Friday, September 5, 2014

the last book I ever read (Nicholson Baker's Traveling Sprinkler, excerpt eight)

from Traveling Sprinkler by Nicholson Baker:

I recorded some harmony, using the Steinway Hall Piano—I always seem to go back to the Steinway—then added several jingly, tinkly rhythms from the Indian and Middle Eastern drum kit, and some guitar, and then experimented with some sampled classical male voices singing “ah” and “oh,” and placed the egg-slicer sounds on top. I guess I was making some kind of sound salad. But the egg slicer didn’t fit well and I muted it. The broom was pretty good, it had a sort of double thump, but the egg slicer was a disappointment. I couldn’t find any handclap samples anywhere in Logic—although I’m sure they’re there somewhere—so I recorded some of my own, and I watched a YouTube video on how to take a single, inadequate handclap and double it and then shift the claps around so that they sound realer, moving one clap track to the left and one to the right of the stereo center. But the handclaps sounded corny and I cut them out.

I played what I had so far, and thought I had the beginnings of a song. All it needed was the melody and the words. I set up a “Male Ambient Lead” vocal track. My underpowered voice become enormous in my headphones. I started singing along to the loop with my huge stereo voice. At first I sang wordlessly: ba-doodle doodle doodle doo, doot doodle, doo. Then I sang, “Waiting for the time to come, waiting for the time to come, waiting for the time to come.” There it was, the beginning of a song, and it had only taken me four hours. Four hours of sweating in the ridiculously hot barn.

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