This happened when I loaded two old samples (the drum and wah'ed guitar) into an app for the monome called mlrv that lets me jump to any point on the sample and play back bits of by pressing buttons. Each row on the grid controller represents the sound wave which will play from left to right and then loop back to the start. I played around with this for a while before adding in the synthesizer bit from an iPhone app called Bebot (which I highly recommend). Once I had noodled around on this for a while I picked a segment I liked and started chopping and cutting it up. I didn't start calling it Pinball until getting some distance from it but the bouncing video arcade feel of this recording always reminds me of old pinball machines.
This piece started with some field recording of a very talented musician and drummer named Joel Zobrist. Joel plays drums at my church occasionally and always blows me away with his loose, improvised, immediate style. I caught him one day before he tore down his kit and asked him to just play a bit. I recorded a few samples on my phone, one of which is the main loop featured here.
From there, I used the monome app called Polygome which allows you to play a collections of arpeggiated notes in a given scale and to vary the pattern and pitch based on which buttons you play on the grid controller. I used an electric piano software instrument to play the notes output by polygome.
I really enjoyed the contrast between the loose swing of the drums and the mechanical precision of the notes but I wanted to add more humanity to it so I pulled out a ukulele, threw an old Wolensank microphone into the sound-hole and started improvizing. I kept a few loops and sequenced them within the song. As it goes on I began applying more layers of polygome, some double the tempo building urgency before they go careening off the rails, stuttering and failing through a beat-repeat effect.
This piece is really all about the creation of sonic space. I was playing around with a synth sound that reminded me of the synth sample on Radiohead's "Idioteque," chords morphing into one another as notes slide independently.
I rarely sing in my electronic music but occasionally I get so into the sound/space that I've built that I find myself humming or singing notes in spite of myself. This time I picked up the same cheap mic, ran it through an amp simulator with a bit of reverb and started recording layers of harmonies (and dissonances!) along with the droning synth. One friend said it sounded like moose mating calls. The drum track is made up of entirely of sounds recorded from beating on guitars in one way or another. This came last.
This is another piece composed of old guitar recordings chopped up and resequenced through mlrV on the monome. Ashtabula is a street near my house. The word just always has such a lovely internal rhythm.