Check out the original track on the Baja Snake site.
Last summer, Kris and I went to David Byrne’s Playing the Building installation in Lower Manhattan, which consisted of an old organ rewired to trigger various mechanisms that play sounds off of architectural elements in the building. We recorded audio of us playing the building, which we remixed into a new musical composition for Day 1 of 4-in-4.
Remixing the Building, our reinterpretation of Byrne’s installation, is less a piece of music and more a soundscape portrait that at once scoffs at traditional notions of tonality and probes the turbid depths of human experience; those who experience it will never be the same. Roughly fashioned into three micromovements, the opening unrolls an atmospheric audio-palate onto which is grafted a slowly evolving series of events, each representing both the manifestation of a physical structure, and the emotional reaction of one’s lived experience within it. The second part introduces an unsettled urgency whose rhythmic kernel is the nonsensical babbling of a young child, conveying innocent, redemptive purity juxtaposed against a decrepit physical structure which had long been used but recently abandoned. With this musical patchwork having been established, a series of lyrical melodies based on an F-B-C progression strives upward in a representation of humankind’s elemental ambition to become god. A limping offbeat invokes the image of Wilford Brimley-esque geriatric exhaustion, ultimately giving way to a dissatisfied sigh of resignation. Silence is abruptly shattered by an angry cacophany, in what listeners will recognize as a rudely conceived false ending. This coda is short lived, however, as even the last gasps of strength mustered by humanity have failed to forestall the ultimate outcome of existential failure. The final stab of sound is less a dying breath, and more the lifeless noise of a flinching corpse. This score leads us to consider the brevity and meaningless of life, and the futility of our naive attempts to assert ourselves against the cruel machinations of an indifferent cosmos.
4-in-4 is a group event based on the New York University ITP resident researchers’ project 7 in Seven and the ITP student project 5-in-5, both of which took place in 2008. The premise goes something like this:
Do a creative project every day for four straight days, starting Monday, January 12th, 2009.
Projects must be completed in a day, so they need to be as compact as they are creative.
Each project needs a name and documentation posted by the end of the day. It should be a stand-alone accomplishment.
Elizabeth and I teamed up again to work on our audio pieces for Comm Lab this week.Â Although we did record audio from the streets of NY together for last week’s assignment, we decided not to use any of it and instead decided to choose a pressing socio-political theme of the current economic “crisis.”Â I took photos and recorded audio from an anti-bailout protest on Wall Street last month.Â We were particularly attracted to some snippets from a speech given by the charismatic looking gentleman pictured above.Â We also used samples of other protesters chanting slogans, and put everything over a beat that I composed.Â In some amazing coincidence, almost all of our samples fit over the beats at 109 BPM.Â Only one sample of chanting protesters had to be slightly stretched in Audacity to fit the tempo.
The danceable audio anger that resulted from our musical collaborations reminds me a little bit of the Muppets doing N.W.A. And for further musical explorations relating to pigs, I suggest NIN’s Piggy and March of the Pigs.
We used several applications to make the piece. We cut up the audio in Fission, a commercial software for simple cutting. It is really usable. The beats were composed in iDrum…. We used Audacity to change the length of some of the audio pieces so that they all had the same beat. Then we assembled the song in Garage Band.