Fountains… Which Took Everything of Care Al Thumm [Al]

After constructing this piece, the subconscious influence of Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue became apparent as a major source of inspiration, as a codifying alphabet of jazz, blues and classical eclecticism that spells out the language of urban life. The idea of creating a complex aleatoric structure was only barely retained in the final version, but the epileptic eclectic raw charm of the complex sample structures, combined with the small-scale home-recorded (by percussionist Gina Chadderton and myself) rhythmic production inspired by The Books, seemed to embody the idea in its essence.

A whole rhythmic structure was created first, without any pitched instruments. A separate file was then created with all the musical samples, then the two were combined, though much of the original rhythmic structure had to be edited and adapted to the dynamic structure of the pitched instrument sampling. The use of voice samples were experimented with throughout the development of the piece – again taking inspiration from The Books – but the final piece seemed well able to tell its story without them.

The vision for this piece was of a vast forest encroaching on a ragged city, at the heart of which was a temple that was decaying itself into its next incarnation. These images, the forest, the city, and the temple, seemed to blend and wind together into a vertical story – like heiroglyphs on a scroll – rather than remain a panoramic vista. It was as if they were being blissfully decimated up beyond a polluted sky.

“A small orange leaf carved from wood, floating in an American coffee - fashioned into feathers of wings giving flight to a fractal autumn-forest painted ancient tortoise…
… resonated on waves of beatbox echoing down a cobblestone street in Norway riding a shaggy hoofed mammal… a city as an organic machine moulding itself into a grand temple.”

This was the proposed tone of the piece – and indeed as it stands, in all its ridiculousness, earthiness, nonsense, poetry and mysticism.

  • Year of composition: 2009
  • Genre: Other
  • Format: Live recording
  • Hardware used: SM57 dynamic mic, kitchen items for percussion
  • Software used: Ableton Live
  • Duration of the submitted work: 8:57
  • Production: Home

More works by Al Thumm [Al]

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