Stille Lyd – Part II on Canadian Radio, CKUC 93.1 FM

Stille Lyd – Part II was selected as part of the ‘Acoustic Frontiers’ playlist for September, broadcast on CKCU-FM () 93.1, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

This is a fantastic programme featuring the latest electroacoustic sounds from around the world. It’s really great to have been selected for the playlist and to be able to share the work from this project with listeners of CKUC.

The programme featuring my works is available ON DEMAND here.

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My ‘Norsk’ Form

Following my reflections on the first piece (though kind comments and feedback indicate that I was, perhaps, over critical) I have endeavoured to further develop and fully elaborate on each section of the work, so as to fully realise an effective structural form.

Half way through this process I realised that the form of this second piece is rather similar to the first piece. With a slow building open and close form, and an exploration of dry montaged materials in the middle section (this is perhaps also similar to the structure of my audio-visual piece Perpetual Motion). Such similarity gave me cause for concern, especially since I was troubled about the structure of the first piece.

Exactly as with the Mouse squeaks in the first piece, the second work made a quick transition from pitched ambient drones and granular clouds above to dry gestural material. I must find a solution to this predicament and perhaps further elaboration of this middle section is all that is required?

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The sound materials themselves are wonderful. The close recordings of the creaking and crunching of snow need very little processing, and would be spoiled by too much interference. But they must sit cohesively with the other sections of the work.

Perhaps I am to attached to these dry sounds?

Perhaps I should let go of their purity and clarity and introduce some subtle processing?

But I am scared to do too much. If Abstracted Journeys has taught me anything, it is that subtly montage and edited sound prove to be a successful tonic to the vast array of processed materials around.

Perhaps I should just live with my ‘Norsk’ form?

“Quiet” Composition Two

Getting off the Ground

The development of this piece has taken longer than initially anticipated but is finally being realised. This delay is partly due to the extension of the initial piece from a miniature into a more extended work. Indeed, that work (“Quiet”- Part One) could still be expanded upon and developed and I shall perhaps have to go back to NOTAM in order to realise it properly.

But, with the closing date of this project edging ever closer, and despite a multitude of potential compositional concepts, I struggled to actually get on and develop anything for the second work that I was happy with.

While in Oslo I’d read an article about procrastination:

Why are writers such exceptional procrastinators? They fear being confronted with a simple truth: They’re not as good as they think they are…

Perhaps it was fear. But it also might have been that the sound materials which I collected had not been as I initially imagined.

A combination of the weather conditions and a creaky Rycote (apparently a recognised issue when recording at low temperatures) meant that I had very few extended and uninterrupted recordings. Initially I had panned to layer and mix between extended recordings of the mountain soundscape with subtle filtering and little technological intervention, but the reality of the recordings made this impossible.

Therefore, I was holding onto a creative concept that could not be realised in the way I had initially intended / hoped.

Forging a Piece

SO, I finally locked myself in my studio for a whole day and began to transform some of the sounds that I had recorded. One that was especially nice (and which I was happy with) was the recording of the frozen river.

Dushume had also encouraged me to work with this sound, and so I took the file extracted the loudest bins and applied the impulse response of the Vigeland mausoleum to create a rich mixture of bubbling pitches.

But this sound was far too active. So I loaded it into CDP (version 7 free to download) and used the time stretch functions, both the ‘analogue’ speed/transposition tool and the FFT time stretch. By drawing these out I created rich pitched and evolving textures with organic morphologies (that is my interpretation).

These will form the foundation for my piece, with their morphologies being articulated with more granular and crunchy textures such as the falling snow striking our ski jackets and the stepping or skiing through snow. I shall also seek to use any ambiences where possible.

Here is a very rough sketch of the introduction to the new piece:

Other options

The kind folk at NOTAM give me their ‘Vinterlyder’ library of winter recordings, and I may dig into these to find some ambiences but I would like if possible to use my own recordings.

The “quiet” deep of solitude.

for, though the quiet deep of solitude reigned in that vast and nearly boundless forest, nature was speaking with her thousand tongues, in the eloquent language of night in the wilderness. The air sighed through ten thousand trees, the water rippled, at places, even roared along the shores and now and then was heard the creaking of a branch, or a trunk as it rubbed against some object similar to itself, under the vibrations of  a nicely balanced body.

A quote from Fenimore Cooper, taken from R. Murray. Scheffers discussion of Clairaudience. (Audio Cultures p.31)

The fear of sil…

Quote

The fear of silence is nothing new. Silence surrounds the dark world of death. Sometimes the silence of the vast universe hovers over us, enveloping us. This is the intense silence of birth, the quiet silence of one;s return to earth. Hasn’t art been the human creature’s rebellion against silence? Poetry and music were born when man first uttered sound, resisting the silence.

Toru Takemitsu on Silence

Kirpal Singh – On sound and Silence

Quote

“The essence of sound is felt in both motion and silence, it passes from existent to nonexistent.

When there is no sound, it is said that there is no hearing, but that does not mean that hearing has lost its preparedness.

Indeed, when there is no sound, hearing is most alert, and where there is sound the hearing nature is least developed.”

References

Kirpal Singh (1970) Naam or Word, Ruhani Satsang, Deli, India. p.59.

Quoted in R. Murray. Shaffer (2004) The Music of the Environment. In: Audio Cultures, (ed.) C. Cox and D. Warner, Continuum. London. p.38