8.00 am: A final read through the School’s self-assessment profile in readiness for the 11.30 am Quinquennial inquisition. (I felt as though I was preparing for a viva voce?) 9.00 am: Studiology. My micro-toggle switches arrived yesterday, all the way from China. These will be used to switch on and off the ‘bent’ paths created by redirecting the current on the solid-state circuit board of the original Stylophone. Fun to come:
At this stage in the composition, based on the ‘blind’ extracts, I’m applying well-worn strategies for editing, interlacing, looping, and superimposition. Eventually, I’ll move beyond what I know I can do to what I never thought was possible. But I’ve learned never to despise the obvious. An old technique when applied to new material can produce some unexpected results.
11.00 am: Off to School to face the music. 11.30 pm Quinquennial Inspection: inquisition/disquisition. The panel were only doing their job … and did it well. In my head, I repeated: ‘Now, don’t get me going on that’. Like most academics, I’ve a welter of gripes, groans, bees in bonnets, and moral outrages about the contemporary system of higher education that, once let out of the cage, are difficult to round-up again. The panel was very patient. The School’s teaching staff held their own for nearly and hour and a half. We acquitted ourselves well.
1.40 pm: After lunch, I arranged the morning’s extractions from the ‘blind’ sequence into equal and sub-divided measures for the purpose of synchronous looping:
Next, I stacked the ‘blind’ sequence 20 times, one below the other, and off-set the beginning of each track by two positions right of its predecessor. Something unexpected resulted. After the mixdown, I stretched the time span of the amalgamated tracks and lowered the pitch by 800%. What emerged was strikingly dark, driving, (like the sound of old rolling stock being pulled at speed by a diesel train), loud, complex, rhythmic, evocative, strangely complete (which may prove problematic), and remote from me — as though it had been made by someone else. Such moments come too rarely. And when they do, they’re treasured. The sound fabric has a superficial resemblance to an earlier piece, entitled B-Lit-Z (2013). The unconscious repetition of elements and ways of working over time is of the essence of ‘style’.
Recently, I came across the following opinion — one that is pertinent both to my own blog practice and that of students from BA to PhD level, who do likewise. It’s wise and cautionary:
While it’s great that musicians can allow the entire world to enter into their private creative domain via live streaming or endless video diaries, the mystery of that process and then the revealing of a finished piece of work can be devalued or its impact lessened thanks to this drip feed of samples. The constant share of the ‘process’ also has a levelling effect on the appreciation of some artists’ music, and once again the old phrase, ‘less is more’ is increasingly pertinent (Chris Partridge, Jazzwise Magazine, 217 (April 2017) 98).
I, for one, won’t expose any work in a partial and still vulnerable state by publishing extracts or ‘proofs’. My objective is, rather, to describe the process by which it came into being, and my on-going evaluation of such. An only that.
5.15 pm. My other life. Off to the Parish Rectory for a Holy Trinity Church Committee, and a discussion about the appointment of a new vicar, principally.
7.30 pm: After dinner, I listened again to the afternoon’s work and continued the process of recording the albums.