forward nor backward
down nor up
that way nor this
wrong nor right;
its broad circumference,
the circle turns.
8.00 am: A Communion. 8.30 am: Why didn’t I have any socks on? It wasn’t the first time for this to happen. I made preparations for the late afternoon’s delivery of my ‘Time Management’ lecture for the Professional Practice module, and selected a cross section of assessment submissions from the Abstraction module for double marking. In the background: I replayed yesterday’s mix of ‘Depth Meshes Horridly’. I’d soon be able to relinquish my grip on this piece. I could feel it.
9.30 am: Back to the conference paper and PowerPoint. There was further information about the architecture of the chapel and the structure and themes of Psalm 23 to be inserted into the text. The paper and sound samples must be constrained within a 20-minute duration. No idle talk and superfluities, no frills or decorations, therefore. It’s curious how, so often, my current research finds its way back to much earlier preoccupations:
I’d dealt with the correspondence between the Temple of Solomon and Bethel, first, when I was writing my PhD Art History thesis.
This wasn’t the first time that I’d made an artwork involving Bethel either. In 1995, I constructed a series of shaped paintings based upon the chapel’s interior structure. They were decidedly paintings rather than relief sculptures. This was a state of mind definition; I was a painter and not a sculptor. Had I conceived of them as sculptures, I wouldn’t have had the confidence to pursue them. For me, painting has always been a particular type of outlook in relation to ideas and mediums, rather than an engagement with paint, necessarily. Thus, when I come making sound works, I do as a ‘painter’. Whether or not this idea bears scrutiny is a rather moot point:
Bethel II (1995) acrylic and wood stain on plyboard, 44 × 48.5 × 12
After lunch, I continued writing for as long as ideas presented themselves. Mid afternoon, I made some adjustments to yesterday’s mix in the studio. The beat track was over-cooked. It’d become too brittle and brassy, and threatened to occlude some of the foreground samples’ subtleties. So, I resurrected and inserted a prior version in its place:
Working with low-fi source material is a challenge when it come to producing an overall sonority that isn’t thin, hissy, and grainy, like its parts. Individual frequencies must be removed, one by one, until all ‘noises’ that are extraneous to the sound are gone. This is a subtle craft. At the same time, I listened to the results both on monitors, headphones (two types) and Focusrite’s Virtual Reference Monitoring software, which provides an approximation of a variety of studio and monitor speaker combinations.
4.30 pm: Off to the School to prepare for the graveyard shift:
5.10 pm: ‘Time Management’. At this time of the day and week, I had to, again, reach for the reserves. The lecture bordered on theatre. The aim was to humanise what could otherwise be a rather dry and tedious topic.
7.30 pm: Back to the mix. I found it! I nailed it!: the motor that drove the piece. The beat now sounds something like a relentless and an intimidating snare drum. Be gone lethargy and apathy! All I need do, now, is more carefully shape the amplitude pattern of the beat track and get an external appraisal of the whole, prior to finalisation.