This new material marks a departure from the music produced many years ago, in that it will make no use of synthesizers or sequencers. Although electronic instruments are capable of producing increasingly interesting and wonderful sounds, I no longer have the patience for or interest in wading through dense menu structures or weaving patch cords in order to create a palette. I would rather find physically vibrating objects that have an immediately pleasing sonic and tactile quality, and use my time to enjoy the complex, random, richly animated sounds that they produce to create music.
There is no overarching plan to this project, besides a basic desire to reconnect with the joy of interacting with a physical instrument. The foundations of these new pieces will be created by recording a variety of acoustic instruments, then developing, recompiling, transforming those recordings in the digital realm, using modern tech to create an aesthetic that is more closely aligned with electronic music.
The current intention is to release each new track as and when it is complete. I do not know how long the process will take, and it may be that this piece turns out to be a one-off, as the purchase of an old upright piano will likely steer the music down another route. All I know is that for the first time in 20+ years, after numerous false starts trialling numerous technologies, this process feels right, and that I am looking forward to hearing whatever it produces.
This first track started as an experiment, a first attempt at using microphones, in significantly less than ideal conditions. The takes were noisy, and in need of much EQ. Any pro, or competent amateur, would have discarded them. However, there was something in the quality of the snippets of recorded music that kept drawing me back, encouraging me to try to work them into an acceptable form.
Ten months passed between the first notes being struck and this version emerging. It isn't 100%, has rough edges, but it has a pleasing quality, took me in a direction that I hadn’t anticipated, and many lessons were learned during the process of creating it that can be applied to subsequent pieces.
Yes, the track is 'quiet' when compared to much other available music. This is principally a result of the previously mentioned deficiencies in the recording environment and my lack of expertise in dealing with them. I didn't really know what I was doing, and so the recordings had way too much energy in the mid range. Once most of this was EQ'd out, a very weak signal remained. It might have been possible to boost the volume of the final master by using tools such as compression, but this would have squashed all of the life out of it. I decided to retain the dynamics, and leave the listener to play with the volume dial. Sorry, will do better next time.
What is the significance of the number 38 ? In total, 37 tracks were published as a series of collections between 1994 and 2001 (not including three or four tracks featured on compilations). I have always struggled to 'name' the music, and so it seemed simplest just to continue the numbering sequence. You are free to imagine a title that makes sense, if necessary.