release date: 19 october 2021
This weeks offering is an exploration of the sonic drone. Many musicians of many cultures and times have explored and exploited the mesmeric nature of persistent sonic presence to evoke saintly states of grace and excite stoner states of mind.
Here, rather than working with instruments, I’ve repurposed three brief field recordings –
a vintage Roland pen plotter I recorded in Professor Jon McCormacks office at Monash University in 2012 – Jon had written software to control the device to reproduce drawings in his Niche Constructions generative art series
– the Man O’War Steps floating pontoon near the Sydney Opera House, a series of recordings that have been used in different ways in the two previous sonic sketchbooks episodes
– and, a new recording I made a few days ago during wet weather with two different contact mics attached to a metal brace securing a square-section metal downpipe draining rainwater from the galvanised iron roof of an early 20th century electricity substation building directly adjacent to the late 20th century building I live in in Redfern Australia on Gadigal country.
I slowed the pen plotter recording to different percentage values – 20, 30, 40, 50 etc – to build the bed drone – the longitudinal warp – for this composition. Weft sounds drawing into and through the warp, are stochastic drips and flows of rainwater falling from the top of the guttering outflow to strike an angled return in the downpipe a few meters below, and the creaking and grinding of the pontoon moving in response to watery energy transfers.
These three elements are combined, with little intervention, to perform a slow aleatoric drift and shift in homage to the drone that I dedicate to the extraordinary avant-garde works of French composer Eliane Radigue.