Saturday, 14 May 2011

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.