joebelknapwall: (12 Minute Travelogues)
12 Minute Travelogues number five is ready for download. If you've subscribed to the feed (see below for information), it should show up sometime today, depending on how your podcast software is configured.

Since I went out on a limb last episode, I figured I'd climb way out on that limb this time and experiment even more. If the last podcast doesn't quite push me out of "new age" territory, this one probably certainly will, even if it's full of sound that I personally find luxuriously restful. There's a problem with music these days, largely because everyone listens in their cars or on crappy TV speakers or the junky earphones you get with mp3 players, and it's that engineers have all decided that dynamic range is evil. Seriously—evil. So they flatten it all out, narrowing the ridges and valleys between silence and outbursts, and we're getting used to this sad state of affairs, where nothing is ever loud enough to dwarf the almost silent moments in a song, and where there are no peaks or quiet pools. I think it's all particularly repellent, and this piece reflects my distaste for flat music, I think.

It is just like that, up where I recorded no. 5.

Listen to this with enough volume that the opening strains of quiet insect-played background are clear and peaceful, and let it be loud when it gets loud. Life's like that, by which I mean the real one, the one we hardly know anymore. I made the field recordings used in this piece on the weekends of 8/23 and 8/30, recorded the musical tonalities with my laptop sitting on the woodstove (cold, of course) in my little cabin in West Virginia, and edited the piece at the same time. There's a way time disappears up there, just fades into the mountainside until there is only nature and passing freight trains and the river and the occasional ATV and cicacas singing the way they do in the fading summertime. This is where I am when the time goes, and what I hear in my head.

There is room for all sorts of sound in these places.
 


If you prefer not to subscribe:

alt-click (control-click on Mac) this link to download it directly:

12 Minute Travelogues - 05


To subscribe to the podcast feed:

Click here for a direct iTunes link.

If you're using a podcast reader/RSS feed dealio other than iTunes, here's the RSS link:

http://sonacast.com/12mt/12mt.xml

If you enjoy the podcast, please take a moment to review me on iTunes or your favorite podcast reader or search site/directory, and share it with your friends and family. All episodes of 12 Minute Travelogues are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States license, which means that you may copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, and make derivative works (remixes) or use it in your own work as long as (a) proper attribution is given (a link to sonacast.com or joewall.com would be nice, too), (b) it is not used commercially, and (c) you share the resulting work with others with the same license and conditions. If you would like to use this work in a commercial setting, please contact me.

Thanks, and remember to listen slowly!
 
joebelknapwall: (12 Minute Travelogues)
12 Minute Travelogues number four is ready for download. If you've subscribed to the feed (see below for information), it ought to show up sometime today, depending on how your podcast software is configured.

This piece is a bit of a departure from the previous three, in that I've worked from a much more literal source than usual. No. 4 is roughly inspired by tonglen meditation, a variant on the more popular modes of meditation in which we bring darkness and chaos and anger into ourselves, then process it into light, compassion, and understanding to share with others. This week's podcast was delayed by two weeks from my original schedule because of situations in my personal life, and it's rough-edged, a little pointed and harsh, because I've frankly been feeling angry and hurt and isolated and this is both my return and my response.

40

Return is the movement of the Tao
Yielding is the way of the Tao.

All things are born of being.
Being is born of non-being.


Notice, as you listen (or maybe as you listen to the piece a second time), the raw and jagged edges of the almost metallic tonal wash that drifts in and out throughout the podcast. It emerges, at first rough and harsh from the canvas of suspended, minor-key tones and drones, but changes, losing its edge, until it is revealed as the pure digital chorale that closes the piece. It is the same sound throughout, transformed by being overdriven and constrained, much as our frustration and anxiety color our perceptions of everything around us. This is often true of what we see and feel, and why this is all so much harder for us than it needs to be.
 


If you prefer not to subscribe:

alt-click (control-click on Mac) this link to download it directly:

12 Minute Travelogues - 04


To subscribe to the podcast feed:

Click here for a direct iTunes link.

If you're using a podcast reader/RSS feed dealio other than iTunes, here's the RSS link:

http://sonacast.com/12mt/12mt.xml

If you enjoy the podcast, please take a moment to review me on iTunes or your favorite podcast reader or search site/directory, and share it with your friends and family. All episodes of 12 Minute Travelogues are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States license, which means that you may copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, and make derivative works (remixes) or use it in your own work as long as (a) proper attribution is given (a link to sonacast.com or joewall.com would be nice, too), (b) it is not used commercially, and (c) you share the resulting work with others with the same license and conditions. If you would like to use this work in a commercial setting, please contact me.
 
joebelknapwall: (12 Minute Travelogues)
12 Minute Travelogues number three is ready for download. If you've subscribed to the feed (see below for information), it ought to show up sometime today, depending on how your podcast software is configured.

If you prefer not to subscribe, you can alt-click (control-click on Mac) this link to download it directly:

12 Minute Travelogues - 03



Click here for a direct iTunes link.

If you're using a podcast reader/RSS feed dealio other than iTunes, here's the RSS link:

http://sonacast.com/12mt/12mt.xml

If you enjoy these ambient pieces, please take a moment to review me on iTunes or your favorite podcast reader/search site/directory. Thankya most kindly!
joebelknapwall: (12 Minute Travelogues)
The second installment of my 12 Minute Travelogues is up and running. If you've subscribed to the feed (see below for information), it ought to show up soon, depending on how your podcast software is configured.

If you prefer not to subscribe, you can alt-click (control-click on Mac) this link to download it directly:

12 Minute Travelogues - 02


Thanks for listening!



Click here for a direct iTunes link.

If you're using a podcast reader/RSS feed dealio other than iTunes, here's the RSS link:

http://sonacast.com/12mt/12mt.xml

If you enjoy these little ambient pieces, please take the time to review me on iTunes.

Thanks!
joebelknapwall: (12 Minute Travelogues)
The tape deck was a Christmas present, a long time ago. It was huge and heavy and mostly metal, with big aluminum levers to switch the noise reduction on and off, or to select what kind of tape you'd be recording. The knobs were large, sitting under big analog meters with hair-thin needles that would twitch and jump to the tune of whatever was playing.

I could say it saved my life, or maybe just made it what it is now.

In the late hours, I would lie in bed, maybe with a book, maybe just with my last daydreams fading in the night, with a pair of clunky headphones clamped around my ears. I'd reach up to the shelf over my bed, touch the play button, and a little solenoid would engage the capstans and play head with a satisfying kip-thunk.

Sometimes it was Eno, sometimes it was Czukay, sometimes Satie or Stravinsky or Monk or Sanders. Some nights I'd leave the tape deck switched off and use my old shortwave radio to tune in the distant voices out there, the gentle sound of news in Norway or the regular, hypnotic chanting from the Vatican. Sometimes, it'd just be static, formed by the rising and falling of the ionosphere, bringing in little bits of random noise, stations appearing and disappearing in waves.

I would lie there, bathing in those rich pools of sound, and I would rise, out of myself and all the day-to-day frustration that being myself requires, and let that intrusive state of being just slip away.

There are landscapes under landscapes in the world, layers under layers over layers, endless worlds of meaning, of observation, and of ways to travel.

I wrote once about a tree and a streetlight, just around the corner from here.

It is a new world, the world of tiny machines that fit in pockets with room to spare, and I was out walking with my own little machine singing in my ears. The haze was thick, the night was cool and quiet, and I saw a tree casting the most wondrous light. It was just a tree, and just a streetlight, but the branches made shadows that radiated out from the source of the light like fingers, made clear in the mist. As I walked, listening to the music, I watched the way the shape of those fingers of light changed, merged, and created patterns for every step, for every note ringing in my ears, for every breath, except—

—except the light does not change, and while the tree moves, it mostly stays firm, and all those patterns and all those microscopic, individual changes in how I could see the tree and that light came from me, and from my path, and from the attention I paid to something that would otherwise go unnoticed. Every possible way of seeing the tree, and ways that would never be seen, all exist simultaneously, in a sphere of possibilities waiting to be explored. With a song singing in our ears, it becomes harder to just write everything off as we so often do, and whole worlds appear from what we mistake for nothing.

It is all out there, nested inside itself, and requires only a reminder.

So that old tape deck is now stored away, lovingly, even though it has not worked in a decade, and new machines have come and gone in its wake.

I am still listening. I still rise up, out from myself, and travel.

Why it works for me is meaningless.

When there is the time, I travel.



12 Minute Travelogues - 01

ambient music by Joe Wall

(right-click or control-click [for Macs] to save this file to your local disk)





This is the first of a series of twelve 12 Minute Travelogues, music for meditation, daydreaming, idle thoughts, and other higher (or lower) states of being. It was recorded this morning in one pass, in real time, with no overdubs or edits other than to trim for time and to add fade-in/fade-out volume adjustments.

The instrumentation for this piece was: Ensoniq Esq-1 synthesizer, Clavia Nord Micro Modular (for signal processing), Lexicon Vortex and Reflex effects processors, and an Electro Harmonix Stereo Memory Man (with Hazarai) for loop recording and delay effects. I also used a pair of Doepfer Pocket Control MIDI controllers to adjust parameters in the Nord Micro Modular.

The recording was produced with a Zoom H2 digital recorder, edited on a Mac Mini (Intel Core2 1.83ghz) using (freeware) Audacity software, and converted to an MP3 file using iTunes.

This recording is licensed with a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States license, which means that you may copy, distribute, display, and perform the work, and make derivative works (remixes) or use it in your own work as long as attribution is given, it is not used commercially, and you share the resulting work with the same license and conditions. If you would like to use this work in a commercial setting, please contact me.

There will be a new piece issued weekly (work schedule permitting) for the next eleven weeks. If you like this music, please share it with your friends. I will also be creating a podcast feed in the next day or so, and will post it here shortly, so you can subscribe to the series using iTunes or another music player of your choice.

12 minutes is longer than you think. Listen slowly.


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January 2013

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