I’ve worked with found sounds (field recordings, samples) as a musician for many years. I think what has mainly interested me has been the ability to achieve a complex counterpoint by layering a sample in a composition. I’ve personally dubbed this intrinsic quality to layering samples with written music “organic counterpoint.” Of course there are applications where the form is all samples, such as 90’s hip hop. While that genre is mostly void of harmonic polyphony, unless included in a sample, it is almost always rhythmically complex, particularly if you remove the drum loop that generally serves as an anchor. In modern production, almost every digital recording application has tools (pitch shift, rhythm quantization) specifically tailored for working with samples, which illustrates just how common samples are in music today. To a large extent, however, the more the sample gets mangled and processed, the less opportunity for counterpoint it provides. At a certain point of processing it loses its unique complexity, which makes it easier to work with a lot of samples of course, but diminishes what it can offer an audience of deep listeners.
I’ve been listening to some of the music I remember growing up with and what I associate with my parents’ generation. Johnny Clegg has been playing repeatedly at my apartment while I cook.
I’ve also been listening to Silvio Rodriguez and crying which has been very cathartic:
These past few weeks I have been struggling with mental health issues and trying some sonic meditations and deep listening practices have produced interesting results. I tried surrounding myself in very busy places to drown out some of the internal monologue that’s been running through my head. I walked around midtown and the cacophony of sounds was dizzying, but strangely comforting at this time. Surrounded by so much sonic stimulus I could choose what to focus on and attempt to hone my focal listening skills. I sat outside a jazz club on 44th street and attempted to parse through sounds and recognize individual instruments and the breath of the instruments being played. At times I would just let traffic sounds wash over me. I also tried to generate the sounds of jazz through vocalizing. I make a mean mouth trumpet if I may say so myself!
I hope everyone is having a nice, relaxing Sunday afternoon/early evening (even if it is cold and cloudy outside).
I want to share my Deep Listening Spotify playlist with you all. I find that it is pleasant to listen to on dark days such as this, when I am trying to get some work done, or when I’m simply trying to relax and meditate. I am obsessed with this one song in particular titled Informant. The artist, Kara-Lis Coverdale, is a Canadian composer, musician and producer based in Montreal. If you’re into, I highly recommend listening to the entire album. All of her music is just so beautiful.
Furthermore, I am also currently obsessed with this new mix my friend Simona (DJ Cremosa) put out on Soundcloud for Valentines Day: Soft Serve Vol. 1.
I’m gonna start working on my own Deep Listening/club mix to share with all of you soon.
For your listening pleasure, here is a list of my top 5 favorite of my Soundcloud DJ mixes, all by womyn, femme, queer, qtipoc and/or trans identified artists.
The sound of crickets slowed down to sound like an angelic choir 🙂