Friday, 8 April 2011

Creating the BrainSong

When I was around 13 my 3 year old sister was given some story records these came on coloured vinyl and played at 78 rpm, I would spend hours listening to them at 16 rpm. In the mid 70's I acquired a copy-cat machine (a looped tape with several playback heads), I would plug it into the radio and feed in the speech and with the use of nitrous oxide listen to the resulting echo's and auditory hallucinations. I think these were the original inspiration for the BrainSong.

The BrainSong was started in 2004 on an old 486 machine with a hard disk measured in mega bytes - 80 I think but it may have been 40 but I now can't quite believe I could have worked on a disk that small even though I can remember a time when all we had were floppy disks and not those 3 inch ones but the 5 inch really floppy floppys. I do know that the drive was not big enough for me to be able to record a full 30 minute radio programme so I would record to cassette tape and then take the samples from there, sometimes just half a sentence. The samples were then grouped by theme until there was enough to fill a 3 inch floppy – so I guess it must have been a 40 Meg hard drive. The samples could sit on the floppy for months before being used which is why I now can't remember which radio programmes most of them came from, the sources I can remember are listed lower down.

I would create around 10 to 15 minuets of audio and then back it up on to a pile of floppy's as a multi disk zip then remove the original files and start on the next 10 to 15 minutes. If you have not tried using floppy's for storing audio then DON'T! You can get about 90 seconds per disk

I eventually got a machine with a 40 Gig hard drive and assembled the 8 hour piece from the 300 plus floppy disks into 8 or 9 files and it was about 12 minutes to long as this was 2 or 3 days work I just could not bring myself to edit that much out – now remember I had been working on this for a couple of years and I'm not the most mentally stable person at the best of times – so my solution – make it a 24 hour long piece!

And I made bloody sure that when the 24 hour piece was assembled it was 24 hours :-}  I have tried to give the sounds the same type of texture that you get visualy with acid.  I like the way repeated words can morph into another word - there is a section of Gisberg saying LSD which begins very slow and speeds up - about a third of the way in I hear iot as "halo paul" for a while before it changes again.

Some Sources Of The Samples Used In The BrainSong

BBC Radio's 4 & 7
In Our Time
Something Understood
The Mighty Boosh
Sherlock Holmes
Material World
Quote Unquote
Unseen Britain
The Archers
The Chemistry Of Addiction
The Reith Lectures 2005
Beyond Our Ken
The British X-Files
Case Notes
Thinking Alowed
The Write Stuff
The Archers
3 Doors Down

TV Shows
Star Trek The Next Generation
The Power Puff Girls
The Simpsons

Timothy Leary - The Psychadelic Experience
Quinton Crisp - An Evening With
Frank Zappa - ?
Neil - Hurdy Gurdy Mushroom Man
Ron Geesin – As He Stands
Joe Byird and the Field Hippys

No comments:

Post a Comment