For a select handful of embarrassingly talented artists, this became a way to extend the vision of their song or album in to the visual world. Peter Gabriel and Bowie both come to mind. They made the most of video as "art", extending productions well beyond the Lip Sync To Your Record In False Concert format.
These days you still need the music and something to look. For the internet. This requires me to be a film maker (lower case letters) as well as a composer. Making video is not something that I really enjoy, but I do think it can be instructive. The layout of my studio came about in a haphazard, and always evolving way. It was inspired by classic science fiction movies of the 50s and 60s, but it has also proved to best possible way for me to work. Standing. I like to pace and listen from different places in the room. I realized pretty early on that it also had potential as a live video setting.
Gorgon Hat is the first live in the studio video in over a year. Some creative log jams had to be solved to finish the last album and the time finally arrived to get back in the studio and do some exploring. The piece is a result of early experiments with the SynthCube 266 module. This is a clone of a Buchla design which produces a variety of random control voltages. I thought that it would have a lot of potential with my way of working. I was right. I started looking at some videos on YouTube and trying to assemble what little information there is on the internet in order to understand how the thing works. Eventually I fell back on my old plugging-things-in-to-other-things approach to sound design. I had some interesting sounds happening with the modular. The next step was to make the generative patch on the EMW-200. That patch is the back ground that glues the piece together. The final element was setting up the RCA beat frequency oscillator though the guitar pedals.
This is the way I generally do things. I make one sound element at a time, taking care that all of the elements work together. Once I have some sounds that I find interesting, I play with them. Sometimes for hours, sometimes days. There may be some tweaking along the way as I discover unruly frequencies that crop up as a result of using random voltages. There is an element of chance and a great deal of deliberate intention that goes in to each of these live recordings.
If I am working on a track for an album I use the same process. However, once the sounds are recorded I will edit them and move them around or recombine them in various ways. I like to leave the live video recordings alone. Mostly. For this video I only adjusted some volumes that got out of hand and added PSP Spring Box and EMT 244/245 to two of the tracks. There was a total of three stereo tracks on the performance.
The result is Gorgon Hat. It's dense, at times bordering on total chaos. It perfectly reflects my state of mind at the time of it's creation. The month of February was an especially trying time. It is interesting when I get these sounds rattling around in my head. At some point the compulsion to get them out of my head takes over.
It's such a relief.
This piece features the RCA beat frequency oscillator, played live through effects pedals (including Strymon El Capistan). The EMW-200 is playing through a Lexicon Vortex unit. The modular synth is being controlled by the SynthCube 266 SOU and clocked with a Krisp 1 LFO. The other modules in the patch are the STG Soundlabs Sea Devils filtering a DotCom Q106, Analog Crafstman Gristlizer filtering the SSL DDVCO. Both Oscillators are routed through the Krisp 1 Ring Mod. The modular patch is mixed through the STG mixer on it's way to the Yamaha AW-1600 recorder. PSP Audioware plugs used in the mixing stage included the Spring Box and their excellent new EMT 244/245 reverbs.
No Gorgons were harmed in the making of this picture.