Shorts #36: CCR76 (1969 / 2015)
A realisation of Nature Study Notes CCR76 by Cornelius Cardew, commissioned by Stefan Szczelkun.
Nature Study Notes is a collection of 152 different rites, or short text ‘scores’, used by the Scratch Orchestra as a spring board for improvisation. CCR76’s text says, ‘It’s not music. It’s my heart beating.’
For this, piece, I started with the most obvious cue. I downloaded a sample of a heartbeat from Freesound and recorded my coffee grinder, which I felt alluded to a rapid heart rate. Both of these sounds appear with no modification, but the heartbeat sound is also used for amplitude modulation and ring modulation of a FM sweep I coded in SuperCollider. The piece was assembled in Ardour.
This piece was used in the Scratch Orchestra Nature Study Notes performance at Cafe Oto in London on 22 February, 2015. As Stefan only had one speaker, the piece is in mono.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:01 — 1.4MB)
Live at the Hundred Years Gallery (2015)
This is a live set I played at the Hundred Years Gallery in Hoxton, London in February. Originally, it was going to be a 2 hours set broadcast live on the radio, but this is what it became. This was live-patched, using my MOTM analogue modular synthesiser.
Live patching is a way of performing live, where I go on with a bunch of patch cables around my neck and nothing plugged into the synth. I get sounds going as quick as I can and then change them over the course of performing. For this particular performance, I started with FM chaos. This is good, because it gives a lot of potential variety, however, if I had actually been on for the entire two hours, it would not be all that well-suited to slowly evolving drones.
All the sound here is analogue, but the panning and recording is handled by a program running in SuperCollider.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 19:45 — 27.1MB)
Shorts #35: Radioactive Wellness (2014)
Commissioned and titled by Chrissie Caulfield.
Chrissie asked me to write something with a radiation theme for her friend, who is having radiotherapy for cancer. I looked into getting a geiger counter, and even found who might lend me one, when I realised I would need a radioactive element in my studio. Also, as I was thinking of what to do with the clicks, I realised I wanted to use them for triggers, so I would need a geiger counter with a line out and everything seemed to be getting overly complex. In the end, I realised chaotic or stochastic noise would sound the same as the effect I wanted, which much less of a chance of accidentally gaining super powers (that’s what happens when you mishandle a radioactive element in your studio / workshop, right?).
In the end, I made this with my MOTM modular synthesiser. The final recipient was reportedly very happy with it.
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:04 — 1.5MB)