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Avante-garde and Experimental Compositions



Photo is actually taken in Aberdour, but I drive through Dalgety to get there!



My Pet Rock



Floating orbs



This coil will become a radio transmitter antenna for an experiment, potentially will lead to something else Eurorack formed

Dalgety      -      4:40 / Ambient


Dalgety Bay, Scotland overlooks the Forth Road and Rail bridges.  These historic feats of engineering cross the Firth of Forth, forming a more direct link from Central Scotland and the country's Capital to the Highlands.  Since the 1990's a series of radioactive artifactis have been discovered littering the shoreline.  Believed to be reminants of WWII aircrafts washed up from landfill sites.

Visualize a still watered bay framed by magnicifant bridges and the South shore.  Distant sounds of civilization and traffic are present but the imediate vacinity is secluded with an edge of unease.


I have a love for many spots along the East coast of Scotland, I have spent much time on walks in the past, clearing my head during the creative process of many projects - composition and production.  It seemed an appropriate place to conceptualize when beginning an Ambient composition.


Dalgety is bedded by a wave generating .csd I developed in the Summer of 2013.  The harmonic content comes from an acoustic guitar sampled performing improvised stacked 4th voicings.  These were processed using the Borderlands grainular instrument for iPad, elongating and scattering the voicings into clouds.  Crystaline textures which add a frostiness and edge are processed samples of glass shards dropped on a ceramic surface.


Arrangement processed in Logic 9

Metamorphic      -      6:56 / Drone


There is a technique for meditation where the mind's focus is directed at a single small object such as a pebble.  Similar traditions have spanned cultures and religions globally.  Human beings seems to have a tendency to collect small objects and trinkets for which they develop a sentimental attachment.  I personally have a carved jade pendant which I wear daily, a gift from my grandmother I have grown accustom to it’s weight and presence.
Abstract as the concept is to write a ‘sound object’ composition, I felt quite comfortable approaching it.  Growing up I owned a vast collection of rocks and fossils, many of which I knew the shape, size and weight of intimately.  These inanimate object develop character, personality and value given enough time and context.
I lived with my chosen pebble in my pocket for a couple of weeks before starting Metamorphic.  I’d forget about it at times but would examine it and play with it whenever I found it in my pocket again.
[Metamorphic - One of the three main rock types.  I have no idea if my pebble is in fact of metamorphic, sedimentary or igneous type.  A good friend of mine studied geology at university, a running joke when we are together; if I see a stone I will pick it up, hand it to her demanding an instant analysis as if it was of the utmost importance to our continued survival.  I remembered metamorphic being a rock time mentioned on one such occasion.]
The textures forming Metamorphic were generated using the Nebulæ sample player.  I recorded a couple of sessions improvising with various samples and used the resulting material to create sound to describe my stone.
Arrangement and farther processing done in Ableton Live 9

Poém      -      4:67 / Acousmatic


Poém was inspired following analysis of Poèm électroniqe by Edgard Varèse.  My Poém is, of course, is on a much smaller scale than Varèse's.  With much less experience in the genre, I followed a set of guidelines in my composition process to keep focus and to attempt to stay within the Acousmatic style as genuinely as possible.

I made sure to use only audio processing techniques that would likely have been available to Varèse.  Splicing, crossfading, pitch/speed manipulation comparable that of tape or vinyl.


My starting point was to generate sound bites or “sonimorphs” (an audio version of animorphs!).  I used only samples from the OLPC open source sound library.  After chopping/changing and experimenting, I settled on two ‘morphs which I liked most and used them exclusively as my source material.


Poém is divided in half, ‘morph A in the first half and ‘morph B, the second.  I played with each ‘morph, transient at a time and attempted to paint a picture elongating the ‘morphs as they morph.  My idea is that the listener witnesses the forming of this sound/entity as it changes and assembles it’s form.  The entire sonimorph then plays unaltered to close each section.  


I think of the form almost as a theme and variations but with the variations preceding the theme and concluded with the original source.


Arrangement was done in Ableton Live 9

Varmint      -      4:20 / MakeNoise Shared System

Varmint is my ‘creature’ assembled from the chaos of an experimentation session with the Make Noise Eurorack ‘Shared System’.
I set up, plugged in and just started making noise.  This was my first one-to-one session with the DPO oscillator which on its own is extremely powerful.  I used the René to control tones scattered by the Wogglebug.  
There is very little post production processing of the audio, some EQ and compression to balance slightly but much of what you hear are chops of the continuous recorded file.  I used the Echophon to mangle things as much as possible.  If I had had more time I would have focussed more on building a generative patch with the system and attempted to perform sections as a whole parts.  Unfortunately more time was not at hand when I was able to play with the system, so I got as much material as I could andused the best moments, arranging them into this varmint!
The raw source has since inspired and featured in other projects in development.  Some Make Noise modules are most definitely on my shopping list, They are extremely powerful and capable of all sort of madness.
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