Experimental compositions homework

Sun Feb 20 2022 00:30:00 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)

tags: music noise fieldrecording audio sound synth

I'm taking Jamie Stewart's course on Composing Experimental Music, and it's already halfway through and I'm enjoying it tremendously. It's blazingly fast paced and is covering a TON of ground on so many varied topics really quickly.

All of the "homework" is optional and this course is just not for credit or anything, but one of the reasons I wanted to take it was to be exposed to some new possibilities and to nudge myself to do some more experimentation.

For the first assignment, I decided to dust off a synthesizer I built 20 years ago, the triwave picoswash. I ran it through a modeling amplifier that was scrounged from a dumpster that I later repaired (tho it's still fucked up, only one of the digits on the display is working). Jamie covered a little about frequency beating (not a new concept, but one I haven't explored much recently), so I decided to spend some time de/tuning the two sides of the triwave into giving some interesting beat patterns.

Of course, the triwave always sounds better when patched through the noise swash, and then I ran the amp in a reverb/delay mode with the parameters up basically all the way (tho it's hard to be sure with the broken display, heh).

So here's a brief clip from that session, just recorded on a phone:

The second class gave several assignments, and one of them involved capturing a field recording and then turning it into a composition using the DAW. It was a rather slow and mostly quiet Friday afternoon in my neighborhood, but I managed to get some sounds recorded and turned them into this piece here:

Here is the direct link to mp3 here: Homework 02a

I'm pleased with the way it turned out! I wanted to make some musique concrète while keeping some aspects of the source material clearly audible. I wanted it to sound like a field recording, but with some enhanced editing/mixing/structure/interest.

There are several more parts to the "homework" (all of it is optional, for fun/learning/experimentation), I have a bit more to finish up and share. More to come in a following blog entry.