For this musical exploration, entitled Days, I decided to strip my composition processes and production methods down to the bare minimum.
To begin with I limited the amount of time that I would spend on each composition. This forced me to under-think everything, thusly creating music that had immediacy to it. I wanted the compositions to have a naiveté to them. I wanted the compositions to impart the memory and feelings that a person has when they hear a new melody for the first time.
To add more depth to the project I used this as an opportunity to re-explore music composition without the aid of complicated sequencing tricks. It was all just playing of melodies and rhythms into a midi sequencer.
I kept the initial musical idea of each composition in mind during the entire production cycle for each piece. This prevented me from getting bored and loosing the initial excitement that was created when I first played the music. By doing so I was able to work quickly and complete the composition at an accelerated rate.
Another aspect of the project was that improvisation was used as a central part of the compositional structure. The general form for each song was created using a MIDI sequencer, but the final recorded version was a combination of improvised performance and structured composition. It was this paring of improvisation and composition that allowed this series of compositions to stay fresh and novel.
In addition to the compositional parameters, I operated under a strict set of sound source and production constraints. The following is the list of those limitations.
1. Limited and constant sound sources are to be used in each composition.
– Allen & Heath 16 channel mixing board
– Clavia Nordlead 2
– Elektron Machinedrum
– Yamaha TX81X
– Line6 Delay pedal
– Alesis Midiverb 4
– Alesis Bitterman pedal
– Korg Monopoly
2. Once all hardware sound sources are used, additional computer-based sources are allowed, with the stipulation that they are treated as hardware sources.This means they are used on individual inputs and outputs from the computer’s sound card and mixed in the analog mixer as audio.
3. If a sample is needed a software sampler can be used. See rule #2 for stipulations.
4. Once a composition is started it has to be completed before starting a new one.
5. To complete the composition each song will be performed live and a 2 track recording will be captured in the computer.
6. Once a composition is completed it can not be gone back to. The exception is that an edit can be done in post production.
7. If the mix is incorrect or needs to be fixed, this too should be done in post production.
8. The composition title is the name and time of the day on which the composition is created. Notes and annotations are allowed in titles.
9. Once a composition is completed the patches and settings on the hardware will be erased.
Over the course of 2 and a half weeks I completed 4 compositions, totaling approximately 20 minutes of music.
The song titles in this series are as follows, and are in the order that they were completed. On some of the songs there is extended ‘silence’ before the song starts. This is intentional and is supposed to be there.
1. Saturday Morning (5:26)
2. Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri [Sunday edit] (4:41)
3. Wed / Thurs [dk moon] (6:29)
4. Monday Night (3:32)
For these compositions I draw inspiration from the concepts and compositions first explored by like of Eric Satie, John Cage, Luigi Russolo, Brian Eno, Steve Reich, as well as countless other current luminaries of the sonorous arts.