A Sonic Postcard

I have a track on a rather great free to download compilation for Marc Weidenbaum’s Disquiet.com blog. Each song inspired by a different image taken with the popular iphone application, Instagram.

The compilation can be downloaded from here.

William Gibson said recently that science fiction is a way of examining the present without having to cope with the reality of looking directly at it. I think Instagram is a bit like this. Except with Instagram we’re not really looking at or thinking about reality. We’re looking at what today might look like if we found it in a beaten up shoebox full of old photographs in the attic.

My assigned image (seen below) was taken by Jon Monteverde. It seemed to suggest that cool shivering excitement one feels when offered a vista of a city in the hazy early morning. With this in mind, I built a song around a blackbirds call recorded at dawn from a rooftop in Madrid, Spain kindly provided by Dobroide at http://www.freesound.org. Another recording of morning traffic heard from my bedroom window in Dublin, Ireland was also placed very low in the mix, reduced almost to the bare hiss of white noise.

The bell and synth sounds that duel (duet?) with the blackbird come from the amazing Aalto synth created by Madrona Labs.

On top of these sounds various gauzy digital layers were heaped: a digital guitar pedal called the el Capistan that emulates the sound and warmth of old tape delays, a VST called the Glue that mimics the sound of SSL buss compressors, and other such wonders of the modern age. Brave new simulacra of venerable old tools.

Stephen Quinn mastered the track at his Analog Heart studio.

You can read a bit about the image I submitted and what music Mark Rushton created for it here. The image shows my brother Kieran floating in a lake on Rathlin island. Mark’s music fits the image perfectly I think.

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