Lehmann B Smith
Entry #2


Trying to take some example from the assuredness of nature, doing as it does without second guessing. A couple sessions composing by the creek, first in the sun, and again another day in the light rain that turned into a hard prattle of hailstones.

Did some cursory testing of the acoustics in the dam wall, seeing which chamber resonates the clearest and longest, and then where the microphone should be placed in regards to the sound source to get the most out of this strange space.

I went down to the dam as it was getting dark and as I was walking back I heard the big bellow of a buck that must have echoed four or five times across the valleys. I had no idea what it was, sounded almost like a quack, I figured it might be a bunyip… but then remembered about the deer I’d seen a week before. I did try calling back, just to get an idea of how loud that bellow must have been, but wasn’t able to get even one feeble echo out of my quack.

Began roughly notating the musical ideas from the previous week into some playable form. Then set up my recording gear and set about putting these ideas through a clarinet and into a computer. Surprising how much the tone of a clarinet changes the meaning of the music.

I went to Mount Beauty for supplies and coming back from the petrol station I noticed the museum and umm’d and ahh’d before going in for a look. They had a small hydro generator connected to a sort of indoor moat, and you could press a button and watch the generator spin and the water scream through it. It was fun but I had no idea what I was looking at.

The museum did yield a lot of useful information on the history of Bogong Village, with a lot of great photographs. I took notes of the history that I felt would help to contextualise the music I was making (it was the day before that I’d coincidentally decided that the music I’d been making should reflect the town, the history of it, the people who made it and lived in it. So I felt lucky to have pushed myself into this museum / information centre / gift shop).

I continued recording the ideas of the previous week, composing some more, and also leaning into chance elements — recording long notes, then overlaying new notes without reference to the note I was layering over, to create a chord progression built out of chaos, out of notes played at random. A few days later I refined these chords, picked the best ones, pushed it into some type of shape, refining the chaos like you might cut a road out of a mountain, just following it along to find the path of least resistance.

I also did my best to experiment with different sounds I could get out of the limited means of a clarinet and a bass clarinet — breathing through it without sounding a note, tapping the silver keys (which on the bass clarinet are big enough to get a discernible percussive note out of, almost like a bongo). I also did some singing through the clarinet, while sounding a note, but that didn’t come to anything.

More recording, so much that in the evening, talking over dinner, I felt the need to force the words out of my throat, pummelled by the pressure as it had been all day. But the thing is coming together so happy to have to sing out a little harder.