Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Mining the Minutiae

"You can try to live your life on pirated 10 second audio clips...but it's hard turning a penny into a million dollars."

I like to pillage the internet for audio samples. Ducati has recently been most generous. Grazie mille. When composing music for dance, I have also used sounds of me playing various acoustic instruments, but I haven't had a recording session in a while and am reluctant to visit the old files yet again. The thing about recordings, and sound effect samples, is: they never change. (But then, neither does the pitch that results when my finger depresses a piano key...)

Whether ten seconds or ten minutes in length, I become familiar with an audio clip in a relatively short amount of time. I memorize the frozen sound and use the mistakes, go instantly to the spot where the timing was a bit rushed, or make play of the "perfect" arrangement of notes and melodies. Transforming and developing these clips is next to impossible, and it becomes clear to me why looping and surprising rhythmic designs have to become the compositional focus.

As frustrating as the work is, it is FUN, and so I keep at it. I spent much of the Christmas holidays in headphones, listening to my pennies and contemplating their someday existence in a secret Swiss bank. While mom and dad watched movies in the next room, I rocked out to my motorcycles, swingsets, and tinny tambourine. It was a scene fit for a modern day Norman Rockwell. My discipline, triggered by the important upcoming performance at Mondavi, has paid off! Music for Randee soars and clinks in my head all day long and, hand in hand with my new full-time job, occupies much of my time. There's change in my pocket. I can not complain.

See you at the performance!


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