August 18, 2014

A new week; a new day. I enjoy waking to the rain splattering like pebbledash against the Velux windows. The sound is strangely consoling; it transforms a house into a shelter:

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To begin, I cleared the backlog of emails requiring my immediate attention, reviewed my tutorial schedule for the next fortnight, responded to a draft dissertation submission, and resolved conflicting medical appointments due over the next two weeks, by telephone. If Vivaldi could have received a royalty every time The Four Seasons is played while the caller is left on-hold, he wouldn’t have died impoverished. I dislike hearing music that ends as abruptly as it begins, in one ear only, and through a device with an exceedingly narrow-band frequency range. What’s wrong with silence? Or, better: Why doesn’t a sound artist compose ‘on-hold music’ that constructively responds to these limitations?:

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Then, on to the meat of the day’s work: the next two Art/Sound lectures — one on spirit and technology and the other on jazz and abstraction. It’s an excuse, if one were needed, for a week of ambient listening to terrifying Electronic Voice Phenomena and albums by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, Charlie Parker, and Ornette Coleman.

At 11.00 am, I was called to the School for an impromptu MA Fine Art interview with an applicant who had arrived on time but a day early. After lunch, I visited Martin at the Old College to discuss the prospective value of the university pension scheme. The local part of his email address is ‘MAD’. ‘Mad Martin’ was the epithet given to the English Romantic painter John Martin due to the extravagance of his vision.  The unquestionably sane Martin’s prophecies about the future of pensions are no less apocalyptic:

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In the afternoon, I inserted illustration tags into, and completed the PowerPoint for, last week’s lecture text and began mapping out the spirit and technology lecture in readiness for tomorrow morning.

After dinner and an hour’s guitar practise, I moved to the studio. A cable had been misplaced on Pedalboard IV. Consequently, the sound of silence from a 100-watt amplifier — when there should be a glorious chiming chord  — was enough to enfeeble even the burliest Swedish Death Metal player:

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I made several modifications to Pedalboard IV, removing the RAT distortion effector and replacing it with the MoogerFooger Drive unit and expression pedal:

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During the final part of the evening, I set up Pedalboard I with a view to exploring the individual and collective potential of the effectors systematically over the next few days. Monday ends, as does every weekday, with a further hour’s guitar practise. I’m in C Major for the next week. The nights are drawing-in:

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