AJ Halbrook - AUDIOFLEX

Very excited to share this self-release with everyone here. I’ve been making solo experimental music for quite some time & began releasing it in 2018.

I’ve compiled a ton of recordings for many years & have let them sit forever, only to revisit them to make new music later. There is delight in seeing something old in a new light. Some of this music I have performed live but never officially released. So I’m glad I could get to the point of doing some releases. I think the pandemic has really helped me to focus & enable myself to do more of this. So I guess there are some positive things we can see in this nightmare. :wink: Some of the recordings were made this & last year and they’ve been mixed in with material from the last 10 yrs. I’ve done a lot of searching through the ‘samples’ folder in my Ableton sets to bring into new ones. I’m a big fan of raw visceral sound & hope that it comes through in what I’m making these days. Hundreds of improvisations will be recorded & I’ll go back and select which one’s I want to use, then edit out the parts I don’t like. I then take that audio & layer it onto other audio to which I did the same, to my taste. Also, some parts might not have layers and I’ll let it exist on it’s own if it’s strong enough. This could be an entire track (rare) or a portion of a track. It’s quite an extensive process because there is a lot of time consuming editing but I’ve gotten better/quicker at it over the years. And the software makes it so easy these days. For me, to make something work, it’s mandatory I have the option of deleting to take it away completely. I’ve learned that for me to make a successful work is to start with something, whether good or bad & go through the process of stripping it down & building it back up over time until I am satisfied. I have a couple albums of material ready to go in addition to this one. One of which will be released on a label later this year, so I’m excited about that.

A bit about my background, I began studying music later in life, when I was about 20, I’m 40 now. Took a lot of theory courses & eventually taught myself jazz piano. I played in bands ranging from traditional standard jazz to free jazz to rock, electronic & synth pop. I think I had the most fun playing free jazz but wouldn’t have been able to do it without learning the standards first. I believe my free jazz roots & the energy I acquired from those experiences led me into what I’m doing now.

About the concept of the album. I call this ‘automatic music’ which stems from my history of studying painting & Automatism, which can be described as ‘the performance of actions without conscious thought or intention’. Where each action is decided by the previous action. This is how I approached the music & the systems I use lend themselves to be able to do so. Whether it’s a modular synth, software synth, noise box, field recording, drone box, etc. The only thought I utilized in making the sound is purely functional / technical, i.e. which knob will I turn, which cable will I insert into where, or identifying where the record button is & when to activate it. The titles were also approached in this way. Basically the first words that came to my mind were used (except the album title which I put a little more thought into to convey the concept). The track titles were my cognitive response in describing that particular track. The album title was broken up as a play on words. ‘AUDIO’ which is the raw sound material and ‘FLEX’ as in ‘reflex’ which can be described as “an action that is performed as a response to a stimulus and without conscious thought.”

For anyone who cares what I used to make the album (& I know this forum mostly likely does), are eurorack modular systems, software synths (a lot of it is VCV rack), some hardware synths such as the blofeld desktop, some noise boxes like the 4ms noise swash & electro lobotomy shadow dweller & some 500 series gear. Some of the material came from a cocoquantus, although I don’t think any of that made it on this particular album.

Hope you enjoy and I suggest to listen in it’s entirety (it’s not too long) on loud speakers in a quiet space adjusted to a higher but comfortable volume. Headphones are fine as well. Thank you for taking the time to check it out.

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Thank you :pray:

So, it’s kind of a combination of both. I’ll hit the record button and start patching / unpatching, & will record anywhere from 10-30 min straight with no breaks. And then I’ll take those clips and edit out what I don’t like & incorporate them into the composition. Sometimes they’ll be the composition entirely or a part of one with no other sounds layered. At other times there will be a lot of really short chunks of audio that I don’t like, I’ll edit those out & combine what’s left, linearly. Those chunks taken out can be as short as 1 second.

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