"An arbitrary succession of more or less irritating sounds"

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Brother, can you spare two hours?

You’d like to think a more remarkable recording than Kenneth Kirschner’s mammoth delicacy 7/17/10 will emerge this year. Or you would if you shared my greed for the unheard, the next thing...

But it almost certainly won’t – what could live with the florid bravado, the bonkers impracticality, the sheer, willful provocation of a track that wants no less than 125 minutes from you? Especially one this other-worldly & skittering, the glassily beautiful, somehow tidal sound of the celestial spheres tipped on their side & swung slowly, deliberately round the room - like a thurible trailing a kind of sonic incense.

Below is a brief, lo-res extract hacked out of the opus - a kind of violation of its singular spirit, admittedly, but also a pragmatic taster (& an aggregation necessity...). Still, you really should find a spare 293MB & the small matter of 2 hours, 5 minutes & 10 seconds for a full immersion: when you commit time to it those moments (around 1:42:06 & especially 1:55:18) where the skittering spheres begin a final return & rushing after the piece's vast trek across darker tones & moods summon real power.

"I really had the sense the piece "wanted" to be that long, so I decided to put my doubts aside and let it win," Kirschner says. "The piece is really about that slow transformation of subtle little parameters. It's very hard to come up with decision criteria for what to cut where. I certainly did take out some stuff that was downright bad, and made a few more little trims here and there. But I really felt like it was resistant to being cut down, which is why it ultimately got so out of control."

Background: "Back in May, I sat down and sampled a bunch of glassware found in my apartment -- drinking glasses, storage containers, basically any kitchenware made of glass. These sounds initially ended up in my piece 5/25/10, which resulted principally from the systematic misuse of a granular pitch shifter/harmonizer (Melda Production's very nice little MMultiBandHarmonizer). This piece ended up being a bit of a disappointment to me, though, because out of 44 initial fragments, only 4 ultimately came together to form a coherent narrative. Thus I wanted to make some use of all those remaining sounds, and they ended up being the foundation for 7/17/10," he explains.

"I fed them into Audiomulch, layering multiple sounds together while running them through granulators and delays (specifically Audiomulch's Nebulizer and UAD's Cooper Time Cube). Using Audiomulch's Metasurface, I then did a series of very slow morphs through a large number of parameters on all the various effects, and it's the slow transformation of the sounds through those parameter spaces that makes up the piece. As always for me, the raw sounds were then moved into Digital Performer for editing, where the final piece was put together."

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