Black Hair Rolled in Dried Blood
I’m not sure when it happened, but having spent some years at art school and subsequently many years producing installation projects coupled with the availability of affordable, decent quality equipment, I became very involved with video art. I saw this unquestionably as my future and lifelong aspiration.
At some point after recording lots of footage, I realised how much I had only concentrated on the visual aspect - these works featured no soundtrack.
I had neglected a whole sonic universe, which was a surprise because I have such an interest in a wide range of sonic reference points from Shaeffer and Cage, Stockhausen, Reich through to Kraftwerk to Punk, Post-Punk, Rave and ambient- i.e. pretty much anything and everything can trigger my creative curiosity.
I have no musical training, but I guess the realisation that this is not a prerequisite to producing interesting sounds gave me the impetus to go and try making some field recordings and editing them together and approaching them with a similar objective as I would do if it were a piece of sculpture or an installation.
I like using field recordings or sampled sound, but not as much as I liked stringing various stomp boxes together and having the means to completely mess with the original sound and push it through filtering, modulating, distorting and layering it into something completely different and unrecognisable at the other end.
And that, in a slightly abridged version is how I got here about fifteen years later. The funny thing is, that many people will find this development strangely familiar. About discovering an activity involving sonic exploration which grabs hold of you and draws you in and which allows our experiences and interests to develop and flourish, whatever our background.
Black Hair Rolled In Dried Blood (don’t ask where the name came from - that is another story) is a project which is fundamentally about exploring sonic creation, but also multi-dimensional, interactive and collaborative projects. The BHRIDB Bandcamp site gives me a lot of pleasure because it is a straightforward way of sharing ideas I have been working on. All the downloads are free, and I have a great joy in making work available like this, and also to explore the creative output of so many other projects out there. I make some physical releases available, and producing them as hand-made, individual artefacts is another important aspect of the project. I was also involved with another micro label called Stars, Dots, and the ‘New’ Junk label which has a much broader community of releases and the live act called Osmiroid.
I have a relatively simple set up for recording and production. The equipment I have used ranges from a Teenage Engineering OP-1, Soma Labs Lyra8, Soma Labs Pipe, Koma Field Kit and Field Effects, a Pittsburgh Modular Lifeforms System 2, Make Noise 0-Coast and various loopers, stomp pedals, Kaos pads, contact mics, a Zoom H5 field recorder with a Soma Labs Ether VLF antenna and other stuff. I just pick and choose which things to use and don’t have all these things connected at the same time, maybe just playing with one or two. I monitor everything through a pair of Adam Audio T5Vs.
I record directly into a Zoom R16 recorder in one take into one to three inputs to create a few layers if needed. I record something I find interesting as I am doing it, maybe for two to three minutes or shorter. At some point, I transfer the master track to a computer and do some basic editing and EQ - not much more than that. So I make longer tracks by stringing a lot of short takes together and chop the bits I don’t like out. I used to do this in Bias Peak, but that no longer works since I updated my Mac OS, so now I use Audacity to edit the soundwave.
But I have left out something very important.
In recent years I have used the AE Modular system more and more extensively, and it has become what I consider my main source of output as it has had the opportunity to grow as I have added more modules. I also input the Bastl Instruments MicrGranny 2.5 which gives me the opportunity to input field recordings and additional samples. The idea that I could have a modular setup like this would have seemed impossible a few years ago and too daunting to consider. I have three mixer modules and set up two or three patches if possible, or maybe one big one. The mixing of sound is done internally as I record the output as previously described.
But the modular world is now available to me and it is a creative revelation. I get immersed in it, the infinite creative possibilities and I love the way that everything is going through the system via the physical routing of cables. I can explore, discover and via the great community online and in the forum, find out answers to questions which arise.
I look forward, in fact I can’t wait, to producing more work and discovering new sonic possibilities. It is also fantastic to hear about and have the opportunity to listen to other people’s experiences and work. It is a great feeling to discover these things and to appreciate the work.
This page is part of the index of artists of the AE Modular community. If you perform and record with your AE Modular system, then we would love for you to be featured here as well. Please read the information about how to join in this post on the forum.