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Outside the Walls  Parts I and II


Here is a 15 minute piece I wrote.. it is part of a larger piece I will upload when finished.   Sorry, there is no score..  Too much of it consists of manipulated audio scraps,  esoteric Kontakt and UVI libraries which are mini soundbeds in themselves thus the MIDI notes have no real indication of the sound patch.   


Scott Watson provided his great English voice to the dialogue - soundcloud link to his material - https://soundcloud.com/s-watson . I whispered. 


This piece is more of a ‘sonic journey’..  I used ‘found’ sounds,  heavily processed. Some of it is more ‘sound design’ than music. A fair amount of Improvisation, first takes, building section by section.. then of course editing, sliding sections around, adding additional parts to make it appear more coherent.  


When I got my first synth an ARP 2600 back in 71, I did pop music and also a fair amount of exoteric stuff, cause I liked the sound exploration.. This was a lot of fun.. Cause I got to ignore the years of musical rules, I’ve learned..  I took some of the sounds, and had to create a new ‘syntaxr’ in how to use them..  Quite unlike anything I’ve done before..  


I also put a nod into Frank Zappa, because of his esoteric inspirations.. I too listened to electronic music artists of the 50’s and 60’s.. Stockhausin, Milton Babbitt, John Cage.. Wheil they didn’t inspire me to the degree of pop pioneers, I appreciated because they came at it with a ‘unmusical’ background’.  


So sit back, have a cup of tea, coffee, (and think back to the day of alternative substances).  and journey over this imaginary landscape I have created. 

Edited by markstyles
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I'm super interested in how you did this--My process would be to find sounds, record them, then alter and edit them together using reverb, synth stuff, pitch/tempo shifts, etc. Could you share a little bit about how you constructed this?

About the work itself, most of this flows in and out very well, but sometimes the instrumental "interjections" can be abrupt and coming out of nowhere. It's almost like I've been given a bit to tap my toe along with, but then it's gone again--quite disorienting. I guess that may be the point :) Not sure how you could work around that, but it may be worth considering.

Cool stuff!


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Hi Gustav:  My usual method is to work up a chord progression.  I lay down temp tracks of full legato blocked chords (for reference only)  some kind of drum track, bass.  etc.

I have a sizeable Kontakt library now, and almost all of UVI Falcon's libraries, (which are great.  Then I usually 'jam with it'.. Some of these libraries are almost complete in themselves. Single note melodies, already sound like an ensemble.  I put Logic Pro on (create track, mute, recycle start new track)..  After a few takes. I find some themes I like.. I  start to work with them.  Refining what I played, or often just sliding 'chunks of tracks around, changing notes to fid the current chords or mode..   I usually put Logic in score editor.. Because seeing riffs and motifs and where they are are much more helpful.. 

Part of my process is to listen to the piece in progress incessantly..  I loop it and play all nite.  In the morning I wake up with a mental list of things, to fix, change, delete, move, change instrument.  I do often find patches or chunks of music and save them, for possible inclusion, sometimes not..  Sort of like picking out the characters, and subplots which will be in the piece..  At this point in my life, (retired)  I only do music which interests me.. No more projects, songs on demand, which I spent most of my life doing.. 

When I find a section lagging (too long, boring, etc)..  I strip it out sometimes  I might find a new chord progression, to add for  8 - 16 - 32 - 64 bars.  I then alter other instruments to work with it..  I would redo certain sections, until I felt the 'fit in' better.  

I took a free course at Coursera.org  called 'Biology as Music'..  It dealt with how the human body was designed to create, process music..  Quite fascinating. Part of this course covered how the resonance and harmonics of certain instruments had a psychological effect on us..  The oboe can be meloncholy or humorous.  Tubas, usually humorous.  Strings can be inspiring, or sad..  This is the sound themselves not the particular notes that are played.. Of course the notes played has a great effect too. 

The 2nd half of this piece I went back to the ancient days of modular analog synth.  Although I started playing pop music in the 60's..  I appreciated the 'unmusical approach to the electronic music of the 50's and 60's when the first synths filled a room.   Juxtaposing sounds and snippets requires a kind of syntax different from usual musical.  It was fun because I got to ignore the years of musical rules.. In this piece I did want jarring, unexpected moments, to shake the listener..  To get him/her to break away from wha they would expect..  This was actually very liberating to create.. 

The final six minutes or so, I would just tack on new sections.  some of them just improvisation, 1st take.  been a long time since I've done that. 


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