Selected Works vol.11

1) Slipping Through The Ragged Shadows (17:04)

studio work, composition

modular synth, field recordings, contact microphone’s feedback

2 channels

originally broadcasted on Latvian Radio 3 in December 2020

2) Bilbao, 2017 07 21 (live) (11:47)

at Larraskito (working/concert space)

semi-modular synth, ppooll, axoloti, effect pedals, field recordings, fluteophone, objects

4 channels, PA systems with subwoofer

originally released as a track on Soundcloud in 2017

3) Nearby Deusto (9:45)

studio work, composition

semi-modular synth, ppooll, axoloti, field recordings

2 channels

originally released as a track on Soundcloud in 2018

4) Saint Petersburg, 2020 05 16 (streaming live) (30:20)

at home

modular synth, ppooll, field recordings, sample

2 channels

Link to listen on Bandcamp:

Эссе на русском языке:

The Selected Works vol.11 compilation represents two different periods. In 2017 I had just started playing with a semi-modular synthesizer, and in 2020 the modular setup was almost completely developed. Both periods are connected by the use of a computer for mixing and some signal processing from a synthesizer.

The first piece was created for Latvian Radio 3 at the invitation of Rihards Endriksons in December 2020. Since I worked most part of that year at home with a synthesizer, the choice fell on it when the question arose about the instrument for the piece. The whole process went fast enough. After recording several sessions and selecting the material I liked, I almost immediately had a skeleton of the piece, on which I layered new layers and selected field recordings. In concert situations field recordings usually create a background, but in the studio this time the opposite happened, when the field recording was matched to synthesizer textures. Also I used a contact microphone with feedback. 

In 2017, I spent about 3 weeks in Barcelona and Bilbao, working with Vasco Trilla, Phicus, Alfredo Costa Monteira, Ferran Fages and Miguel A. Garcia. In a place called Larraskito in Bilbao, a concert was played, a part of which is presented on the compilation. This place is a workspace for several musicians and sculptors, occasionally concerts and even small festivals take place there. Miguel suggested using 4 channels, and I prepared the setup using ppooll on a laptop, to which several sources were sent: a synthesizer with processing on axoloti, a fluteophone with a contact microphone and effect pedals as well as field recordings. This setup was a kind of transitional moment from playing the saxophone or fluteophone with electronics and effect pedals to pure synthesizer playing. In the recording you can hear Russian voices, which, oddly enough, were recorded in Barcelona in the Lesseps metro area. I was sitting on a bench, listening and recording and I remember being surprised by the family with children. In the stereo version you can hear the movement of sounds, but still it doesn’t sound as atmospheric as when listened through a four channel setup. 

Another part of that concert is on YouTube:

The next piece is based on a field recording made in the same year in Bilbao on the way from one metro station to another, plus a combination of a synthesizer and a computer with ppooll. In 2018, for the first time, the idea appeared to do a part of the modulations from a laptop, which was tested at one of the concerts and when working at home with this composition.

In 2020, I had a chance to play only one solo "concert" with a synthesizer: streaming at the Ars Altera festival. It was in May, when streaming concerts were still something fresh and unusual. I had to try it too. In the morning I did the “soundcheck” and set up the “scene” for the video. The  setup consisted of a synthesizer and a computer with ppooll as an advanced mixer with auto pan and players for field recordings and samples.

In addition to the absence of real spectators, the difficult moment of such a concert is the absence of a different environment around, a different sound situation. One of my interests, playing with room acoustics, turned out to be almost completely leveled out in this situation. I started the set with a field recording and a sample of an American yacht-rock group at half-speed. It tuned me in the right way, synthesizer drones were woven into the sound, and then they began to change, turning into crumbling textures and so on.

Video of the performance is here:

I would like to thank Miguel A. Garcia, Anastasia Koroleva and Nikolai Golikov for organizing the concerts; Rihards Endriksons for an invitation to write a play for the radio; Lauri Hyvärinen for proofreading.

Ilia Belorukov, May 2021