February 19, 2021

WFH: DAY 34/LENT 3. 7.00 am: The musical accompaniment to the morning’s ablutions included a composition by the Tudor composer William Fox. It’s the only composition we have by him. Moreover, we know nothing about his life, other than the date that he died. I could find no reference to either him or the music on the Internet. His perpetuity has always hung by the thread of just one work. Remarkable! I thought to myself: ‘If I had to represent my entire life by dint of a single creative artefact that I’d made (be that a sound, visual, or textual composition), then, what would I choose?’

7.30 pm: Porridge. (The large-grain, adult, no-nonsense variety.):

8.00 am: A communion. 8.30 am: A Promenade:

Fridays now commence with a walk. I faced-down the famous Aberystwyth blow-your-brolly-inside-out wind and driving rain. Goodness knows how many have come to an end in this landscape — wrenched into a funnel, torn from their spindly skeletons, and hurled, dishevelled, onto the road like a downed crow.

9.30 pm: I reviewed the morning’s appointments and incoming mail, and made ready for the 10.00 am Art/Sound lecture, entitled: ‘Capturing Ghosts: Modernity, Technology, and the Paranormal’:

11.10 am: ‘The Painter Dances’: Abstraction and Jazz’. This topic deserves several more lectures beside. This is what I like to see: the evidence of a successful recording:

12.00 pm: Dafydd Roberts and I ‘met’ for a discussion, in his capacity as the university’s Research Development Officer, friend, and fellow sound enthusiast. Our conflabs are always rich, illuminating, and encouraging. Over the past few years especially, he has done so much good to so many through organising electronic and electroacoustic events in this part of West Wales. Later in the afternoon, He drew my attention to a conference call that hadn’t landed in my search net. Today was the deadline. I sent off a proposal, speedily. You never know. And I wouldn’t know unless I tried.

1.30 pm: I responded to urgent emails that had emerged in my inbox, uploaded the morning’s materials to the Blackboard site, caught up on news, and settled for an afternoon of mixing (over headphones). This activity would ease me into a full-day of mix-finalisation (over monitors), tomorrow. 2.30 pm: Back to ‘John ap John’. My objective in phase 2 of mixing is to relocate samples, and (where appropriate) introduce movement, within the stereo field. Many of the compositions are, in effect, landscapes in sound (as distinct from soundscapes), through which both witnesses and spirits travelled. The accounts depict them either walking, running, or riding through forests and fields, over mountains, and beside rivers. In this sense, the narratives are kinetic, almost cinematic. That motion needed to be honoured and represented too.

Designing space within the stereo field is an architectural process. Sonic space evokes a three-dimensional place in which sounds are positioned to the left, right, and centre, and in the foreground, middle distance, and background. There is even the suggestion (under certain circumstances) of a top and bottom, with high frequencies occupying the upper domain of the space and the low frequencies, the lower. The parallels between the sonic space and the pictorial field in illusionistic painting are striking.

7.30 pm: I continued phase 2 mixing.

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