claire – process part 292
Creation is the essence of my existence.
Being prepared to harness the peaks of creative potential which exist in daily life with the appropriate recording device is a challenge that constantly plagues me in the battle between spontaneity and preparedness. I want to go for a walk. I want to ride my bike. It’s such a beautiful day, I want to do it now. But what if I hear an amazing sound? The desire to capture it, to record it into some sort of tangible form that can be later transformed and manipulated overwhelms me. It feels like a waste of a perfect moment if I hear it and the only memory which can resonate is the one inside the gate to my mind’s eye.
As such, I often carry a portable recording device with me wherever I go. Minimal, black, and pocket-sized, it looks like it could be an mp3 player. Subtlety is key, as recording is not entirely dissimilar to espionage. I bring my device to airports, on bike rides, to the forest, the jungle, the beach. I record soundscapes, sirens, strange noises that inspire me, people speaking in different languages, whispering, laughing, musicians playing on the street.
Some people are inspired by stillness, others by motion. It is possible to find stillness in motion if you dare go a little deeper. Travelling is the motion that inspires my stillness. In an airplane, on a bullet train, waking up in a strange bed still wearing my clothes, these are the moments that inspire the stillness of my creation. Melodies and rhythms swirl inside my head. Physically I lie still (or I sit) as my airplane lifts off transporting me to a faraway land, but psychologically my mind is enveloped by a cascading wash of sounds. Can I give them a material form fast enough to capture their essence before they disappear forever from my consciousness? This is when my moment of creation happens. Like lightning bolts, the sounds inside my mind permeate into virtual existence.
Textures. Undulating waves of sound. Reality blended with artificiality. Electronic synths and samples meshed with recordings from real-life encounters: random happenings and synergetic moments. Technological devices obey their command under the weight of my nimble fingers, transforming digital recorded soundscapes into pristine reductions: gently moving textures, delicate slices of life. Synthesized sounds layered with fragments of creatures and adventures great and small. Sounds from nature mesh with gently sculpted electronic noise, creating a hybrid form. The organic mixes with the mechanic. Through this process emerges a sophisticated bricolage of (what is, in this case) staccato hi-hat rhythms and deep rumbling bass. And a melody that is not quite melancholic, nor happy…
>>Can you guess where the sound of the bass comes from?
>>Can you hear the crickets chirping in Japanese cricket-speak?
>>Can you hear the clinking of forks as Amanda speaks of deja vu over dinner?
Plotting their escape route onto the timeline of my Ableton Session, these fragile moments of my most creative process often occur within the timeframe of a flight, a hazy rainy morning, a quiet evening in, or an interlude of stillness that reveals itself subtly within the chaos of my day-to-day existence. Some days I wake up with the remnants of a dream and in the dream there is a melody. It is impossible for me to start my day until I get it down in some form or other so I can use it later.
This track represents the fusion of these moments of stillness and inspiration, of digital technologies and electronic sounds. Techniques and inclinations moulded as if they were sculptures. Sonic tapestries carefully injected with intricate fragments of recorded reality.
>>The bass comes from a violin.
>>The crickets and frogs were recorded by the roadside in Okinawa, Japan.
>>The vocals were recorded during MUTEK 2009 while eating dinner with my friend Amanda at a restaurant called Atma.
>>The melody was recorded by my friend Marc-Andre Mignault during a live studio jam session. I believe he made it in Reaktor.
>>And the track was started one rainy morning after a DJ gig in Prince Edward Island, lying in bed while my newfound friends made coffee, eggs, and bacon. Because the sounds were already inside my head, it seemed to write itself.
Incidentally, this track also represents the first time I really felt like I had captured the sounds inside my mind’s eye, for real, exactly how I wanted them to be.