Sonic Detritus Sean Warkentine

In the fall semester of 2013, I created a piece of noise music, titled “Lethbridge Detritus,” made entirely of sounds recorded at various steps in the process of recycling, as a critique of the recycling program in Lethbridge, AB. One mid-semester class discussion about noise music, brought up the components ‘melody’ and ‘rhythm’ as some of the most important aspects of what constitutes “music.” As a final project of the Bachelor of Music degree in Digital Audio Arts, I worked through my entire portfolio of musical and audio projects, specifically to find recording clips that featured audio distortions, outtakes, and other such disturbances, which had been removed from each project’s respective final form. From these noise samples, I sought to create music based on the aspects from the previous project’s discussion. Three pieces were composed, one with a focus on melody, another on rhythm, and a third on those two, amounting to music. I set some limitations on how I was able to edit the sounds as well. I allowed myself to cut and splice the samples, plus adjust only the pitch, speed, and, in very few instances, the direction of playback. In the final mix, delay and reverb was also applied to allow for sounds that are more realistic and smooth to listeners. The resulting work creates a unique listening experience that varies immensely between myself and other listeners. All of the sounds used in the final pieces were originally set in very specific contexts. Unlike myself, however, most people will be able to listen to these sounds without hearing and understanding exactly which project, take, and sample they were taken from. While experiencing these pieces, I encourage reduced listening to the ‘audio trash,’ to the sound objects for their own sake.

  • Year of composition: 2015
  • Genre: Electronica
  • Hardware used: Solely Macbook Pro and Aiaiai TMA-1 headphones for this final composition project, but a huge variety of other hardware was used in the capturing and editing of previous sound sources, including numerous microphones, portable microphone recorders, audio interfaces, studio mixing consoles, etc for each individual project that was sampled from.
  • Software used: Solely Ableton Live for this project, a variety of other software was used in the making and editing of previous sound sources including Pro-Tools, Logic, Audacity, and Ableton.
  • Duration of the submitted work: 11:50
  • Production: Home

Linked project

  • Bachynsky, Bazinjaneh, Bertrand Sauvé, Bosse, Campion, Candau, Daigneault, Dall’Ara-Majek, Dean, Feldman…
    47 tracks

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