November 26, 2018

8.00 am: A communion. Praying down the blessing. 8.45 am: The first part of the morning of the first part of the week is usually set aside to organise the remainder. The effort expended on micromanaging each hour is more than compensated for by the amount of time that’s identified, eked out, and set aside for the ‘big and meaningful stuff’ that lies ahead. A blast from the past:

I’d delivered this at the Courtauld Institute, London, in 2013. As the Art/Sound module come to a close, the paper will be given as part of Thursday’s class.

10.00 am: Studiology. Having recorded, and compiled as a continuous strand, the chapters that Beth and Bill had listened to in 1994, it remained, now, to compress the over two hours of material into 2 × 15 minute tracks. This is the length of both sides on a 10-inch disc (which is the size of the records in The Talking Bible volumes). This disc, when pressed, will serve as one of two sources for manipulation in performance. The imponderable, presently, is how to incorporate Beth’s and Bill’s measurements into my compositional system’s process. A solution will emerge; of that I’m confident.

First, the material was shortened, algorithmically, in such a way as not to produce the ‘chipmunks on holiday’ effect that occurs when sound is speeded up. Secondly, a different approach involved stacking (as a superimposition) those chapters that were derived from the same biblical book:

This reduced the whole to 47-minutes duration. Thereafter, this was shortened to 15 minutes by another algorithmic process. Crunch-down took a considerable time:

In the meantime, I sourced bits and bobs (some big and expensive bobs, at that) of equipment, grappled with a DNS problem, and wondered why lunch was so long in coming.

After a whisk to and fro the School to retrieve some Amazonian bundles, I listened to the two versions of the shortened sources. Both had merits and distinct sonic characters. Job done. By mid afternoon, they were with the record presser. I returned to the sampler extracts in order to develop several word strings, and manufacture loop spines. Invariably, I overproduce. But composition isn’t like assembling a pre-designed Lego set, in which every piece has a place. Its rather more like the big box of Lego pieces that I played with as a child, out of which came constructions without either preordination, or fixity, or conclusion.

In the evening, I followed up the initiatives discussed at the National Screen and Sound Archives of Wales, some weeks ago. I need only determine one appropriate recording to begin work. The other material will find its way to me, eventually.

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