Month: May 2012

tweed square [disquiet0020-nodebeat]

The 20th disquiet.com junto project in May 2012 explored the inherent creative limits of a mobile app. All participants employed the same app to complete the project.

Everyone working on this project used two instruments. One of those instruments was NodeBeat, an app available for iOS (iPhone, Touch, iPad), for Android, for Blackberry, and as a cross-platform (Flash) implementation. The other was an instrument of our choice; this second instrument was to fall into the broadly defined category of “traditional” — i.e., a keyboard, a guitar, woodwind, percussion, etc.

The project employed three steps:
Step 1: Create a piece of music in NodeBeat.
Step 2: Record a segment of that music no shorter than 30 seconds and no longer than four minutes.
Step 3: Use that segment as the basis for a track employing one additional instrument.

I wrestled with the app’s ability to free-form soundscapes, so in the end, I chose to keep the the nodes and beat generators stationary. The app makes some classic electronica sounds and the keyboard’s square wave brought me back into a new wave head. Once programmed, I “played” the app for about 2:40, with no particular structure, just turning things on and off while playing the keyboard (in major pentatonic) that runs across the screen behind the nodes. Took me a few takes to find something I liked, and this is still a bit messy, but it was truly fun and i think i got a pretty big sound, in a way, for doing something totally on the fly.…

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sliver of sky [disquiet0019-rojiura]

sliver of sky
where planes streak
birds fly
guide me to my dreams
hvac hum
rainfall drum
basement guitar practice strum
white noise cardboard pillow

face flashes in windows,
light strobes and mortar shadows
in an updown walldance
as homework ends,
as bills are paid,
as security makes rounds,
as embraces lead to encounters.

orion’s belt appears in winter
three hours into the night
his rodeo champion buckle
scrapes across the fire escapes
clanks against the risers
says farewell disappearing
behind the southern cornice.

3rd floor cigarette smoker
7th floor cool down
5th floor dinner burn,
crack the window.

2nd floor she always looks down
to make make sure i’m safe.
she knows i would save her
if i did not need saving.

dawn crawls

to leave me to the light,
to fall from the darkness
of my offgrid alleyhome unrooftop

white noise
sliver of sky.

This project explored the concept of graphic notation. We were challenged to treat the provided photograph as if it were a musical score.

bricks = guitar
mortar = synth pad
windows = bass
pipes & sky = white noise
fire escapes = guitar plucked behind its bridge

the beautiful photograph inspired poetry. i imagined a transient man, a regular in the alleyway, who often calls it home. i wrote the words first, then put sound to them. words are below.

the ratio of the full size image on my macbook was ~23 x ~18, so the track is right around 2 min 30 sec.…

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no brooklyn bound [disquiet0018-3×3]

sound 1: field recording – downtown new york city subway 6 train weekend service disruption announcement and surrounding ambience. recorded with iphone garageband.
sound 2: constructed beat – iphone garageband drum samples
sound 3: synth – programmed iphone animoog

minute 1: the drum is primary, backed by stabs and swoops of the synth and cut up portions of the subway announcement.
minute 2: the subway field recording runs full and uninterrupted, with the beat and synth stabs and swoops slightly tweaked, but retaining the same basic phrasing.
minute 3: the synth comes forward with a 2nd part, laid over the cut up subway announcement and drum beat.

the drum beat is a long phrase (fourteen 8-beat measures?) that repeats three times w/ a couple variations. i considered the entire phrase as one sound, even though it’s made of a kick, snare, high hat and cymbal. this was my first time using garageband to construct a beat and the result sounded something like my old boss dr-5. made me smile for that alone. the synth sound was programmed in iphone’s animoog app, and then played live using the app’s D#-minor pentatonic keyboard over the other 2 tracks. first minute is one take, second and third minutes contain a second take and the third minute a third take as the add’l part.

though everything was generated/recorded by an iphone, all sounds were dumped into sony acid (my daw that i just can’t shake), and all cutting up, loop creation, compression application and rendering happened there.…

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waterfall love [disquiet0017-transition]

My contribution to the 17th week of the disquiet.com junto. The challenge was to take 30 seconds of a field recording, and slowly and seamlessly transition it into 1 of 2 given pre-existing tracks. Sounds could be added and the source tracks manipulated in any way. The first five seconds of the field recording and the last 5 seconds of the pre-existing track, however, were to be left untouched, aside from fading in and out.

I found a very pretty major chord arpeggio in the Lee Rosevere track, “The Day Love Came In The Mail” (link below) and mainly floated it up to its 5th and 7th and back down to the root a few times. The one grand manipulation (grand, for lo-fi me) was to separate the track’s left and right channels and treat each as its own entity until the final 10 seconds or so, when I sync’ed them back together as per the challenge. This allowed me to isolate the arpeggio in the left channel and pan it against the more floaty ambience contained in the right channel. Finally, I added a couple of spare beats hanging out on my media drive and some reverb & resonance to the ambient channel and to the fade-out of the waterfall during the middle section. Despite all the reworking and additions, I didn’t want to adulterate either source track too much as they both brought me such peace. So I hope most of the process here isn’t all that noticeable and you just float away on it for a couple minutes.…

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