by Mitch Walcott

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beyond 56:01


New Mexico - Spring of 2013

Microtonal sounds have interested me for several years. Random, or 'chance music' like that of John Cage, has also intrigued me for a long time. In addition I find that counterpoint, similar to Bach and Schoenberg, stimulates my creative thinking. Using the Sonuus i2M MIDI Converter with a inexpensive contact microphone, I was able to convert random sound vibrations into microtonal musical pitches. At first I drove to different areas, trying to capture the data that I desired into my iPad mini via the MidiVision app. For example, I attempted to use trees branches, which were blowing in the wind, in the Santa Fe National Forest. The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge was tried as well, by attaching the contact microphone to the steel structure while it was windy outside. Data was also collected from the 'Whisper Gallery' at the Very Large Array.

Unfortunately, none of these resulted in the kind of MIDI data that I was looking for. Later on, it occurred to me that mechanical devices might work better. Everything that I needed was in my apartment. The dishwasher, washing machine, and dryer became the sources of the vibration needed for my equipment to capture.

Each appliance generated a monophonic MIDI file. This allowed me to take each of the three files to create one master file, resulting in a polyphonic composition with random counterpoint and microtonal pitches.

In 1993, Brian Eno released "Neroli." Subconsciously, that album influenced my production of "beyond" in the sense of the sounds and length of the piece. For example, the MIDI file was slowed all the way down to 20 BPM, resulting in a 56 minute long track. The sounds were generated using only one synth patch from the NLog Synth PRO app within my iPad.

The end result reminds me of the 'alien hotel' scenes at the end of "2001: A Space Odyssey."

While this was not intentional, I was happy because I wanted something that was relaxing and that seemed a bit alien as well. My hope is that listeners can find this album useful to relieve stress and to creatively daydream.

Mitch Walcott


released July 4, 2013


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