Monday, April 30, 2012

Day One Hundred and Twenty One

Towards the end of each month I always worry, a little, that this project is getting too big, that there are too many sounds doing too many different things. So I thought that today I would just play some more with the train whistles from yesterday, stretch out those sounds a little instead of adding something completely different. But there is a really loud clock ticking in the room I'm sitting in, accompanying my editing process. It made sense, then, to include it in the mix today.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Day One Hundred and Twenty

I'm glad I waited until now to include a suburban train sound in this project. The trains in Sydney sound completely different to the Melbourne ones, and I managed to capture some great mechanical cranking sounds, as well the attendant at Circular Quay blowing the all clear whistle as we left the station. Plus backwards kids bike bells from yesterday.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Day One Hundred and Nineteen

I love it when people are enthusiastic about helping me with this project, and today was a lot of fun! Huge thanks to Hayley, Mackenzie, Brooke, Charlotte and Amanda for ringing their bike bells with such enthusiasm. And to all the kids for taking great photos of their bells (this one is Amanda's, I think). Plus Sydney birds and dishwasher from yesterday.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Day One Hundred and Eighteen

I've been thinking about all the mechanical and household sounds that have been featuring in this project - worried that my choice of things to sample has been getting lazy, mundane, ordinary... But I realise that part of my reason for undertaking this project was to incorporate the acts of recording and mixing music into my everyday routine - a routine that involves a lot of mechanical sounds! The kinds of sounds that are the background to most people's days: fridges, washing machines, clothes dryers, computers, fans, dishwashers. So I'm in a different environment for a few days, one that has a dishwasher! And different birds to the ones I hear at home. Plus bleeps from yesterday at Melbourne Airport.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Day One Hundred and Seventeen

A little loop of bleeps from Melbourne airport ticket scanners... Off to Sydney for the first two of three Steve Reich gigs this week! Plus wurlitzer drones from yesterday.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day One Hundred and Sixteen

I had just enough time alone with this beautiful wurlitzer today to record a couple of drones, so much fun! In Healesville, and I felt like I should have been out recording birds, but this was just too great to pass up... With tumble dryer from yesterday.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Day One Hundred and Fifteen

Such a wintry day in Melbourne today! A great day for staying inside and rugging up. Or, if you must go out, to go to a friend's place, preferably one with a clothes dryer, and get the days recording and your sheets dried at the same time! With rattling bottles from yesterday.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Day One Hundred and Fourteen

Continuing with the glass theme today... Longnecks in milk crates in the car, on their way to holding home brewed ginger beer. Plus wine glasses from yesterday, looped and pitched down.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Day One Hundred and Thirteen

Thanks to Craig and Erica for their help tonight. It's so nice to go to dinner with friends, having not blogged for today, knowing that they will willingly help me record something! Two wine glasses with water, plus peanut can from yesterday and some faint chip can with rice...

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Day One Hundred and Twelve

This one is for my friend Evan Carr, who suggested another snackfood for me to eat, I mean record... Empty coconut flavoured peanut can with empty chip can. And rice.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Day One Hundred and Eleven

I'm the sound designer Pringles wouldn't want... which is a good thing, I think. More empty chip can, with brown rice.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Day One Hundred and Ten

Today I played some more with Chris Rainier's ((space echo)) from yesterday, adding more and more echo to the sample as I went. The same applies to a recording of an empty can of chips (yep I'm prepared to eat a whole can of chips for my art...)

I've been thinking, reading, and writing a bit about the discipline involved in this project - the committing to doing something every day element. It hasn't been a struggle for me to commit to this project, even though it sometimes takes up a lot of physical time and mental energy. Yet I wouldn't say I'm a particularly disciplined person. But if pressed, I have to admit that there are certain things I'm very committed to: being vegan, being an artist, caring for my loved ones, for my cat... Yet nothing, not even the slowly expiring membership, can get me to the gym more than once a month at the moment, and the huge pile of books sitting patiently and ominously on my desk groans with each new addition that I also 'don't have time' to look at.

What I'm trying to say, I think, is it's about priorities. I want to be a better artist, a better musician and a better composer. So I've committed to spending every day for a whole year taking a really good look at my process, and practicing my art in a very formalised way.

Perhaps when all the recordings are done and all the chips have been eaten I'll start an exercise blog. Maybe.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Day One Hundred and Nine

Today I visited the ((space echo)) exhibition/installation by lapsteel player and sound artist Chris Rainier. This project is really interesting, and interactive! A tape echo machine records sounds made live in the gallery, repeating them back into the space after a short interval. The inside of the machine has been filmed on 16mm tape and is being projected at the same time. Very cool. Plus ride cymbal from yesterday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day One Hundred and Eight

With all the field recording I've been doing lately, and not much actual live performance as I focus on this project, it's nice to 'perform' for my digital recorder sometimes. Today, a little improvisation using a drumstick on a ride cymbal: playing the edge of the cymbal, then the top, creating some cool friction sounds. Plus the pitch-shifted/vocoder-ed metal bird from yesterday.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day One Hundred and Seven

Some days in this project have felt really pivotal, like they will be points of interest, or movement, or resting points, in the final work. Other days feel more transitional. This one is fairly low key and minimal - a definite resting point day. I recorded a little metal bird, until now an unused gift, made from recycled food cans. I took the sample down a couple of octaves and ran it through a vocoder, so it sounds more like heavy breathing than the actual metal squeaking sound it makes. With gong from yesterday.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Day One Hundred and Six

It's been awhile since I featured a gong in this project, and I found one in my studio that I haven't used yet, so here it is... With variable delay and backwards/forwards/delayed bottle from yesterday.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Day One Hundred and Five

Today was a collaborative effort in a more hands on way than usual: a lovely day out for a picnic with friends, and some music making on an empty bottle before heading home. Plus breaking vase from yesterday.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Day One Hundred and Four

A new sound from a new contributor today - the photographer and video artist Craig Bortmas. He recently filmed someone smashing a vase, then slowed down the audio and messed with it some. I messed with it some more, and mixed it with the supermarket sounds from yesterday. Craig's original audio can be found here. The image is from a video on Craig's website.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Day One Hundred and Three

I wonder if there's a law against secretly recording your grocery transaction on your phone in your pocket - hopefully not if it's for art... In any case all I was really after were some beeps, carrying on from the microwave sounds earlier in the week. I captured some thumping/banging sounds, and footsteps as well, which get messed with more as the track goes along. Plus ceramic birdie from yesterday.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Day One Hundred and Two

Something I'm really enjoying about this project is that I'm getting the chance to explore a lot of obscure sounds and instruments that I've collected over the years but never had much use for. One of these is this little ceramic bird that you fill with water and blow into. The amount of water inside little birdie affects the pitch, and with enough water (and good technique which I haven't quite developed yet) it sounds like a cute bird call. My attempts sounded more like bird sirens, so I stuck to straight pitches...

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Day One Hundred and One

I'm always a little shocked at the first wintry days of the year, when I have to start thinking in earnest about scarves, mittens, arm warmers, leg warmers... I can't really record any of those things so I captured a little of the microwave instead, heating my wheat bag. (If you're not familiar with the goodness (greatness) of wheat bags check this out).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Day One Hundred

I love the sound of a cork popping out of a glass bottle. Being able to duplicate, pitch bend and loop this sound is pretty good too... With squeaky gate from yesterday.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Day Ninety Nine

A note to all rookie sound artists: if, in your travels, you find a really cool sounding squeaky gate, especially one that belongs to someone else, it's best to record it from the outside so as not to lock yourself in a stranger's front yard on a Sunday morning.

Then again, I guess it's a good way to meet people and promote your art...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Day Ninety Eight

A new contributor today, which is always exciting! Toby Brodel sent me a recording of his performance at Make It Up Club from March 20th this year - electric guitar with lots of fun effects. I chopped it up a bit but didn't mess with it too much, it was so beautiful just as it... With some pitched down skateboarding loops from yesterday. (Thanks to Toby for the image, also).

Friday, April 6, 2012

Day Ninety Seven

It's school holidays, and it's so weird how the sounds of kids scooting, skating and riding up and down the street sound exactly like a cross between the photocopier and the tram that I sampled earlier this year...

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Day Ninety Six

The constant trickling of the little water bowl in my kitchen, that's like a small pond for spoilt cats who'll only drink running water, is part of the background noise of my home now. So I recorded it, but messed with it a bit so it sounds like a pitched drone for much of this piece. Baby maracas from yesterday make another appearance, stretched out a little and down an octave or two...

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Day Ninety Five

These cute, colourful little shakers were a gift a few years ago and I've never really used them for anything, as the shaking sound they make isn't that great. But, as I discovered today, the sounds they make when I cup my hands and throw them around against each other are really cool! With a fair amount of delay, plus some bits of trumpet and sax from yesterday.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Day Ninety Four

Huge thanks to Peter Knight and Andrew Brooks for their audio contribution today: alto sax, trumpet and flugel horn. Plus phasing pedestrian lights from yesterday. The image is by Peter's son, Quinn.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Day Ninety Three

I've been meaning to record the 'natural' phasing of suburban pedestrian lights for some time, but I never think of it when I'm actually at the lights! Today I did, so they're added to the mix, with vibes chords from yesterday. (I only say natural in terms of the rhythmic phasing of the different sensors communicating different information at different times, as opposed to musically construed phasing...).

I realise I've been using quite a few inverted commas in this blog, I guess to humbly offer my thoughts as purely that, my thoughts, and interpretations of my music and the sonic world I inhabit. It's been weighing on my mind though, and I feel it warrants some explanation. In particular I'm referring to the different kinds of sound sources and approaches I've used in this project so far, which ones might be considered real musical instruments, which ones found sounds, and whether field recordings can be called music, with or without digital manipulation. Even though I've stepped into a compositional role in recent times I still call myself a percussionist, first and foremost, because the way I approach a percussion instrument (or kitchen bowl) is the way I approach composition, or sound design. To that end, the way I approach tonal music is the way I approach noise and sound art - it's all music.

Well, it's not quite that simple, but I think what I'm trying to say is that I don't feel the presence of a particular hierarchy in any of these situations. I play with drums, I play with rice, and recordings of traffic lights. They're all awesome.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day Ninety Two

I grew a chili! But I didn't record it, just wanted to share... What I did record was a couple of chords on the vibes, plus reversed cajon and bowed vibes from the other day.

I've been reading, just today, about the anthropological idea of 'depaysement', or displacement, in Sherry Turkle's book The Second Self. My understanding, so far, is that it refers to going outside one's own situation in order to gain a fresh perspective of that situation. I've been doing a lot of field recording for this blog, more and more as I go, which has been invaluable for developing that side of my practice. I wonder, then, as this doesn't happen in isolation, what skills and different ways of listening this will bring to my more conventional 'music' making... I'll be interested to find out.