A mix of ambiances, soundscapes, electronic, and quasi-diegetic musical tracks that were originally written for a Shadowrun campaign.
Despite this overt contextual reason, these are all also connected by either a common tonal quality or thematic relation, and are revisions of the final picks I made this past month as I was searching through my archives for suitable material to release. In addition it serves as to gather material that might show other sides, and, well, the musical range, of my own personal musical practice, one that much of my serious work and writings might overshadow.
Alesis HR-16—which my roommate and I used frequently for our various industrial projects back when I was still hanging around the East Bay grindcore scene—with slap back delay and a phaser gives the hats the shudder effect, which gives the track a hypnotic breathing quality. The samples I have don't have any editable velocity, so everything ends up crunchy when tweaked like this. The original version of the track only had the drum, bass, and chords, but upon relooking at it, it felt like a melodic line popping out in the distance would benefit the aesthetic of the track, adding to the unease with an off kilter, languid rhythm that, at times, clashes with the chords in the perfect way.
State Televsion | Love Song
The "TV/Radio" duo that exist as diegetic pieces meant to convey the sense of watching or listening in an environment. Xenfont + chorus + a filter for the washed out sound. Both of these were composed by an archaic procedural generation program on a japanese Geocities site, and I simply rearranged the resulting MIDIs to create more cohesive pop structures without altering any of the note or rhythmic idiosyncrasies that give them an uncanny feel. Part of the reorchestration of the tracks was to give it a feel close to that "Pyongyang" style of pop synth music, especially The Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble.
Halo * | Trees *
These two tracks are meant to be simple background soundscapes, and were composed years before I came to know the work of Wandelweiser and Klaus Lang and began to shift my whole musical aesthetic; however, they have certain traits in common with these musical outlooks, most likely because I was always a very big fan of the variety of work found on the 12k label, which was more than just simple field recordings or lowercase. There might be some influence of 80-90s Cage in the number pieces, especially Fourteen, with the bass instruments in the track track. Trees makes heavy use of Xenfont experimentation, back when I was trying to create completely new and untested sounds by mashing soundfonts together in extreme ways and crunching them up by pushing certain frequencies ridiculously high when EQing.
Within | Among
I was asked by my friend for music for a Shadowrun focused podcast, and these were the two WIPs I produced. They were too long and a bit too moody for use, and the EQing and effects work is a bit heavy handed, but otherwise I think they're fine mood pieces, meant to create a hazy feeling of walking through the streets.
This wasn't part of the original set of music. I'm not even sure where this appeared from. I found it on a different harddrive, and as far as I can tell it's essentially some sort of bizarre musical shitpost. Everything is structured to sound terrible: a dirty pad tuned to some septimal tuning and soaked in flanger, an e-piano that can't be retuned with a similar attack churning out this sickly sweet melody, and two samples from some sample pack panned 65% L and R and soaked with delay, phaser, and flanger. But I like it, and I don't know why.
The effects layered on the drums is a trick I do with these ping-pongy samples that I learned from the intro to JiNG da LaW's remix of Brother in Faith on AQUASTYLE's Spirits of Steel release (of course they're also classic staples in tracks by minimal artists like Monolake), where the back and forth between the two channels creates a pseudo-phasing effect despite being two different samples because as they overlap while phasing you can't always tell which sample is which, especially if you use two samples that share certain timbral traits.
* Denotes track that is intended to loop
Sean Patrick Ignatius Tartaglia
Copyright © Sean Tartaglia 2023