8.30 am: ‘Out back of here’, rain clouds gathered, seaward:
Coincidently, following yesterday evening’s comments on my evening-work regime, the following tweet was posted by the THE. I’ve known staff in other departments and universities crack under the strain. I’ve known staff who’ve been genuinely ill, but felt unable to take leave because of the backlog of work they’d have to face on their return. I’ve known some who’ve died:
A little admin before a day in the studio. 9.00 am: ‘What’s on the table today, Buddy?’, said the voice in my head. ‘God Breathed’ works very well. But its sonorities and progressions are too close to those of ‘The Lesser Light’. In order to justify inclusion on the album, a track needs to not only be very good but also make a distinctive contribution. In short, I’d cause to break into former composition and rethink it from the inside out. To begin, the Scripture (2 Timothy 3.16–17) was broken, and divided, into its component words and phrases. The individual files were then inserted into a sampler software in readiness for installation on the Roland SP-404SX device:
Out with the kit (again):
The objective was to engage in free-play with the samples for a period of time, and then extract useable parts for possible insertion into the composition. It’s a time-consuming process: the sowing is long, the harvest is longer, and fruit thereof, small. ‘Cancel Saturday!’
In the background, I assembled a floor stand for one of my monitors. It didn’t come with instructions, being of the ‘it ought to be obvious how this goes together’ school of studio-hardware assembly. It was, but … why were there still so many bits left over?”
2.00 pm: I inserted the derived material into ‘God Breathed’, without any sense of how they’d either be disposed or better the present arrangement. Running blind. The spoken samples felt adrift against the surge and fall of the drone. There was nothing to anchor them. I inserted a beat track used on another composition. A solution!
Out with more kit (again) in order to, for the first time, generate a beat track bespoke to a composition:
Like the percussive accompaniment to ‘Men as Trees Walking’, the rhythm needed to be sedate and serious in nature – befitting the character of the text. It worked. What now, in this new order, represented the background, middle distance, and foreground of the piece? Topsy-turvy, perhaps. By the close of the afternoon, the beat track was attached.
7.30 pm: An evening of multiple tasks: admin, editing student catalogue statements, arranging last-minute tutorials for next week, and re-listening to completed compositions with a view (Why are metaphors so often visual?) to discerning the path of the, now, final piece.