I’ve been plugging away at learning about music theory, electronic music production, tape music techniques and the like for about the last six years. I’ve created a number of things — noise and field recordings — I’ve posted here and on my Soundcloud page, but never felt that any of it was “real” enough to actually list on a site like Bandcamp and actually set a price for it. I set myself a goal this year of producing at least one “good” track a month in a genre I was trying to get better at. It was a surprise to me that the first two months have gone rather well; to the point where one of the tracks I finished (“Milky Tea”) was something I thought was good enough to offer to others, and then had my wife exclaim after she heard it that “you could charge people for this.” So I’ve released my first EP on Soundcloud: Bad Caffeine | KF6GPE (bandcamp.com). I’ve self-published this; I’m not associated to a label or anything. I don’t expect to win a Grammy, and in fact would be surprised if it makes enough to pay the sales tax on the gear I used to produce it, but I learned a lot in the making and publishing, and it feels really good to have started something musically, set some goals, and exceed those goals. Now on to seeing what the March track sounds like.
I just finished Kadenze’s “Experimental Foundations of Sound Design” course, and it was great! Starting with looking at sample libraries and tape music techniques, you build up a set of individual sound recordings, process them using tape music techniques (in the box, of course, using Audacity), and learn to design and create an imaginative soundscape. Along the way you learn about auditory perception and how it affects sound design, and some techniques in Audacity in Ableton for manipulating sounds to improve tonality and place objects on the stereo field. I had a lot of fun with it. Even though I’ve read a lot about tape music techniques and sound perception, it was great to have the lectures and some practical experience to back it up.
This year I plan on spending most of my effort in sharpening my acoustic playing — lots of piano practice, and I’ll dig out the long-neglected flute. Some days, though, I may record drones for later use in compositions. Here’s one with some noise from the Lyra.
Obviously, this is not my composition, just my performance. I’ve done one other on SoundCloud, and tomorrow night I’ll probably do this on the OP-Z. I don’t know why, but his entire series ofcompositions from 1960 fascinate me. I’ve got a #jamuary track from the 24th, too, that I need to upload.
Day 18 was a travel day. After 18 hours awake, when I got home I just didn’t have it in me. Day 19 is on our Steinway, which I haven’t practiced in over a week, and it shows.