I’ve been banging on for a while now about doing a weekly or monthly playlist thing that accompanies the project. It might not be stuff that necessarily says much about the project but is more likely to be the stuff that was following me around while recording, editing and updating the site. So without further ado… here is the first edition of Machine Mix!
Included are some great new cuts from Death In Vegas, Bjork and a great Breakage remix to kick off the whole thing. The latest single from perhaps the most wonderfully 80s fantasy movie band ever, Sound of Arrows, rounds off the mix. Also in there is a beautiful instrumental epic from Mathew Jonson, Datasette’s remix of Running Up That Hill, a bit of classic post-disco from Evelyn “Champagne” King, and even some lovely slomo house stuff featuring one of the greatest 303 lines ever created.
This is my life in music for the past month. I hope you like it.
Step right up folks! Allow me to introduce to you the first volume of the Sunshine Machine Recordings.
As with most of the stuff surrounding this project I’m giving away the digital downloads for free. I’m hoping to put this out as a digipack with some of the longer pieces edited down to fit so if you’d like to own the physical product please hang fire for a couple of weeks. Want to try to get it done for the holidays. So if you know decent CD On-Demand stores please let me know.
If you want to grab the free digital version right now you can through the lovely people at bandcamp. You can get there by clicking the link, going to the permalinks on the right of this page, or by clicking on the album cover above. Also if you like it or think other people will like it please spread the word.
Go get your free album! And let me know if you like it. Which one is your favorite?
We’ve officially hit double figures! The weather spurred me on to make the absolute most of it. Instead of the humid, muggy heat and rain that now prevails before it inevitably gives way to ice on the wind and chillblains, it was beautiful for a brief moment in time. It was also great to experience all the quiet, light and space on my own in a place I know so well, but rarely see from the vantage point of such an early morning.
The phrygian scale is giving me a lot of joy at the moment. I always considered it a very dark, sensual key and liked it for those reasons. It’s not something I would normally have described as “optimistic” or “contemplative” but that’s the effect of rooting the mode in E. The piece constantly feels like it finishes with cadences to me and then begins again; this recycling of the same idea but growing in intensity. But that’s probably just me. I like the audio as a standalone artefact on this one a lot, just a shame it was so short (this involved some trespassing on private land to get). I also adore the video that’s coming in the next few days. Hope you enjoy it.
And… the stream player is above and download link follows:
To call this week unusual would be the understatement of the century. It’s autumn. Leaves are changing (in rather spectacular fashion currently too) and it should be getting soggy and chilly. Neither of which appears to have transpired! Instead we’re now in the middle of an unseasonable indian summer. And it’s wonderful!
And to add to the wonderfulness of this week on the 5th attempt I finally conquered Rivington. That place has been the Everest for this project. Gales, storms, technical problems and sheer forgetfulness have all transpired against me in the past. This time on a spur of the moment everything fell into place. Another voyage into the Dorian mode on this once. The results are oddly uncomfortable for the dorian I think. Also by far the longest installation we’ve done (faithful Sam-wise at my side).
Enough waffle: as always the stream player is above and download link follows:
It might seem ridiculous (it certainly does to me) but I’ve never actually installed the project in the place I spend a large majority of my time. I have no idea why. But regardless I’ve finally done it, although not exactly as initially planned, or even planned to any real degree. Worked quite well though.
This is the first recording I’ve done in a lydian mode. I like how energetic it feels. There’s a lot of green and yellow the key to me. I like that warmth. And considering how cold and wintery the weather has turned recently I need all the brightness I can get (even if it is in auditory form). Hopefully this weekend will see the instructional map poster thing I’ve got planned completed and available to buy! Most excited. But more on that in the coming days and in the blog. This one I’m most unsure on but I think the reasoning behind that is purely that it’s the newest one and I don’t quite get it yet. It’s an odd feeling not understanding something you created but I guess thats a biproduct of fact this thing generates itself.
As per the stream player is above and download link follows:
It’s been a stressful few days. The site has been going a bit mental but there’s buckets of copy on here now. Just missing the last few bits and bobs. And since it’s pretty much done it’s also pretty much time to launch it. This post and the associated video post have startling implications. Namely that I can actually do this myself and don’t need additional help! Heaven forbid!
This is the first piece that’s been done in the Dorian scale from what I can recall. Its a much different sound than the majors and harmonic minors that have been the staple fair of most of the installations so far. It’s much less rooted anywhere, and because of the way the scale works it means you never get the resolutions that you get in others like SM4. I also blogged the day that lead up to this. I’m going to start doing that for all the pieces I do I think.
The stream player is available above but here’s the direct download link:
Back to your leaves, roots and branches.
Whilst the video will explain more as to the reasoning behind this piece I’d like to take this chance to discuss the length of these recordings. At university we were discussing the definition of music. Our lecturer suggested the definition by, I think, Stockhausen. I’m paraphrasing here but essentially it was that you just play a note as long as you feel you should.
That’s the kind of approach I use with the installations. Some of them might last 2 days and other might only last 2 minutes. This one is on the much shorter side of things only clocking in at just over 6 minutes. But the reasoning behind it is that this is the correct length of the piece. I’m aware I’m drifting off into philosophy and nonsensical ranting so I leave you with the download link. See if you think the length is right.
Challenges are sometimes worth the fight.
To say I’ve never been a fan of mornings would be a ridiculous understatement. They make me physically and mentally ache. This 5am installation took three attempts to get, which meant either staying up through the night or getting very little sleep three nights in a row (they turned out to be very much the same thing). More moaning about mornings on the video post here.
But after several grouchy morning phone calls we were able to drag our bodies to the top of the Peak District and find a suitable location to set up. While visually it isn’t as exciting as some other videos the audio for this offers a much different perspective, rather than descending, entropic music this lifts itself further towards resolution. Its perhaps the most upbeat of all the installations thus far.
Revisiting lost youth and finding a beautiful now.
As I explained in the post of the video for this installation this one was very personal for me. I wanted to go back to a place where I could try to record the sounds and images of my childhood. A large amount of my childhood memories are connected with Harlech hence its selection as the next location on our little summer tour.
This is by far my favorite installation to date. The machine was acting very oddly when we recorded. For some reason the arpeggio pattern changed from what it normally output and tonally it appears to have shifted to a more whistley tone. I’m at a loss to explain why. I love the randomness inherant in the machine. It makes wonderful things happen; like the tension, heat, and eventual feeling of release in this recording.
Accidents can be pretty too apparently. This one certainly worked well.
While driving to a much more significant location (which became Sunshine Machine 4) we stumbled across a high plain on top of Snowdonia. The light was perfect, if not a little hazey, and the place was quite as anywhere I’ve ever been. So we pulled up and managed to grab a few minutes of recording at the side of the road. Video here.
By far the shortest recording to date that we’ve done it’s becoming one of my firm favorites. I almost wish we hadn’t cut the piece off so early but as we were running the rig on battery we had only a finite amount of time and had to save the majority of our juice for the planned recording a few hours down the line.