Su-a Lee on Malcolm

Today felt like a real gear change. The first main difference was that our scores looked somewhat different from the previous days. A few lines of church modes in varying keys. And the directive to improvise on them, over a bass groove laid down by Rick. This is quite a challenge for the average classical musician, though Brian and I have done a fair amount of it (not that it really ever feels like that when I'm doing it!). Meanwhile Malcolm and Pippa played around with various "parameters" and "effects" that they assigned to each of our sounds.

Quite early on in the proceedings I experienced one of the weirdest sensations of my life. A little hard to explain, but it was an aural turn that shifted my whole being. I felt as if I'd been hurled to the floor at high speed, (how your stomach feels on a high speed rollercoaster?) and then complete loss of power in my arms (like after an electric shock...) And this all seemed to stem from a particular low bass frequency that was coming out of the speakers. It was extremely sudden, powerful and nauseating! Ben was a total star and spent a little time working on the low level frequencies while I took a ball of fresh air and then we got back to the music.

Later, I looked into the condition a little more and discovered this:
an experiment with cornstarch and water and what happens physically at around 120Hz... fascinating!

Also interesting to see the power of wave patterns shown visually:

Generally there seemed to be even more technical speak in the room today. And I wanted to share some of the phrases that were flying between our resident techies, much to the amusement of the players!

  • Check the Bit-crusher Bypass!
  • The Fader is not responding.
  • It is Square Waving
  • Adjust the Ring Modulator
  • We have a Hyper Reality
  • Pitch Quantise
  • We have Signal but not a Dry Signal
  • And the discovery that you can have a plus or a minus infinity!!!

By 5 o'clock we were quite exhausted, though not surprising considering we improvised for the whole day! All in all, what a luxury to be able to experiment in the safety of a group of lovely and supportive people!

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