Mark Knecht wrote:
Sure, I'll unveil the mystery. :)
I usually begin my work with a more or less complete vision of the
effect I'm after. In this case I wanted to make a long piece, relatively
calm on its surface but with interesting and surprising internal
activity. I knew what sort of "character" I wanted it to have, and I had
a definite idea about a starting-point.
My first plan was to record the first 8 measures of John Dowland's
Lachrimae Antiquae with my guitar and then use that recording as source
material for a series of permutations in Csound/AVSynthesis. No problems
there, except the result was not what I wanted. The recording was fine,
it just didn't fit in with my plan.
Last Sunday I spent a chunk of the day listening to classics of
tape/electronic/computer music. While rummaging through my collection I
found a recording of the Dowland piece by the Kronos Quartet. I loved
the sound of their tuning - I think it's in just intonation - and
realized that their performance included characteristics I desired in
the source material. So sound source #1 comes from the first 8 bars of
the piece as played by the Kronos band. Source #2 is simply #1 in
reverse. I used Rubberband to time-stretch those two sources to 300
seconds each. Btw, they're very beautiful just "as-is" after the stretch.
Sound source #3 is a piece by Harold Budd (First Light) played in
reverse, with no time-stretch or other alteration.
Once I had my sound sources prepared they were ready for setting into
AVSynthesis. AVS is the Special Sauce here at Studio Dave, it does the
heavy lifting for mixing and signal processing. Frankly, the settings I
use in AVS are too complicated to go into here, so I'll just say that
the parameters for the waveguide filter and global reverb are under
constant modulation. The arrangement of modulation is extensive and not
haphazard, and there are numerous planned relationships between the
tracks. Sorry, it's hard to explain, though easy enough to do.
The piece is in three sections. The first two are 5 minutes long, the
third - a brief coda - lasts a little more than 30 seconds. The mix is
rather complex and took the greatest amount of time to get it where I
It all sounds simple enough, and in some respects it is very simple. In
others, not so simple. The piece is experimental in some parts of its
design (modulation), rigidly deterministic in others (mixture and
The tricks are in the mix. :)
I hope that explains at least a little bit about how I sometimes work
with AVS. Other works are more deterministic and concern themselves with
detail at the note level, others - like this piece - have a broader concern.
HTH, but I don't like talking about music, so I've probably explained my
processes badly. Well, I tried. ;)
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