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Tag Archives: waterfall
This week’s project is inspired by an aside that occurs at the opening of chapter 17 of William Gibson’s classic cyberpunk novel Count Zero, originally published in 1986.
I returned to the Prospect Park, Brooklyn, waterfall (pictured, with Sterling) that I used for the prior junto challenge of remixing Lee Rosevere (Thereflectors – Waterfall-love) and made a new recording with the garageband app on my iPhone. That recording was eq’ed and compressed and runs uncut under the track. After Sony’s Acid beatmapped most of the track’s “measures” at ~99bpm with its mysterious one-button algorithmic analysis, I extracted 8 bars with a very subtle knocking sound, the result of a unicyclist (I kid you not) riding over loose slats on a wooden bridge running over the falls. This was looped continuously through the piece as a quiet insistent beat around which the melody was built (mostly evident in headphones, tho). All sounds were extracted from the recording using Paulstretch, Audacity and Acid. My hope is that the track is not “overworked” beyond the constraints of the assignment, and still evokes water over a stone. But if nothing else, it communicates the sense of calm and reflection I find in this somewhat secret place in the heart of the park, off the Nethermead near the Boathouse and Audubon bird sanctuary. There’s no real pathway or signs to the spot from the main route, save for trodden-down underbrush that beckons the more adventurous and hyper-aware about to cross the bridge. A slice of #secretnewyork, I guess.
The instructions were as follows:
Step 1: Locate and make a field recording of source material that involves running water.
Step 2: Extract a segment of the recording. That segment will serve as the basis for your composition, as its foundation. It will provide both rhythmic and melodic material.
Step 3: Add elements and treatments to the foundation recording of running water. Do so with the intention of highlighting the water’s internal sense of rhythm and melody. Do not embellish so much that the foundation recording becomes unrecognizable.
The inspiration for this track came from the opening of chapter 17 of William Gibson’s 1986 novel Count Zero. The chapter is titled “The Squirrel Wood.” It opens as follows:
“The plane had gone to ground near the sound of running water. Turner could hear it, turning in the g-web in his fever or sleep, water down stone, one of the oldest songs.”
This idea of water running down stone, of a gentle but insistent natural stream, being one of the “oldest songs” is explored further in the chapter in various subtle ways. The Disquiet Junto project this week is to explore that idea: that there is music in the natural environment. We’ll make songs from running water.
More on the 29th Disquiet Junto project at:
More details on the Disquiet Junto at:
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.
The field recording of the waterfall is from the audio track of a video I shot while walking my dog, Sterling (pictured), in Prospect Park, Brooklyn, on Saturday 28 April 2012. I retrofitted the video to the finished audio piece, which you can check out here. Sterling’s not in the video, unfortunately, but it was a pretty day.
This audio track includes a segment of “The Day Love Came In The Mail” by Lee Rosevere off the album Play 3 on the WM Recordings netlabel, thanks to Creative Commons license. More information at:
More details on the Disquiet Junto at: