Pulse 27

February 26, 2013 11:31 PM

It's been a while, and I figured I should come back with something wholly new (albeit about 4 months old). I've been holding out on posting this because, frankly, it's the most personal thing I've ever produced.

My first composition to ever include actual notes written, this is a very personal piece written on the occasion of my dearest friend's birthday, to commemorate when we first met. It's long-form ambience, based on a 4-interval cluster. All instruments are played by humans--no loops--and tracked. Believe me when I say that's an arduous process, and could only be a labour of love.

The clocks are all mine--I collect them--none of them are duplicated. The tempo is simultaneously nothing, yet in many cases multiple instances of 60bpm, and a couple in 11/8 at whatever tempo the chimey clock's pendulum happens to tick, roughly (it was a little off-balance, so it was difficult to follow).

The goal behind the piece, beyond the sentimental value, was also practical. My friend suffers from bouts of insomnia, and this was constructed as an ambient lullaby of sorts, to help her sleep. There are certain things that I know help her do so. The clocks function as what she and many others call "white noise," aka ambient semi-random noise. There's also a backing track of pure white noise, courtesy of the MS-10.

The tone cluster is G-A-C-E. The tonic is her first initial, then the intervals are 2-6-11, 20. We met at 8pm on 6 February 2011. There's a lot more which can be said, but most of what's been typed thus far won't mean much of anything to anyone but the two of us already.


Timbill Corder:
Drones: Nord Electric Drawbar Organ, eBow Guitbass 3x, Rhythmic Piano, Tympano, Korg MS-10 (White Noise), 9 different clocks
Solo: Piano
Trey Beauregard:
Drone/Solo: Recordaphone (Recorder with a PVC fitting and a tenor sax mouthpiece)
Kerry Folsom:
Drone: Nord Electric Drawbar Organ, eBow Electric Guitar, Bowed Mountain Dulcimer
Solo: eBow Electric Guitar</small

posted by askmeaboutLOOM (8 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

...wow. All that text, and a formatting fail at the very end. Oy.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 11:33 PM on February 26, 2013

mad props
posted by ageispolis at 12:01 AM on February 27, 2013

That was really, REALLY great. Insant save to my personal "brain powers" playlist (music that helps me concentrate on difficult problems).

So if you were to do something like this live, you'd need like...12 people or something like that? Man, that would be something to behold.
posted by Doleful Creature at 12:03 AM on February 27, 2013

What a lovely gift for someone. I'm really moved by how much thought you put into this - your friend must be so delighted.
posted by greenish at 8:00 AM on February 27, 2013

This is great.
I love the irony of using multiple clocks as soothing device/insomnia therapy, since the sound of a lone ticking clock is pretty much torture for an insomniac.
posted by chococat at 10:42 AM on February 27, 2013 [1 favorite]

Thank you, all, for your kind responses. I was extremely hesitant to publish this, and can't bring myself to sell it at all, as it's such a personal piece, but I'm glad I finally put it here.

I've dabbled in composition before, but I've never been a "note" guy--just a "texture" guy, and while the others have had some interesting and/or solid ideas, I think this is the first thing I've composed that I can honestly say that I feel is successful, without a doubt in my own mind.

chococat: my bedroom, depending upon how your brain works, will either soothe you instantly, or drive you out within 10-30 seconds because of all the clocks ticking out of sync like in the piece. Obviously, I fall into the former category.

Doleful Creature: a live performance would certainly be something to behold, especially if the clocks were actually onstage. It would take...yeah, 12 people. The MS-10 could be played by a stapler, as it was on the recording--otherwise, it would be 13 because the Nord requires 4 hands simultaneously (Kerry and I were playing and slowly shifting the drawbars all throughout in a single take). There would be a nice sense of drama, starting with someone winding the clock and stopping it to bookend it, as well.

This may need to happen.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 8:47 PM on February 27, 2013

By the way, if anyone would like a higher quality MP3 or FLAC, have at it. I refuse to sell.
posted by askmeaboutLOOM at 8:53 PM on February 27, 2013

Fantastic. Thanks for this. Provided an excellent soundtrack to my work this afternoon. at one point my younger kid was rocking his chair back and forth rhythmically along with the music. I had to stop and check to see if the thud thud thud was part of the track, or his bouncy chair.
posted by dubold at 6:52 AM on February 28, 2013

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