release date: 14 december 2021
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I’ve been occasionally working with an interesting piece of software called Soundplant designed and maintained by Marcel Blum, self-described as “a coder, consultant, musician, and vinyl archaeologist based in New York”.
I like to use softwares designed by fellow artists and Soundplant is particularly useful as it facilitates mapping of sound files to a computer keyboard, and playing of the files by simply clicking keys. Files can be looped, faded, edited and mildly altered with in-built digital effects. Each combination of files is called a Keymap. I’ve used it in performance contexts but more often as a convenient method of exploring live sound combinations in the studio.
For this weeks episode, I loaded up a couple of older keymaps and recorded live outputs to my trusty Tascam digital audio recorder, then remixed them into a new composition using the strategies that sonic sketchbooks listener will by now be familiar with – a combination of chance encounters between sounds and selective intervention for compositional texture, modulation and effect.
A couple of different sound types are utilised: fragments of the voices of Myles North and Jennifer Horne, pioneering bio-acousticians based in Africa who made some of the first systematic audio recordings of African birdlife, in the mid-20th century; and an ongoing project titled ‘A Spatial Pleximetry’ in which I record the sound of a single percussive strike on containers collected from everyday life – bottles, boxes, packaging – to build a library of brief sonic events for use in installations, performances and exploration with modular synthesis.
Various manipulations and technological pathing through devices like the MakeNoise Morphagene were used to prepare the suite of tracks for the production of this episode. It’s a bit of a hybrid, a conglomerate or amalgam, drawn across different tangents of my interests in things sonic…
A Note on the Track Ending
The applause that rounds off this episode happened spontaneously at the end of a live performance I did using Soundplant and the vocal elements of the episode at #23 SoundBitesBody staged at BigCi in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney on 6 February 2016. The SoundBitesBody series of events were developed by artist WeiZen Ho beginning in 2012.