Evolution…

Its just a song (nice verb inside the ice!) & a few squillion bucks worth of CG…..
ah advertising its so easy!

Evolution indeed…. in fact related directly to advertising, check this site

And of course theres this old chestnut:

“So, let me ask a question in order to give the illusion that I actually give a sh+t……

IMHO no matter how much they compress & limit the crap out of the soundtracks to ads,
they are always silent in my house…. cos my remote has a MUTE button!

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Structural Electronics


I cite this artist, Peter Vogel, if for no other reason than
I would love to own an analogue synth created by him!

I ask you, is this not beauty?
In form & (one hopes) function?

Maybe?

Its like those people who rebuild synths into transparent cases,
except forget the case… & while you are at it, why not pursue
minimalism to its ultimate endpoint: diddly squat!

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Sparse & moody?

God bless MetaFilter – whoever ignited that flame deserves reward! And every time I ask google for some random, weirdly specific search term sure enough MeFi turns up in the first few results pages… as per ““Recommend me some sparse moody instrumental music…..”

Sparse & moody being two of my favourite descriptive musical terms, in fact ditto instrumental as I tend to equate the human voice (& lyrics) to short term/disposable…. & the sparse bit is especially appealing, somehow that word doesnt have the associative ‘cold’ connotations that ‘minimalist’ does…

And so, thanks to technology, I am off tracking down things I have never heard before & FWIW none of these are my comments, but please comment if you’ve heard any of them:

- Arvo Part, Fratres
- Labradford “especially their more recent stuff”
- Gastr Del Soul’s The Serpentine Similar
- Delius? Songs of Sunset (“is pretty melancholy, but it’s also a bit lush, not sparse”)
- The Graceful Ghost by William Bolcom
- Robin Guthrie – Imperial
- Cocteau Twins/Harold Budd – The Moon and the Melodies
- I’m amazed noone has mentioned Dirty Three yet. They make beautifully sad music with violin, guitar, and drums.
- Moonlight Sonata sound exactly what you want. Beethoven, growing increasingly deaf, dedicated this to his lost love, Giulietta Guicciardi.
- John Cage – in a landscape.
- I strongly recommend the music of Roger Eno (yep, Brian’s brother). “Voices” is a lovely, melancholy album
- If you like a jazz sound, seek out The Ground by the Tord Gustavson Trio. This album is like listening to the sound of a warm sigh on frosted glass.
- Terry Riley – In C
- Talkdemonic
- lots of La Monte Young stuff might fit what you’re after – The Volga Delta is a piece which consists solely of a bowed gong, while Raga For Ravi is a traditional Indian raga, minimalist and utterly captivating.
- The Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov’s work can be exquisitely sparse and moody, for example the ‘Postludium’ pieces on the CD Leggiero, Pesante and Kitsch-Musik on Alexei Lubimov’s Pourquoi je suis si sentimental disc.
- I’ll take the recommendations for the Dirty Three a step further and say that their guitarist, Mick Turner’s solo work fits this bill precisely. Track 4 on Seven Angels is one of the most melancholic instrumental tracks I’ve ever heard. Turner’s got 2 or 3 full-lengths and the aforementioned tour EP. He also works as the Tren Brothers and the Marquis de Tren (with Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy, of all people, who contributes his awful voice to their recordings).
- Bach’s Cello Suite no.2 in D minor
- Arvo Pärt albums Alina and Tabula Rasa
- the Clogs’ Thom’s Night Out

And relatedly I am very happy to hear Max Richters new album nears release – you can audition (& preorder) here

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My (very) Occasional Remixes

Remixes are interesting territory: at best they motivate entirely new music; at worst they genericize an otherwise interesting track into 4/4 dancefloor fodder – some of those verve remixes make me shudder & I can imagine the original artist turning in their grave, cursing the fact they never specified in their will that remixes are ok, but just not with that 4 on the floor beat! Anyway a few weeks ago I finished the third remix I have ever done. The first was a decade or more ago, back when I was obsessed with breakbeats/drum&bass. I was commissioned to ‘do what I like’ with a short piano piece that was the coda of an album of pop songs by a NZ band called the Strawpeople.. It was kinda fun, I made some new music & I got paid – what more can you ask for?

Second remix was an entirely different kettle of fish. Each year APRA, the NZ music royalty collection company have an awards ceremony which involves the most excellent idea of artists performing interpretations of the finalists songs, and so I was asked to help interpret the finalist (& as it turned out winner) of the classical category; a piano concerto by renowned nz composer John Psathas. My role was to create ambient manipulations of the piano concerto & then perform it live with a small classical ensemble (strings, percussion & piano) and despite my initial panic attacks it was a fantastic experience. The conductor wrote fermatas into the score so he basically paused/held/sustained the little orchestra & we crossed into my ambient tones & once he felt it appropriate he would un-pause the orchestra & I would fade out…. There were three fermatas in the new score and I am pretty sure my pounding heartbeat drowned out the percussionist every time, but it was a real buzz – the composer thanked me afterwards, as did the pianist which was humbling as both are artists with a musical depth & sensitivity that I can only ever dream of possessing…. But the best praise came from the audience – as I discovered afterwards most of the audience are from the ‘contemporary’ music industry ie pop/rock bands etc who get drunk & generally have a good time but also usually ignore/talk right through the interpretations of the classical finalists… and yet you could have heard a pin drop during our little excerpt…

And my third remix was released today. I love the music of the original artist Sawako but this remix was not of her music. It was an entirely open brief of remixing field recordings she made while on tour over summer. You can download & listen to the collection of source material here and I only became aware of the opportunity when Volume One of remixes was released here…. so when Volume Two was announced I figured I’d have a play…. & in an evening generated this: (click image for full size image)

So feel free to go check out Various Artists – Sawako Summer Tour Remix Volume 2 on the excellent anticipate record label, its a free CC licensed download….
For my track I used GRM Freeze on a number of ambiences & then created a slight vocal progression via manipulating a vocal sample from a recording of one Sawakos rehearsals…. but then I couldn’t help myself & added a metronomic bassline, but because theres no other rhythm I enjoy the fact you cant tell what time signature the music is in… its just cyclic!

& yes, I’ve actually started remix #4, for the talented NZ composer Victoria Kelly…. I have collaborated with her on a few films now (The Locals, Fracture, Black Sheep and next year Under The Mountain) but those collaborations have been cinematic score (her) vs sound design (me) whereas this remix is purely music & such fun!

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The McGurk Effect

I know, it sounds like it should be related to the MacGuffin, but it isnt… Whether they know the name or not, the McGurk Effect is very well known to most ADR Editors eg when a director wants to change an onscreen line & tries to put different words in the mouth of an actor… No matter how well performed & edited the new line is, your brain just doesnt accept it as true/real/honest, and that is dangerous territory to be in for any film maker as it can abruptly destroy suspension of disbelief, or even worse just slowly undermine it…. As a very simple example watch this video & take particular note of what the actor is saying:


direct youtube link for iphone/ipod touch

Ok now play the clip again, but shut your eyes & listen with your ears only… See?

The McGurk Effect also explains why I would much rather read subtitles on a film than have it dubbed into english – no matter how good the sync is!

Thanks to Carl for the link!

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