music at a distance 18

by snwv

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Refuge 09:30
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about

When I started this series, I'd thought that it'd be a way of reaching out to others while we were all isolating, and then I'd end up phasing it out once things opened back up. Now that assumption seems rather naive. So in my small way, I'm continuing to reach out to people with the live stream performances and by making the recordings available.

My state of mind going into this performance wasn't particularly positive. Every day brings several flavors of bad news, with plenty of opportunities for things to get worse...and people actively pursuing those worse paths. It's wearying. And some of this shows up in the darker sounds, modes, and harmonies in some of these pieces.

There's also beauty in each of these pieces, with some (2, 4, 5) sounding particularly reflective and even comforting.

The mechanics of performance presented some difficulties. I like to change instruments, or change signal chain, or change the Max/MSP patch (or some combination) from week to week, to keep things from getting too similar. This week I used the Moog guitar, which is an instrument well suited to drone work...but given its effectively infinite sustain, once regenerative delays are in the signal chain, the sound builds up quite rapidly. As a result, if I'm going to use its long sustain modes, I end up with pieces that are more textural, or more like spectral synthesis. In the sustainer modes, upper harmonics can be very present, sometimes piercingly so. Another potential hazard is extreme levels when using the ladder filter in the Moog circuitry with the resonant filter of a wah pedal. I do that here, though I did manage to avoid the extreme levels.

There are multiple ways of playing the Moog's sustainer and filtering options. While all tracks here use the same instrument, tracks 4 and 6 use both the filter mode and wah, and use the sustainer's mute mode for some parts. (The only sustain mode I didn't use was the all-sustain mode, largely due to the instrument's already-broad frequency spectrum.) Also, in some sections you can hear how noisy the pickups get when put through a distortion. Even the piezo pickups get used for the mute-mode parts, which nudges the sound to something slightly more like an acoustic instrument.

It's an ongoing experiment. Thank you for listening.

credits

released July 14, 2020

Maurice Rickard: Guitar, programming

Instruments: Moog Guitar > Reuss Effects RF-01 > Vox Wah > Moyo Volume > Max/MSP quad delay patch with buffers.

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snwv Pittsburgh

Maurice Rickard is a musician, sound artist, and Deep Listening Certificate holder based in Pittsburgh. snwv is his project to create ambient environments from finely tuned oscillators and other sound sources as well (guitar, microphones, feedback). Some patches use mostly oscillators, some use delays, some use controlled amounts of randomness. Results range from gentle ambience to chaos. ... more

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