November 19, 2018

For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? (Mark 8.36)

7.45 am. A communion. What is it to lose your own soul? I thought of Esau selling his birth right for a bowl of stew. I thought of David selling his integrity, wholesale, for another man’s wife. It’s like betting your prize possession on a horse that isn’t even going to make it to the finishing post. It’s like an ‘irretrievable disc error’ warning: once gone, gone forever. But its not like a Faustian pact; there’s no trade-off with the devil: a your soul for the whole world type of transaction. Rarely that self-conscious in reality. (‘What soul?’, somebody shouted.) Its more like an email scam that was known to be circulating, but no one thought they’d be fooled by. And, when their whole world was finally stripped away, they were left with nothing. Not even a bill of exchange.

8.15 am: I endeavoured to get the week’s teaching admin done before pressing on with ‘research’, which never feels like research, when conducted in the studio. There, I don’t (re)search, I (re)discover.  9.15 am. First, I (re)acquainted my ears to the sonorities of the ‘One Day’ composition, before honing in on the final section. On consideration, I extended the ‘I have a dream … ‘ sequence by repeating it, and weaving the other Scourby/King samples beneath. This aided the intelligibility of the sequences and maintained their close relationship to the spine-loop.

In between phases of the work, I performed my left-hand finger exercises. After the operation on my ‘pinky’, a few months back, the hand needs recalibrating in order to equalise the muscle tension across all the fingers. Recovery will be slow progress.

By noon, the the composition was complete. It remained for me to equalise volumes within and between the tracks. The process is slow, particular, but straightforward. After lunch, I listened to the whole over headphones. Small anomalies are more audible in this environment. Again, there’s a procedural logic to the adjustments that sits, hand-in-glove, with the emotional logic of the piece. (Feeling and rationality are not mutually exclusive, necessarily.) By mid afternoon, I’d produced a draft mix. It was, then, time to put the piece away for a while, so that I could allow my ears to return to afresh later.

Mid afternoon, we ferried some of our children’s old books to a local primary school, with which they were once associated. I’d not been back for over a decade. The boys had had a happy time there; it was formative and supportive.

En route, I found myself humming the afternoon’s composition under my breath. That must signify something.

Back at homebase,  I turned my attention to ‘Beth & Bill’. There are some annotations that I’ve yet to decode: for example, the ‘6’ that followed every date; the ‘N’ on the diagrammatic representation of the record; and ‘NEW’ and ‘Beg’. Another inventory for 1994 indicates that the records were played in two places: ‘Home’ and ‘School House’.

In the evening, I caught up on correspondence and reviewed the National Screen and Sound Archive of Wales’ inventory of holdings. Somewhere within is the material that I’ll be working on as part of the next project. I’m looking/listening for a diamond among the coal. On, then, with a cursory read of a European funding call. (There won’t be too many of those in the near future.)

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