I’m spending time from home quite a bit lately. That’s uncommon and a new behaviour recently. And I’m not sure it’s beneficial in the present form. I’m used to very strict routines to make my daily life function. Before the stroke it was a necessity to work for the time I needed to create music, after the stroke I have to work to create a meaningful life. I have to prioritise.
I had a mentor about 15 years ago while I made my living as a systems developer and programmer. At the time the company I worked for had a mentor program. It was up to me to find a mentor but we got some basic guidelines, did work shops and got pointers concerning starting a mentor ship during a two day conference.
My mentor was a very interesting person at a high ranking position in a big bank. I approached him with an email after we met briefly in a meeting at the bank regarding a project I was involved in. He struck me as very “non-banky” during the meeting and that caught my interest. Anyway, he was reluctant at first but after two lunches with rewarding conversations we both agreed it was worth a shot.
We met maybe 6 or 7 times during the coming year. We discussed many things and met at different places. We took turns suggesting the topic for our discussions and deciding where we would meet. What really stuck with me to this day were one particular meeting. It was about “time”, suggested by him.
As preparation for this “time”-meeting we both read the same book (the title alludes me now). I read it carefully and was well prepared. The meeting took place outdoors. By daylight we met up with with backpacks, hot tea and sandwiches. Then we walked straight into a nature reserve for maybe half an hour. No words were spoken. We sat down, started to drink our tea and exchanged sandwiches (his proposition). His first words for the day, apart a polite “good morning” when we met up, was:
– How would you live your life as a person who defines time as non-linear?
The question completely baffled me. I stayed quiet for over a minute trying to get my head right. I don’t remember want I finally said. Probably some pretentious nonsense. What I do remember from that somewhat chilly morning, was the concept of “uninterrupted time”. I kept it as a gem and evolved the concept to one of my life’s cornerstones ever since.
Time is granted to all of us. Uninterrupted time isn’t. Time is shared in one way or the other. Uninterrupted time isn’t. Time can be offered. Uninterrupted time won’t be.
“Need some time alone?”, “Need some time for yourself?”. This is not the same thing as uninterrupted time at all. And it is not socially acceptable to express your need to be alone for any long period (days, weeks, months). Hours is okay. An afternoon perhaps. Or a weekend. But under those circumstances you’re expected in one way or the other to be reachable. That is one of the profound ideas for a functioning society. It’s based primarily on different kinds of social interaction.
I bet you never been offered uninterrupted time. I haven’t and haven’t heard of anyone. Claiming uninterrupted time is not socially acceptable. Because it means a degree of isolation, the opposite of social interaction. Uninterrupted time is something that you have to conquer. Uninterrupted time are carefully planned escapes from reality. Uninterrupted time is a self claimed and conquered bend in a shared timeline.
Uninterrupted time is something that you can only experience on your own. You can’t share uninterrupted time with anyone. You have to, in one way or the other, isolate yourself and your senses and put the world behind bars. No cellphone, no internet, no company, no distractions. No ticket back. Until you decide it’s time to return.
Claiming uninterrupted time is seen upon as an intimidating statement. Uninterrupted time is interacting with yourself and spending time with only yourself. It is often a frightening experience the first couple of times. It takes practice, understanding, trust and guts. But over time you get used to yourself and you might even start liking all parts of yourself. I did.
Why don’t you try a first step? Leave your cellphone at home. Make yourself unreachable for 20 minutes. Walk out the door. No one but you knows your whereabouts. On a walk round the block. Just you and your self. It’s a start.
I put enormous value into silence. Both in my music, I consider silence the most treasured part. And in my living environment as well. I always prefer silence. I seek silence all the time.
Lately I’ve been having thoughts about the meaning of the concept of silence. And I’m beginning to question it as an antonym to sound. I don’t think that is the case. I begun to listen to my music and other music with the notion of “unsilence” rather than sound. Sound is not absence of silence. Absence of silence is “unsilence”. Silence is the prevailing state. Not sound. The unsilence is the disrupted order or the dominating state in life and in the environment that surrounds each and everyone of us, which is silence.
My string quartet is now divided into two different pieces. They split up as it was the most natural thing. So now there is the string quartet with Gestrument and Borderlands, resting for about three weeks now and on the other hand FieldScaper and VirtualANS had my complete attention the past three weeks.
Followers of my posts are aware of the field recordings I made this past winter. As I set out on my forest wanderings I took pictures, videos and made field recordings. At the time I had an idea about making a short film about these wa(o)nderings and naturally spent time collecting material. I would write a score and publish everything on YouTube. The basic idea is not so bad, but I wasn’t sure how to go about doing it once I had the material.
I saved all the field recordings in AudioShare and labelled them for future use. As I worked with the string quartet I suddenly realised one evening that I was dealing with two pieces. And that was the answer to why I didn’t get anywhere. So I split them up and found the idea of what to make with the field recordings.
I used one in connection with the string quartet, the sound of a cross country skier passing by. I had it as a scene in FieldScaper and worked with the three oscillators. The idea was to use it as a soft rhythm. And as such it worked very well.
Then I by mistake started oscillator number three and had previously forgot to save the scene. What I heard was the original field recording. VirtualANS was running and I immediately understood that things had to change.
Following this I continued my journey with VirtualANS. The app is not new to me. I know it’s powerful but not very intuitive and has a gazillion of setting combinations. I looked into it a bit (2 years ago, if I remember correctly) and created some good stuff. So for the past three weeks I’ve been living with FieldScaper and Virtual ANS. I use these with AUFX:Space and AltiSpace, all collected in AUM. That’s the entire setup.
My project, which is pretty well assigned in my head, is creating soundscapes with the field recordings from my winter wanderings. I’ve been influenced by the fact that I’ve read and published the first 100 posts on my blog concerning the creation of Morphogenetic Fields (still 170 posts left to publish about that). It was 2012 and I can trace back many of the things I’m doing today and can evaluate things I think about today, from that period. As well as my workflow and mind set. All in all a very interesting experience and I look forward to reading and edit the following 170 posts that stretch to September 2013 before publishing them.
The soundscape project is dubbed “Winter” and will consist of several soundscapes using FieldScaper and VirtualANS. I’ve mentioned the field recording with the cross country skier. Turns out I have several interesting recordings of my steps walking in snow. Soft snow, frozen snow, with cracking ice beneath…I’ve listened to all of them and they sound interesting to me. And they will probably stay as is. I like the authentic sound of winter.
The soundscapes and the continuous publishing of my blog posts will be my focus for the coming months. The string quartet will take a rest and I’ll get back to it on a regular basis this winter. Have to keep my focus on getting my life to function in a pleasant manner and keep up my rehabilitation.
My goal is to publish the complete Creative Diary (formerly known as Music Diary) 2012-2016 on niclastamas.com. The project is much bigger than I ever imagined. It will take time. My estimates says at least one year.
First phase is easy. The first 270 posts about Morphogenetic Fields have been published once so I just need to proof read, edit and publish. From 2013-2016 there are about 200 pages worth of content that needs to be proof read, edited and published. The text must be copy/pasted into new blogposts with appropriate dates, pictures must be added, links created and upon all of this the needed SEO to keep the Google spiders happy. To tell the truth I don’t have the foggiest how to even start this phase.
2016 Week 30
One of the true benefits for me after acquiring a permanent brain damage after my second stroke is that time has slowed down. I have to do one thing at the time. There is no more multitasking for me. Ever. My brain can’t handle that.
Working with my music gives me some advantages I didn’t have before the last stroke. An important and crucial habit nowadays are resting. I have to save the energy that my brain lets me spend. Excess of direct light, uncontrolled sounds, sudden changes in planning or stress eats up energy like Pacman.
So when I take my two hour daily rest each afternoon I wear a sleep mask and my headphones. It’s dark and I control the sound source. So I can listen to my music and get the needed rest at the same time.
The soundscapes are expanding by themselves. I work with FieldScaper and VirtualANS. I’m striving for a coherent inherent pulse. I inherited the idea of using my own field recordings for this purpose with my work on the string quartet. The sound of cross country skiers passing by is the pulse of Part 1. The pulse for Part 2 is probably going to be the sound of my hiker boots crushing thin layers of ice on small puddles.
That recording is now in FieldScaper along with the sound of woodpeckers and birds. I slowed it down just a tiny bit and increased the delay. That creates an atmosphere of a vast space, though it was recorded in a snowy landscape and originally has a really damp sound.
For the sound of crushing thin ice, I created a delay from one of the church presets in AltiSpace. This transforms a very sharp short sound to a voluminous sound, within a confined space. The sharpness is still there. Giving it an audible obvious pulse.
l tried some Alchemy on things from the Luftrum Ambient bank. I’m using halftone steps in different combinations depending on the patch at hand. I lowered the VirtualANS volume a little bit. And when I turned if off the whole piece fell apart. VirtualANS is the foundation for all parts. It’s the brick and mortar of this piece.
AUM is fantastic to bring it all together. I prefer live mixing for recording. It makes room for those rare moments when everything just comes together. Rare islands of sublime feeling surrounded by a sea of half wit mistakes.
After listening extensively the past couple of days to both part 1 and 2, it’s Wednesday. What I had in mind today was finding something to complement my soundscape. I’ve tried Alchemy, but unfortunately I get some annoying subtle stuttering, even after restarting my iPadPro.
My choice today and for another couple of days will be iSymphonic. Will explore different orchestral and choir settings. Mostly as a way of finding a theme and suitable chord progressions. I’m using the “tunnel effect” at maximum and set the Harman tuning to get the thirds and fifths as pure as possible.
Switched to writing it myself in Notion. I think it’s a good way to keep evolving to write the notation myself. I’m not used to scoring music. But I had Notion for quite awhile and I did write by hand 35 years ago and studied basic composition two years. But that was 30 years ago. Have to learn this again. With Notion I can use an entire orchestra.
I made a 40 second theme for strings and horn in Notion, exported the file to iCloud, took it down in AudioShare and made AudioShare a source in AUM and added Altispace as an effect. It sounds really great. Now I can record it back to AudioShare and from there, open it in NanoStudio and assign a TRG pad for the sample. This is really going to be a major step forward for me.
(I switched to iOS for composing music completely in 2009. From August 2013 to April 2016, my Creative Journal was distributed as a monthly e-mail newsletter. During 2017 my complete Creative Journal (2012-2016) will be published as blog posts at niclastamas.com. At present I’ve published the first 100 posts of 170 from 2012 about the creation of the soundscape Morphogenetic Fields. In 2016 I’m working on a string quartet and a series of soundscapes using my field recordings from my winter forest wanderings)
New post 3
The work with Virtual ANS.