8.00 am: A late wake. 9.00 am: A communion. 9.30 am: Studiology:
Back to the thunder samples. Weather conditions are sometimes regarded as external correlatives for God’s presence and judgment in the Bible. Thunder and lightening were conspicuous among the natural phenomenon that attended Moses’ encounter with him on Mount Sinai (Exodus 19). (I dealt with this feature in ‘Image and Inscription’.) Judgements are one of the central themes of the source text for ‘Write the Vision … ‘. Will this section be at either the beginning or the end of the composition? I suspect the latter; these are the sounds of a storm passing away. Thunder marks and measures the lateral distance of the sky, like no other natural phenomenon. You hear its breadth. Like the nuclear explosion that opens ‘Wisdom is Better than Weapons of War’, the sounds are mimetic. However, while I wish to evoke characteristic sonorities of thunder, I don’t want to mask the reality of the sound’s manufacture – on a pair of turntables. The section will last just over one minute. It’s conception and construction took over 420 minutes:
Following lunch and a jaunt to the School – in the punishing humidity – to retrieve parcels, I reviewed those sections of the composition that’d been already drafted. ‘Do they belong together?’ Very likely. ‘In what way?’, is a much larger question. My approach is to always keep moving the furniture around the room until the bits fit. In the background, the mass-band of the tree surgeons and lawnmower division had struck up in the neighbourhood. If the studio window was closed, I’d have sweated n’ baked. (‘Ho hum!’, he mused, adding further noise.):
On my journey home, yesterday, I played Scott Walker’s and Sunn O (an experimental Metal band)’s Soused (2014). Walker was, in the 1960s, a hansom pop crooner who, in later life, reinvented himself as an avant-garde singer/songwriter. His most recent work is difficult, demanding, uncompromising, and sometimes downright frightening. Whenever I need to be challenged to rid myself of the safe, obvious, polite, and seductive solution, it’s to his work that I turn.
By the middle of the afternoon, the samples had each found a place within the developing composition. I had a beginning and an end to the work (possibly). It remained for me to generate additional samples using the VirtualDJ rig. The other burning question was this: Should Scourby’s reading of the title’s verse be included? Or, should the composition restrict it’s means to the sound of the writing only? The decision hinged on how conditional I’d allow the text to be in terms of the scope of compositional possibilities available. ‘Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables’ (Habakkuk 2.2) could have the rigour and determinacy of conceptualist statements by artists like Robert Barry and Lawrence Weiner. For example, the latter’s SOME LIMESTONE SOME SANDSTONE ENCLOSED FOR SOME REASON (1993). A case of only, and nothing more.
7.30 pm: Onto the virtual rig:
I puzzled over the failure of the MacBook Pro to recognise the A/D interface. When in doubt (or at the end of one’s tether) reinstall the software. ‘YES!!” Then … how do I get the MacBook to record the output of the VirtualDJ rather than the A/D interface? ‘AHH!!’ Then ‘Ah! Dual ‘booth’ mode. Of course’. Digital routing is not for the fainthearted. Gain and balance adjusted, fingers oiled and flexed, I was ready to rock.