Track By Track: Yourself Open

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Track By Track: Yourself Open

This song came from a friend lending me his electric guitar and me not knowing anything about playing guitar at the time. I recorded myself plucking and striking the instrument, and did a lot of sampling of individual sounds to a keyboard setup. I then programmed these guitar melodies like I would a softsynth. I ended up with a one or two minute beat. Once I moved to Montreal, I brought Astrolope into the mix and had him restructure the song with me. It became a six-minute strange instrumental, with a decent portion of it in 5/4 time. Izzy came over and we hashed out lyrics and recorded the vocals in a night.
This song was a real problem tune for me as the album started to take more of a form. It was too long, it wandered a lot and didn’t really have a payoff. I took some time away, about 6 months to a year.

On a plane to Mexico in 2014, I figured out the new structure. I wanted to cut the crap and make it more direct and give it a tangible climax. This became the version that can be heard on the record; something simple and to the point.

Listen to Yourself Open: http://bit.ly/1U2DV0A

Next up, Masks.

Track By Track: Yourself Open

The First Snowfall In October (Prose)

I’ve started to write a piece of fictional prose, which isn’t something I’ve done in years. I’m trying to take a Hemingway-esque approach, in keeping my descriptions and adjective-use relatively minimal. Here’s my first draft:

David rolled over in his sleep. The moon was out and blue light speckled the forest floor.
I heard a snap and looked past the firepit to the cage across camp, obscured by the gloom; something rustled inside. My eyes fell on Capri, asleep by the coals, rifle rising and falling with his chest.
I quietly woke David, motioned to leave and as silently as we could, we rolled our bedding. I crept over to Capri who was still sound asleep with his arms loosely cradling the rifle. I gently peeled the weapon away from his body and out of his arms. He muttered something about the price of gold.

David and I walked for about four hours in what we assumed was a westward direction, and came to rest in a pine-addled hollow as the sun rose. The air was brisk with autumn and the sunrise peeking through the trees was tinged red. We ate some grits that we stole, and tucked ourselves into a space in the roots of a tree, making beds of pine needles.

David never spoke much, so our conversation was short and mostly about the weather, his face never changing beyond grim and stoic. I looked up from our hiding space to see a lone oak sapling with a few frost-coated leaves, still stubbornly clinging to the stem this late in October. I fell asleep.

***

I must have been dreaming for two hours when I awoke. Snow was falling sparsely; something was wrong. I heard the soft thudding of footsteps nearby and stayed my breathing in a sudden rush of terror. The sound of something heavy nearby- a snarl tore through the hollow. My heart beat deafeningly as the footsteps came to a halt directly above our hiding space. From here, I could smell it, rank as death.

Capri called from the creature’s back, “You boys have really done yourselves in! Not the first time I’ve caught up to runaways.” At this point, I was afraid my heartbeat was audible to the whole forest. I couldn’t see David and I was afraid to make a sound by turning my head to look for him.

Suddenly, Capri was right there peering through the roots at me. “You look lost, Ari. Where’s David?”

I didn’t say anything, only stared into his watery grey eyes. His nose dripped and he inhaled it back in with a snort. He was a disgusting man.

“Have it your way, I’ll find him.” And then he dragged me out by the throat with a grip that surprised me in its strength, especially for a wiry senior. He slugged me down to the base of the hollow and put his foot on my chest. “I’ll take that,” he said as he reached for the rifle- still hanging from my side. I swung my foot up into his face, caught his nose and broke it.  I rolled over in a frenzy, trying to take the weapon in my hands and get a shot off. I felt a dull, hot pain in my leg and lost all orientation of my surroundings, dropping the rifle. The beast had bitten and was dragging and swinging me like a rag-doll. I felt something snap and blacked out.

As of this point in time, I don’t think I really know who the narrator is, or David for that matter. Something to flesh out.

PS: This story idea came from a song of the same title that I wrote back in October.

Cheers!
-Alex

The First Snowfall In October (Prose)

Weight, Structure and Electroacoustic Music

Bad Line Tumult
Bad Line Tumult Artwork.

Hello all.
Today I’ve put out my latest collection of works for my Dóttirhjarta project.
It is an album containing various works made for my electroacoustic studies. If you like the stranger sides of electronic music, this may be for you.

Most of the songs explore weight and its relationship to structure.
For example, I wrote Growth Talk as an exploration of fungi and the formation of neural networks in large populations of such. The opening song Containers uses data from natural disasters around the world over the past 30 years to inform its structure. Repercussions is about the chaotic ripple effect of events over time.

There are many different styles of sound play at work on the record. I tended to focus a lot on an acousmatic approach, but on the flip-side songs like Growth Talk and Sundering use analog synthesis for 90% of their composition. Repercussions was sourced entirely from a virtual synthesizer I built in Max MSP.

Included is a live recording of a song called Seventwenty, written and performed with Matthew Murphy of Look Vibrant and Kevin Cogen of CJ Austin.

The album is free, or you can pay what you want for it. Bonus track comes with a download of the whole album.

Love and Warmth,
-Alex

Weight, Structure and Electroacoustic Music

[Poem] Swell

Two-Hundred and Fifty-Four
A number used
often forgotten
How long does it take to stem
the stream asks
the Clocksmith
Burst-apart story of the
being you depend
on your wrist,
on your knees.

Girl, I wish I knew you.
Boy, I wish I knew you.

Your pixelated
Face
fractures our dreams.
Road wanderers
Explorers of orange light
feeding on cheap food
and diluted caffeine after
cheap booze and
diluted conversation.

Cold winter birds,
too loud to hear you overhead
perhaps this dictates day.
perhaps this means going home.
Clocksmith,
dictator at flesh-level.
The nightly nomads
Cold winter birds
Fourth-hour-bends
A kneed arousal.

Visceral sound; wind
Swollen needs
Narrowed eyebrows, no smile.
Breath so hot I can taste it.

Rising chest
Swell
Pulse
Feel

Two-Hundred and Fifty-Four times a minute.

[Poem] Swell

[Poem] Pressure Loss

two tired faces
speaking through stones
their afflictions
with lust for the other
pouring through
their eyes.

stopped in the half-step
by geography
frames dropped
a gasp of pressure loss
a destroyed header
faceless footer at distance.

interruption

lime lifeforms
making it mechanical
click clack
drain away, might feel better
when you’re done.

[Poem] Pressure Loss

Survey Results [Anonymous]

Thanks to everyone who filled out my survey on microtonal perception. Here are the results, sans analysis.

MICROTONAL PERCEPTION SURVEY

RESULTS

CONTROL (What Really Happens):

  1. Pitch [00:10]
  2. Amplitude [1:08]
  3. Panning [2:20]
  4. Low Pass Filter [3:15]
  5. High Pass Filter [4:30]

RESULTS: TIME DETECTION

Survey # Sound 1 Pitch Sound 2 Amplitude Sound 3 Panning Sound 4 Low Pass Sound 5 High Pass
1 0:11 1:21 2:14 3:27 4:31
2 0:15 1:12 2:19 3:30 4:20
3 0:20 X 2:40 3:40 4:40
4 0:12 1:15 2:22 3:28 4:37
5 0:23 X 2:40 3:25 4:31
6 1:04 2:08 3:13 3:28 4:06
7 0:23 1:30 3:30 3:50 4:50
8 0:30 1:40 2:30 3:44 4:50
9 0:20 1:20 2:20 3:25 4:33
10 X 1:15 2:24 3:32 4:34
11 0:16 1:29 X 3:52 4:49
12 0:57 1:25 2:10 4:06 4:49
13 0:18 1:11 2:32 3:23 4:45
14 0:15 1:28 2:51 3:48 4:48
15 0:20 1:19 X 3:52 4:50
16 0:18 1:14 2:19 X X
17 0:15 1:36 2:38 3:43 4:54
18 0:22 1:19 2:50 3:35 4:37
19 0:04 1:08 2:22 3:18 4:20
20 0:12 1:22 2:34 3:29 4:41

AVERAGE TIME OF DETECTION

Sound 1 Pitch Sound 2 Amplitude Sound 3 Panning Sound 4 Low Pass Sound 5 High Pass
Average 0:23 1:26 2.:26 3:38 4:38

Overall Average Detection Time Window: 0:13

X= Detected no change

RESULTS: TYPE OF CHANGE DETECTION

Survey # Sound 1 Pitch Sound 2 Amplitude Sound 3 Panning Sound 4 Low Pass Sound 5 High Pass
1 Correct Correct Correct Correct Correct
2 Correct Incorrect Incorrect Correct Incorrect
3 Correct Incorrect Correct Correct Correct
4 Correct Incorrect Correct Correct Correct
5 Correct Incorrect Correct Correct Correct
6 Correct Incorrect Correct Correct Incorrect
7 Correct Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect Correct
8 Correct Incorrect Correct Correct Incorrect
9 Correct Correct Correct Correct Correct
10 Incorrect Correct Correct Correct Correct
11 Correct Correct Incorrect Correct Correct
12 Correct Correct Correct Correct Correct
13 Correct Correct Correct Correct Correct
14 Correct Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect
15 Correct Correct Incorrect Correct Correct
16 Correct Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect
17 Correct Correct Correct Correct Correct
18 Correct Incorrect Incorrect Correct Incorrect
19 Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect Incorrect
20 Correct Correct Correct Correct Correct

AVERAGE CORRECT CHANGE DETECTION

Sound 1 – Pitch Sound 2 – Amplitude Sound 3 – Panning Sound 4 – Low Pass Sound 5 – High Pass
Average 90% 45% 60% 80% 65%

 

Survey Results [Anonymous]