"Coda (Air Is Human)"
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Track count: 11 tracks
Instrumentation: Air, Bloom, Korg Radias, Piano, Plinky synth, field recording of ocean, SFX Machine Pro, Peak Pro, Granular Synthesis, reverbs, etc.
I started this last song in my series by playing the iPod apps "Bloom" and "Air" on my iPod while I sat in the sauna at the gym after a long workout. These apps are generative music making programs that are similar in flavor, tone and design. The "Air" app has an interface of colored sections, which plays interlocking piano and voice phrases triggered by touch, and "Bloom" does something similar with plinky piano notes you trigger by touching the screen, as the notes repeat and die out. Each app allows you to set a few parameters, but you are dealing with largely pre-composed material. Brian Eno was involved in the making of "Bloom," and has said in interviews that he likes the idea of people using it in their own music. The makers of "Air" based their concepts on Eno's work.
I recorded some phrases generated with Air and Bloom. I then took 7 of these phrases into Peak and digitally manipulated each one - some I sped up, some I slowed down, some I reversed, added huge reverbs to and reversed again, some I ran through granular synthesis algorithms, and lots of other pitch, echo, time and speed processes.
I then took these altered phrases into Live, and, using Live like a big graphic sampler, created a song using these 7 phrases and playing some synthesizer parts along with it. Then I took a mixdown of that song and used that as a new raw material base. I did some crazy stuff to it - taking the whole 5 minute song and stretching it to 4 times the original length, pitching it down an octave, compressing it to the length of a single note. I generated a whole new set of music phrases and sections in this way.
Then I made a new Live session, recorded some piano based on the tonality of the material, and began layering in the pieces I'd made, adding piano as I went. I added a field recording of the ocean that I made in Kauai.
The feeling of the song is reflective and peaceful. I spent New Years Eve and Day at the coast with Robyn, and we had an amazing New Years Day walking on the beach and not doing or saying much of anything. I love that feeling. I am trying for it here.
I'd like to thank everyone who's listening to my songs, and all who have been so encouraging as I work on this project. And I hope it's inspired some of you to try your own version of this - I know my friend Kathleen is embarking on something similar with her visual art in 2012, and I couldn't be happier.
Thanks for listening, and happy 2012!