I don't listen to this kind of exploratory music, and the
varieties/genres mentioned are largely foreign to my experience, but I
did have an ARP Odyssey once that was the source of much amusement and
delight. I'd set up a sample-and-hold and mess with the LFO and
envelope modulation, and then grab my guitar or keyboard, jamming
along...and, yes you'd have enjoyed both the music I made and some of
what I was smoking.
Anyway, there is definite coolness in this stuff, both pieces.
It strikes me that what makes this music and not noise is the harmonic
and rhythmic structure, however tenuous and demanding. One of the
things I'm hearing, and I'll address this more to Patrick's piece, is a
sense of shifting patterns. It's like my explorations on hand drums
where I'll start out a rhythm, and as I get lost in it, experience a
drift in its structure where accents and groupings shift, almost in a
tromp l'oeil fashion. Foreground flips with background, lights become
darks, repetition alternates between hands, patterns invert, etc.
I'm hearing the same thing happening here, and if you either concentrate
or abandon all concentration you will hear micro and macro structures
emerge from this music. Another example, or even metaphor if you will,
is the stroboscopic phenomenon involved in rotating objects where the
velocity and direction of movement appear to change as you watch.
So, Patrick, a suggestion as to what you might do with Ascension, is
take any of a number of filters, and looking at the patterns suggested
by the waveforms, draw envelope automation lines to emphasize and
enhance them. You can do this with multiple tracks and effects, which
would draw out of this work its inherent structure as well as maximizing
this "tromp l'oreille" experience.
You could do this with modulation effects such as phasing and flanging,
EQ changes, amplitude and panning, compression, etc. After layering on
several patterns, you might have something of real complexity and
interest. The interplay could be hypnotic. It should also be practical
to do this even with an hour-long piece by simply following the
frequency and amplitude changes in the wave form.
Of course, if you've got the time and motivation, you could also listen
carefully, and work your editing with intention in sync with the actual
voice of the piece.
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