A number of years ago I spent time working with software that took snippets of instrumentals called loops and combined them using software called Acid Music. The software makes it possible to layer and repeat these instrumental loops, altering their tempo and pitch as well as cutting them apart and re-arranging them. The result is a finished music track that you could probably describe more as the work of a producer than someone who wrote and recorded all the sounds.
Years ago I found and bought a CD containing various sound effects from the original Star Trek television series. When I began exploring using computers to produce tracks of music, I thought it would be fun to slip some of these sound effects into each track. Part of the fun of listening to these is finding out how many sound effects you can find and indentifying which ones they are. Some are obvious. Others trickier.
Haunted by Slow RealizationThe emotional feel of being stalked by an unavoidable and probably unpleasant thought or truth. The sound suggests entrapment in the grip of knowledge that reveals itself with gradually escalating tension.
NaviGaitThe mood of this puts me in the mind of someone fleeing, weaving and dodging in traffic. Or maybe this is the tune blaring in the car of a late night daredevil driver taking back roads in a hurry. This is the very first track I created using Acid Music software.
In PursuitI like the industrial percussive loop that drives through this entire track. In fact, this piece began with that slightly clanging loop and evolved into something with a nice rhythm and sound effects.
ProtocolThis piece feels somewhat more "digital" to me. It reminded me of a stream of bits arranged by one of many transmission protocols.
QuantaThis track was fun to put together and see the kinds of different loop sounds that could be made to work together.
SuperpositionIn quantum physics there is the notion of "superposition." Scientists are currently playing with this idea in a number of ways, perhaps the most intriguing of which is transporting photons through space. If successful, the eventual development of such a technology might lead to the transporters of Star Trek.
ContinuumAnother track in which I tried to bring together sounds of differing moods and energies.
MorphologyThis reminds me of the stages in our lives. We begin adrift in a dream where everything is wondrous and time seems to crawl. As puberty and teen years arrive, the insistent pulse of maturing hormones gets louder and louder. Then adult life kicks into high gear and the rat race gets underway. Eventually, we slip back into a slower, more dreamy period where age and retirement keep us company until the end.
Neollel LinesThis piece conjures thoughts about the incredible speed gains we must make to travel the stars. Physicists are dreaming several exotic schemes to warp space or navigate wormholes to get there. The name of this track is a splicing of the prefix "neo" into the word "parallel" to form a new word suggesting a forging of new paths and new geometries.
WavestreamThis piece makes me think about all the information spinning around the world at the speed of light, trains of switched data packets streaking through fiber optic railroad tracks. All our voices, all our numbers, all our pictures now engaged in a ceaseless dance of binary oscillations.
I've long believed that poetry only finds its most complete expression when it is heard rather than simply being read. Someone who has inspired me along these lines is spoken word artist Ken Nordine, whose "word jazz" combines the sound of his voice performing his words along with musical backdrops and sound effects.
A number of years ago, I undertook a project to create my own CD. I worked with composser David Maddux who not only recorded me reciting a number of my favorite poems but then composed original music to put behind them to create my own audible poetic experiences. Sadly, we only finished production on two tracks, but I'm glad to share them.