This response has taken much longer than it should have. Partly, this is because I have been away for two weeks, visiting several cities in the United States and teaching at The Ohio State University (OSU). Your time, or more precisely your energy, is not your own when you travel. But I think a more important reason is that the task, and the relay we have been making over the last few tasks and responses, starting with Task 44, somehow seemed irrelevant to the real concerns of our life right now: the imminent birth of our child, worries about money, a painful conflict I’m having with my brother. As a result, I found it hard to focus on this task (and maybe I found it hard to do the others in the relay as well as I might have).
This extended to the actual creation of the materials needed to respond to the task, which was to make an audio score from the materials you generated in Response 47 (itself derived from a visual score created in Response 46). Make the audio score, you instructed, ‘from the two audio recordings I posted in Response 47, to be mixed with an additional audio recording that you make as part of your [United States] trip’. I gave a public talk on our project at OSU, and my plan had been to record the talk and Q&A but, to my intense irritation, I forgot. So Instead, with permission, I recorded a class on the OSU graduate seminar I’m convening with my friend Dana Renga, taught in this instance by Erik Scaltriti.
I started by trimming the three recordings into snippets in the GarageBand app on my laptop. I especially liked what could be heard as ‘instructional’ moments your recordings, and I tried to represent each of the voices on the OSU recording. But I struggled with the unfamiliar app and had to wait to get back to Horsens to move the snippets to Premiere Pro on my desktop, where I knew I could play more easily with the material. I decided to use a looped sample to give rhythmic order to the clips. In the absence of another parameter, I decided to keep the snippets in their rough sequence (though I then repeated some, as you’ll hear), even as I superimposed the three recordings (as it turned out, much of the OSU material was unusable).
The sample used is a famous one. It’s the catchy foundation of the band Len’s cryptic summer classic ‘Steal My Sunshine’ (1999), and comes from a piano break in the kitsch disco standard ‘More More More’ sung by Andrea True (1976). I went back to the original to get my sample, and looped it irregularly on Premiere Pro, then arranged the other recordings over the top. The looped sample is sort of apt, because it alludes to the contrast of male and female voices in ‘Steal My Sunshine’, which itself recalls the address of the man to the woman, and then her rebuttal, in the verses of ‘Don’t You Want Me’ by The Human League (1981). I don’t keep the male verse/female verse structure, but the agonistic encounter of voices, particularly gendered ones, is retained as a motif.
I could write more about the affordances of a familiar environment (Premiere Pro) and the extent to which the app participates in the creation of the piece. I will admit that my attempt to do digital disco is clumsy, rushed and naff, but in the end I had fun making it. And this fun seemed important given the anxious circumstances mentioned above. So, thanks for the task!
Here’s the ‘song’, which will form the basis of your next (and final?) project task, here.
Many thanks to the graduate students and faculty who attended the graduate OSU seminar on videographic criticism, most of whose voices feature in the ‘song’ above: Demetrio Antolini, Michela Bertossa, Lauren De Camilla, Lawrence Gianangeli, Ignasi Gozalo Salellas, Kevin Pementel, Luca Peretti, Dana Renga, Erik Scaltriti, Aleksandra Suslina, Fiona Ward, Enrico Zammarchi.