Disquiet Junto Project 0036: Still Life
I love abstract expressionism, but that heaped an enormous amount of pressure onto myself to be true to Still and the movement as a whole - I'm not quite sure I'm happy with this, but …
I wanted to keep the concept of the track simple yet include plenty of abstract detail, so I kept everything within Ableton Live. My emphasis was on spontaneity. Reaktor was the tool of choice to create the textures with Peter Dines' excellent Mirage ensemble taking centre stage. I mixed the track to create a sonic pool of textures, with currents and eddies driving the harmonic interest.
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.
This track is a transformation, in honor of painter Clyfford Still, of a sample of J.S. Bach's Brandenburg Concerto No. 2, II. Andante, culled from this recording:
More on the Clyfford Still Museum at clyffordstillmuseum.org.
More on this 36th Disquiet Junto project at:
More details on the Disquiet Junto at: http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/info
- Abstract ambient