It seems to me that nothing encourages me to work on my sound art less than having an arbitrary motivator. I said I would make some Weekly Beats and gave up after 2 weeks. I said I’d rise to the RPM challenge and so far i’ve got a lot of short weird sketches with no clear connection to each other. I’ve promised a “Black Mercury” by the end of Feb and it’s really not looking promising. Still… I’ve been busy.
I’ve always been into sampling, from messing with varispeed tape dubbing through Aureal Vortex and Audigy soundcards with replaceable sample memory to Korg Microsampler & Roland SP404 arrangements. From my childhood listening to stuff like Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel and later… Coil, I’ve always been interested in the Fairlight. A monolith sampler workstation and the closest thing to what the Push 2 has become in my workflow. This is great for opening my creativity and enthusiasm but getting used to the new paradigm has slowed my ability to produce work that I want to share. I feel like the end results are in many ways less overtly experimental as I actually feel like I have more control.
A basic track might start by me recording something from YouTube, a record or a synth. From the Push I can then convert this to a sample that can be edited, pitched, filtered, warped and effected. If I choose to slice it into short clips I can convert it further into a drum-rack where each slice is its own discrete sample with completely different setting and a different FX path. The possibilities seem endless but there is a clear workflow where sonic tangents are discovered and actioned immediately.
Lately I’ve been editing some multitracks culled from live jams where I have utilised this approach alongside Joe Musgrove’s electronics and turntablisms. Below is an example. The original session ended up with three mono-tracks which i’ve extracted to Tracktion 6 as I find it easier to use than Ableton’s arrangement view. From there I used Melodyne 4 (which expertly slots into Tracktion – see above image) to polyphonically edit some of the more annoying sounds out, shaping the overall frequency and stereo fields with Melda Linear EQ and Stereo Generator and a touch of Sparkverb. There is also an instance of Kaleidoscope processing one track into a metallic drone. I think it works pretty nicely.