Lately I've been experimenting again with a process I call "hypermiking", which is where I record live sound in my home studio (at a very quiet level) and route it into a computer running an Ableton set I've created to further alter it - which is then output to an audio recording device that I'm monitoring with headphones. I started recording this way about the time of disquiet0003-glass and have occasionally gone back to it with increasingly refined results.
When I learned that this Disquiet Junto would feature the transformation of an existing recording, I thought I could apply my latest hypermiking refinements to this project.
Initially, I made some recordings of the Brandenburg piece off my Dell Venue Pro Windows Mobile 7.5 smartphone. The speakers are tiny, and tinny-sounding. Some of these recordings were processed and are mixed in the background.
Most layers, however, were routed through the Dell Venue Pro but direct into my Logitech Z5300 speakers with center channel and subwoofer. The sub was turned way up, although the actual volume level coming out was quite low. Picking up all this is my Zoom H2, mounted on a mic stand, pointing up at the ceiling. This acts as an audio interface for Ableton Live on a desktop computer. The Live set has all the same elements as what I used for last week's Beck piece, but with different delay settings, longer decays, almost no chorus, and an emphasis on the low end sound. As I said it's a further refinement of the process. This is run out to a Zoom H1 with me listening on my Grado headphones.
I did a lot of recording run-throughs of the Bach piece. I call it "hypermiking" because everything has to be quiet nearby. I can't move in my chair. I can't accidentally bonk my knee against the metal desk. Can't shuffle my feet on the carpet. Can't click a mouse. Can't have the cat wandering around. Can't do it when the family is awake and walking around on the floor above my studio. All that gets picked up.
At first I thought I'd do different recordings and tweak the Live set settings in between and just present the best "hypermiked" recording. Then I discovered I didn't really have anything I liked the best. What I really wanted was something that contained bigger blocks of sound. Something that had a bigger area and bigger space and the occasional edge, like Still's larger paintings.
In the end, I layered numerous recordings in my DAW. Some were "beginning to end" and others were "partials" that repeated. Then mix. Then balance. Tweak. Nit pick... Render.
I've got to admit, even though I was an art student for a few years in the wayback machine I didn't pay much attention to Clyfford Still even though I was a fan of abstract expressionists. Perhaps because his catalogue raisonné was locked up for decades? It was an odd thing to do, hiding away his work like that, and then demanding in his will that a museum be built to house it all. He got his wish and it was his work, but it does strike me as a very egomaniac thing to do, but then he was part of The Irascibles...
Whereas I prefer to align myself with what Brian Eno said to David Mitchell in an interview in Salon a year or so ago. I loved the final question, and Eno’s answer:
Mitchell: If you could email your 20-year-old self about what was ahead, what would you tell him? Or would you tell him nothing and just let him get on with it?
Eno: I think I’d say, “Put out as much as you can. It doesn’t do anything sitting on a shelf.” My feeling is that a work has little value until you “release” it, until you liberate it from yourself and your excuses for it — “It’s not quite finished yet,” ”The mix will make all the difference,” etc. Until you see it out there in the world along with everything else, you don’t really know what it is or what to think of it, so it’s of no use to you.
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: http://archive.org/details/J.S.BachBrandenburgConcertoNo2
More on the Clyfford Still Museum at http://www.clyffordstillmuseum.org.
More on this 36th Disquiet Junto project at: http://disquiet.com/2012/09/06/disquiet0036-cstillconcerto/
More details on the Disquiet Junto at: http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/info/