Please Mr Soundbank Will You Play?

When you’ve got worries, all the noise and the hurry , Seems to help, I know – downtown , Just listen to the music of the traffic in the city…Underground

Or so Petula Clark sang many eons ago. When I get ‘lost in my circle’ I find that a bit of diversionary creativity helps retune my mind temporarily. I’m a great one for sonic doodling. I’m not much interested in making a ‘toon’ just making a self indulgent tone poem of sound bits somewhere between a soundtrack and an ambient segway. Anyway this was last nights diversionary twiddling which was really an entirely real time constructed effort (no multi track, no multiple tries). Load the samples, trigger on the fly and live with the result. It’s all very low tech and that’s the way (uh huh) I like it.

I can’t pretend that it’s anything but a sonic doodle but I enjoy the random process which usually leaves me with the feeling the the result had very little to do with me other than I chose the pallette , started the ball rolling and took my mind elsewhere for a bit. Ooh don’t you just love the many cul de sacs that technology can take you down.

By the way I loathe Jerusalem so don’t go putting any kind of personal interpretation on this.

A smaller (596k) size encoded *AAC+ alternative is available here

(*AAC+ audio files require this Plugin(Win) or a compatible player such as Songbird (Win,Mac,Linux), VLC(Win,Mac,Linux)or Winamp(Win) however Quicktime and i-Tunes will play file at half the audio bandwidth and in mono only)

Songbird Music Player Recommended

mp3 space by kind permission of

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. Kirsty says:

    This is what I play when I need to do some ‘sonic doodling’:

    Hard to explain how it works or why it’s so absorbing, but I’ve lost many hours absorbed in experimenting with it, creating different hypnotic, repeating sound patterns and rhythms.
    Obviously, it was bought for my class, but the teachers love to play it too!

  2. jer says:

    I’d be interested in a brief explanation of your workflow when doing this sort of thing.
    Stuff(Em) Replied: Hello Jer- This was recklessly manual and in modern terms quite pathetically low tech.I was just sifting through some audio files and had several players open and had an indulgent ‘creative moment’
    Choose your pre recorded sample files (mp3,wav,AAC, flac etc)
    Open each one in a separate player (quicktime, vlc etc)
    Start your ‘backbone’ recording (in this case a long recording from the London underground
    Trigger the next recording (looped rhythm)
    Start next recording and so on
    load some shorter samples on the fly if you feel like it
    Place under the grill for a quick audio snack

    I did one trial run for levels, then set another programme to record the system audio and just went. Bit like starting several tape players randomly in a room. Years ago I’d load the samples into a hardware sampler and trigger from the music keyboard keys. Otherwise I’d use Garageband (Mac), audacity or even a simple software cart player but somehow I like keeping the initial method very limited as it’s more spontaneous and less ‘planned’.

  3. It starts off quite a bit like David Van Tieghem’s These Things Happen, doesn’t it? Then, my goodness. It’s actually quite gorgeous. Have you compiled your stuff into any purchase-ready format?

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