Friday, 24 August 2012

The HS TPS Report 3

Hello and welcome to the Hatcham Social weekly TPS Report

Weekly. Cool shit. From us. To you. Argue, agree, hate, love, share, block, destroy, follow.

Here is a remix we did of the song South Pacific by the band Is Tropical. You can download it. We used a bunch of Commadore 64 samples and some tape delays, it was fun.

On/Off Music

Have been thinking about how working on computers making music effects the outcomes, how it creates space in a different way from Tape or other more limited/enclosed recording mediums. Here are some thoughts:  

Computers work upon a binary system of 0’s and 1’s, on and off commands. Written into complex languages that enable multiples upon multiples of commands to build large levels and seemingly linear spaces. Although with the complexities and possibilities within modern computers, a fact that they seem as part of every process as a hand or a knife, the basis of using computers does seem to fall back into On or Off.

Let me explain what I mean and how it seems, to me, to effect the process and product of music. To start with think about when we listen to Brigette Fontaine ‘Coma a la Radio’. When we listen to a piece like this we know it was recorded onto a tape, tape uses a linear process of recording information and works pretty much by holding memory shapes in rust of voltages representing sounds, these are continuous and limited in the tape length. It is always recording something, or at least always has something on it, the tape exists whether you record or not, so you can be sitting with record on and then bring in your sounds and the sound of you not playing was also being recorded. It appears that with computer recording, although in essence this is possible (to work with computer DAWs -Digital Audio Workstations- as if ‘to tape’) it lends itself to work in a different manner - after all there is no track limit or start or end of the ‘tape’. So unless you strictly emulate the approach of tape based recording you end up recording (or editing) in and out of points of tracks. This is all fairly obvious to you I expect - yes its a computer, yes they are not linear in a ‘real’ sense.

It creates a music of On and Off points. Listen to Nicki Minaj for a perfect example of how this can be felt very audibly. It leads us to make music where things start and stop in very definite ways, where we know EXACTLY when something is starting and when the space it inhabits ‘disappears’ from the whole world of the song/track/whatever.

Obviously there are elements of the visual reliance that is very heavy, now that we can zoom in on any wave-form or bar-count and cut/edit/syncronise to our hearts content but I don’t want to go into that.

Little bubbles of non-existent realities emerge, composed out of numbers, into thin air and then, pop, pop, they are gone and the space never existed. 

I am not interested in whether this is better or worse, only that I find it worthy to think about when creating music, the way that the process can dictate so much and also how regimented you can become (which may be perfect for you) by sticking to a computer recording process. It is a very much On and Off soundscape.


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