The idea for this project was to create an EP detailing alternative representations of what the future might be like in 3014. We spent a lot of time thinking about the researched side of the background stories including books that we have read, films we have seen and other well-known predictions for what the future would look like. We wanted to stray from the typical Sci-Fi predictions but still combine elements of cosmology and autonomy into our work. We used various software and hardware to create the EP including Max MSP, Logic Pro 9, Reaktor, microphones and synthesizers.
The first track, System Breakdown was created using synthesis entirely with the addition of some recorded speech over the top. 80% of the sounds were created using Max patches: Subtractive synthesis was used because of the aggressive and obtrusive sounds that it creates and wavetable synthesis patches were used for the softer, more prolonged sounds that required more shaping to fit into the track. There were also some midi instruments used from the Massive instrument plugin. The discovery of Clara Rockmore and her work heavily influenced us to include Theremin on the track so we used an online Theremin simulator to record some of the audio. The sound is very aggressive and varies in dynamics to portray an argument effectively. During mastering there was no compression added so as not to compromise the difference in volume between sounds. The characters of Dr Who heavily inspired elements of the track including the speech.
The second track, Seascape is an alternative universe based on Bacon’s notion that deep water will conserve humans in a future utopia. The entire piece is a majestic orchestral score underwater. The score was created in Logic using Logic’s midi instruments such as timpani and tuba. Recordings created using a hydrophone in a bucket of water to record ambience and vocals underwater were also added to the track. In order to create the underwater feel we used reverb, although there is no reverb underwater we used a short-tail, plate reverb to boost the bass frequencies in the mix and we also used a very long tail convolution reverb created using a recording of the microphone in water that added an ‘underwater mask’ to the track.
The third track, Drones has the most historical value of all our compositions. The entire concept was drawn from a quote by Karlheinz Stockhausen in which he discusses the start of electronic drone music and his sonic experimentation (Childs; Fox; Schwartz 1998). The aim was to create music that incorporated the cosmology of Afrofuturism, the spatiality of space and drone music and elements of musique concrète. The track was created using a Roland JD800 synthesiser, shaping sounds to become long tailed and pitchy tones. The style in which they were recorded into the project were very much influenced by the methods of Sun Ra and how he feels the emotion of the music more than how the notes fit together. Samples from www.looperman.com
were used to add jazz elements to the song; again they were strategically placed to fit with the composition so it was not musically pleasing but more so to fit with the space in the track and how the elements worked together. A particular influence for the track was La Monte Young’s ‘The Second Dream of The High-Tension Line Stepdown Transformer’; we tried to create the same dissonant tones in our piece.
The final track, Revolt is a post-war piece influenced by the formation of Krautrock and the musicality of other cultures. It tells the story of a country trying to find its own identity and culture through music after abandoning the past and trying to disassociate itself from existing cultures of the times. There were many influences for this track including the emotional and sonic awareness of composer Pauline Oliveros and the requirement of constant alertness and deep listening to her compositions (Heidi von Gunden 1983). Cultural exploration was something we aimed to do throughout the track by composing the piece in a Swedish Folk scale called Neutral third while using typically Asian and Australasian instruments and neglecting western musicality. We used a max patch in this piece to create a synthetic drum sound, by fusing real instruments and synthesis we created something futuristic but still recognizable as descending from music of the 21st century.
The digitalization of the ep, not including track two, Seascape is a prediction of how the future will sound given the technological advances that we will make in the future. The inevitable use of predominantly in-the-box production is a deliberate and thought out production technique decided upon reading an article detailing the views of musicians on the ease of bedroom music production and how the future of the digital music domain means that true musicianship and instruments will become redundant one day in the future. (Beaulieu & Heafy 2014)
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