Final Artistic Presentation: Stop Freeze Wait Eat

Final Artistic Presentation: Stop Freeze Wait Eat

Stop Freeze Wait Eat is 1 of 2 albums that are part of the final artistic results in this project. It was released on Hubro, 23rd October 2015 and is available on vinyl, CD, download and streaming. Click here to find it. 

Stop Freeze Wait Eat is recording as composition. It is a derivate of Dans les arbres and Huntsville. Various techniques have been used. Some tracks are intuitive improvisations with the delay setup, all made in one go, while other tracks are compositions made of sequential improvisation.

The opening track “Stop Freeze Wait Sing” is my homage to Dans les arbres. The electronic fundament that lasts throughout the piece is originally a short section from an improvisation played on acoustic guitar, spread out on 4 different buffers on the MAX MSP tool.

When recording and re-improvising the guitar material on the MAX MSP tool, I imagined that these 4 buffers were 4 individual voices, a bit like the 4 voices of Dans les arbres. Tiny bits of the acoustic guitar, pitched down and repeated, forming individual rhythmic loops and slow melodies in a multi-layered flow. Tiny variations. Slowly bleeding into each other. Later, I decided to remove repetitions, add pauses and stops, cut out parts, change volume, alter some of the frequencies. Reduce density. Slowness. 

A slow electric 12-string guitar was added. The piece needed a melody, but so slow that I almost forget it is a melody. And resistance! It needed resistance. The interference of colliding frequencies from the guitar samples was not enough. It is as if the disharmonies turn more harmonic for each repetition. The slow repetitions, the general pace of the piece felt too harmonic. In order to achieve a richer and more complex sound in the loops, various colours of hiss from each of the different loop tracks were amplified. Disruptive noise from a synthesizer was also added around 09:50 for the same reason.

Samples of a Roland Rhythm 77, performed on the MAX MSP tool, was brought in halfway through the piece to break up the slowness. To add resistance. The 3 different drum tracks are pitched so the dystonic1 sounds create pointillistic linearity.

The piece emerges for 8 ½ minutes, and the new direction, the change in form at 08:32, was constructed by cutting out most of the loops, changing the sound by extensive equalizing, slowly bringing the material back, forming some kind of echo of the first part. And a coda.                

The fundaments of both “Lag, Accumulated B” and “Lag, Accumulated A” are improvised sections done with the delay setup­­. They represent dialogues between present and past. The setup for these tracks include a pedal that freezes milliseconds of sound from what I played in the moment (present)­, which appears in the right channel. And a pedal that chops up and rapidly repeats what I played moments ago (past)­, which appears in the left channel. The setup also allows me to mute the delayed signal completely­, letting the sound of the present through in both of the two guitar amplifiers (both channels). This setup makes it easier for me to build layers and to build with coherence. I can start something new, while maintaining elements from previous parts.

“Lag, Accumulated B” has additional overdubs and parts are cut out. I wanted to camouflage the delayed signal by playing repeatedly, recording repetitious cycles into to the delay tool. Cycles with variation. “Lag, Accumulated A” is made in one go, without any overdubs or edits. It has extensive use of the freeze pedal, and I am occasionally muting the delayed signal, exploring the spatiality and a dialogue between the moment and moments ago. 

“Stop Freeze Wait Bleed” consists of 3 different buffers of the same acoustic guitar part that was used on “Stop Freeze Wait Sing”. I felt that this piece didn’t need any overdubs or any drastic changes, just equalizing to bring interesting and colliding frequencies forward and to enhance hiss, pops and clicks. Nudges in rhythm – the irregularity in the right channel loop feels crucial.

“Eat After Me” was recorded on the MAX MSP tool and made in one go. Constantly and rather randomly I pressed record and play on 3 different buffers, froze certain parts, jumped into recording mode again. The playback jumps randomly inside the buffer, constantly creating new start and stop points. Sometimes what I played moments ago is repeated fractions of a second later, in another channel, more to the left or more to the right. Sometimes 4-5 seconds later, sometimes it is not repeated at all. Sometimes just fractions of what I played moments ago is being repeated. Pitch is not manipulated.

I recall a peculiar experience of time while recording this. It was an interesting blend of correspondence with an unreliable echo of myself while looking into the immediate future, planning my next echo. Confused whether what I played happened in the moment or moments ago.

“Stop Freeze Wait Run” and “Stop Freeze Wait Sleep” are made with the same technique as their siblings “Stop Freeze Wait Sing” and “Stop Freeze Wait Bleed”. Although here, the original material is from an electric guitar. The linearity in the melody and the slow and pulsating rhythm formed by interfering deep frequencies, pops and clicks were my main attractions in these pieces. “Stop Freeze Wait Sleep” has several overdubs­ – both done on electric guitar, banjos and folksy acoustic guitar. “Stop Freeze Wait Run” has no overdubs.  

1 An ambiguous sound that is in between pitched sounds and complex sounds without distintive pitch.