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Mark Rushton: "Float"

disquiet on December 28, 2011 17:45

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    From the compilation album Instagr/am/bient: 25 ambient musicians created original sonic postcards in response to one another’s evocative Instagram photos.

    Photo by Oootini.

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    Release date: Dec 28, 2011
    "Mark Rushton: "Float"" by disquiet is licensed under a Creative Commons License

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    • Mark Rushton
      Mark Rushton on January 01, 2012 16:33

      Mark Rushton -

      In the 1980s I used to belong to a health club that had floatation tanks and I used them a few times. They were great! This picture made me think back to those days. I still swim regularly (laps) but when my kids were really little I used to just float in the children’s end of the pool, so I felt a connection with this photo I was given to work with.

      The music? Well, if you follow my work you’ll know I’ve been refining the moody, the delayed, and the drawn-out for some time now. While this piece does sample a couple of past tracks, they’re quite buried amongst newly-created sounds.

      I wanted the overall sound you hear to have that same feeling one gets while floating in relatively calm water. It also had to be a total composition. The piece had to have some travel in it. I also like the idea of the music creating an out-of-body experience when it comes to the viewer/listener relationship. Go on, listen to it a few times in a row while looking at the photo. See what happens!

      Back in 1995, in Q Magazine, was my favorite record review ever. It was by Paul Du Noyer and was of Scott Walker’s album “Tilt”. In the second paragraph it says: “If there are singles they should not be promoted with videos, but with paintings.” and I was definitely thinking about that sentence when it came to the Instagr/am/bient project – although in this case it is updated to modern technology and flipped around a bit: pictures taken by others with specific filters applied are used to inspire the creation of music.

      I posted the above comment on my web site: but I thought I'd go a little further and describe my process below:

      I like to use Ableton Live simply as an instrument, and I'm constantly refining the sound through small changes in delays and reverb for the sets I create. To trigger it, I use an Akai MPK Mini. The sound is recorded out to my Zoom H2. Eventually I'll dump the contents of the H2 into a folder in my desktop computer. The files are edited, sampled, messed with, and so forth, often with Sony Sound Forge. To mix, I'm always using Sony Acid Pro. It's what I'm comfortable with. There's a lot more things I can do inside Acid Pro to alter the sound, if needed. I'm always adding and subtracting things and messing with the mix. I render to WAV and listen to the mix using my Grado headphones but then test listen further using a 192kb MP3 on cheap Sony ear buds. If it continues to interest me then I consider the piece done. That's generally how I work. For "Float" I did sample a couple of past tracks of mine, one of which is about 10 years old, although they are buried in the mix a bit or altered by pitch shifting it down an octave or two and then layering it. I appreciated the time limitation. Sometimes with ambient music there is a tendency to extend things way out, but for me it was good to work within the discipline of a time limit. Make your statement and then be done...

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