composition, ideas, ramblings

Limitations that are strengths.

Going to Liquid Architecture seems to have reset my sanity clock somewhat.  Seeing artists making music within clear boundaries provides a nice reality check away from hermit life and the unreasonable expectations I place upon myself.

Choke On Em!
Sanity? What’s that?

I also recently stumbled across some interesting stuff from Søren Kierkegaard including a quote where, after broadly describing the English as lifeless, manages to diagnose my ennui and propose a cure:

So, how to overcome boredom?  Here, as everywhere, cool deliberation is clearly called for. My view is expressed in the phrase ‘crop rotation’. This phrase might seem to contain an ambiguity, in that it might be taken to involve changing the soil. This rotation is the vulgar, the inartistic method. One is tired of living in the country, one moves to the city; one is tired of one’s native land, one travels abroad; one is European, one goes to America, and finally dreams of travelling from star to star. The method I propose consists not in changing the soil but, as in the real rotation of crops, in changing the method of cultivation and type of grain.
A little dramatic perhaps but the notion of flitting from one experiment to the next is a mode of existence i’ve been struggling to escape from for a while.  I’ve rotated the crops but the method of cultivation needs refocusing.  He continues…
Here, straightaway, we have the principle of limitation, which is the only saving one in the world. The more you limit yourself, the more resourceful you become. A prisoner in solitary confinement for life is most resourceful, a spider can cause him much amusement. The more inventive one can be in changing the mode of cultivation, the better. Only when one has thrown hope overboard is it possible to live artistically.

Again – quite dramatic and I wouldn’t know what hope I’d scramble enough to throw overboard but the principle of limitation connects with some things Lawrence English, Paul Forbes Mitchell and I were talking about.   I’m returning to thoughts about rendered and real-time spectral morphing as a way of generating more unique sounding material and have come up with a setup that will help with this.

Home Setup

With this approach i’m using the Push to trigger and sequence live synthesis from the System-1m, Nord Modular or VSTi routing through Zynaptiq Morph with more complex sample based audio channels.  These morphed elements will be layered using the Zoom R8track recorder and finalised in Tracktion 6 with possible Metasynth assistance.   Here is an example of a run-through with only one layer.

Powerful stuff – dense but with the potential for variety given the methodology.

The plan is to work towards a late November / Early December release so I’m putting a hold on all musical software or hardware purchases.  Working title is “The Archipelago” and it will be released under my birth name.  The title is mostly reflective of the audio work – a series of distinctive sonic islands grouped together through proximity and process.  There is however an interesting story haunting my thoughts that may hold some influence over my constructions.

There is also a Live variation on the aforementioned process utilising Usine and Leap Motion along with the Loop Station and Nord or V-Synth.  I’m going to use this setup for improvisations but it could well be part of a performance if the appropriate situation arises.




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