co/incidence

“co/incidence” is a personal meditation. My primary materials were 3 samples of single, plucked acoustic guitar notes, field recordings captured in the block around my house in Highland Park, a microKORG synthesizer, and an array of digital and modulation effects available in Logic Pro X, wherein I arranged and produced the piece. By chopping and manipulating acoustic/electric instruments as well as natural and man-made sonic elements of suburbia, I attempt to re-contextualize artefacts that constitute the soundscape surrounding my bedroom and personal space.

While immersed in cognitive science research, I was fascinated by synchronicity. A concept introduced by Carl Jung, it essentially posits that meaningful co-incidences often occur without a salient causal relationship. Using a viral video of 100 metronomes that start anachronistically and match up after a certain period of time as inspiration to apply this concept in music, I experiment with the dichotomy between synchronized and unsynchronized, purposely placing events in and out of time- demonstrating that the lining up of different temporal events may just be a pure “co-incidence”, for all we know.

I utilize a minimalistic aesthetic for this piece, informed by Steve Reich’s practice of using short, repetitive and often jarring sound objects. By channelling his artistic ethos alongside micro-montage techniques, I am interested in unique yet fleeting musical phrases that last less than a second. Looking at and working within small periods ultimately allowed me to make movement very unassuming in this piece. Isolating individual samples of three guitar notes on hand allowed me to repeat notes one after another at different time intervals, creating an intensely physical texture. By pitch shifting these notes, I was able to achieve melodic harmony, a relatively “conventional” musical feature that is informed by my background in songwriting and folk music. I then repeated selected phrases of different guitar notes until reaching and eventually moving past synchronicity. In addition, I sampled one sine wave note, ran it through a mix of pedals and high-pass filters, and used an automated echo plug-in to change the rate of playback over time- these sine wave notes also attempt to rhythmically co-incide with guitar notes. These MIDI-generated notes emulated sounds of an effected guitar rig. Additionally, two sets of MIDI “triads” were passed through a cutoff/resonance/LP filter effects unit in my microKORG synth, an instrument I have owned since I first started recording and playing music.

Also featured in this piece are samples of field recordings- these are of an evening breeze, and the bell of a passing street vendor. After passing through phasers and flangers, these were chopped up to create almost percussive sounds that undergird the guitar notes. I also used vocal samples of me yelling “some!”, sampled from a folk song I previously recorded. Cohesively, these phrases, ideas and sound objects come together to paint an odd, deconstructed image of my physical and sensory sense of place.