New Music by Matt Carlson - The Thing, Itself
The Thing, Itself
is the last of my recent series of new electronic music. It is actually the most electro-acoustic of the pieces, as it is made of up recordings of acoustic and electronic sound. The piece began as two different ideas which I ended up combining into one. The first idea was to make a piece that was entirely made up of the noise that is inherent to recording equipment, the sound that one normally tries to minimize when recording. The second idea was to make a piece that is entirely made up of the sounds of a microphone touching different objects. I liked the idea of hearing the music that the equipment makes, of letting the technology make the music. I was also interested in Morton Feldman's comment that he thought of his pieces as "priming the canvas" with sound. I ended up deciding to "prime the canvas" with the recording noise, which would be punctuated by the microphone sounds.
The piece deals with the balance of intention. Many elements are made up of unintentional sounds, such as the sounds that crept in from the field recordings, but these sounds are included intentionally. There is a theme of making a piece out of the things that I usually try to eliminate, embracing what normally bothers me about recording (about half of the field recordings are purposely recorded at low bit rates).
Paradoxically, all this "neutral" sound was mixed in a very active and elaborate manner. This set up another theoretical pair of action vs. restraint. While I recorded the microphone sounds I tried to use as much restraint as possible, but I used so many different sounds that the combination of them ended up being quite active (so much so that I actually cut a lot of the sounds out in the mix).
Anyway, let me know what you think. It may be my last electro-acoustic piece for a while as I'm currently pretty involved in other things.
This should be listened to relatively quietly. Matt Carlson - The Thing, Itself