RPM2016 : Berlin 7679

Since 2012 Ive been participating in The RPMChallenge, which is in informal challenge to make an albums worth of material in the days of February. The minimum limit is 10 songs or 35 minutes of music- I like these sorts of challenges, they help one think outside of box/ comfort zones because there isn’t the time to over think and its always a good excuse to try something different. There is a thing that I strongly believe in and thats to practice ones art, even if its not for release, even if one comes up with embarrassing rubbish (you dont have to release it!). The very business of going through the motions makes it much easier to come up with stuff rather than procrastinating,  which I’ve noticed to be mostly a negative effect on artists, producing a downward spiral of doing less/thinking less. Musical practice is much the same thing in my experience. I also avoid artificial things such as Pomodoro Technique and the like- too contrived, like much new-agey BS. The best means is get on with it- this might mean a structure such as jam something (record it)- analyse- compose (cut out the crap and replace with better; structures and content).

If you’re unfortunate enough to become completely blocked one way is to re-recreate a piece of music you feel very strongly about, this means get inside it, de-construct into essential components then build it, as your own. What this means is somewhere during the process you might discover something critical about how this music affects you- one can also do the same which something that you really hate, then see if you can find out where it pushes your buttons; go on to make your own improved version or understand more about your own listening.

So in the allotted time I managed 9 pieces and 62 minutes of music, 3 pieces were too weak to be developed beyond a certain point, once piece I dropped because it did not fit the narrative, another I abandoned due to developing a cold in the last week which bunged up my ears and pretty much halted all audio work, and that piece is not written down anywhere, its just in my head. Fortunately before the cold set it I had a fairly couple of intense sessions over a few long evenings and got all the corner pieces done, so by the third week I was only left with the shorter ones to finish off.

Before the gunging up of my ears, one track Potzdamn was done by playing my electric guitar directly into the external signal processor of the MS20 then using the famous pitch to CV converter, which is noted for generating some interesting results, whilst also using the original sound for processing- thus generating two signals, the processed guitar and the synthesizer pitch being derived from the same signal.

Other pieces make use of some of my spectralisation sounds from the EMU Virtuoso- in particular the modified Bass Clarinet sounds and chamber organ. I did a post about this here 


This is a concept album with a narrative driving all the content from the beginning to end, and there is a compositional aim in each of the pieces to express transformation, which is again part of the overall narrative of being on a journey and perhaps part of a process.












About stuartrussellcomposer

Composer/ sound artist. Electronic musician. Modern classical composer
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