December 2, 2016

8.00 am: I press on. My website was still running a little behind my activities. The lapse was remedied by adding the latest open-studio sound event to the ‘Sound’ page. The process took far longer than it would appear. But needs must:


10.00 am: My pluggy and cabley purchases have arrived in the post. All quite dull, but necessary (like so much of life). 10.20 am: On with my preparations for SteelWork. The next step required a conspectus to be written. The document will force me to be very clear about what I think I’m going to do, and articulate that vision in simple and comprehensible terms for my collaborators, sponsors, and industrial partners. The trouble is … my sonic projects have a way of sounding utterly bonkers on paper. By noon, I was in my stride. In the background, John Tavener’s Fall and Resurrection (2000) played. The bell peel at the close of the final section never fails to stop me doing whatever I’m engaged with. Casual audition feels almost irreverent.

Over lunch I reviewed several independent, experimental music/sound labels. The internet has enabled otherwise obscure, difficult, and recondite music and sound works to, at the very least, be available to interested and committed listeners. I need to get myself about in this arena. Solo releases (like one-person shows) aren’t sufficient. Representation on compilations (like in group shows), where the work can be heard/seen alongside that of one’s peers, is essential too:


3.30 pm: I took time out, mid afternoon, to look into the technique of no-input mixing. I’ve not investigated this before. And, its of limited interest to me. In essence, it involves feeding the output of a mixer into its own input and, thereby, turning the device into a rudimentary synthesizer. 3.45 pm: ‘Back to it, John!’ Prevarication is just another mode of slacking’. 5.15 pm: Enough of one thing for one day.

After dinner (and in lieu of practise session 1) I watched half of David Grohl’s ‘rockumentary’ Sound City (2013). It charts the rise and decline of a shabby but respected and much loved sound recording studio in Los Angeles. Digital killed the studio sound (to parody the dreadful Buggles’ song) is his thesis. Grohl makes a clear and persuasive argument for the abiding virtue of analogue recording … in some contexts. Digital technology is in its element when recording digital sound — like electronica (IMO). In this set up, there’ s a seamlessness (and crystalline continuity) between the means of sound production and the means of sound recording.

Back in my sound studio (which is equipped for both analogue and digital recording), I tried to make sense of where my digital guitar amp should be placed within the room. In the end it all comes down to the lengths of copper insulated cables. Gloriously analogue and physical:


After this, I tried, for the first time, to plug the guitar (via a drive pedal) directly into the ‘return’ socket of the amp’s loop system. (I’d seen a diagram for this set up in one of my guitar ‘journals’ recently.) It worked … but in mono only. Nevertheless, this was an interesting excursion.



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