freeradicals - deep tides (2)
This is the second track off “Deep Tides,” the new album by freeradicals, my drone/ambient/noise project. In a lot of ways, it is a follow up to the piece I wrote for my composition thesis at St. Mary’s, “la conscience engloutie,” though I think this work has much more of a subtle sophistication than that piece.
“Deep Tides” takes its name from the track that I used for much of the source material- an old and dusty vinyl of music by Henry Cowell, an early 20th century composer who wrote some of the most beautiful piano pieces I have ever heard. The record has an intense crackle and hiss that almost overcome the music at times, all of which is over in just four minutes . I knew from my first listening a year ago that I needed to take these sounds and transform them into something new, something that captured the intensity with which I was struck by Cowell’s music.
My process was fairly simple for creating this, as it involved me making decisions and changes in real-time rather than doing meticulous editing in the computer (though there was also a fair amount of that towards the end when I started mixing it all). I recorded the vinyl into a tape player at three different speeds- slow (about 2x slower), normal and fast (about 2x). I only ended up using the slow and normal speeds. I would then play sections into my effects chain and create a short loop of 1-5 seconds. I played this loop back, recording to computer while I would ‘perform’ long-form changes with my different effects processors- I would spend maybe 10 or 15 minutes slowly changing delay, gain, distortion, detuning, etc. To create a sense of depth, I would do the same thing again for the same section- create a very similar loop, though different enough so that when the two loops were played together, they would come in and out of phase, syncing up for brief seconds and then parting again. I also added sounds of my own- the reappearing deep droning bass sounds that seem to be on the brink of collapsing.
Tho whole album, an hour long, flows continuously through each section.
You can download it for free from bandcamp:
Each download also includes a copy of Henry Cowell’s original recording.
I’m super happy about the way this album turned out. If you’re at all a fan of ambient/drone, you should download this and save it for a time when you have an hour to spare.