Monday, April 3, 2017

"Hello Polly! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!"

I've been following Marc Weidenbaum's Disquiet Junto Project for some months now.  I originally discovered it on the lines forum and have made a couple of attempts to participate; in all cases, I did not complete my effort before deadline.  This current piece is the most recent attempt and the only one to see actual (if tardy) completion.  That I finished it is in part due to my enthusiasm for the project:  I have for decades struggled to find the perfect wake-up music and decided now was the time to write some for myself.

It's a simple piece, but I'm very happy with it, for some technical as well as musical reasons.  Technically, I'm pleased that, having identified some mixing issues, I figured out how to resolve them, as well as having gotten a little better with making the granular sampling in the Tuvan voice track work smoothly.  Musically, I like that I was able to incorporate my mother's Coniff bells, as well as some native Live bell samples, and I liked how the voices and the bells worked together.  I was also pleased with how nicely the birds surprise in the end.

The challenge that I've found in choosing music to wake up by is that it must fade in ever so gently -- so as not to scare the piss out of me -- and it cannot have a strong beat; ideally, it would have no beat at all.  For many years, I relied on Pat Metheny Group's "The Bat, Part 2," but my new wife feels that Vasconcelos' berimbau at the beginning sounds creepy.  I switched to Phill Niblock's "A Cage of Stars," which works because of its fade-in and simplicity, but I never listen to the entire 28 1/2 minutes (and, anyway, doing so through an iPhone speaker would be even more criminal than doing so with "The Bat, Part 2").  Weidenbaum's Junto #273 gave the the chance to explore what I really want to wake up to and to create that for myself.

This piece was constructed in Ableton Live using native samples, the wonderful Olympus Elements choir sample pack, AAS's Chromaphone 2 and Valhalla Vintage Verb plug-ins, and two recordings from, along with my personal bell samples, mentioned above.

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