Washing machine

As promised, I have Actual Sounds today. Starting the project off right, yes I am! Let’s see how I continue…

Firstly, I realised today that yesterday’s work had resulted in about 2’30” of piece, while we’re only supposed to be writing 1-minute miniatures for my Sound Art class. Whoops! But actually, I think this was a good thing. Today I’ve gone back over what I’d done and – as to be expected – some of it worked well, other bits felt clunky and directionless. So I took the bits I liked and condensed and pruned and did general topiary on it until I ended up with this:

First things first. Yes, I know this is rather rough, and it’s not at a level I’d really consider making a track on the album, but we’ve had restrictions placed on us:

  1. We can only use the recordings we made 2 weeks ago at Morley College (about 15 minutes of class time to wander the halls of the college)
  2. We can cut these up and apply some fades but no other cleaning up, effects, EQ, time-stretching, whatever is allowed. The idea is to get used to working with sound and thinking about breaking sounds up before we start tinkering with turning them into something new
  3. We can layer

and, as I mentioned yesterday, I have been unable to stop myself from adding in some volume automation.

The kind of metallic edge to some of the sound around the 32″ mark isn’t actually an effect but seems to be being caused by the close proximity of two copies of the same sound layered over one another. I liked it so I left it 🙂

So I think this is what I’m going to be taking in to class on Thursday. I believe we’re going to be recording some new sounds then. Not sure yet whether the plan is to layer them in to this first draft or start over now that we have an idea of what sort of sounds we’re enjoying working with.

I also did some fresh recording today. I was going to go into London, but that turned out to be a pointless idea, so I stayed home and was delighted to realise that the sound of our washing machine on its spin cycle (1200rpm in case you’re curious) was interesting enough that I felt I didn’t need to leave the house and go out in the coooooooooooolllllllld.

I made two recordings and also messed about a bit with EQ on one of them, and made my first ever experiment with Logic’s Flex time feature, which I’ve been meaning to investigate for a while. This was the result on a small patch of spin cycle:

I’m really liking it. Not sure yet what I’m going to do with it, although I must say I am VERY tempted to follow Pierre Henry’s lead and see if I can do an entire album out of washing machine sounds, but I already have some recording plans that have nothing to do with washing machines (current plans involve goats and Pride and Prejudice)…

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