Firmation - Meri Leeworthy

I put out my first ever ‘official’ release today! Never before have I committed so much time to making a finished piece of music – I’ve always spontaneously put bits and pieces up on soundcloud and deleted them later when I look back and see all the issues with them. This time I went through a more extensive process of mixing and (AI) mastering – maybe a bit amateurishly but better and more carefully than I’ve ever done before.

This piece is all modular synths. I was so lucky to be commissioned to make it by the coolest place in my city, Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio - I’d really recommend you check them out if you get the chance. They have a really big collection of old and new gear and I got the chance to use whatever I wanted to make this. No pressure! I worked really hard on this - I originally composed it to be octophonic and presented it in March in full 8.2 surround sound, but in iso I’ve mixed it down to be stereo.

My process was very unstructured: essentially I made hours and hours of improvisational recordings on different instruments, and went through them later trying to find my favourite moments and somehow piece them together into a cohesive whole. It was hard to sustain this for a half an hour piece though – I went through a few iterations and really pained over the lack of ‘thematic integrity’ or whatever you would call it. In the end though I’m really proud of how it came together. I’d love to hear if this is similar or different to your process, or if you’ve had to find different techniques when working on a longer work. I’d be grateful for any thoughts, comments, feedback :heart:

Just for those interested, some of the significant sound sources I used:
Buchla: 200/e system
Verbos: Harmonic Oscillator, Bark Filter
Xaoc: Kamieniec
4MS: Spectral Multiband Resonator
Mutable Instruments: Rings, Clouds, Elements
Make Noise: Erbe Verb, Echophon, DPO, MMG
Intellijel: Rainmaker

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congratulations! i can’t wait to check this out.

a fellow melbournian here - thanks for the reminder to check out MESS :slight_smile:

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Thank you! and yes big recommend! It’s a great place to meet people too. I think they are reopening for a few people in the space at a time. Generally it’s great to just drop past during their opening hours and you can look around and chat to whoever is on staff, but with the restrictions maybe it’s best to wait a few months.

Just wanted to say I love the way this sounds, so much nice texture contrasts with the bowed and glassy sounds and the tiny little transient/textural stuff. The stereo space is also really interesting, wish I’d have been there to experience this in 8.2!

I’ve done the compile-from-archive stuff too for the longer releases/albums I’ve done. Looking back, I like the fact that the “theme” is more or less how I was feeling and what I was doing/dealing with at the time. Lots of interesting thoughts from people along these lines in this thread if you hadn’t seen it yet. Executing the modular album

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This is lovely! It gives me a feeling of the “mind” of a Didjeridu being infused into the electronics… hard to describe but it’s organic and meditative and time-bending…

Wonderfully psychedelic sounds!

Thanks for sharing this :om:

EDIT: So psyched to find this on Apple Music! I will definitely be recommending it to my Apple Music user friends…

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Thank you for these kind comments @jlmitch5 ! I think texture is a great word for the frame of mind/listening that I was using a lot. Thank you as well for that link, looking forward to reading through this thread. I’d even say that something about this process of listening to long recordings was for me inherently ‘textural’… anti-rhythms, almost anti-events in the search for sounds that can layer well and morph into each other.
8.2 was so interesting to work in. I ended up using ambisonics to do all the panning, which was a big help! I would recommend Envelop for Live if anyone who uses Ableton wants to try Ambisonics.

and thank you so much as well @eblomquist. I’m so glad it evokes spiritual things for you. I also really appreciate this word ‘time-bending’!! Again I wonder if it’s something about this way that i intuitively worked against having noticeable events in the music, that changes happen, but they happen subtly enough that you can switch your mind off and allow it to be unconscious?

Also I’m glad that you found it on Apple Music! I used distrokid to put it on those streaming platforms, a little unsure of who uses what.

Both of your words mean a lot to me and I’m very grateful.

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