Monday, February 05, 2007

A Composition Journal, Part 4

January 21

Made a few changes to "The Freedom of Captured Light" this morning. Returning to the
third-- and the first finished-- version, made some EQ changes to tame the hiss and rumble, making sure to keep the overall tonal coloration.
Next, I added complexity by doubling--then tripling-- the whole piece in separate tracks, panning and time-shifting (not by much) each track to create a sense of spaciousness and transparency.
And now this piece has come newly alive.



Morning reading : Cold Mountain Poet. A force of nature; humanity almost, but not quite, subsumed in rock, mountains, rivers, pines. (winds and waters.)
These poems, in David Hinton's deep and powerful translations (MOUNTAIN HOME: THE WILDERNESS POETRY OF ANCIENT CHINA) are having an effect on my musical composition. Or am I just riding a wave of synchronicity in my inner winter life right now?

Coffee, work on editing yesterday's two reviews for DUSTED. A quiet house for a while, so I took advantage and vacuumed floors.

Settled into some late-morning work on CAPTURED LIGHT: recorded glass bowls , struck with sticks. The sound made me think of bare rock beneath my feet. I treated the recordings with rolled-off old-time radio EQ, made a few various cuts and copies , then placed them within the mix of the most recent , composite, version of the entire piece. The bowls have a close-up sound that reminds me of a footpath, and perhaps that up-close-ness adds some welcome human scale/perspective as it wanders, unfolds within the big-sky, wide- horizon of sound that is predominant in the composition.

Hot bath, a beer. Reading in Holbrook's 1939 biography of Ethan Allen. An entertaining and engaging read, written in a sly and energetic "Yankee" voice.
Later, watching the sky change, the light move, I listen again to "The Ineffable Freedom of Captured Light ." I hear now that perhaps there should be some steel guitar early in the piece--a glimpse of blue as distant allure-- sliding in with major 7th blossoming, entering, reverb-ed for sense of distance, on the left--far left..

Now the sky has gone from blue to striations of violet--then a last blush of rose captured in high windows of high towers at Vermont College. The evergreens are almost black: spruces straight and tall; white pines caught stilled in what looks like mid-motion-- splay, sway, wave...
Dusk falling. I slipped off for a short winter's day nap.

Rising. Up and at 'em. Started a white bean stew.
Some work tonight on "captured light..", adding steel entrances as early hints of blue.
Also some EQ, scooping out bass mud accrued by multi-tracking.

Up at 6:30. Sub-zero again. Listening to latest version of "light", I think it's as good as I can make it. That is, it is what it is.
This piece really does go well with watching sunrise or sunset play out against the winter sky. The composition is 20 minutes and 50 seconds long. Maybe I should offer the listener instructions to begin playing the piece 20:50 before sunrise or sunset, and to look out a window while he or she listens.

You can listen here: