Snowfall, 3.13

“Snowfall, 3.13” is a supplementary track to Sounds in Slower Motion, which I briefly described in an entry last evening. Of the three collected tracks, “Snowfall” is perhaps the calmest and most ambient, and I hope that those who enjoy the work of artists like Thomas Koner will find this work enjoyable. Following is a brief description of its production.

The inspiration behind this piece was a recent snowfall that hit Evanston, beginning last night and continuing into my writing this today. I’ve found from living in an area affected by snow that a very distinct atmospheric sound emerges from periods of snowfall. It was my hope to supplement this natural ambience with tones created on a synthesizer, which creates a humming sound against a backdrop of noise I personally found relaxing, perhaps almost meditative to listen to.

Setup was relatively simple. I placed a microphone near the window to record the ambient noise from outside, including a gentle wind. Rather than running these sounds directly through a synthesizer like I did in “New York, New York,” I instead used the synthesizer as a layer of sound in the mixer. The microphone and synthesizer provide two of the three audio channels, the third being an effect pedal that contributed feedback to further incorporate texture. This being said, I’ve reduced the role of the delay pedal considerably, and most of the wavelike sound motions are produced by modulating soundwaves on the synthesizer, which again play a relatively minimal role. My goal here is to produce a more consistent sound that oscillates less and continues to develop gradually, in the spirit of Eliane Radigue’s “Islas resonantes,” a piece that inspired many of my later tape pieces, particularly those in Sounds in Slower Motion.

To reiterate a credit to Justin, his lending me a tape recorder has had a significant influence on the music I’ve been making for the past couple weeks. I’m returning the tape recorder, leaving a tape deck with a broken record function, so I don’t plan to return to tape compositions for some time, focussing instead on recording experiments with solo piano pieces, and returning to solo pieces for synthesizer that don’t involve speed manipulations.

I’m hoping to write a more detailed post on the strategies I’ve used behind these tape pieces, and I’m very thankful for the enthusiasm that’s been expressed by those who’ve kindly listened to the pieces.


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