hors du troupeau — for all the brave pianos lost at sea

hors du troupeau — for all the brave pianos lost at sea
  1. For All the Brave Pianos Lost at Sea – First (draft) hors du troupeau 7:30
  2. For All the Brave Pianos Lost at Sea – Second (draft) hors du troupeau 5:42
  3. For All the Brave Pianos Lost at Sea – Twenty-Six (draft) hors du troupeau 5:39
  4. For All the Brave Pianos Lost at Sea – Third (draft) hors du troupeau 6:28

May 11, 2022 — The problem with starting to find my feet again recording is that it’s hard to avoid self-consciousness about the process. My inclination is always to experiment constantly and document the best of the experiments — even if the results are obviously unfinished — but lately I’ve been venturing onto more conventionally musical terrain and I can’t say that my confidence is as great as it might be. Where I think that the “Reconstructions” of the generative “Positive teal” tracks with conventional midi instruments come across pretty clearly as a tongue-in-cheek sort of music, the similarly voiced audio collages that have followed have really been an exploration of how easily bits and pieces of randomly generated midi scores might be shuffled around into something like a song.

Music for Strange Elevators provided me with a method, using the Piano Motifs app to spit out a number of potentially compatible midi scores, but in that project I had set my sights intentionally quite low when it came to how pleasant the results would be. I pretty quickly built a set of loops that satisfied me as vaguely disturbing background music, but then I felt like those tracks really needed to be given beginnings and ends if I was to share them — and then some of them, like “above the city (drinking in the view),” held onto my attention long enough to develop into more than just amusing snippets. But even the most developed results of that process have, for me at least, a bit “pretty, but still in jest” character. What Bears Repeating, the follow-up to Strange Elevators, is coming together slowly, but I’m not always in the right sort of wry mood to maintain that general tone.

I made the mistake, somewhere along the way, of allowing myself to make a few of these audio collages where the seams were not so obvious and the results were — gasp — sort of genuinely pretty. Each of those seems to involve more intense manipulation of the source files and more careful attention — without abandoning the basic parameters of the game I’ve chosen — to the musicality of the final product. The most recent compositions probably really deserve that name — and may represent a fairly significant departure from the tracks composed so far, so there hasn’t seemed to be any reason to delay making this bit of documentation public any longer.

A number of the virtual instruments used are from the Spitfire Audio LABS and Originals lines. Forester was used as an effects processor on a couple of tracks. No actual pianos were harmed in the composition.

About Shawn P. Wilbur 2703 Articles
Independent scholar, translator and archivist.