to understand why i find this style rewarding and fun
yall have to understand that the most basic principles relate to motion of concentric circles which form in water when a foreign object is introduced
it’s a familiar metaphor in music
i don’t always follow strictly and each piece may put particular focus on a specific aspect of the visual idea in sonics…at times subordinating traditional tone, structure and rhythm to highlight textures or motion of sound within a space (or fluid)
what i try to do is equivalent to emphasizing the water itself & the way it interacts with light travelling thru it rather than the hand/stick/stone which caused the wave to move
which brings me to two other points
adopting this metaphor is really an excuse to consider travel thru space as an improvising prompt
as space and time are linked this is a somewhat backwards approach to space/time travel using unconventional tools [an important attribute of music i admire]
for these concentrics, any tool that can alter my perception of time and the space which a sound inhabits (or moves thru) is essential
i frequently use many in tandem
additional context about how i approach concentric improvisation and arrangement can be found by looking at some past recordings [annotated]
let’s start with the most familiar examples…tracks on muqarnas:
knowing how i assembled the tracks, golekalam & arils are both songs that i think qualify as concentrics but a few on the b-side really exemplify the style and led me to focus more deliberately on recording this way
gaz is 100% focused on interplay between drums, one horn stab, and digital fx (while the 2nd half, bdm, gives way to something more traditionally melodic or danceable)
aizo is a concentric masterpiece…during both passages the listener is tightly confined and their attention forced in the direction of fx (reverb / delay) as central elements beyond any melody or rhythm
matkarim again attempts to articulate the limits of movement possible within confines of a loop . filtering and parameters of the delay play a key role
lesser known examples from other albums
i welcome questions about the tools and techniques used for any of these…
lastly, one of the few which i meant to be “concentric” from the start
accepting this aspect is why i now freely pull from past synth freestyles saved on cassette, minidisc, or my pc
they serve merely as source to “agitate the water” so to speak, so i’m less concerned than i used to be about whether i’ve sampled them before or whether i’m able to preserve the original sessions’ chronology as i mangle the fragments
Hmm. The movement of water that you describe is a kind of homeostasis. It’s changing and moving and very “busy” but on another level, the general shape remains the same.
I can see how this could naturally lead to polyrhythms and other complexity, as simple and orderly ripples reflect from the edges of the water and interfere with each other.
I like this idea a lot
In my own music I don’t usually have a metaphor of motion either in time or space (though sometimes there’s anticipation of arrival or departure), though I do often think about wind. On the song/narrative scale of time, motion is a coincidence of how I happened to improvise… but I feel like that fits with the way human perception and perspective changes as we regard things.
I’ve been listening to your Concentrics playlist this week and have been loving it (I’ll try to have something more interesting to say about them at some point later…). I find that that this piece is more active (for lack of a better word…maybe turbulent? agitated?) than most. Is that a coincidence, or are all those scriptable LFOs an invitation to chaos?
your script is a perfect utility and quite useful! (especially with the 2nd clock/cv-depth input)
this is an excerpt of perhaps 45mins i spent improvising with the patch…other passages are still quite active but the sequence can be heard unfolding in a more serene manner, perhaps more fitting for the concentrics series
but yes, i guess while trying to tame lets splosh feedback and wrangling the lfos this got wilder than the rest