In our meeting/practices this and last week, we charted out a sketch of what our final piece would look like. Part 1 will open with an ethereal, somewhat nebulous feeling with Anand on horn, Utku on keyboards and Harrison controlling macros via Push and Pad controls. The cue to move into part 2 will come from a drum sample cued by Harrison. In part 2, samples of the horn improvisation from part 1 will be layered underneath a spoken word section. A rhythmic drone will give this section heft and momentum while the piano responds dynamically to the spoken word. Harrison will be manipulating macros in Ableton to sculpt the vocals as we move through this section. Harrison will also be playing drums (pads on Push) in this part. The spoken word part has been completely reworked with the tenuous goal of conveying the feeling of being 'in-between' and displaced, yet with enough structure to provide some coherence to latch on to.
To this end, the theme of moving along, towards, within and beyond the interface are clearly manifested in the concluding line of each stanza and in the final verses. We are currently re-thinking our approach to part 3. We concluded that having both the piano and horn in 'free-improv' mode was problematic in building momentum towards the end of the performance. Therefore, we will be experimenting with a more robust and present drum track along with certain pre-arranged 'core' patterns that will center the improvisations.
Finally, we briefly discussed visuals. The work of M. C. Escher with its themes of relativity, transformation and metamorphosis connects to our theme of 'the interface' and is one avenue for exploration. Possibly, some key phrases/words from the spoken word section will be excerpted and highlighted in the visual field.
The Spoken word piece in its reworked form is pasted below...
Anand’s Spoken Word for PAT 555 – updated 10/17
Amongst the thick seams
The slowly dripping dark
A percolating shroud
A permeating mantle
Approach the interface
Bounded by the middle
Bounded by the mists
Beside gentle waves
Biding the glimmering silence
Between the interface
Conspire the dashing lights
Conscript the darting flickers
Closely whisper the desolate shores
Curses cloying on darkening seams
Comfort me in the interface
Daily bread we want for none
Daily broken we wish for all
Daily fall and rise again
Diving deep and digging high
Delighting in the interface
Entranced by strife
Enter the halls
Welcome the host
Echoes rippling the interface
Forgotten, forgiven, fragile and bold
Fleeting strains of Phrygian lace
Flickering shards of the interface
In gentle waves
In glimmering silence
In glistening horns of tempest crimson
Give hail the knight, take heed the knave
Harken to the ever-glowing interface
Approach the interface
Amongst the interface
Beside the interface
Between the interface
Beyond the interface
Beyond the interface
Beyond the inter-ter-ter-ter-ter…etc.
3 possible directions:
1) Since we are getting away from the theme of cheese, the original idea of using cheese images might not be very applicable anymore. We are planning on experimenting with automatically generating visuals by using live sound as a parameter. We will post updates to this as we learn more about how to do this. This can be very useful if we can figure out ways of creating varying visuals. But this will also be time consuming and we can potentially find a simpler idea about visuals that would be easier to implement.
2) We have discussed adding an improv section for piano and horn that would mostly be atonal. We would like to combine this with the visuals mentioned in the previous part, if applicable. We believe this would introduce a nice variety to the piece by cutting some of the heavy processing we have going. This would also allow us to explore the natural sounds of our instruments. A challenge would be to decide how long we want this to be, and actually follow the decision during the performance. Here is a snippet from our rehearsal:
3) We are thinking about adjusting the second part of the piece to rely more on a drone sound and drums and less on a pad that plays chords. This way we can play the piano in a way that interacts with the speech that is going on. We are also planning sampling some parts of the speech.
We will work on artistic realizations of natural and mediated objects in relation to the human condition. Our latest project will utilize musical, technological, visual and narrative elements. We hope to communicate deeper truths through fables, parables and even the mundane detritus of North America. Realizing that humor can make the familiar strange, and the strange familiar – we will sometimes veer into the jocular, using musical, sonic and visual effects to connect our audiences to us (and each other).
Preliminary ideas / plans / inspirations
Our plan is to use improvised fragments from wind instruments as initial sources of musical inspiration. A keyboard and/or piano will be used to generate complementary harmonic textures in the background. We will dynamically interact with both streams, using Ableton to transform elements of timbre. Macros controlling a variety of effects will be mapped to the instruments. A drum pad may also be used in certain parts to play MIDI drums.
We will experiment with vocal inputs via narrative elements (i.e. ‘Who Stole My Cheese’ will be introduced.) Keywords and phrases will be identified, extracted and subsequently used to ‘re-story’ the text. We will reflect on how specific, or nebulous we would like emergent ‘meanings’ to be (or if one should even be implied).
To this end, we are also discussing the focus, direction and expansion of what the ‘subject’ or ‘topic’ of artistic vision should be. For instance, is it cheese the food item, cheese as metaphor or cheese for sonic effect? Perhaps in accusation contained in the beginning of the query - “Who stole…..”
Or is it the entitled possessiveness of “my cheese”.
Could there be a way to ‘sonify’ both notions? One emerging idea is to tie the electronic, visual and musical elements to these discrete notions. This could become a rather ...ahem… timely commentary on the present political winds.
We will meet every Wednesday….
1st Meeting: Technical/Logistical Issues. Instrument Set-up, Microphone placements, sound levels,
2nd Meeting: Experimenting/tweaking with possible final Macros and figuring out possible extended techniques to coordinate with the Macros
3rd Meeting: Improvisation Structure/Composition
4th Meeting: Practice Improvisation with refined Macros
5th Meeting: Test Ableton => Resolume audio reactive visuals and prep ideas for visuals
6th Meeting: Create/Refine Visuals
7th Meeting: Create/Refine Visuals
8th Meeting: Refine Improvisation/Macros/Visuals to be fully synced and coherent
9th Meeting: Refine Improvisation/Macros/Visuals to be fully synced and coherent