muted tones

january 04

this entry is from january 04. click here for more information about the curator, and to hear the finished work.

Let me explain my pretentious title…

december 31st, 2003

Before I forget, I really want to thank Josh for asking me to contribute a piece to Muted Tones. I would not have produced this piece were it not for his invitation. Thanks Josh.

OK. I will now, as promised, explain the title. So dig it. The big long German word that I can’t even pronouce comes from Freud. It’s a big ole concept he has about memory. Basically, it goes like this: There’s no such thing as pure memory. Whatever is remembered is always colored by the experiences and events of the present. A memory is not a pure and accurate log of fact, but rather something of a collage. The event is remembered from greater and greater distance, through various lenses of experience and is, in fact, a dynamic thing…it’s always changing. Of course, in German you can just say “Nachtr√§glichkeit.”

I called it this because it occured to me that the composition of this piece is sort of like this. I began with a 10 minute improvisation, that is still very much a part of the final piece, but so many layers have been added, and so many revisions have shaped it that it is now but an echo if the original improvised piece.

Josh asked me to say a word about recording technique. Pretty much everything was mic’d with one of two Oktava large diaphragm condenser mics. I got ‘em on sale for a song. I ran the mics through an old Sprit Folio mixer to EQ them, and then sent that signal into the old Pro Tools MBox. The Casio MT-68, which appears in the penultimate section (the heroic decending acoustic part) went direct.

The bowed bass that appears in the first acoustic section is actually two bowed basses. I panned one extreme right and the other extreme left. Both were miced about 3 inches from the left-side f-hole with the mic fairly live. The same technique was applied to the bowed bass in the penultimate section, except there are three bass parts, rather than two.

My friend Marshall plans to create a video to accompany this piece, and we hope to have occasion to have a public viewing/listening.

I just realized that I bought my computer and MBox 1 year ago today. I spent last New Year’s Eve at home recording. I was awakened the next morning around 8:00 or so by the sound of sirens and diesel engines. When I looked out the window I realized the building attached to my apartment building was on fire. It seemed a bad omen for 2003, but the year turned out to be pretty good, on balance. Here’s hoping for a good 04.

Thanks for listening, and reading.


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