I remixed Gregorian chant!

I have an account on Indaba Music, which is sort of a social network for musicians, but — like many similar sites out there — they host remix contests to potentially get your music (or remix) on an actual album (for actual money).  A while back they hosted a remix contest for Daft Punk’s soundtrack from Tron, but I was too slow and anyway, most of the really good opportunities cost money to enter (not generally a lot, but still…).  I also missed a Steve Reich remix contest I didn’t even know there was, but they announced the winners.  I was bummed about that.

They announced a remix contest for a New York Polyphony disc of Gregorian chants and I thought “hey, if Delirium can take Gregorian chant and make awesome music, I can at least give it a try, right?” There were three available tracks, but because I only had two “keys” (and each remix required one “key”) — and didn’t really want to get more right now — I had to be selective.  I picked “Victimae Paschali Laudes” because, of the three options, it had the most different stuff going on in the melodies and it seemed to have a bit of a higher tempo.  Still, all that goes out the window because when you’re playing with music like this, there isn’t necessarily a steady rhythm throughout…there’s often rests that are longer or shorter depending on the conductor which makes turning something like this into an electronic piece — which is entirely rhythmic — a bit more challenging.

I started out by creating a modified phase pattern.  Phase patters were most used by Steve Reich when he was playing with reel to reel tapes, and was looping two copies of the same recording and realized they were slightly out of sync because one of the tapes was somewhat shorter than the other.  Rather than calling it bad, he proceeded to use that theory in almost every piece of music he’s written since, creating music that goes in and out of sync with itself.  I’ve played with phase patters quite a bit in the past, and though I haven’t much with them recently, I thought that the breaks in the verses and the way some verses were longer than others would adapt well to phase patterns and be fairly interesting, possibly creating a sort of chorale effect.  I took the first verse and looped it a bunch of times, then I cut off a few seconds of the end and looped that three times.  Then I inserted the second verse.  Looped the first (cut) verse three more times and added the third verse.  Repeat until I’ve worked through all the verses.  Then I mixed the two finished pieces — which were about the same length, and dropped it in my track.  Then I duplicated that, added a vocoder effect that Alvin Lucier would be proud of (because it completely removes any semblance of the original speech), and ran that through my Glitch VST and added a delay effect.  I used that to create the backdrop of the piece.

The rest of the track is an electronica piece hovering somewhere between ambient and dance with a steady beat that’s just slow enough to make people walk off the dance floor.  (That’s okay, because I wasn’t trying to make something you could dance to, and anyway, dancing to Gregorian chant is sacrilegious or something, right?)  I took the first and second verse and made a sort of verse-chorus-verse song structure out of it, and added the last verse — which slows down at the end — and used it to close the song.  Most of the instruments are things that I built for the track — or at least heavily modified — and, as a last-minute addition, I took a snippet of the vocals and looped it, creating an instrument out of that which harmonizes with the lead synth (I didn’t want it to be entirely electronic).

After watching the demo video of the Glitch VST, I realized how woefully little I really take advantage of all the possibilities, so decided to go back and play with the effects live, so make that particular track a bit more variable than it already was.

Anyway, here’s my remix of a Gregorian chant.  The lyrics are about the resurrection and have a lot of the sort of conflicting phrases you see in Catholic liturgy like “he who is dead but is alive” which, you know, reading from a no-longer-in-the-Catholic-church perspective, just sounds bizarre.  The first verse — from which the title comes and the one I sample the most — translates to “Christians, to the Paschal victim offer your thankful praises!” — which also sounds a bit bizarre and morbid.  (If we weren’t talking about, you know, the son of God, at what point would we offer thankful praises to a victim?)  At any rate, I named my remix “resurrection glitch” as a nod to the subject matter.  If you have a minute, vote for my submission.

teh s3quence – 011 – #BassLove4Japan

photo from geardiary.com via boston.com

I’ve been meaning to make a s3quence mix that had stuff from #RPM2011, but I was waiting until I had a chance to listen to more of the stuff that came out of it.  Then the earthquake/tsunami in Japan happened.  Looking at these pictures is mind-blowing, as is the constant threat of nuclear radiation for those in the surrounding area.  Often, when faced with something of such astounding scale, you just freeze up — you have no idea what you can do.  BassLove4Japan was created to organize DJs and musicians to help provide relief for those affected in Japan through a nonprofit organization Music For Relief.  BassLove4Japan encourages DJs and musicians to use their following to text donations to Japan (text ‘MFR’ to 85944 to make a $10 donation) and contribute by submitting tracks or proceeds from shows or whatever they can do to help spread the word.  Times are tight, but I wanted to do something, so I’ve donated a couple hours of my time to create this mix, at the end of which is a bit of a public service announcement with information about how to help.  Even if you can’t make the donation yourself, please spread this mix as far and wide as possible, to as many people as will listen, and tell them to donate to help aid those whose homes and livelihoods have been completely devastated.

Click here to send a Tweet asking your followers to donate.

[audio: s3quence-011-basslove4japan.mp3]

– intro: jazzsequence – Hedestad / DJ Shadow – Transmission III / Sinuata – Die for a Week to Live for a Century –
Fink – Walking in the Sun
DJ Krush – What’s Behind Darkness
DJ Spooky vs. The Dub Pistols – Peace in Zaire Mix
Artful Mark – Coffee Break (jazzsequence’s glitched out remix)
Cat Throat – Second Night
Buck 65 – The Suffering Machine
cEven kEy – Bird
57 Splits – Hey Birdsong
– interlude: James Brown – Hot Pants –
ormo – Diaper
The Crown Fires – Burtations
The Faint – Your Retro Career Melted
Lieutenant Dance – Painting Dicks on the Paintings at the Louvre
– interlude: Lionel Richie – Lady –
jazzsequence – Mildly irritated
Underworld – Dirty Epic
Carrier Signal – Brimstone Villian
Clever Things – Perfect Coded Angel
Slighter – These Scars Don’t Bruise
HORRORFALL – Necroplasm Fix (Slighter’s Extended Melee Mix)
Kidney Thieves – Placebo
Recoil – Jezebel
Tricky – Excess (Slighter’s Excessorized Mix)
Jeff Beal – Lucky to Have Jonesy (Sophie’s Theme)

download s3quence 011: #basslove4japan
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teh s3quence 006

2009-10-10 12-57-42.033so i finally got around to checking again on what was wrong with my media center.  i hooked it up to my other monitor and a spare keyboard and mouse i had lying around and first checked BIOS for any signs of processor issues like overheating, but there were none.  i turned on all the integrated monitoring stuff anyway, just in case.  after booting it up on my newly reinstalled windows os, it was doing the same thing, namely flickering picture and graphic “archives”.  i vaccuumed the thing out last weekend thinking maybe dust was causing the issue, or the processor overheating, but seeing it again today made me go back to my original hunch that it was a graffics card issue.  sure enough, i swapped the card with another one i had lying around (have i mentioned that i have a lot of hardware lying around?) and it worked fine.  so there’s that.  i’m glad i figured it out, and that it’s easy (and not a motherboard or cpu issue), and also that i haven’t lost my touch with diagnosing hardware issues.  i looked again at the card and it’s fairly obvious what happened — the resistors, literally, popped, so that would be the loud, ice-cracking noise i heard several weeks ago.  this time around i’m getting the same card (which doesn’t have an onboard fan, hence the overheating and frying) but i’m getting a fan that fits into an expansion slot specifically designed to cool off your video card.  the case doesn’t get really good ventilation and doesn’t have any extra fans, so this should keep this from happening again (i hope).
night-shots-006

it’s been a long time since i did a mix and i was talking about dj’ing yesterday and it made me want to do a set.  i’ve been running sets in my head for months, so it’s not like i haven’t been thinking about it.  i’ve been wanting to do a set based on the garage punk/psychobilly road trip cds we took with us on our last 2 road trips but that will have to wait for another time.  this set is based entirely around wanting to drop “becoming x” in to something, and also listening to bats for lashes and remembering how good they are.

[audio:s3quence-006.mp3]

1, bat for lashes, moon and moon
2, Sparklehorse & Danger Mouse, dark night of the soul (ft. vic chesnutt & david lynch)
3, can, oh yeah!
4, slow noise, deepness
5, sneaker pimps, becoming x
6, recoil, incubus
7, depeche mode, it’s no good
8, tortoise, spiderwebbed
9, thom yorke, and it rained all night (burial remix)
10, omni trio, diffusion loops
11, radiohead, i might be wrong
12, autechre, eggshell
13, coldcut, walk a mile in my shoes
14, public image, ltd., seattle

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1, bat for lashes, moon and moon
2, Sparklehorse & Danger Mouse, dark night of the soul (ft. vic chesnutt & david lynch)
3, can, oh yeah!
4, slow noise, deepness
5, sneaker pimps, becoming x
6, recoil, incubus
7, depeche mode, it’s no good
8, tortoise, spiderwebbed
9, thom yorke, and it rained all night (burial remix)
10, omni trio, diffusion loops
11, radiohead, i might be wrong
12, autechre, eggshell
13, coldcut, walk a mile in my shoes
14, public image, ltd., seattle