Evan (5)

February 8, 2007 11:23 AM

A simulation of stereotypy.

posted by sleepy pete (7 comments total)

In order to placate cortex’s needs, here’s what is called Evan 5 for now. My RPM “album” is about the work I did with a 17-year-old named Evan (of course) who was autistic (this was about seven years ago, in case you were wondering). One of his stimming activities was to walk around the kitchen/dining room/living room that he lived in with his parents touching each wall and then sniffing his fingers. Because I’ve been thinking about doing something musically about my experience with Evan for the last seven years, I knew that this should be one of the things that I should try to simulate/recreate.

The recording is me walking around the music room/office/extra bedroom in our house with two SM57s on opposite walls pointed toward the floor and one LCD mic (Oktava 319, which I’ve had luck with on some applications and they’re really cheap) directly on the floor. I’d touch each wall/object while walking in a circle and say the word “Heaven” each time (disclaimer: using the term heaven is a thematic approach, a conceit within the album, actually, and I am not saying that the boy was in heaven or heavenly because of his autism… just wanted to be clear on that). At the same time I would say the word "heaven" into a mini-cassette recorder. Then, at the end, I looped a small section of the microphone walking and a larger section of the cassette and played the guitar part on top. During that, our alarm started going off in the next room, which is set to “seagull” or something, and that was caught on tape as well.

That all may be TMI for such a short song, but I thought you might like to know why I’m recording my own pacings/ramblings and posting them here. This is rough and I haven’t had a chance to revisit it yet or add more instruments, which should happen soonish.
posted by sleepy pete at 11:25 AM on February 8, 2007

It's never TMI. This place needs more information, dammit. And I love the wildly different conceptual approaches people take to song construction and production. There's a degree of willful "obviousness" to the writing I've been doing for my RPM album. While the motivation and the details of my songs may be personal and obfuscated, the songs themselves are all, so far, very lyrically transparent—not even narratives so much as manifests of the contents of a given setting or idea.

So one of the things I really enjoy about this thing is how open it is, how just utterly interpretable the sound experience is. The backstory on Evan's stimming is fascinating and obviously adds a lot of context to the recording, but the soundscape without any explanation is very engaging and could lead in a lot of directions.

Music is awesome.
posted by cortex at 11:39 AM on February 8, 2007

Yeah, I'd too say you can never give out enough information. And it seems like we are all opening more and more to share the minutiae behind our songs here in Metafilter Music, which is quite cool.

This track is quite cool, I'd love to hear how it sounds at the end.
posted by micayetoca at 12:33 PM on February 8, 2007

Wow, your theme really works and comes across nicely. Really interesting stuff. I agree with mica and cortex re the info.
posted by snsranch at 3:53 PM on February 8, 2007

Very nice the way you've used this walking rhythm, an actual movement, to serve as the rhythmic impetus. It really feels like walking around in a room, from wall to wall, just the way you've described it. Most interesting!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:06 PM on February 8, 2007

Great panning -- that helps the effect so, so much. I also really appreciate hearing the floorboards creak.
posted by Miko at 1:01 PM on February 9, 2007

Great walking. This is beautiful right now- I'll be interested to hear what it turns into. I wonder if something like this could work at a (perhaps creepy) live show.

Maybe it would start a new dance craze, the "measured walk".
posted by Secretariat at 7:58 AM on February 21, 2007

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