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April 25, 2008 - April 2008 Archives




Progress of phase 2

As a reminder: phase 2 is the stage where I will be creating the stereo composition.
Currently I have a sketch of 25 minutes, that I'm quite happy with.

I feel the need for a recapitulation. So here it is.

I think there are three aspects of a composition: concept, material and working method. For Vreemdeling they are as follows:


  1. Concept: Coincidence, chance, rational thought, concepts (and how are they reflected in the piece). How much of the creation of a composition is concious thought, and how much is just intuition? Is it worth working on a piece for weeks, analysing it, making minor changes, or is the first version just as good as the last?
    This is simultaniously the research topic: how does one go about creating a structured piece of electronic music?
  2. Material: samples of the film Bladerunner
  3. Working method: using the family tree concept: starting with 27 samples, defining 9 processes (6 in LiSa, 2 in Adobe Audition, 1 analog process) and applying these processes iteratively to the samples, building a family tree with 3 generations

I'd like to talk about the working method a bit more, chopping it up in a couple of subphases.

Phase 2A: selection
I consider the enormous amount of samples that were generated (about 500) in groups numbered 1 - 27 (all the decendents of sample 1 are in the first group, all decendents of sample 2 are in the second group, etc). I went through the samples group by group, made a rough selection. This selection process is of course very intuitive.

Phase 2B: subcompositions
Then I started to make a subcomposition per group - making sure not to mix samples from different groups. In that process I just put all samples from one group on a pile, I did not keep them in the order of the tree. This is where I left the rationality path and started to work more intuitively - moving blocks of sound around, taking some chances here and there, being helped by chance. While working on these subcompositions I discarded some more samples, and also discarded 3 whole groups. This gave me 24 subcompositions, in length ranging from 1 to 7 minutes.

Phase 2C: cutting down to 25 minutes
Then I loaded these 24 subcompositions into Nuendo, and lined them up in order of the group number. That way the composition follows the linear progress of Bladerunner, where the start of the composition uses the opening titles, and the end of the composition uses sounds from the last scene. This gave me a composition that was about 1 hour.... Since I'm aiming at a composition of about 20 minutes, I discarded 9 subcompositions. Also I went back to some of the subcompositions and made them shorter. Again, a very intuitive process. So now I'm down to 25 minutes, and I'm quite happy with the whole thing.

This Sunday I will present a part of it at LOOS in The Hague. I'm planning on asking the audience two questions right after the piece, and before I'm saying anything about it (they might read this blog, but I'm taking that chance ;):
* Structure: does it feel like one piece of music with some kind of concept or idea behind it, or multiple short sections without much connection?
* Material: do you find coherence in the material? Or is it too fragmentated? Maybe too similar?

Furthermore I'm working on another version of the material, only consisting of the more ambient sounds - I feel the need to give that material a bit more space too.