October 31, 2020

All Hallows’ Eve. 8.00 am: October would not go down without a fight. A world in disarray. All roads lead back to human folly, recklessness, avarice, hubris, deceit, selfishness, and wilful negligence. The goose has finally come home to roost.

8.45 am: A review of, and minor modification to, yesterday’s work before re-opening the ‘Like Waves Perfectly Immovable’ folder. Presently, there was only one track in the mix session. It’s a ‘choral’ track, and the most slow-moving of all the pieces that I’ve made for this suite of compositions. Insomuch as I could, on hearing it afresh, imagine what Jones saw from the top of that mountain, as he looked down on the still dark cloud that filled the valley, the track appeared sufficient unto itself. Nothing I could add would make it any better. And there was nothing that I could take away. The economy of simplicity is a beautiful thing.

10.00 am: Mrs H arrived home from the Farmers’ Market laden with fresh croissants for a second breakfast. This was my gluten allowance for the day.

10.15 am: I re-listened to some of the earlier compositions. In part, this was to reaffirm quality. But it’s also important to confirm that the stylistic traits which undergird one composition are consistent throughout the suite. 10.45 am: ‘John ab John’, and a reconsideration of the incorporation of ‘wow-up!’. (The winds punished the house and garden.) 11.00 am: A brief muscle-in on my wife’s video chat with Son #2. I threw a great many ideas at yesterday’s recording in the stairwell. They could only be tested through making and applying. The ear is the final arbiter in matters of aesthetic judgement. Whatever solution I invented to represent the phrase needed to be unsettling. This was an appropriate exercise for Halloween. In the end, an abstract invocation didn’t cut the mustard. Only reality would do. The source recording was slowed, a pitch-shifted version overlaid upon the original, and the whole repeated three times in the composition, to echo the trio of cries that moved among the mountains before the carriage arrived. Job done!

1.45 pm: The ‘Geographical’ interludes were now complete. I looked towards the the outstanding apparitional accounts. Three remain to be begun: ‘Black Man Standing’ [working title], ‘John Williams’, and the newly reconceived ‘The Singing in The Air’. I took out the quotation index that I’d developed when undertaking my PhD Art History, to search for references that might be of help in dealing with the final compositions.

One reference was to the belief, held among coalminers in the nineteenth century, that the sound of whistling underground indicated the presence of the devil. Another described how a contagious epidemic of Asiatic cholera in Wales in 1832 and 1849 prompted a revival of religious enthusiasm among the populous. One wonders how an increase in church and chapel attendance was negotiated back then.

4.30 pm: Over and out.

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