I recall starting this work to get back to my original objective: making a sound effects bed to use on my podcast. I was undaunted on that objective by my initial failing. Rather, I just felt that I needed to make some different choices as I worked on manipulating the sounds. I realized after a while that there were things that I obviously didn’t understand and that this was going to be another ambient drone piece. This didn’t really bother me, after all, I had enjoyed the process of creating the first piece, so the second one shouldn’t be any different.
What did bother me, however, was that I wasn’t getting the sound that I wanted. There was something that was missing from it, and that was when I decided to go to bed. Only to lay in bed thinking about it, until I had an idea of some things that I would try on Sunday. Those things I tried (downloading some gong samples and messing around with them) are what finally brought the piece together.
Experiment 1a was the first attempt at creating a new work. I believe at the time I decided that it didn’t sound different enough from FTMQ, so I scrapped it and went back to the drawing board. I’m honestly surprised I kept this early version around. One of the things that I notice is that there is quite a bit of sibilance. That was one of the things that I was struggling with early, and didn’t quite understand how to work with, and it shows throughout these works.
Experiment 2 is a very different sort of sound from the first couple of experiments. It’s a lot softer than the others, and while there is still sibilance, it doesn’t have the same grating quality as it had in the previous experiments. What is interesting about this drone is that it is quite smooth compared to others. It’s more like a gentle rolling than being like riding a wave. This was the drone that gave me the “machine” concept. There are quite a few more metallic soft-machine like sounds in this drone.
Experiment 3 is where I changed things up again, selecting a string piece that I manipulated into a long drone. It’s fairly obvious to tell that it is strings, I didn’t try to remove that quality from the work, instead I embraced it as an element that I wanted in the piece.
Experiment 4 was the final part of the composition. This was the part that I worked on Sunday – it’s some type of cymbal or gong that’s been extremely manipulated in several ways and layered and re-pitched and filtered. I recall this part of the composition taking most of the day Sunday. I knew that once I had some sounds and starting working with them I was moving in the right direction, but it took a long time to get them manipulated to produce the sound I wanted, and then it took a long time to arrange the sounds into layers to provide the effect I wanted.
And that’s it — four layers, with a fifth layer that I threw out during the process. I know there was a lot more that went into the piece (like all the samples and chopping and arranging and processing), but I don’t recall it now. It was a rather strange weekend honestly, it was like I became obsessed with the ideas that I didn’t realize were in my mind. They just suddenly manifested in these compositions.