muted tones

november 06

this entry is from november 06. click here for more information about the curator, and to hear the finished work if it's available.

cultivating peacefulness

december 04th, 2006

As I said below, I wasn’t able to put a lot of forethought into this piece, but of course there is a personal and social musical and aesthetic history that informs the work: Steve Reich, Lou Harrison, Yo La Tengo, Califone, Brian Eno, Ned Rifle, the Dirty Three, Augustus Pablo, the Stars of the Lid, Robert Hass’ haiku translations, a desire to cultivate a quiet thoughtfulness in my work, Mark Rothko. And of course there is circumstance; having to work with very limited time and means.

This was a good and hard weekend. I had many dear people I desperately wanted to spend time with and another recording obligation that had to be fulfilled. This meant I had to work on my Tones piece in the pockets, five or six hours after work on Friday until a late visit with WJ. Saturday morning before a field trip with MT and TP and then nice long eight hours Saturday day/evening before meeting good cats out. Sunday was all squeezed, before recording the Notes and Scratches choir stuff, and then a good five hours between then and visits with JW and WJ, returning home around 2am to put the final touches on the piece until 4:30am.

This process and the limits of my technology meant that I couldn’t abandon or revise anything. ProTools free can only run 8 tracks at once, meaning I had to record six tracks, then mix/bounce them to the two open tracks, I did that four times finishing with four stereo tracks I then mixed together to make the final work. Once bounced I couldn’t go back and change those sections, meaning the whole piece is a kind of rescue mission; hastily figuring out to add to or unpack the ideas past-recorded to give the thing a structure and arc.

I think Rothko is particularly important for me, for this piece. The thing that I love about his work is that you can live in it. Standing in front of one of his giant canvases, the paint can surround you, you can enter that colorful quietness and ‘be’ inside it. This music aspires to that. That with headphones on in the eveningtime, a patient listener might, for a moment, inhabit an other-place inside song; that this could be your home on the river where you might revise the stories you’re making, and aspire to kinder, less terrible endings.

Or you might be bored stiff!


1 2 3 4 5