Archive for the thoughts Category

Distortion

Sunday, 11 November 2009

If you cannot eliminate an undesired distortion, you can amplify the distortion until it IS a desirable element.

Didn’t Beaudelaire talk about distortion in terms of beauty?

That which is not slightly distorted lacks sensible appeal; from which it follows that irregularity – that is to say, the unexpected, surprise and astonishment, are a essential part and characteristic of beauty


He also said:

Strangeness is the indispensable condiment of all beauty.


I’m pretty sure, given those two quotes, that Beaudelaire must not have been a modern American citizen.

When working on an artwork, sometimes it’s just not possible to repair an imperfection without destroying the only valuable thing in the work. In these cases don’t forget that you have the option to amplify the imperfection.

If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.


Impatiently gathering dust

Sunday, 11 November 2009

Charles Ives’ first symphony was completed in 1898. It was first performed in 1953.


Ellard is dead, long live Ellard

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

OOF.

The public can only handle a very small period of an artist’s output and once that is in place, the artist is effectively dead to them.


I guess this is a good argument for my strategy (unintended though it may have been) to plod along for decades and never have any public recognition whatsoever. If the public don’t know you’re there, they can’t forget you!


The sound is now

Monday, 09 September 2009

What was the last music you heard that shocked you and made you think “This is the sound of the future!” ?


Drone Fish

Wednesday, 07 July 2009

If you love drones (I thought everyone did!) you should listen to this NPR Morning Edition segment about the midshipman fish:

NPR Morning Edition, midshipman fish

That fish makes some astoundingly beautiful acoustic drones. I could listen to a whole CD of nothing but that. Constant indeed.


Ellard and squoonsch

Sunday, 06 June 2009

Tom Ellard’s latest blog entry picks apart “sound art”.
Very funny piece. I have had opinions exactly like this when listening to performances and recordings of that kind of music. I have even thought about drones as an ‘easy way’ at times, my well documented fondness for them notwithstanding… (ahhh drones, like a warm snuggly blanket!)

Then I’ve also attended some performance festivals where the ‘squoonsch’-y stuff was more entertaining and enjoyable than the scores of kids with laptops making skittering IDM beats ill-paired with simplistic melodies, when droning haze was closer to ‘music’ than the other stuff.

A friend of mine once said “Making music is easy, making good music is ass-hard.”

Then again, I don’t know anything about “sound art”, a term which seems antiseptically academic. I’m just a guy who digs making and listening to weird shit.


More Quotes

Friday, 06 June 2009

I began to get enormously interested in hearing how everybody said the same thing over and over again with infinite variations but over and over again until finally if you listened with great intensity you could hear it rise and fall and tell all that there was inside them, not so much by the actual words they said or the thoughts they had but the movement of their thoughts and words.

–Gertrude Stein

Repetition doesn’t really exist.
As far as your mind is concerned, nothing happens the same twice, even if in every technical sense, the thing is identical. Your perception is constantly shifting. It doesn’t stay in one place.

–Brian Eno


Quote

Thursday, 06 June 2009

“With painting or words, you can always confirm what you’ve done, but music returns to nothing. It’s like seeing a part of yourself echoing away into nothingness.”

–Keiji Haino, on being a musician


NQN details, part 11

Monday, 03 March 2009

The final track on ne quid nimis is “in a red time”.

This track was originally recorded as part of an intended collaboration with a guy, a project that did not end up working out.

The song starts off with a very distorted and feedback-laden vocal, courtesy of the Zoom 9002. This gives way to a steady drone which was done by singing a drone into a mic run through pitch shifting, delay and distortion. There’s a guitar part which is pretty stark and spare, and a percussion part, which was made by recording an aluminum soda can wired up with a contact mic. I might have used a pencil or something to strike it, I don’t remember.

I thought at the time I assembled this collection of music that this was the most “ambient” of the tracks on this ‘diary of tentative ambient drafts’. The whole collection was meant as a statement about ambient from the perspective of an eccentric hometaper, and it was probably not by chance that the track I felt was most accessible to a fan of ambient occurred after all kinds of noisy experimentation, including a minute and twenty seconds of distorted noisestuff at the beginning of this track. I never thought things should be easy, and I still don’t.


NQN details, part 10

Saturday, 02 February 2009

The ninth song on ne quid nimis is “the hypnogog”.

This track was recorded for the pair of noise compilations titled “Weeping Eye of God / Creeping Eve of Dog” which featured contributions from Crawl Unit and Richard Ramirez among others.

I didn’t have much appreciation for noise music back in the early 90s. What really bothered me about the style was that from what I could see, a lot of artists were doing noise along with some silly, aggressive macho posturing, which I’d had quite enough of in heavy metal. I only later really came to appreciate noise as a style with a lot of variation and potential. This song was my idea for what noise could be, while still retaining a sort of calmness.

Sadly, I can’t remember a whole lot about the recording of this particular track… it sounds like the main drone is built upon a bass guitar feedback loop. I listed “fabric” as a sound source, and I think I might be referring to the fabric cover of my amplifier, which I might have rubbed against the surface of the microphone, unfortunately, I can’t remember for certain. The outright noise at the end is a guitar freakout run through a pitch shifter with distortion.

The constant presence in this track is an echoing voice, mixed so as to be a background element. The voice is a set of recorded tapes of a local idiot with a TV talk show named Bob Enyart, Pastor of the Denver Bible Church. My wife and I got great entertainment from watching this guy make a fool of himself on television, spouting his hateful views once a week from behind his moustache and ugly ties… with some nutjob call-ins from wishy-washy liberals who limply challenge him and from backwoods rednecks who (burp) agree with him. Bob has some pretty shocking and backwards views, that homosexuality should be punishable by death, for example. He calls child molesters “homosexual recruitment officers”. Charming guy for sure.


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