September 25, 2015

 

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12.16 am. A guard waved through the window. I was not alone.

The experience has felt like a long-haul night flight. The challenge during this phase of the project was to keep generating new procedures. A critical edge is one of the first capacities to diminish with the onset of profound tiredness. So, I didn’t judge my efforts too harshly from 1.00 am onwards. Time appeared to proceed more slowly, now. I was reminded of hospitals at night:

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2.00 pm. A bite to eat was in order. As I got tireder, my activities became more physical and urgent. A second bout of sleep-urgency struck. ‘Keep busy; keep hydrated; eat a Mars Bar, John!’. 2.10 am. A curious and beguiling piece emerged from the most obvious of strategies. And, after I’d switched off the input from the turntables, the samplers and filters continued to cycle the voices within themselves. Every iteration of the sources was different. I sat back and listened to the machines compose quite independently of me:

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There was a satisfying completeness to the outcome. This was not a sample; this was a composition. I was cast back upon myself.

3.00 am. My eyes grew tired before any other member of my body. Having stood for the best part of fifteen hours, my feet ached also. It was time to put them up, darken the room further, and reflect on my activities so far. A time for silence. I wondered when dawn would break and signal the beginning of the final phase. 4.10 am. In an early morning letter to an equally early bird, I wrote:

I’m between profound tiredness and euphoria, and in this state I’ve produced some of the best work of the past 17 hours.

5.00 pm. I was running dry on strategies … with seven hours of work still in front of me.

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6.22 am. The first seagull call. 6.40 am. A perceivable daybreak. Slowly, the library reawakened:

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7.00 am. I was in the grip of a strong desire for breakfast. I pressed on with modifying samples that I’d captured to the Roland device sometime after 2.00 am. The loops sounded a little too upbeat for my purposes. 8.15 am. The restaurant did not open until 9.00 am. In the meantime … I turned off all the modulators and recorded the raw sound from the turntables played, in parallel, and by hand(s). ‘Am I missing something?’, I asked myself. ‘Is this something in this medium and recording that I’ve not yet extracted? I’m attracted more to the unadulterated form of the source than to its modified or modulated version. A raw sound that yields its magic without tampering is precious.

9.10 am. It wasn’t full-English, and I shouldn’t have been consuming most of those things on the tray, but I needed a filler:

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9.30 am. I continued in the same vein. A fortuitous meeting, yesterday and today, with a representative from the People’s Collection Wales, has given me a steer on how I should focus my image>sound project proposal. It’s beautiful. 10.30 am. There weren’t so many customers at my stall this morning; any visitors to the library were herded from one part to the another on the grand tour. 12.00 pm. Done! It took an hour to pack the equipment away and ship out (courtesy of Mr Garrett and his familymobile). 2.30 pm. Following lunch, I caught up on emails and slept for an hour and a half.

7.30 pm. Off to the Postgraduate (MA) exhibition, which officially opened at the School this evening:

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The turn out had the buzz of the May BA and MA shows. What an encouragement for the students:

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By 9.00 pm. I was ready to hit the sack.

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