April 21, 2017

8.45 am: I completed ‘trussing’ Pedalboard V. I now needed to insert the pitch-bending pedal between Pedalboard V and Pedalboard II (and to hope no ‘hum’ ensued). The sample from Matthew. chapter 15 was re-recorded but, this time, from my second set of New Testament records. My intent was to compare the quality of the sets’ sound reproduction. Generally speaking, the New Testament records are far more worn than those of the Old Testament. That’s hardly surprising. The Book of Exodus was now on the deck, readied for digitisation. Another biggy!

I’m drawn to the inscriptions on the flyleaves. They’re as much a part of the records’ history as anything inscribed in their grooves: a testament to who listened to what and when:

Similarly, the discs’ patina — the static, dust, and scratches that have accrued since they were first pressed. They are the signifiers and physical memory of the medium’s ageing, usage, and wear and tear. For this reason, I haven’t cleaned the discs before recording them.

10.30 pm: A little virtual desk tidying to ensure that the generated files were in the correct folders and all the redundant material was in the ‘trash’. The sonic character of the ‘New Songs’ array is uncannily like a large church organ. This was not the sound I had in my head. Its better than that. Keith Jarrett’s improvisations Hymns and Spheres (1976) come to mind. This work has meant a great deal to me over the past five years. It summons an aching melancholy associated with unrevisitable people, locations, and times past, irretrievable love, and inconsolable regret:

1.40 pm: I completed a draft of the poster. Once the Library and other collaborators have confirmed the arrangements, I’ll publish it:

2.00 pm: For the remainder of the afternoon, I worked on the digitisation process, the ‘New Songs’ array, and the mixing desk, in rotation. The ‘end’ samples of the records beckoned. The samples were conformed to one another, looped, and layered. My approach was to construct a ‘percussive’ composition. The first trial of the idea was promising. Greater rigour and more samples will be necessary in order to pull-off something worthwhile. Furthermore, I’ll have to work with smaller file sizes; the accumulation of session tracks at (unnecessarily) high resolution slows down the computer and leads to intermittent digital dropout:

In the evening, I began writing a short explanatory text for the ‘The Talking Bible’ outing at the National Library of Wales, next month.

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