SOUND COLLAGES

Sound Collages: Here are several approaches that I found over the years.

CUT-UP RADIO

All of this music was improvised live, using a radio as its only sound source. Using digital looping devices, the radio stream – short wave noise, talking, classical or pop music, whatever happened to come along – was cut up in real time and immediately rearranged into rhythmic patterns, clouds of sound particles, or phaseshifting repetitions.

Unlike regular instruments, samples, or CDs, the output of a live radio stream is more or less unpredictable. Using it as the only sound source for an improvisation or a concert presents a special challenge. Chance rules, control is impossible, intuition is the only possible guide. And there are rewards – when something suddenly falls into place in an unexpected way.

This album contains a number of charming miniatures plus some live recordings.


 

FIELDPERFORMING

Live performance using guitar triggered field recordings: In August 2007, I was invited by Rinus van Alebeek to perform on his “das kleine fieldrecordings festival” in Berlin (a wonderful series of concerts by many remarkable experimental artists).

I decided on a half-playback, half-interactive setup. Some longer field recordings (underwater insects and fish, rustling bamboo, etc) were overlayed with long fades of varying lengths to create a moving acoustic tapestry. For the interactive part, I chose a number of shorter field recording samples that I triggered with my midified guitar, or that I fed from an mp3 walkman via a small speaker into the guitar pickup. Occasionally, I even included some actual guitar playing, adding some tonal colors. I had a rough idea of how the performance should evolve but everything was improvised.

An interesting experiment, a new way to paint with sounds, and a new experience for me.

Rinus van Alebeek:
“Michael Peters came with his underwater recordings and street voices from Sardegna that were treated every now and then by his guitar playing. Treated means that a lot of technical and electronic things happen between the touch of the strings and the output by the loudspeakers. His set seemed to be reigned by the principles of Aeolus; some of his sounds moved as if they were picked up by the wind and thrown around, then moved back to silence again, but never could they escape this chaotic play that made your attention slide from one to another place.”


 

MY2K
A collection of 366 10-second sound clips, recorded in the year 2000 as a diary

My resolution for the year 2000 was: to create and record 10 seconds of music on each day of the year.

This could be either a composed piece, something improvised, or just a recorded environmental sound, anything that seemed appropriate. At the end of 2000, the musical diary consisted of 366 short pieces of music – all in all, about an hour, or a good CD length. The idea for this diary came from Karsten Schulze, a musician from Düsseldorf/Germany.

This is a sound diary. Beyond this, there is no coherent artistic concept in my2k.

Just like real life, with the unforeseeable happenings of each day written down in a diary book, or like a slideshow of vacation photographs, the result is a collage full of contrasts. Not an easy listen, but a sonic adventure for those who can listen with open ears.

Only in a few cases, the sound of a day consists of music in the narrow sense – a composed guitar piece, or a melody played on sampled instruments.

Most sounds are either
– environmental sounds, that is, stuff that I recorded on that specific day using a microphone, or
– environmental sounds that were tweaked and treated using sound software, or
– abstract electronic music that originated entirely in the computer, or
– electric guitar improvisations, using digital loop delays and other electronic effect gear.

No strict rule was applied. Usually, I tried to record the sound of a day on that specific day, but sometimes there was not enough time, so I created the sound for that day on the day after. Also, sometimes so many interesting sounds happened on one single day that I used them for several days afterwards. When a day had passed and its sound was recorded, I never went back to rerecord or edit it – it was left as it was, good or bad.

Download the annotated track listing here: my2ktracks.pdf

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