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September 7th, 2005

Phase 3 in session

I solved the problem of getting my cassette recording trasnferred without static into my home recording studio program, after reading a guide on the internet. The problem proved solvable by a simple use of "line in" and "stereo mix", which, like most things, is completely intuitive when one learns it, and unfathomable while unlearnt. It's a bit like being told by a teacher "if you did this the right way, then I would not have to teach it to you--so why don't you?". Experience teaches me everything I know, almost. A manual or a demonstration does the rest.

I got the first three tracks of Exchange Park saved in wav format, and then I placed each into the Slicer to create a new song. "Green Rail Fence" sounds out with a curious and uneven set of melodic fence bars, plugging out an uncertain melody at an uneven tempo. "White Bridge" features the thumping noise of cars passing over the bridge above. "Brown Wood Bench" has a fascinating rapid-fire marimba-like quality.

The "make a CD of synth-afflicted city park sounds" concept thus appears workable, with three songs down and
eleven to go. It's odd stuff, but that's kinda the design.

The Absurd Music Exchange acquired its eleventh member. After reading up on archive.org in response to a question I posed on the site, I realize that a release on archive.org could be fun. I'd love to have hundreds download and enjoy my music for free.

My "other" song cycle, a set of songs I call "prairie" songs, is progressing well. It's more melodic, more traditonal--a conventional song sliced, diced and rendered ambient.

Last night, with permission, I took a woman's gospel song, placed it in my synth, and morphed her voice. Instead of a youngish sounding woman with a mild tilt between Billie Holliday and Janis Joplin, her voice came out as a
60 year old gospel soul shouter, while the farfisa suddenly sounded like a bass kazoo. I e mailed the artist the result, but I am not sure it will amuse her as much as it did me. But I am an eternal optimist--and I certainly hope she is easily amused, as am I.

ungeek at any speed

I'm re-reading "Time of Hope", the first book in one of my favorite novel cycles, C.P. Snow's "Strangers and Brothers". It's a novel cycle tracing a single protagonist through an entire life of a fellow named Lewis Eliot in the UK from the 1910 to 1970 or so. I suppose I like these novels in part for the same reason I like the television show "law and Order". Snow's novels' elaborate "Eliotverse" often subordinates plot plausibility and even character in favor of setting up dilemmae and issues for dissection and discussion. The first novel has a lot of plot points about the problem of being bright but unwordly coming out of high school in a small provincial town--and how often choices are made awry because nobody is available to point out alternatives and options. The way in which people are both strangers and brothers, not surprisingly, features over and over in the books. I want to read all 11 novels again, although I must find a used copy of the three volume set.

Today I found myself immersed until 9 p.m. in diverse and very demanding work matters for admirable clients. When I got home, the mail contained my Orbitor Nature Recording device. It has a big plastic dish, a gun-like assembly, headphones and a monocular. It looks like a cheap 50s sci fi movie. The sound magniifcation is really extraordinary, though. I could hear things far away in a new way. My wife observed with a chuckle "you're turning into a nerd", which, I suppose, is high praise indeed, as, you see, it implies that I formerly lived in a more pristine state. I reeled back "I'm an artist", not that I am an artist, but because I knew it would make her laugh. Next time I will reply with a better line, along the lines of "I prefer the term pioneer".

I'm continuing to have good luck with musical exchange. I got a nice note from a fellow in Israel who runs a cool netlabel about a fun remix of one of his unusual songs that I did, and a note from a great studio recordist I know, being kind about a bit of silliness I mixed of his. I now evangelize the Slicer syntesizer.

My natural exuberance led me to write a very long e mail to my favorite DJ, a woman in Los Angeles ((who once also lived in Dallas) I don't know at all, who has a show on public radio. I suggested to her to send me an mp3 for collaboration. My reasoning was simple--everyone asks DJs to play their songs--but how many people request of DJs to send a song or sample? I easily amuse myself sometimes, although my e mail was a bit on the wordy and witty side. Perhaps I should post it, as open letters are more fun anyway. Open source, open mind, open heart, open feelings, open hand.

The Jeff Pearce Chapman Stick album is indeed interesting, although it verges on pop and smooth sound rather than pure ambience. But labels get distracting, anyway, so I guess it's all in how I look at it. I will listen to Diatonis tomorrow on the plane--a dawn awakening in sound.

I fly tomorrow at dawn. An old friend wrote about coming in October for a visit. I'm exhausted, but durable.

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