Tuesday, 31 May 2011

My 'Track of the Week" Is You Is Or Is You Ain't My Baby (Performed by Tom or, maybe, Ira 'Buck' Woods)

Gone man, solid gone...

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 151

Chichester 31/05/11:

Monday, 30 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 150

Worthing  30/05/11:

Sunday, 29 May 2011

cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 149

Bognor Regis Pier 29/05/11:

Saturday, 28 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 148

Felpham 28/05/11:

Friday, 27 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 147

Chichester 27/05/11:

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 146

Tangmere 26/05/11:

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 145

Lagness 25/05/11:

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Musique Concrète The Outa_Spaceman Way: 102

Having listened to the first construction made from the Dyson Samples and, on examining the wave-form noticing there are 18 distinct sections, I chopped it up, loaded the results into the sample re-player in Reason and began to play about triggering them from a keyboard.

The samples still sounded to much like the original source for my taste so I set up this next system in the hope of further 'divorcing' them from their reality.
Feeding a vocoder, the samples are used to modulate a synthesised white noise/square wave carrier patch.
The results can be heard here:
I'm happy with that and the piece now joins the BigMetalTower collection as "The Mould Room of the BigMetalTower.

How do I know it's finished?
When I listen to the piece I can see the 'machines' in my mind's eye.
The trick now is to drag my box of Meccano out, build what I'm seeing and then film it.

This may take some time.

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 144

King George V Playing Field, Felpham:

Monday, 23 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 143

Hotham Park, Bognor Regis 23/05/11:

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 142 (Updated)

Ford Airfield (disused) 22/05/11:

This intervention is dedicated to Mr. Old Fool because he likes aeroplanes.

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Steam Engine Drive By.

I'm endlessly amazed at what can happen if I stand in one place for any length of time:

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 141

Barham Windmill 21/05/11:

Friday, 20 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 140

Felpham 20/05/11:

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 139

Bognor Regis 19/05/11:

More Ignorant Ornithology.

I think there maybe a Linnet (Carduelis cannabina) in this picture.

For further informations try here:
The Pavilion of Innocent Pastimes

Or here:

Hooting Yard

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: Update.

News arrives at O.S.M. C.R.I. H.Q. from Mr. Sal Fadhley.
He sends this picture:
This is CRI No 39 left at the site of Crossbones Graveyard during my visit to London in February.

It appears to be wearing quite well.

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 138

Lake Lane, Yapton 18/05/11:

Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 137

Bognor Regis 17/05/11:

Monday, 16 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 136

Shripney 16/05/11:

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 135

Bognor Regis Prom 15/05/11:

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Musique Concrète The Outa_Spaceman Way: 101

“An experimental method in music should mean to listen: above all, before, during, afterwards. Because the object is unusual, the challenge is to discover humanity and beauty in it ..."

“I was suddenly aware that the only mystery worthy of interest is concealed in the familiar trappings of triviality. And I noticed without surprise by recording the noise of things one could perceive beyond sounds, the daily metaphors that they suggest to us.” 

“The miracle of musique concrète (...) is that during experiments things begin to talk by themselves, as if they were bringing us messages from a world unknown to us. If I gather together fragments of noises, cries of animals, the modulated sound of machines, I myself also strive to articulate them like words of a language that I would practise without even understanding and without ever having learned it: I am deciphering hieroglyphics. Does the difficulty of this conversation arise from the fact that the person with whom I am speaking does not have the same faith as me in the secret correspondence between man and the world of which music is one of the keys?"

Pierre Schaeffer  (1910-1995)

When in conversation with 'conventional' musicians about electro-acoustic composition I aways get the feeling they assume that the final result is produced by accident or chance rather than design and will.
It's true there are accidental discoveries in the process I'm about to out-line but the same accidental discoveries happen when I'm writing for any other given instrument be it guitar, drum or keyboard.

The Equipment.

Sound Editor: DSP Quattro
Having tried most of the digital sound editors over the years I've settled on using the DSP Quattro .  
I've used it for several years now and, having RTFM several times, I find it very easy to get the results I want.
(pls. No comments along the lines of "have you tried Audacity? It's really good and it's free". Yes I have, no it isn't, you're a cheapskate.)

Studio Rack: Reason
My love of Reason stems from it's GUI. A representation of  the rack-mounted equipment I used to use in studios.
For the purpose of this posting I have stripped the rack down to the bare essentials:
Mixer, Reverb (First Room setting), NN19 Sample Re-player and Matrix sequencer:
Sound Capture: iPod Touch
I'm using the iPod Touch in this example for speed. Usually I'd set a microphone up and record direct into DSP Quattro to ensure that the source material is at the best quality I can get.

Sound Source: Dyson DC 05+
It's green & grey, it sucks:

Collecting the Source Material
I started the iPod Touch's audio recording app then began to set up the vacuum cleaner.
I pulled the power cable out from it's reel, plugged it into the mains, switched the mains socket on, uncoiled the hose, started the vacuum, held my hand over the end of the hose to change the motor pitch, then reversed the process and finally, stopped the iPod recording.
The whole process took around 3 minutes and I had 2 mins 46 secs of audio in the pod.

On transferring the audio from the iPod, into the computer and then opening it in DSP Quattro I had this wave form on the screen in front of me:
(Link to original source material: Dyson Original)
I then went through the sample looking for suitable sections to chop out and loop.
This is where the accidental aspect comes in.
I found the most interesting bits were in between the "main events". The little taps and clicks in the gaps.
After an initial scan through I had 15 loops in the can.

Constructing the Piece
I loaded the 15 samples into Reason's NN-19 sample re-player and began to test each ones relative pitch.
This is one of the fun bits.
Deciding what speed to replay the individual samples back at is critical.
(Higher playback speeds lift the pitch, slower speeds lower the pitch.)
I'm still amazed at what characteristics are revealed in the samples during this stage and spend proportionately more time on this than any other aspect of the process.
When, at last, I'm happy with all the sample's playback I begin making small 'global tweeks' that will effect the overall output of the samples.
In this case I reduced the overall filter frequency, added some very slow and gentle LFO sine wave modulation to the pitch oscillator and opened up the attack and release of the envelope shaper.  I also used the LFO control voltage to modulate the pan control of the mixer thus allowing the samples some spatial 'movement' throughout the piece.
I added some reverb at this stage using the 'First Room' setting. (Psycho-acoustics are something I'll deal with in another post.) 
Setting the sequence of events up is another enjoyably time consuming job.  It's easy just to hit the 'Randomise Sequence' button but I prefer to take the time to get what I want to come out of the speakers.
I set the sequencer up to run across 32 steps at half a bar per step then set the overall tempo to 30 bpm and began tinkering.

Here's a finished product:
 DysonMachine01 by Outa_Spaceman 

And just a final thought for all those cynical Johnnys who might suggest I couldn't do this sort of thing without a computer.
Well, yes I can.  
Just give me a couple of 1/4 inch reel-to-reel tape machines (Revox B77's preferred), a splicing block and a razor blade.

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 134

Littlehampton 14/05/11:

The BigMetalTower: Experiments In Soundscape Creation.

I've been working with digital sound samplers for many years now.
In the late seventies I'd begun to use a synthesiser as my main instrument (E.D.P. Wasp & Spider sequencer) and would have happily carried on but then I saw a Fairlight C.M.I. on Tomorrow's World and I knew then that sampling was the way things were going to go.
I also realised that it would be years before I could travel down that path as the Fairlight, at that time, cost twice as much as my house.

The first sampler I got my hands on was the software based Replay Professional that squeezed into my Atari ST520 (it's memory expanded to an enormous 2 megabytes) and I loved it.
I would spend hours chopping and looping sounds. Anything from speech to recordings of vacuum cleaners.
It's taken many years before I've found anything as easy to use as that system.

I recall a heated discussion from around that time.
A musician friend of mine was absolutely horrified by the concept of sampled sound arguing that it wasn't 'real' music (I hadn't suggested it was by the way but try explaining Musique concrète to a bass player).
He began playing a John Lee Hooker C.D. to demonstrate what 'real' music was.
I pointed out that we were, in fact, listening to a very long digital sample.
We didn't speak for some while afterwards.

Flash forward to now.
I have a large collection of sounds I've captured or found over the years but find the selection process for any given project frustrating.
Will this fit? Is this sound better than that one? Maybe this one?
Many sessions end with me walking away because I just can't make a decision.

While I've been organising my new facility I decided, that while I was finding places for things to live, it would be a good chance to review my sound collection  so I loaded as many samples as I could into Reason and hit run.

Out of the hours that the system has been running I've isolated five sections that I really like (short snippets of which I've used as soundtracks to the short film experiments I've been making).

I've uploaded them to SoundCloud and they can be heard here:
 BigMetalTower by Outa_Spaceman
Wandering around the deserted streets of Bognor Regis in the early hours of the morning with these tracks supplying the soundtrack I consider this experiment to be a success.

Although I enjoy playing ukuleles, guitars, keyboards and percussion instruments this type of sound manipulation is, and will always be, where my sonic heart lies.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 133

Morrison's Car Park, Bognor Regis 13/05/11:

(In view of the blogger 'outage' I'm moved to utter 'phew'.)

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Euthymol Toothpaste Packaging Experiment. (re-post)

After the calamity of Blogger's recent fall-over I find that I've 'lost' two posts in the wash.
I can't remember exactly what waffle I typed about this project so I'll just stick to the facts.

Taking one Euthymol (Original) Toothpaste cardboard carton, I carefully, taking care not to tear the cardboard, separated the side join then flattened the package out.
Using a scalpel, I removed all the product information and blurb. I then glued the flattened pack to a sheet of A4 paper and left it to dry.
(Some drying time was allowed...)
I trimmed the surplus paper away, reassembled the carton then mounted it on a cardboard plinth:
I constucted a small blue LED lamp and dropped it inside:
But, on the whole, I think I prefer a plain white lamp:
Now that's what I call re-cycling.

Cardboard Reality Interventions 2011: No. 132

Felpham 12/05/11: