Prophets, Farfisas, and Dvořák, Oh My!

Sometimes one just needs a fun go-to project, something beneficial personally, but not necessarily Earth-shattering. Something I have been wanting to do for awhile is to re-orchestrate some of my favorite symphonic passages into the fabulous virtual instrument sounds of classic synthesizers like Prophets, Farfisas, Mini Moogs, and even some B3 on the side. So with a little music tech fun, I have started with the gorgeous slow movement from the New World Symphony. So when I need a little sonic therapy, I enter into the swirling realm of Arturia Classic Virtual instruments and just bathe in the sound sculpturing process. There are several other selections that come to mind by Sibelius, Mahler, Adorno, Gesualdo, Bach…. the possibilities are endless and may lead to some moving image scoring examples for my showreel. 27 days until summer!

AudioMulch and NYCEMF 2017

Per aspera ad astra Interation III was accepted into this June’w NYCEMF at Abrams Arts Center in NYC, so I will be performing on tambin, balafon, and medium gong in an AudioMulch live processing environment. The first live performance realization for Per aspera…was during a Winter Residency “Electronic Music Showcase” five year ago.

A year or so and some processing changes later, I recorded a studio performance. In this third iteration, transducers have been added to the setup. I’ll explain this further in the next post – soon!

A December Dawn’s Stream of Musical Consciousness

That moment when you simply choose a CD to pop in your van on the way to dropping off your daughters for a bus trip to voice auditions for a New England Music Festival and the sounds you hear pierce your soul with a breathtaking ultra-deja vu-like experience, yet beyond that – an entity’s remembrance of a possible past, if not identically, then at least within a parallel time/space connection to something, someone you once could have been from a long life ago displaced eternally from now and concurrently still to be.
That sound connects you to a periphery of beauty, the early December sunrise reflections against the grayness of the year’s passing days, each note a moment, each breath a chance, each gasp a loss of moment, each silence – newness, each cadence, beginnings overcoming death.
Although this now moment will fade as the day will be overcome by schedules, chores, and duty (without regrets), a longing for an exorbitant time/space composing only for voices to be performed in a gothic cathedral, natural reverberations bleeding stunning dissonances, some to be resolved – many not – beauty in darkness and hope in light.

Spatializing the Studio

Summer is here accompanying a plethora of recording projects featuring the scoring of Jochen Kunstler‘s film, Get Your Shit Together, Zeus. As inspiration hits full force, it is critical to have the studio ready for plugging in the laptop and having at it. Balancing creative endeavors such as these along with the Little League All -Star Baseball season, cantoring lessons, yard work, fife and drum corps parades, laundry, mindfulness, cooking – even thinking about thinking about planning teaching for next September . . . – one gets the idea. When there’s a moment of motivation, whether succinct or substantial, that coincides with isolation, it must be conquered as productive. Thus, the can must be ready to collect explosions of ideas, whimsically or deliberately.

ThinkingGYSTZ Session

A process that has worked very well for me over the years begins with the placement of several microphones around the space at various angles and distances from the performance stool. The mics are of course all different and are tracked individually and in as many as 20 to 30 combinations of stereo or mono with EQ, verb, and other FX ready to automate via nobs and sliders within an arms reach. This flexible set up was developed during preparations for surround sound fixed media compositions like “consubstantial.” Eight mics recording the same sound from eight different angles and eight different settings on the DAW maximizes potential decision making during editing for moving the audio around the performance space. Even works that are eventually rendered for stereo benefit from the timbre modulations resulting from this marriage between instrument and technology.

In Session June 22, 2016

For these GYSTZ Sessions, I will be overdubbing myself as a virtual reed quartet of A Clarinet, Alto Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, and Bass Clarinet. I hear this one’semble as a fluctuation of sonorities from church organ to jazziness to cerebral departures from both and everything else. I will also have the percussion ready to pop in at any moment – djembes, balafon, hand drums, rattles, bells, dumbek, to name a few. No doubt, this score will utilize electronic sounds and virtual instruments created in Reason, Reaktor, Ableton, Cubase, Pro Tools, and Logic; but that bank of real instruments will form the foundation and the necessary earthliness I am hearing for this film. The psychology of Crystal, the lead character, demands a complex and developing theme interspersed with pre-recorded Gospel tracks sung by two gentlemen. There are definite dreamscape notions formulating in my mind that may call for two guest singers, young female voices as undulating echoes from these featured guttural Gospel men.

Tenor SaxAs I embark upon the work, I hear a vastness of music that just may well expand beyond the needs of this film and result in an entity of its own inspired by this cool collaboration born from the VCFA community.