Disquiet Junto Project 36: Still Life
The painter Clyfford Still (1904-1980) was one of the great practitioners of abstract expressionism. The Clyfford Still Museum in Denver, Colorado, not only houses a wealth of his works, it also has on display artifacts from Still’s daily life and practice, such as his smock, his old paint cans — and his record collection. These records, displayed behind glass, include pieces by Wagner, Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach, among others, and they’re accompanied by a small note: “Clyfford Still was passionate about music, particularly classical music. Shown here are several samples from his record collection.” In this week’s project we’re going to take that word “sample” literally.
There’s an interesting question inherent here about matters of aesthetic influence: how it is that the man who painted such massive and graphically evocative works was, in fact, listening to music far more figurative than the art he himself produced? The goal of this week’s Disquiet Junto project is to take a shared sample of the sort of music that Still loved — a 78rpm recording of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, II. Andante — and turn it into something that might be deserving of the term “abstract expressionism.”
So, the instructions for this week are as follows:
Step 1. Please select part of this MP3 of J.S. Bach’s Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, II. Andante:
Step 2. Then transform that sample, through any methods you desire, into something that you feel meets the definition of “abstract expressionism” provided by the Clyfford Still Museum: “marked by abstract forms, expressive brushwork, and monumental scale.”
You cannot add any sounds to the sample, but you can manipulate the sample in any way you see fit.
Deadline: Monday, September 10, at 11:59pm wherever you are.
Length: Your finished work should be between 2 and 10 minutes in length.
I sampled chunks of the original piece and loaded them into a looper patch created in Reator software. I recorded various individual live looped layers, changing the parameters and pitch of the loops along the way, plus using some filters, delay, panning and compression. I then assembled these layers in GarageBand. I didn't end up using all the layers for the track as I liked the way the combination already sounded. I was going to mess around with this some more, but I already missed the midnight deadline by 40 minutes, hence the title of my track!