Final Comp - Mish
This is sort of doubling as a contextual statement for my tutor. Yes, I know it's not good form to talk about time constraints and other projects, but that's the brick wall of reality and it gets on my nerves an awful lot, in fact it's the overriding theme to everything about uni life, so why can't I talk about it?
My composition had several different ideas that on their own could have been the basis of their own possibly more successful compositions of perhaps a slightly more conventional nature, but these are avenues I might explore later when time is not a serious constraint.
I didn't want to throw away ideas - though I did chuck a couple out. I even wound up with a couple of iterations of the final piece. There were more but I didn't start saving them as separate pieces until quite late in the development of this composition, the ones I have saved are really rather similar comparatively speaking. So anyway, I attempted to find away to mix all of these different ideas together. I suspect that exporting each track out of Ableton Live and importing them into Soundtrack Pro or Audition might have enabled a better arrangement. I would perhaps like to have tried that, but I've already gotten too carried away and used days that I wanted to devote to my Studio Project. Also I'm not completely convinced it would have resulted in something significantly better, though I would have tried it under different circumstances. Of course under different circumstances I'd probably just have split the composition up into several different pieces and build around each piece with new material.
At first I felt my library of recordings was a bit bare, but then I made the very deliberate decision (as opposed to just taking the path of least resistance, though that was helpful) of just using what I had so that I could be more minimalist and creative. Even with the minimal material that I have, the resulting piece is very busy. It as busier at points. One can open up a huge sonic world with just the sparsest materials. This of course is obvious if one thinks about it and it relates to everything creative. The most elaborate pieces in any art can consist of few materials or media. Likewise, too many tools can overwhelm and give one too much choice. Ableton Live did that; on my way to creating one thing I'd be struck by something else instead.
The piece could still do with a lot of development. There are elements that do not really add a great deal to the piece and one element in particular is mostly an a single control on an effect. But I liked it and didn't want to remove it. But the more I heard it the more it just sounded like additional clutter and something that had been tacked on by a person discovering knobs and sliders, which I guess is kind of what it was. But I wanted to keep it and perhaps incorporate it better. It also makes the spectral view (from Audition) look interesting. That's the picture above.
I created the piece though headphones and then connected my mac to my stereo, a Sony rack system that is about 15 years old with 125W floor-standing speakers (I replaced the the original 100W cones last year as they fell apart) and 40W sub. I put each track though compressors and EQ carving out their own spots in the mix in an attempt to stop the mix from sounding muddy and bring out a couple of tracks that were getting lost at times. I realised some of the reverse dings that I sequenced with midi don't really work. They were completely out of place. I had already deleted a couple of tracks, so these ones I just turned down in most of the mix. They were the first tracks I created when I started composing the mix, it felt wrong to get rid of them entirely. I wasn't entirely sure about compression settings so I used some of the presets that Live comes with, listening to them to see which sounds better. To listen to the mix through the stereo, if I want to sit directly in front of the speakers, I have to sit on my bed with the mac, which means I'm stuck with only a trackpad. So I didn't really want to delve to deeply into compression settings, I find the trackpad clunky for precision work. I might re-arrange this room at some point. Or buy some monitor speakers -I've always wanted some, and and this project might have helped to kick off my Live journey. I then put a final compressor on the master track. All of this compression and EQ boosted up the mix a lot and I wound up turning down some of the screeches, but overall it made the thing sound better. It also made some of the faults a bit more apparent, like the looped watery sound which actually started life off as a very quiet recording of my room and the ambient noise of cars going past on the motorway nearby.
I've been naming all previous work as "Experiment" and a number sequence. When I named this piece, because it had no particular theme that I was creating it to (it just had to sound interesting), I started thinking up names that were descriptive of certain qualities, mainly the messy arrangement. I kept choosing names that do it no favours such as "Sonic Mess" and "What the hell". The name of the final piece is sort of along the same lines though not as obviously bad: Mish. As in Mish Mash. Also I suppose as in Mission, which is what it started to become. I'd still be working on it right now if I didn't feel that I really need to move on to the next thing now.
So what I set out to create was something interesting. Something that would not leave the listener waiting for it to just end. I wanted create something with rich sonic qualities... I'm not sure I really created what I set out to. It feels unfinished and undeveloped. It feels like the idea pad for several other things. If feels like some ideas need to be scrapped or changed significantly. That perhaps certain elements get too much time. That some elements are in the wrong "song".
And because of all that... I'm starting to like it.