June 1, 2018

7.00 am: A communion. Semester 2/Term 3 ends tomorrow. June 1 marks the annual inauguration of a different type of energy and intensity of operation. Everyday from now until the beginning of the new academic year must count. Over the next three and half months, some projects will be completed and others, initiated in readiness for the year ahead. The past is behind me; move forward. 8.30 am: Admin: a putting to bed of last semester’s residues. A nonviable admin request from beyond the School entered my domain, disturbing the peace. Good management has the foresight and awareness to anticipate the crunch times of the workforce. Deadlines are set accordingly. The request didn’t manifest those virtues.

9.30 am: Studiology.  ‘Now where was I?’: A review of ‘Born Blind’. Not good! Bad, even. The passage of time sharpens the ‘sh*t’. One has to have a strict quality control. The work needs to be, at the very least, very good in order to pass muster. Was it necessary to include this composition in the ‘Blind’ suite? (The passage of time also refines ruthlessness.) Only if it can make a contribution to the whole that is distinct from the other components. ‘Saul>Paul’, conversely, is audacious and engaging – a long narrative. (Perhaps, too long.) It demands much of the listener. The DAW’s graphic looks like the circuitry profile of an electric pianoforte:

10.30 am: What to do with ‘Born Blind’? It struck me, reading back over my diary notes, that I’d began a second stab at the composition around mid May. But where was the file folder? I assumed that it’d been accidentally erased. However, there was an illustration of the DAW graphic for the composition in one of the entries; this would serve as a guide to what had been made previously. The least I could do was try and reconstruct the lost work before making a decision whether to pursue further a second attempt at composition. I began with the ‘beat’ track and worked my way forward, scratch by scratch:

‘But you can’t go back, John!’ They were right. Since my first attempt at the second solution, I’d accrued new experiences, insights, and sensibilities. Inevitably, these played into my apprehension of, and response to, the original problem and the, then, perceived response. This principal has a broader application to life, too. The ‘reconstruction’ began to mutate. A third solution and a better way began to present itself. I blessed the moment that the file folder had been accidentally deleted. There are times when something needs to be lost in order for it to be rediscovered. This principal, also, has a broader application to life.

2.00 pm: Q: Could a composition be interpretive of a biblical text, without including it? In other words, could this piece be an entirely abstract rendering of the narrative. If so, then, this would be the composition’s distinctive contribution to the suite. The compositional materials were derived from the surface noises, scratches, and mechanical impact of the stylus on the disc that bore the recording of the text. 4.00 pm: Looped examples of such were overlaid:

The composition was, in effect, and orchestration of textures: a gritty granularity, coupled with a slippery-slurpy (for want of a better term) acqueousness that summoned up associations with the earth and spit that Christ combined to make the clay that he used to anoint the blind man’s eyes. The composition’s title would need to be changed – in order to make that connection evident – to something like ‘Spittle and Ground’. To conclude the afternoon’s session, I played ‘Enn’ from the Nomine Numine suite in order to revitalise my ears and commemorate the day.

7.30 pm: In the evening, I settled to mix the day’s work. Q: How long should the composition be? If it’s as long as it took Scourby to read the entire biblical narrative of the healing of the man born blind (an entire chapter), it’ll be too long. If it’s as short as the essential account of the narrative, it’ll be too short. If, and until, a different rationale occurs to me, the length would be set an an auditory optimum of 3 minutes and 36 seconds. Thereafter, I fine-tuned the length of each loop to 0: 07.200, and confirmed and locked track alignments. (Some things you assume are locked, aren’t in reality.):

Outdoors, the birds sang as they settled to sleep, the traffic passed along Llanbadarn Road, and children conversed in a garden afar off. A good day’s work.




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