an interesting facet of mine and @jasonw22’s collaboration is how much talking and sharing we did that didn’t directly end up in the final product! We started talking with pictures and high concepts, and explored a few different sounds from there. I happened to make a Max synth that I played, but I don’t think any of its sounds are in the final product. In the end, I believe Jason took MIDI I recorded at the keyboard, worked various magicks upon it and added drums to yield the final product.
It was a fun way of working, and in the end I think the time constraint we were under helped us finish something rather than noodle endlessly. At the same time, I don’t think we fully realized some of our original high-concept goals, so there’s room for more thought in a similar space.
I wonder if this is how one gets an album or an EP out of one concept…
I definitely feel that @alanza and I have an EP worth of material if we went back and finished all our noodles and explorations. (let me know if you want to put any more time into any of those, @alanza!)
I tend to think of concepts as starters. You need a starter to get an internal combustion engine going, but you don’t drive on its power. In the end, the track we finished was the track we finished.
We kinda did it twice. @alanza sent over a midi noodle played out over a nice droning chord. I separated the chord from the melody and put them on their own tracks, gave them interesting voices, and added drums. A bit of feedback from @disquiet suggested further melodic exploration, so @alanza sent over a much longer midi jam. Dropping that into the first multitrack suggested a need for different orchestration, so I reworked all the voices.
It’s funny, for all my cringing about the label of “producer” I have to admit that’s more or less the hat I put on for this track, with @alanza playing “composer” and “musician”. Of course we could have reversed those roles if we chose.
I’m going to prioritize collaboration in my music making for a while. This was just a lot of fun, and I think the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.
Thanks @abalone, @Angela and @jasonw22! Very fun project and it looks and sounds great! I was very excited by the prospect of making something totally different from anything I would make by myself and having full collaboration all along the way.
Continuing from what @abalone said above, we talked first off about the exquisite corpse game and building back and forth off each other’s contributions. @abalone sent over a recording and since it was made with free software, I decided to continue in the same way, and messed around with the recording using Composer’s Desktop Project and audacity, using aspects of some images we had also traded back and forth to suggest (verrrrry loosely suggest) the settings of various CDP process parameters.
@abalone had also requested a recitation of the text of an early email and then arranged the vocal track which was the email and some improvised talking since the email was just a few lines long and I wanted to make sure there was enough to work with
I had a blast collaborating with @Plym on this track. Despite a couple of long vacations we had to work around, there were probably a good 4 or 5 exchanges in which the nature of our sounds changed dramatically.
I started by sending @Plym a small handful of scrappy, noisy field recordings with a light curatorial touch; I basically just grabbed a few semi-interesting things I had captured, and sent them off. What came back was stunning — @Plym, in his inimitable style, transformed my atonal pieces into a beautifully dense, rhythmic and melodic recording that served as the foundation for the rest of our work (side note: I actually don’t know how he got those sounds, so I’m looking forward to hearing more about his process here!).
In my next pass, rhythms became less pronounced, as I opted to construct drones and textural snippets from @Plym’s work. I worked primarily with tape (cassette and 1/4-inch) along with my Norns.
The big fun for me was in assembling the final track. I tried to capture the idea of listening/working, so I spent a day re-recording @Plym’s awesome final submission on different mediums while also simultaneously capturing the sounds of the studio as I worked. My idea was create a track that would start in a “finished” state, and then have its layers pulled back as it unfolds, essentially morphing into a plunderphonics piece. Not sure if that idea comes through for others, but it was a fun conceptual spin to explore.
I’m currently having a real good time listening to all of the tracks - what a joy it is to find yourself in the company of so much creativity and talent! It feels like anyone could pair up and make amazing things. Extra kudos to @jasonw22 for putting this all together.
Loved working with @Olivier! I think you’ve covered most of out process. For me it was all about act/react. I did a lot of chopping and editing in Ableton Live, first with Oliviers field recordings, then with my own recordings with Norns. When he came back with the drone layers I was really amazed by the density and richness of it. So I did some new takes with Norns MLR to add some more clear rhythmic and melodic content. I just wanted to fill in the gaps I guess. I love love love the outro section that Olivier made with his reel to reel machine. The overall structure and concept is all him, very well thought out, if you ask me.
Ok, that’s not really true.
I’ve got a couple of really rough months behind me and was able to just briefly check lines once in a while. I finally had the time to read through this thread properly, and while doing so, I remembered many more details. So let me add some more to what I have written above and to what @Jet wrote earlier (and btw. @jet feel free to add anything, or correct me if I’m remembering things wrong)
Before starting to collect sounds we discussed various approaches. We thought that it might have been interesting to define a series of keywords and collect sounds matching these. Originally we intended there to be some sort of concept, but we both had various things holding us up at the beginning, plus the time zone difference didn’t help, so we didn’t work on that part as much.
Still, we got a nice list out of it, and I guess there was some fil rouge in it after all anyway. We split the samples into roughly 4 categories: synthesis, field recording and ambiences, percussive sounds, and noise. The tonal ones were to match a scale we had agreed on previously. @Jet worked with a major scale and I did work with the relative minor. For some reason we liked the idea of basing everything on a 9th chord.
We produced a lot of material, like others here, I’m sure we could at least get one or two decent tracks out of the stuff we haven’t used.
Once we had all the samples, we decided who would start (online coin flipper did the job for us, IIRC) and decided roughly what the layers should be and which sequence we’d create them.
We decided to start from a basic harmony track, then add bass, percussions and then move to the higher-register tonal parts / melody. @jet suggested that we’d always make both a tonal track and one that would only use noises, and non-tonal sounds. This worked very well, helping to keep both aspects in a balance as the piece developed.
We had never worked together, the collab spontaneously happened thanks to lcrp, but we roughly know what kind of music the other one was making. We did not really agree on a style or genre, and just let things happen. The first layers came out quite drone-heavy, and ambient-like and we decided to just stick to it.
Towards the end my private life and work, got a bit messy. @jet did the final mix and sent everything off (Thanks again for taking care of that!)
For those of you with a physical copy it might be worth noting that the audio for tracks 11 and 12 (as per bandcamp) seem to have been swapped by the cd making gremlins! My and @ermina’s track is track 12 and the track by healthylives and jwhiles is track 11.
No need to apologise. The amount to keep track of with projects like this is a lot and it’s easy for something to get muddled up along the way. Bandcamp is fine - it’s just the CD that has the tracks swapped.
OK, if I get any more CD orders, I’ll fix it before I ship.
I also had a mastering error. Lumena & Mateo’s track has high dynamic range, and I goofed and made their track too quiet as a result. Need to slow down a bit, give myself a few more days to doublecheck the details. It’s hard to do because everyone is so excited to hear the finished product by the time I’m wrapping things up, and I get swept up in the excitement!