I have been recently working on a Supercollider patch that divides up a sound into equal parts to then be rearranged. Finally I managed to get it working closer to how I want it.
What I enjoy most about this method of working, is that it deals with both the sound editing and sequencing all in one, as apposed to two seperate events.
Using lower bass sounds, louder clicks can be produced, which in turn not only create temporal punctuations helping inforce how a pattern is perceived, but can also be used to trigger other events elsewhere due to the nature of that click being so extreme.
Equally wider stereo sounds, especially those whose stereo movement is already eveident within the sound, can be used to position sounds spatially in any pattern, perhaps giving other sounds space, or even used to create more interesting patterns of its own.
Another aspect of this approach I like is the way it works with the studio. Typically I would either try to recreate the studio in a laptop both for allowing me to sketch ideas or work elsewhere, but also to push how I might use the studio, borrowing ideas from each. This approach of dividing sound into parts, allows me to utilise any sounds, tracks or sections previously recorded from the studio, and basically loading them into the Supercollider patch and reconfigure it. All the sound of the studio is present, but with the structuring of the computer. It creates complexities in different areas, always sounds exciting, and is a reasonably fast way of working which I always really appreciate.
When I have spoke with other artists, often they relish spending hours in the studio on tracks, aiming for perfection, and often presumed this to be how I work. I don’t. I really can’t deal with hearing the same track over and over again while working on it, unless there really isn’t much to hear, in which case I can either more easily switch off or allow it in. There is no stress involed as it’s just something simple on repeat, that either works or doesn’t, and so is more easily thrown away. I typically get attached after the fact, when the track is done.
Typically I will switch between one idea and another very quickly, or will create a simple sketch to understand how the sounds behave before settling on something. Often this needs to happen multiple times before something I can get excited about begins to emerge, and at that point getting it finished quickly is key, otherwise it will change and be lost.
One way to ensure things don’t get lost that often, is to record almost everything at every key stage. To help deal with identifying what that stage sounds like, I have since even considered how to think about the record. I used to panic and think of a record as this serious thing, an epic work, a presentation of many skills, pushing everything to the limit and put out into the public. However, I don’t feel it works quite that way anymore, and so today think of it more as a record of where you are at that moment in time, a documentation.
The idea of the record can obviously extend to the public domain, but ultimately the bridge from private record and public record is pretty seamless. Essentially they are both records, just excisting in different contexts.
For me, it is the process of creating a record that stands far above the final result, and it’s that selection of a final result for public, that is more abstracted from the studio and curatorial. This blog obviously serves as a nice intersection between the two.
As always, it is how we choose to think about and use technology, that really opens things up creatively, freeing us from whatever constraints we have placed upon ourselves.