Making Sound Collages…

Just a little thought about the process

When I’m making a sound collage it’s an experience that is very visual for me, like I’m working on a physical collage – except the picture is just in my head, and what everyone else experiences is an audio experience.

In my mind I’m seeing something like a Robert Rauschenberg collage painting…

Above: Kennedy by Robert Rauschenberg

And then there’s the mixer (shown below), which doesn’t look like the picture of the collage in my head, but creates a secondary image of the collage framework I have to work with to translate my mental image into audio form.

Here’s a screen shot of my latest sound collage I’m working on, tentatively called Souvenirs From The End Of The World

Building The Sound Collage

I tear off a large piece of some song or sound piece that I want to use as a background texture. I paste that down and then add various elements to build the collage.

If I have a theme in mind I gather materials to use to support my theme – a song clip of this, a loop of that, a variety of incidentals, maybe a major quote or two, and sometimes an extended spoken word piece.

If I don’t have a theme then I’ll go deeper into the sub-conscious and dig through some material I’ve collected and hear what catches my ear, and then another thing and then another… and slowly I start seeing and hearing the direction the sound collage is going to go and I gather more materials to support that direction.

All in all it’s a 25% purpose-driven and about 75% intuition-driven. I’m working on bringing up that intuition percentage.

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