Sampling the world

In late 2015 I was working with my musical collaborator/producer Hans Van Vliet.  Hans is an animator, music producer, the frontman for the Brisbane based bit pop band 7BitHero. In more recent times he has also been musical director for Wafia’s live show.  This guy is crazy talented and one of the most prolific artists I have ever met!  Just taking a moment here to feel humbled by the fact that we are working together.  Here is a picture of us at soundcheck. 


Every morning before our studio sessions I go for a walk and collect field recordings of interesting sounds I come across.  I am often looking for ways to bring natural sounds into the studio.  I feel that the organic samples contain an irregularity and texture that is hard to simulate but that I am often looking for in the studio. 


This particular morning I had found myself on a walking track that led underneath the motorway.   As the cars travelled above me I was mesmerised by the sound, a strange rhythmic clunking sound, from the cars as they traveled over the seams in the road.  I recorded a minute or two of sound and took this picture.


When I came back from this walk I showed Hans the recording.  He immediately took it and ran it through a new software instrument he had just purchased called IRIS


What came from this was a pulsing rhythmic texture that could be pitched and played like a Synth patch.  He then recorded a simple chord progression to give me an example of how you could use this.  Here it is for you to listen.

In that moment I recognised the progression and to my astonishment he had played the opening chord progression to the Arthur Russell song.  I started singing the opening lines.  8 hours later our arrangement of I Take This Time was complete. 


Being a homage to a great cellist we wanted to incorporate live cello parts into the track.  The next step was to contact Melbourne based cellist Charlotte Jacke.


Stay tuned next week to hear all about working with Charlotte.