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Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Kevin's Moment - 2nd installment of the Kickstarter Campaign Collaboration Reward

When Kevin George sent me this paragraph for his lyrical contribution to our collaboration, I admit I was stumped:

'I'll see you later,' she says.
'hopefully,' he says, awkwardly laughing.
'you will,' she quickly and seriously replies as if she knew it was coming.
'you better,' he says.

she never once looks back at him, keeping her back to him the whole time.
she seems to be holding her emotions back the entire time. Or so he tells
himself.
she looks through her phone then drives away.
he watches until she is gone from view. gone for good.

In his email Kevin wrote, "It is really just a basic description of a moment. Feel free to use them as just a general outline if you want." There really wasn't much to go on as far as a narrative or rhythm was concerned, so I decided to focus the piece on the impact of the interaction, rather than its context or content.

I took the dialogue of the female and assigned it to a thin woodwinds section of two flutes and one oboe. I took the dialogue of the male and assigned it to a heavy-handed brass sections of six french horns and four English horns. I wrote call-and-response melodies for the two sections, matching the notes to the number of syllables and following the perceived pitch inflections of the characters. I set the tempo so that the whole exchange would last 22 seconds because that's about how long I think this kind of interaction would take. Then I wrote an accompaniment for four double basses, eight cellos, four violas, and eight violins that ends on a very unresolved and abbreviated diminished chord.

Since there is no way I can afford to bring musicians into a studio for these pieces, I synthesized and mixed the short piece in my bedroom. The final, crucial step was to stretch the resulting mix out to 13.6363636363... times its original length (the infinite decimal meant to suggest endlessness without making the user actually listen to this song forever). This stretching of the piece is meant to simulate the perpetual reflecting of the narrator, the picking of a scab, elongating all of the once-tiny dissonant nuances of the weaving lead voices.

Kevin's Moment by gavincastleton

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