September 9, 2015

It takes time to find oneself; and time to (purposely) lose oneself again … which you’ll need to do, in the distant future (JH email to SC, August 6, 2013)

9.00 am. As part of my sound site’s annual tidy up and update, I released the four-track Call & Response collaboration, which my colleague Dr Roberts and I participated in last year (Diary, November 15 and November 16, 2014). It was a minor exercise (a drawing rather than a fully-fledged painting, for my part), but one which opened my mind to new ways of processing and other possibilities of timbre, dynamics, and contrast. Sometimes, it takes another person’s creative intelligence to perforate the boundaries of one’s own. The album ‘cover’ shows the glitched output from a public information monitor at Manchester Airport:

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10.00 am. The meat of the day: to write a draft research proposal explaining the aims and ‘intended outcomes’ of the image>sound translation project. In the background, in a bid to bring order and economy to my inbox, I unsubscribed from as many commercial mail shots as I could, once they’d plopped onto the screen. This was an immensely satisfying process. If only one was able to unsubscribe from some of life’s irksome duties as easily.

In the background too, while writing, I remastered The Red Ledger (2014) track. I’d been dissatisfied by the solo section at the close of the piece — which features the reading of a letter. As the track stood, the spoken words were incomprehensible to anyone other than myself and, possibly, the person who wrote it. Nevertheless, I could still recognise them in my mind’s ear. I decelerated the composition by 365% (being the number of days in a calendar year) in order to hide the letter’s sense from myself. (A psychiatrist would have a field day with that, I’m sure.)

Why are we vaguely embarrassed at enjoying our own work? I often listen to my sound pieces for enrichment. They offer me something that no one else’s work does  — which is, in part, the reason for making them. We create the art that we want to enjoy … Right? After all, if I can’t bear to listen to my compositions, why should I expect anyone else to.

1.40pm. Following lunch, I began assembling a track session to assemble the recordings made from my erased Messiah project. I’ve been impressed by the resilience of the shellac surface. Even with a pronounced patina of myriad, micro scratches the recording is still audible:

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2.00 pm. On with the research proposal. I enjoy picking strawberries from a fridge:

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It’s better than snacking on chocolate. Once begun, a proposal refuses to travel in a straight line. En route, you encounter byways to histories, traditions, practices, and theories that lie outside the scope of the inquiry, but which, nevertheless, will have to be travelled in the course of investigation. 4.00 pm. I re-reviewed of The Bible in Translation CD material and uploaded remixed tracks to my sound site.

7.30 pm. I continued populating the Messiah erased track session in readiness for composition. All the tracks are recordings of the 78 rpm disc, played at that speed, as well as at 45 rpm and 33 1/3 rpm, and processed through low-, mid-, and high-pass filters.  No other modulation has been applied; the native sound is complete in itself. Guild not the lily.

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