INTERVIEW: AUTISTICI: MODYFIER (2010)
I listen to the mellotron at different pitches and feel comforted by its tone. There is a lot of nostalgia in this sound.
To begin with the track starts with me obsessing on an audio element, a single note from a mellotron. I listen and listen over again weighing up its form, function and impact on my psyche. The next stage is to develop and sculpt the sound introducing elements that recontextualise the material in a manner that gives me a sense of narrative. I am interested in the manner in which material is conceived, gestated and developed as well as the manner in which it ends and decomposes. I prefer to work alone. There is a stream of consciousness element to my work – an immersion in the material which would be hard to replicate with someone else in the immediate physical environment.
I develop tonal interplay layering different pitches of tone to form a warm changing slow melody.
It is a controlled process. One of sculpture, refinement and distillation. I usually know what I want to achieve, which aspects of the frequency of the sound I want to emphasise and which ones I want to diminish. Whether a sound should move across the stereo field or not, whether a sound is to function as a percussive or a texture. Sometimes the way two or more different sounds come together and form an interesting phrase can come about by chance. It is lovely to use these moments in the composition. However, the way I write and compose means that I thoroughly explore the material from many different angles. This increases the opportunity to find what works and why and provides the opportunity for organic composition to occur.
The image in my head is an open conservatory at the back of an old manse house – the house of my grandfather. I want to hear the sound of birds in the garden and the rattle of someone setting the cutlery for dinner in the adjoining kitchen. Further samples are recorded and injected to form an atmosphere in the background of the track.
My compositional effort is just the beginning of the process in my view. Beyond the production and output of sound there is the role of the listener. I have always been fascinated by the role of human perception. I am aware that different people will make sense of the same experience in different ways. Furthermore, the same person may make sense of the same material presented at different times in different ways. This illustrates the role of the human brain as a receptacle of music and the mind as a transforming force via subjective perception. In my view it is the listener who occupies the position of the final ‘active element’ in a track. The psychological sense they make of the music, what they filter in or out, the external environment in which they listen all contribute to their perception of the material.