“…more important than what things are called is whether they are interesting to listen to.”
— Ernst Karel, Sound Artist

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1st July 2014

Audio post

The Last of the Winter Wine

There seems to come a time each Spring when my (self-imposed) deadlines seem to get longer and longer and I find I am spending more time tweaking things in my studio than actually creating.

I generally take this to mean that it’s time to concentrate on sharpening my tools rather than digging ditches…as a result my output tends to taper off in the Spring/Summer months (the proper word is “taper” as I am seldom not working on something).

This track (and it’s variations) have been on my workbench for awhile - the original having been a demo track I created for a review of the Squelch sample library by Echo Collective…. I took it back to the woodshed and tweaked it a bit (twerked?) but couldn’t quite decide which version I preferred (no worries - variations are welcome).

"Communication in the Presence of Noise" is track which blends sound design and traditional instrumentation - an area I prefer to work in.

Have a great summer!

Source: SoundCloud / Daniel Ottini

17th June 2014

Link

The "C" Word →

I really hate the phrase “Content Curation” - back in pre-internet days it was called “shit that we listen to” (this is the opposite of what it tends to be now, which is “shit which I am being paid to tell you to listen to”… we had a word for that back in the day too - Payola).

The Nazi’s were so good at “Curation” that they were able to wipe the works of great artists (such as Amedeo Modigliani) from the public consciousness in favour of state approved, right-thinking German National Socialist artists (come to think of it, the Soviets were very good at that as well).

This is a round about way of saying that I while I hate what “Curation” has sometimes become, I still like making lists of “shit which I am listening to”, which is especially easy to do in this day of streaming services (let’s step away from the issue of artist compensation for a minute if we may…).

It is in this spirit that I offer up one of my many lists for your enjoyment - this one features artists whom I consider to be pioneers of electronic and experimental music and certainly remain influences on my work to this day. 

If you believe (as I do) that a pioneer is someone with arrows in his back (old joke), than you might consider the sheer “bravery” of some of these folk to do the work that they did (yes, I know that this is not the same “bravery” as a fireman, but none-the-less…) and I love listening to them as much for that, as the fine work they produced.

Makes you wonder if they (or their heirs) make as much money today from streaming as when they were busy pulling arrows from their backs…

Tagged: Rdiordio playlistelectronic musicexperimental musicDaniel Ottinicontent curation

19th March 2014

Post with 2 notes

Too Many Notes…

This quote by Fred Rogers…

“I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.”

…really made me think about the role of simplicity in artistic creation.

Without a doubt I recognize that in this world writing a piece of music with a simple theme or melody is somehow looked down upon (as is not hitting a Driver as far as Tiger Woods OR not building a car that can do twice the speed limit…you get the drift), but why the obsession with complexity (OR distance, OR speed…)?

I prefer the music of Erik Satie to that of Mozart because of this simplicity, but does this make Satie an inferior composer  (we all know who had a blockbuster film written about them)? There is somehow a prejudice against simplicity in things…while I recognize that simplicity can sometimes mask lack of knowledge or technique, I think sometimes complexity can equally mask a lack of creativity.  

I know that in my own music, I often strive for complexity and in the end “strip away” layers because I dislike the “busyness” of the end product - I don’t think that this is as a result of lack of technique (although I am always learning), but because I gravitate towards this musical simplicity. I feel that sometimes there can really be “too many notes” in a piece of music.

Which brings me to Fred Rogers: in this Fast Food/Easy Credit/Soundbite world his program still sticks out like a Model T on a NASCAR Track…

At surface level, it’s easy to poke fun at “Mister Rogers” (I have myself) - and his gentle quiet, program with “archaic” concepts such as co-operation, friendship, community (etc). - but I dare you to sit any young person who has never seen “Mister Roger’s Neighbourhood” in front of the TV when it’s on. Once they get past their snickering, you will likely marvel as they become mesmerized in the slow-paced world that Rogers calmly weaves. These simple, “archaic” concepts run deep in the human psyche, no matter how easily we try to blow them off, and the messenger is so adept at delivering his message is his slow, sparse dialogue…

To me, this is the triumph of simplicity - people who have seen Mr Rogers REMEMBER Mr Rogers because he is such an alternative to the fast-paced, superficial TV world. Watching one of his programs (to me) is like listening to Satie instead of Mozart; one absorbs the message much better because it is simple and deep.

Perhaps some people are more prone to enjoying simplicity than others (maybe age makes a difference, or where/how you grew up…), but what we should always recognize and respect is the validity of simplicity as a form of artistic expression.

Ultimately, what is important is that the music moves you…no matter how many notes it has. 

Tagged: fred rogerssimplicitymusicmozarterik satieartmusic compositionpredudice

17th March 2014

Audio post

"Soul Delay" is a phrase coined by writer William Gibson - the "Urban Dictionary" describes it’s meaning best :

"Experienced in tandem with jet lag. Your body arrives after a long flight but your soul doesn’t arrive so quickly. The theory is your soul can’t travel as fast as a jet and you can become discombobulated while you wait for your soul to catch up.

"Souls can’t move that quickly, and are left behind, and must be awaited, upon arrival, like lost luggage." - William Gibson.

I think this piece very much sums up that feeling of being “peacefully disoriented” - not quite feeling whole (I feel the same way after a time change without even travelling) and features synthesizer, treated piano and female vocals (courtesy of Shevannai).

Tagged: Daniel Ottini MusicetherealMusicsoundtrackSerenelibrary musicElectronicnew age

Source: SoundCloud / Daniel Ottini

2nd March 2014

Audio post reblogged from A Hidden Sound with 3 notes

danielottinisound:

Beneath A Frozen Lake

I would be the first one to admit that I am not much of a Fisherman (I am more the Hiker type) - less so an ice fisherman. My in-laws, however, are, and it’s great that they like to introduce my kids to the pastime, but that leaves me with the dilemma of having little to do while I sit in a heated hut on a frozen lake - I can think of worse places to be, but I have trouble adjusting to a long stretch of doing nothing.

 Ice Hut Zebra

So I have taken to bringing a recording rig along on these (rare) trips. In the past I have recorded  sounds on the (surface) of the lake, but this time around I thought (for a twist) what it might be like to capture the sound “underneath” the lake. For this I turned to my trusty Aquarian Audio Hydrophone:

Aquarian Audio Hydrophone

Powered by the phantom power on my Zoom H4N recorder (along with a FetHead Phantom pre-amp, a necessity for overcoming the H4N’s very noisy pre-amps), the H2A was perfectly comfortable in the cold lake water.

 

So what does it sound like underneath a frozen lake? As these recordings can attest to, it is anything but quiet - the ice seems to act as a sort of resonator which amplifies any kind of contact that is occurring - footsteps, vehicles moving across the ice, chopping and drilling of the ice can all be heard from a distance away. In quieter moments the “cracking” of the ice can be heard as it is heated by the hot sun (note that this has to be more of expansion/contraction as the ice was plenty thick to be at any risk of actually cracking).

 The busy Ice Village

In the end I was quite happy that I didn’t come home empty handed, as were the “fishermen” - only my “catch” was slightly different from what most people we’re fishing for that day…  

Tagged: field recordingwinterIceLakeice fishingDaniel Ottini Musicsoundscape

12th February 2014

Video with 2 notes

Squelch 

To convince myself that this “video review thang” was not a one-off on my part, I found the time to complete & upload another sample library review to YouTube…

This time around the library in question is “Squelch” by Echo Collective - as interesting and unique a Kontakt library as there may ever be…

I really like their stuff because it seems to straddle the fence between Sound Design and Music - a fence I prefer to sit on and that Hollywood recently seems to be having (what may turn out to be) a brief “fling” with, with the Oscar nominated score to “Gravity”.

Turn on, Tune in, and please leave comments… 

Tagged: Echo CollectiveSample Librariesnative instrumentskontaktReviewSquelchRadio Sounds

6th January 2014

Video

Sample & Hold

A new year and new projects (as if I didn’t have enough)…

I have been experimenting with screen casting some reviews of sample libraries - the first one of which (Soniccouture’ s Tape Choir) is now up on YouTube.

I’m not really interested in becoming that “video guy”, but I kind of got tired of the current state of sample library reviews/walkthroughs, which I can summarize as follows:

  • Why do only expensive/ large libraries get reviewed? Once you spend as much as me on sample libraries you likely own a couple of $50 turkey’s that you might have avoided if you knew how limited they were…and these add up over time (at very least they take up needed hard drive space).
  • Why don’t reviewers check their biases at the door? How many reviewers actually receive the libraries free (“for review”?) from the developers? I can’t say for sure, but nobody seems to be crowing that their review is totally independent.
  • What do ALL the patches sound like? I don’t want to know how to compose with the library, I want to know what sounds I am getting  (I.e Do they sound good?, Is there variety? Do they fit with what I am looking for? Will I have to work at getting my own sounds?)… that is (after-all) what I am paying for.
  • Cut to the chase… I don’t have time for an hour’s long review - why can’t they split reviews into smaller video segments if (the library) deserves so much coverage?

The independence issue really bothers me and has recently seen some very heated discussion on a forum I participate in where (it seems) that criticizing a sample developer (who buys advertising on the site) is “lightly” discouraged. Since musicians get to stick themselves in the firing line with every release, I don’t see why sample developers get a free pass (and I mean that in the most respectful and polite way)…

Stay tuned for more of my experiment…   

Tagged: Soniccouturesample librariesnative instrumentskontaktreviewTape Choir10cci'm not in loveDaniel Ottini Music

10th December 2013

Audio post

MesaWinds

One of the things that I try to do when I compose is to look for opportunities to blend the synthetic with the “Organic” - this can include field recordings or samples of instruments (standing in for the real thing). The sophistication of sampling today is impressive, but the better the sample library the easier it is to “smooth” the contrast between the Electronics and the “natural world”.

I purchased Orange Tree Samples “MesaWinds” during a recent sale and initially didn’t think I would get much use out of the library (for those of you who don’t know, this is a sample library of native american flutes).

I was impressed, however, with the authentic sound and variety of articulations - the sound fit in nicely on this track (Ancient Suburban Burial Mound)  that I was working on (which is largely sound design and Electronics), to give it some “humanity” and help to anchor it in the sound-world (in this example, a haunted house built over an Indian burial ground).

This is a case where a fairly simple library nicely delivers a subtle “emotional” punch…

Tagged: Orange Tree SamplesMesaWindsNative InstrumentsKontaktSample LibrariesDemo TrackAncient Suburban Burial MoundDaniel OttiniComposer

Source: SoundCloud / Daniel Ottini

30th October 2013

Audio post

…It may just be this Halloween painting (by my daughter) that’s hanging over my studio desk, but I seem to be very much (musically) in a Halloween mood these days.

In this track (Ancient Suburban Burial Mound), Native American drumming and flute, haunting spectral voices, sound design, and electronics combine to make a suitable soundscape for your ghost story…why do they always build those houses on ancient burial grounds anyway?

Tagged: Halloweenghostlyspirithauntedflutelonelyspiritualancestralancientpoltergeistdrum circle

Source: SoundCloud / Daniel Ottini

27th October 2013

Audio post with 1 note

Some Halloween fun…a suspenseful track combining atmospheric electronics with dark orchestral colours…Tis the season :-)

Tagged: halloweenDarkmenacingSound DesignorchestralmusicDaniel Ottiniatmospericsinisterhorrorfear

Source: SoundCloud / Daniel Ottini