The Library of Babel

This E.P. explores the world of Borges’ incredible short story “The Library of Babel.” Based on the hexagonal structure of the library cells, each track emerges in some loose way out the number six, be it track length (6m66s), six instruments playing simultaneously, six note arpeggios, six note (diminished) scales, chords containing six notes, 6/8 rhythms, and so forth.

Some of the music finished up becoming darker than originally envisaged as the more disorienting aspects of Borges’ world took hold. There was, however, still opportunity to be playful in the midst of the library.

All tracks programmed by how the night came.

The themes for tracks 2 and 4 were originally composed on classical guitar by s h.

The Indian harmonium featured in the second half of track 6 was composed and played by Daniel Diaz. For more information, please visit:

http://www.dedeland.com/danieldiaz.htm

https://www.soundcloud.com/daniel-diaz

The album cover uses imagery of Borges’ Library originally produced in Sketchup by Jamie Zawinski. For more information, please visit:

https://www.jwz.org/blog/2016/10/the-library-of-babel/

https://www.jwz.org/blog/2016/10/the-library-of-babel-again/

Advertisements

LCRP: Musica Ignotum

I want to thank the wonderful community over at LINES – especially dnealelo and jasonw22 – for posting and organising the challenge to compose “music for perhaps a terrestrial life form but one which we don’t normally associate with music”:

https://llllllll.co/t/musica-ignotum-lcrp-solstice-2-2018/16555


Recently, I have been reading and rereading Borges’ “The House of Asterion” which retells the myth of Theseus and the Minotaur from the point of view of ‘the monster’. Many things about the story stand out for me, but two in particular helped shape this project:

  • the association between the number fourteen and infinity, and
  • the line translated as “One of them, I believe, hid himself beneath the sea.”

So: I wanted to use sound to represent Borges’ Minotaur imagining the oceanic submersion of an imaginary person – and to do this while somehow employing the number fourteen. (Confession: I knew in advance that anything I produced would sound too human, but I was happy to have a get-out clause – the Minotaur was half man, after all!!)

DSC_0133

I set an old iPhone to record audio then wrapped it in a towel and placed it in a sealed plastic container. I submerged the container in water and then banged it, dropped it, swirled it, poured water on it, and so on. From the ten minute iPhone recording I selected 3 fourteen second clips and used “Change Tempo” (not Paulstretch) in Audacity to push them to fourteen times their original length. I uploaded the 196 second clips into Ableton but wasn’t happy with the result – the audio was too formless and hissy for such a sensitive thinker as Borges’ Minotaur. So, I applied a small number of plugins to generate drones (in A and E, which – along with D – were the tuning used on the Cretan Lyra), gentle pulses, and a quiet shimmering percussive sound. When I had something I was happier with, the final challenge was to get the tracks balanced in a way that suggested music while retaining a sense of oceanic submersion. Repulsors, panning, volume adjustments, and filters helped here.

I hope that “Minotaur Immersion Techniques, Transmission XIV” sounds musical enough for a Minotaur, deep enough for submersion, and dark enough to express the loneliness of the House of Asterion – that maze of infinite, unlocked doors …

The full LCRP album – Musica Ignotum – is now available on Bandcamp.

HF5 REMIX

Major thanks go out Biblioteka Records label mate HF5 for producing a brilliant remix of how the night came’s track RED VI: Shadow Play.

Hear HF5’s Red VI – Shadow Play (HF5 Wraith Remix) here:

… and the original RED VI: Shadow Play here: