July 24, 2018

6.45 am: I gave my younger son a morning call to ready him for his camping trip to Europe. I’ve not woken him like that since he was a schoolboy. Happy memories. 8.10 am: Off to the station, to see him on his way:

8.45 am: A mug of PG Tips in hand, I settled to a little admin (academic and personal) before resuming work on the latest composition and my interface tutorials. Occasionally, I receive applications for the MA Fine Art degree from graduates of other disciplines. I wouldn’t advise anyone to embark upon the MA without an undergraduate degree in that field. The MA is, by nature, designed to inculcate mastery in a range of skills that’ve been already matured over three years. (The BA can be regarded as an apprenticeship in this respect.) The postgraduate degree is very demanding, even for those who have succeeded admirably in completing the initial qualification.

11.00 am: Studiology. I began by slowing down the acoustic writing tracks ten times. This not only elongates the movement and sound of the pencil on the paper but also the spaces (the silences) between the letter formations. The resultant sonorities recalled the beginnings of the tracks composed for the R R B V E Ǝ T N Ƨ O A album. On this occasion, the sound was that of a drawing that traced the shape of each of the eleven fragments that made up the broken wax cylinder:

The process of temporal conversion was slow:

I explored the relative merits of iPad’s and the Akai Professional MPX16’s sample launches. Analogue pads ‘feel’ more immediate and responsive. The physicality of equipment has always been crucial to my practice. Ideally, it should serve as an extension to my body. The stretched samples sound like snarling and yawning dinosaurs. I made a variety of stretches: ×10, ×5, ×2.5, and ×1.25. These will give me sufficient material and combinations for this particular technological reworking of the source material. The manipulation of the same on the vinyl discs and VirtualDJ software will present other and very different possibilities.

7.30 pm: The forthcoming conference paper needed to be pushed out of space dock. In the background: Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s track ‘Brain Salad Surgery’, which was released as a floppy 45-rpm freebie with the New Musical Express in 1973. (I was a Melody Maker man, on every other occasion.) I must have played that record to oblivion. It’s a sexy/raunchy kinda song with an impertinent Moog sound. Love it! I usually begin a paper with the PowerPoint design. This is the first thing the audience will experience: their first impression. The visual character of the slides needs also to capture something of the tone of the text. An evening light:

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