ceramic vs. automatic
ceramic vs. automatic

ceramic vs. automatic

Status
in progress
#
publish date
Jun 9, 2021
last edit
Jun 12, 2021 8:51 PM

symmetry between action and deliberattion

//experiment with sounds sourced from accidents, first takes, non-deliberate placements, and serendipity. yielding compelling results from non-deliberate structures, directions, and mixes. to be a light arbiter throughout the creation process. An unmoving mover. a new installation of a creative operating system. to feel like a listener and a composer during composition.

vs. to be surgical...fine tuned...

// here are always balancing acts a composer must deliberate. I didn't let the song carry for twenty minutes. I notched out painful resonant frequencies. And I outsourced the mastering process to fellow artist and engineer Taylor Deupree to get his ears on it, hit certain objective standards, and ultimately have the final master sound the best it can.Thus, there seems to be a fine balance between automaticity and conscious sculpting. Any steep pivot towards one end may lead to diminishing returns. Too little control and the song becomes a hot soup of chaos and confusion. Too much control and the music starts to taste like medicine that only appeases the hunger of the body but not the longing of the soul.there lies careful symmetry between automaticity and deliberation in reality.

//not knowing how it is arms move

Through this process, I have learned that the term "composer" is misleading. The entire concoction of words we use as artists to describe ourselves--creators, makers, designers, players-- gives credence to only one side of the coin. How can I call myself a painter if I don't even know how it is I move my arm across space?

'

One of the concepts explored in Alex Garland's film Ex Machina is automatic creation. The scene where Nathan and Caleb debate consciousness and free will leads to Nathan showing Caleb a painting by artist Jackson Pollock.

There appears to have been careful symmetry between automaticity and deliberation that yielded compelling results in Pollock's works. This seemed alluring to me, and a steep departure from my usual, surgical mode of making music.

Testing this process led to the birth of terminal_. Inside this project are sounds sourced from accidents, first takes, non-deliberate placements, and serendipity. In fact, the very first sound was born out of an error in another project. Not only are the sounds and their placements non-deliberate, but so are the structure, direction, and mix. I was quite simply a light arbiter throughout the process. An unmoving mover. This represented a completely new installation of my mental operating system.

During this development, I felt more like a listener than a composer. And because I do not fully know the ins and outs of every element, you could not ask me to list the usual descriptives of a song, such as meter, tempo, key, or techniques employed. Not only would I not know, but it would also feel alien to assess this project within those frameworks. I am very much in constant revelation as I listen to this track, as I would with any piece of music made by someone else.

In the way I see cars emerge in and out of my consciousness on the highway without my effort, I feel the same way with every layer in this project. One can construe the sounds of a busy highway as a beautiful symphony of non-deliberate drones, noise, textures, and atonal harmony. This track feels like a cloud moving through space, with infinite pathways it could take, yet each path noble and right in its own way. There is an element of seeing the validity in all things.

I wish to operate on this mode of automaticity more. And perhaps a part of me, and all of us, already are. Imagine if you had to consciously attend to every function of your body. Imagine bearing the responsibility of healing your bleeding gums or creating a blood clot for your scraped elbow. You don't. You don't know how. And nor should you know how. You don't want perfect control over all things. And what is even more mysterious is that even the body does not know what it does. It simply does. There is no dualistic notion of action and knower of action. Therein lies a deep mystery in witnessing things happen by themselves.

Echoing Nathan's words, if I questioned every note I produced I would not get anywhere. I would become neurotic. I could zoom into all the idiosyncrasies of each note and still not possess complete control over each trivial element. I may fall into a rabbit hole that starts to feel like I have missed the point of what I am doing in the first place. How much control do I want? How far would I like to zoom in? As I zoom in more and more, I am faced with infinitely more parameters to attend to, and zooming into those parameters yields infinitely more parameters of those parameters. Inside each note is a cosmos of parameters that one can get lost in. One can then lose sight of the irreducible 'isness' of a track. There is no end to control.

It would be a farce to orchestrate cars to enter in and out of the highway on cue, in an attempt to engineer a nice piece of music from the collective noise. At some point, one has to adapt to and find the beauty in what natural phenomena presents them vs. confabulating what one thinks beauty should sound like.

Now, it would be misleading to suggest that every step along this project was automatic, for that would not paint the full picture. There are always balancing acts a composer must deliberate. I didn't let the song carry for twenty minutes. I notched out painful resonant frequencies. And I outsourced the mastering process to fellow artist and engineer Taylor Deupree to get his ears on it, hit certain objective standards, and ultimately have the final master sound the best it can.

Thus, there seems to be a fine balance between automaticity and conscious sculpting. Any steep pivot towards one end may lead to diminishing returns. Too little control and the song becomes a hot soup of chaos and confusion. Too much control and the music starts to taste like medicine that only appeases the hunger of the body but not the longing of the soul.

Through this process, I have learned that the term "composer" is misleading. The entire concoction of words we use as artists to describe ourselves--creators, makers, designers, players-- gives credence to only one side of the coin. How can I call myself a painter if I don't even know how it is I move my arm across space?

DARK