Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Halfway Report from Milkcrate #28

(from the milkcrate blog)

All is going well here in the land of 'crate.

We spent the first three or four hours of this crate collectively sampling and choosing objects and sounds out of the ones that we had all brought.

For objects that we could record indoors (ie. those with zero fire hazard), we set up a large diaphragm condenser in a tiled room - the room itself adds a bit of nice sound as well. There was quite a bit of background noise because of the air conditioning vents and about 16 or 17 computers with their fans on, but our samples were still useable.

So each person would come up with their objects (except for me - because the only thing I brought along is a box of matches) and then record some material from their chosen objects. I was manually riding the input gain to try and maximise our effective dynamic range and manage the already unmanageable environment noise.

For objects and actions that we could not record indoors (ie. those with some fire hazard), David and I went over to the park next to the parade grounds. Here we used a portable recorder with a shirt as a wind shield and recorded a few useable samples.

Some of the highlights of the samples have included:
• some party poppers (courtesy of david)
• a toaster (courtesy of jordan)
• a heatsink (courtesy of jesse)
• some butane and a gas-powered soldering iron (courtesy of justin)

As I've said the only thing I brought was the box of matches (others brought the same or similar items too of course).

All in all, we have about 6 or 7 minutes of samples (after editing and splicing) which is actually a huge sample bank for any milkcrate. There are probably well over 80 or 90 individual events contained in our samples, which is nice. However, almost all of the sounds are really very percussive, somewhat limiting the source timbres we can use for melodic / pitched music material.

For the most part, people seem to using a combination of Live and ProTools, often in tandem rewired together.

Jordan and Justin have been working on a dance track that makes use of Justin's new Kaos Pad 3. Jesse has been working on an ambient track and David has been making a number of highly distorted and loud works. Unfortunately, his computer only has a demo of Live running on it so he is unable to save his projects, forcing him to work very quickly, constantly in fear of crashing.

As for me, I've somewhat formalised some of the things I've been doing in the last few milkcrates. I have thus far only used my very short sample of me striking a match. I have written 15 tracks, but my self-imposed limitation is that every track I make has been and will be one minute in length exactly. This may sound easy but I've been finding it more and more difficult as the day progresses.

To some degree, perhaps it's an exploration of 'pop' music sounds and structures as sound objects in their own right, something with their own weight and mass to be considered a single event. I'm not sure. I've been going for more than twelve hours, so I'm not even sure if that sentence makes any sense or not.

Wish us luck as we slip into the night...

- seb