In his latest series Weekly Splice, Fraser collects one recorded sound or other non-copyrighted sounds per day. Each Sunday he gives himself less than two hours to splice together seven sounds to great short songs and soundscapes. Enjoy a fresh splice each week!
Installation Magazine: Would you be able to speak a bit more about the inspiration behind the project?
Paul Fraser: I wanted to start a web project that kept me engaged every day in order to make a track every week. No matter how it turned out, I would complete it and move on at the end of the week. I was also interested in the idea of forcing myself to collect a new sound every day for as long as I could, and to keep my ears more active all day, even if I’m doing something mundane like eating a sandwich.
I love the idea that you can make music out of any random collection of seven sounds in your environment. Collecting one sound (or small set of sounds from the same source) a day helps me make the entire set of weekly sounds more diverse, rather than collecting seven sounds in one day. The whole process is like a weekly sound journal for me. I’m fascinated with using the samples collected during the week to write something based on whatever mood I’m in at the conclusion of that week.
I like involving people from my daily life and my community in the project. One week, I had some random collection of friends that I saw each day sing one note for me into my phone and I made a ridiculous little choir piece. For the current week’s splice, I asked people via social media to send me a sound made by their pets, recorded with their phones. As of tonight (Thursday, 3/20), I have sounds from 13 different pets (lots of dogs and cats), which is more than my usual one sound source per day, but I’m fine with that for this week. I don’t even want to think about how to compose this splice until I begin working on it on Sunday. It’s either going to sound really amazing or be a complete disaster, which excites the hell out of me.
Where are you collecting your source material?
The location I am that day, typically, but some weeks I’ll do a theme (some of this is answered above). I spend a lot of time working at/near my studio shack on a little mountain in Highland Park, where I collect a lot of my sounds. I also find old sounds that I recorded in the past on my hard drive with vague names like “piano3.wav” that I’ll use for that day’s sound. Each track’s individual Soundcloud page lists each sound divided out by which day it was recorded/collected. Here’s the playlist.
What challenges have you come up against in creating sound pieces in such a brief period of time?
As one could imagine, sequencing the sounds in a short amount of time tends to be an intuitive process. When I start my phone timer, I try to compare similar and contrasting sounds and see if some pattern or texture rises to the surface. I usually find one sound motif that I like and build the remaining sounds around it. I keep my eye on the clock, which keeps me focused on just trying things and not getting too fussy with it. By the last 30 minutes, I tend to have something put together, but the time restraint forces me to focus less on smaller mixing and compositional accuracies, which sometimes ends up making the song sound more janky/interesting. Getting started is the hard part …