095: Trusting wholly to the loadstone

Episode 95 takes the speech and rhythmic patterns of episode 94, Arcadia, and uses it as data points, as signal to create voltage envelopes, as a way to create patterns and tones. The title is extracted from Thomas Moore’s Utopia, I have pasted a longer passage below.

They sailed before with great caution, and only in summer time; but now they count all seasons alike, trusting wholly to the loadstone, in which they are, perhaps, more secure than safe; so that there is reason to fear that this discovery, which was thought would prove so much to their advantage, may, by their imprudence, become an occasion of much mischief to them.  But it were too long to dwell on all that he told us he had observed in every place, it would be too great a digression from our present purpose: whatever is necessary to be told concerning those wise and prudent institutions which he observed among civilised nations, may perhaps be related by us on a more proper occasion.  We asked him many questions concerning all these things, to which he answered very willingly; we made no inquiries after monsters, than which nothing is more common; for everywhere one may hear of ravenous dogs and wolves, and cruel men-eaters, but it is not so easy to find states that are well and wisely governed.

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093: Field Notes

A collage of binaural and stereo field recordings: a walk near my house in Mount Vernon, NY; a recording from my backyard as I trim a few trees; a recording alongside the a man-made lake near Highway 44 in suburban St. Louis; a recording of a walk back to work after lunch; among others. The tones are made through using a tone gate on the recordings, so when the wind creates a bit of mic noise, it is joined by tones and cords.

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087: Rosco White with a Half-Wax Blend

Rosco White with a Half-Wax Blend is a slow plotting quintet of sine wave-based software instruments. It concludes a trilogy of compositions that have thought about work and labor within a musical context. Each was scored for traditional instruments and then manipulated, collaged, and recombined. This score was for a brass ensemble, but its final instrumentation features resonant pure tones, with hits of the piano, base, or trombone folded into the waveform. In my mind, the resonance, and complexity of the tones equate to the perceived aftermath of work left in a room, both the immediate and long-lasting. For example, the odor of paint, hint of cleanser in the air, along with how a fresh coat of paint can change the very nature of a room.


If you haven’t already, make sure you check out….
Part 1: 085: A Durable Object
Part 2: 086: T.M.O.

stopGOstop is produced by John Wanzel.

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086: T.M.O.

The episode begins with low-slow-open synth sounds that form a disjointed, yet repetitive theme. Sonically the first section features two synths, both rich in delay and field manipulation. The second section expands on the themes, slowly at first, then accelerated, repeating with slight variations. It’s voiced by midi piano with a modest amount of synth within the reverberations. The third section partially incorporates these two modes, jumping from the singsong-wide synth sounds, to the rhythmic rolling piano pattern, beeping and repeating high notes, and ending with slow somber tones.

I have been thinking of the first section as morning lauds: a cup of coffee, a run in the park, a walk to the train, or any momentary reflection before the workday. The second section takes its pace and interruptions from repetitive tasks, sometimes sounding like a dance, or at other times, a chaotic ball rolling down a hill. The third part, is a uneven combination of the first two, the bit of work that stays in your head all the way until you fall asleep.

T.M.O. is a direct follow up to episode 85, A Durable Object. The conclusion of this trilogy, Rosco White with a Half-Wax Blend, will be released as episode 86 of the podcast.


085: A Durable Object

A new composition featuring a software orchestra, computer-controlled synthesizers, and processed field recordings. The piece fully embraces traditional scoring techniques, tonality, and meter. Sonically the midi-controlled flutes, English horn, violin etc. are paired with FM synthesis to create the instrumentation. This joins and coordinates the electronic and orchestral sounds (even though they are both manifestations of software).  When composing I was thinking about the pace and regularity of the workday. The repetition of the musical themes with only slight variations; the strong half-note cascades; the low grumble of a time-stretched boat motor: all become stand-ins for the physical and temporal aspects of work. In many ways, A Durable Object is a followup to Towards and The Fallsapproaching work from a durational aspect.

084: Towards

Towards, is to be listened to while at work – doing tasks that you may not want to do, or monotonous tasks you like. I would suggest gardening, raking leaves, doing dishes, cleaning the house, watching tv or balancing a budget.

Featuring binaural recordings of walking (in the woods, in a park, and on the train) alongside highly processed versions Chopin’s Nocturnes that have been stretched, collapsed and aggressively gated and EQ’d. The recording is just over 2 hours and 16 minutes in length.

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075: To or at a distance

To or at a distance, a new composition for headphones featuring churning, rustling, buzzing, humming, crickets, a river, and a bowed string.

060: The Use of Reading and Recording

20141229_134505This week on the podcast: 70s and 80s computers, memory tricks, and the social history of a self-selecting clan of gamers- an audio collage entitled The Use of Reading and Recording.