Each time I played what I recorded back in to my room and recorded a new layer, the sonic activity outside my window was different; The deafening screech of a car suddenly breaking, an Icecream van playing Bells of St. Clements, people passing-by, all these unexpected sounds became part of the composition too. All these layers of time eventually captured in one min long composition – time condensed.

After finishing the piece, I took a break and went to Clissold Park. There I noticed how tranquil it was, the traffic distant, asides from the two police sirens that were circling the area. I went back home and decided to add this to the drum composition. I was interested in documenting the days sonic activity in one composition. This might evolve in to an approach towards my final compositions, capturing the sonic narrative of one days journey.

Another experiment I did was over-dubbing again. This time in my bathroom, which has fantastic acoustics! This time I only used my mouth to produce the soundl; beatbox, sung ‘ahhhh’ notes, baselines and some silliness! It was refreshing. What was interesting about this experiment was that each time I played a recording back in to the space and recorded a new layer, you could hear less of the last and more of the acoustic space of the bathroom.

Essentially, with each new playback-recording the sound was reinforcing the resonant frequencies of the space and accentuates them. If I continued this indefinately, at some point all the original sound would disappear and you would only hear the resonant frequencies of the space stimulated by the sounds that occured in it. This is what happens in Alvin Lucier’s “I am Sitting in a Room”;

This use of space I find interesting. It’s made me think of the final show and utilizing the acoustic characteristics of a particular space for my installation. If I had a space to work with over the next year, I could work closely with the space in developing my sonic composition and use it’s resonant frequencies and nuances to maximum effect.

Also, maybe there’s some way I can do this record-playback in public spaces, so I could eventually capture the acoustic characteristics of the spaces I find. However, it would involve playing back at high volumes – I don’t think people would be too happy about that! There may also be a way of using Logic’s space designer to model the acoustic properties of a space. I shall research this.

Now I’ve settled down in my new surroundings and my schedule has calmed down, I shall begin planning my course of action over the next year. There is much for me to be getting on with, so I must remain focused and hardworking.

How I deal with time within my composition is becoming more important to me. Further reading will encourage the growth of new perspectives.

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Sharing Time

July 31, 2008 at 4:38 pm (Experiments, Reflections & Planning)

Happy Birthday to me!

Much has been happening in the last few months; New Creative Ventures course, helping for the MA show and finally moving house!

During the last few weeks I’ve been aquainting myself with the local area (Islington), as well as making some new music. I’ve begun exploring the use of space within my sonic composition in different ways and also using some of the audio recordings I’ve made on my journeys thus far.

Firstly, I will reflect upon the Golden Jubilee Bridge composition, which I made for a dear friend of mine who’s leaving London. We spent some time there together and I recorded the sound of steel drums being played, whilst we had a conversation. I can return mentally to that shared moment on the bridge through the recording. Through creating the composition I feel I have somehow captured the sun drenched, playful ambience of the bridge at that particular moment in time. However, the feelings that I place on the sound recording has also been defined by the interactions between us. The space has become defined not only by the sonic activity that took place, but by the social too.

Making the composition was as enjoyable as it was healing. It was also interesting for me because the piece developed naturally due to my process and allowed me to express myself with more freedom. After spending much time building up quite a somber and melancholic groove in the first section of the piece, I decided that I had dwelled upon the feeling for too long and needed to move forward. So, I bounced down the 2mins or so that I had made and improvised with it using feedback (via my mixer).

After recording this improv, I opened a new Logic session and placed it inside, along with the original bounce. From here I used my technique of not going back and editing the previous session, instead limiting myself to the produced material thus far. This was refreshing and took the composition in a different direction. The second half of the composition envelops the listener in quite a deep ambient space (using reverb), from which the joyful steel drums emerge, dancing, tranquil. The sadness expressed through the first section gets washed away by the passing of a car on a rain covered road and through the repeatition of a moment shared, with the steel drums in the background. Finally, the moment decends deeper in to the reverberant space and a different moment experienced on the bridge emerges. Another time, another ambience, a different feeling captured in the same space; it’s all part of the bridges wider sonic narrative, an endless stream which is constantly evolving, just waiting for people to experience or share moments in time together.

Excerpt:

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