Monotron Droning v The Wind (Arra Venton) - Halcyon Days EP by Savaran published on 2013/01/02 22:45:07 +0000 Available as a free download on the Halcyon Days EP here http://archive.org/details/Savaran-HalcyonDays_113 See blog entry at http://savaranmusic.tumblr.com/ Our holiday in Cornwall (far south west tip of the UK) this Christmas was soundtracked by constant wind noise howling around the house (known as Arra Venton) which we were staying in. The landscape here is ancient and we were surrounded by 3000+ year old field walls and evidence of ancient settlements everywhere we looked, from the granite tors on the high moorland to the coastal cliffs below us. The area known as Penwith, between St. Ives in the north, Penzance to the south and Lands End to the west, has a huge sense of place and we have been drawn to it for many years. It was on a particularly windy pre-solstice night that I was playing around with the Korg Monotron synthesizer, trying to extract some interesting drone textures from it that could potentially be played as a long-form live piece from fade in to fade out. This is no easy feat as anyone who owns a Monotron will attest. It is more prone to producing pulses, gurgles, screams and shrieks than something representing a slowly unfolding ambient drone. On rare occasions though you can hit a sweet spot using those five tiny knobs where an interesting timbre of sound breaks through. Very careful tweaks to the buttons, while holding down one note on the touch sensitive ‘keyboard’, can deliver a convincing drone track where changes in pitch and tone are manipulated via the LFO and VCF alone to give some textural colour and development. It is sound textures like this which interest me the most in music and I don’t particularly have to have melody or a formulaic structure present in music to enjoy it, which is probably why my tastes have shifted to the experimental scene lately. So I set about recording a live piece in one take just for the pure fun of it. While doing this I was conscious of the sound of the wind intruding through my rather leaky headphones and I was amazed how the sound of the wind and the drone seemed to be playing off against each other. The whole atmosphere of the developing track was somehow redolent of the surrounding landscape and I wanted to capture that in the final track. To get the wind layer I attached contact mics to the guy wire of an electricity line post near the house and just left the Sony PCM-M10 recorder going for 40 minutes. It captured wind noise, the sound of dead bracken fronds scraping the right cable and an underlying hum from the wires - all of this can be heard in the final track with deep listening on headphones…. I added some light reverb and delay using a standard Live 8 ambient effect, but that is the only post recording processing that has been done.