Here is what I put in my email to the rest of Gwaith Sŵn:
Here is my, um, “ambient” track (I guess “ambient” in the original Eno tape-loop sense of the word). It samples the greetings from the Voyager Golden Record and lays them over some slowed-down tape-loops taken from the London Symphony Orchestra’s version of Space Oddity…
Autumnal Electricity (excerpt)
Excerpt from a 40 minute improvisation for electric guitar and Pure Data patch.
The guitar, tuned to open G, is fed into a monophonic pitch tracking oscillator. This is then fed into three separate mono buffers, which record 16, 18 and 20 seconds of audio and randomly change direction. The buffers are then fed into two “shufflers” – one pitched an octave below, the other a fifth. The output from this patch is then mixed with the output from the guitar and fed into a guitar amp with distortion and reverb.
Accompanied by Sputnik 1’s mournful beeps, two quarter-speed tape loops – taken from a vinyl copy of the 1981 The Music of Cosmos soundtrack – trace a slow elliptical orbit around the record’s run-out groove…
I composed this piece for the second edition of Gwaith Sŵn’s Sonic Darts radio show, broadcast on 3 July 2015 on Resonance104.4fm. As the theme for the show was one based around conspiracy theories, I began this piece with a recording of a rather deranged American Christian shortwave radio broadcast that I had picked up in the middle of a Finnish forest. But rather than highlight the insane ramblings of the preacher, who claimed that the end of the world was indeed nigh, I was instead drawn to the desperate and fearful phone calls of the listeners…
Sound Work Volume 1 features compositions by artists who have contributed to Gwaith Sŵn (from the Welsh for ‘sound work’ and pronounced ‘g-why-th soon’), a London-based collective whose activities include exhibitions, installations and live performances.
My contribution, S.O.B (Cassette), deals with the phenomenon of tape trading: an unofficial method of distributing punk, hardcore and extreme metal demo tapes popular during the 1980s and 1990s. Using techniques inspired by the early tape works of Steve Reich, Terry Riley and Alvin Lucier, S.O.B (Cassette) explores how the very nature of the system used in tape trading ensured that recordings would decrease in sound quality with each trade and would in extreme cases become impossible to listen to.
A rough ‘n’ ready recording (with mild editing and EQ) of my opening set at Relics: a night of sound performances exploring decline and decay promoted in conjunction with the sound art collective Gwaith Sŵn and London’s arts radio station Resonance104.4fm.
All sounds were sourced from shortwave radio, tape bought at a Finnish car-boot sale and tape loops made from second-hand vinyl records for an old Tandberg Series 15 reel to reel tape recorder, which were then triggered live from a Boss Dr. Sample SP-303 phrase sampler.