Saturday, November 16, 2013

Background, Being

Sounds, unceasing, go unheard.

Attention is fixed elsewhere in the scheme of the mundane, of work and play.

It is possible to know and hear the moment now in the surroundings, to sense with the inner ear the totality of experience, and to realize more aural beauty, in the imagination, than the sounds of music alone evoke.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Formless Change

What will be, is not now.

Putting aside the common ideas of music, think of sounds composed like a pool of water, clear and beautiful, but indistinct; still, yet contained in a flow impossible to fully grasp, measure, or capture.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Sonic Fields

Begin with the idea of creating something other than music using aesthetically complementary sounds.

Reproduce sounds as they occur spontaneously in human environments as well as in natural ones. Treat the studio as an instrument in developing and manipulating sound elements and aural effects.

Set aside musical ideas in favor of gesture, collage, layering, and striking placement of tones and lines. Consider any and all possibilities in growing the composition.  Contemplate and evaluate the total effect until, with alterations, additions, eliminations of fault and failure, and realization of integrity of expression, the work is finished.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


All things are in constant motion.

Out of stillness comes action, and each produces effects on the other.  This is a fundamental dynamic of sound, however subtle or wide-ranging, whether spontaneous and natural or contrived.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Centering Surroundings

Sounds are perceived, identified, located, and separated in the perceptual process.

Listening actively makes these distinctions clear, yet they take place just the same in the course of passive hearing.  One will note the unusual, ignoring the rest, and still be conscious of the quality of the atmosphere.

In approaching ambient sound design, I am interested in composing with these perceptual processes in mind as well as in the juxtaposition of complementary tones, lines, and so forth, giving attention to the sensations produced by sounds as well as their musicality.  While atypical of the ambient style in general, such methods contribute to originality of total effect in Black Mountain School works, making them distinctively different in sound and nature from those of other stylists.

Monday, November 11, 2013


Aesthetically appealing sounds are considered musical as distinguished from noise and other sounds that impact negatively upon the sensibilities.

Thus there is virtue in moderation and balance in developing sound works that emphasize sustained effects. When subtlety of sound and expression is abundant, perception is enhanced and the listener becomes more thoroughly involved in the experience.

Certainly these are desirable outcomes, and particularly so with works of an experimental or avant-garde nature that aim to communicate in ways that are out of the ordinary.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


Huxley concluded that the brain is a filter, one that spares consciousness the shock of perceiving all things simultaneously.

Thus the creative object of the composer is to assemble the elements most attractive to the listener's receptive awareness in such a way as to extend both active listening and passive hearing. As this is the way one perceives sound outside the framework of music, so it may be a different way to bring a composition to fullness in the listener's inner ear.