Music For Shuffle

Sketch #07

More messing around trying to blend acoustic instruments with glitchy textures. The blending needs more thinking.

Download here (8.9mb)

Maybe some pizzicato strings or percussive bits and bobs could help. But there’s something really nice about combining layers that move at half- and double-speed. Must keep trying to hone that.

Also, tried some sparser, plainer harmony – a blatant pilfering of slow Krautrock stuff, especially Neu!, mainly because there’s something about the qualities of kosmische (seemingly infinite structure, open harmonies, gliding motorik rhythms) that seem to fit with the qualities of shuffle mode. Listening to a Neu! track, especially the ones that just fade in and out from nothing, I often feel like I’ve just walked in on a never-ending song.

Come to think of it, maybe early 70s Germany was the one moment where high-art experimental music came closest to rock and pop. And look at the brilliance that emerged. Various members of Can and Kraftwerk all apparently studied with Stockhausen, didn’t they? Must read into that a bit more. I wonder what today’s equivalent would be.

Directionality

Krautrock (and shuffle mode) also make me think about directionality. A lot of music moves forwards. Intro; verse; chorus; verse; middle 8; key change; chorus; outro; done. Or you have people like Pandit Pran Nath, Terry Riley and that lot too, I guess. Their stuff plays with stillness and stasis. It doesn’t need to go anywhere.

So I’ve been thinking a bit about playback interfaces that allow the listener to move between these states. You know, you could move it forward if you want; getting to an end point; or you could just sit there for a while, enjoying the view every now and then. Again, there must be a load of apps out there that have tried this. Live performers do it brilliantly, and teams of video game designers and soundtrack composers worked out how to do it in software years ago. Must read up.

Artwork

More of the same, really, though I’m starting to play with gradients instead of solid colour – all stuff I want to explore when I do some monoprinting. Also, looking at it, the size of the white circle makes me think of a 12 inch vinyl sleeve. I could look at printing on that type of paper, maybe.

Overall, again, this piece (is it a piece? who knows) doesn’t seem to get too annoying too quickly. I think I’ll revisit the earlier sketches soon, replacing the synths with acoustic instruments, just to see what happens.