Listen here while reading!
Album name: Diametry
Album release site: https://fidelium.bandcamp.com/album/diametry
Type: LP/Full Album
Genre: Electronic/Dubstep/Ambient/140bpm/IDM/Bass music
OK. I have copious notes, and I have some organization to do with this post so bear with me while I do that. Here are some of the things I wrote in the process of creating Diametry.
Diametry is full of samples with relevant and contextual musical snippets and quotes from various people. Here are just a few of them that I pulled from memory. I'll try to talk more about this and cite where each sample is located (for now I just will provide track names... see if you can spot them yourself for now!)
- a cassette tape recorder, (very beginning and very ending of album)
- John Cage, musican and innovator (Diametry - Intro)
- Richard Dawkins, scientist (Intro)
- George W Bush, president of the united states (Transfigure)
- Jeff Goldblum, actor
- Harry S Truman, president of the united states (The Volcanist)
- crackhead recorded from my living room window on Polk street, san francisco (Streetlight Daydream)
- Aaron Russo, political activist (Radiation)
- Chinese women's chamber singer choir (Streetlight Daydream)
- muni/Bart (various tracks)
- Unknown choir singing in unknown African dialect (Radiation)
- Muslim prayer chant (Infinitesimal)
- modern inventor (Transfigure)
- dijeridoo (Diametry - Intro)
- sample of child saying "God created the world"
- Mahalia Jackson (Beyond)
- Terrence McKenna (Stoned Ape)
- various newscasters (various places, definitely Stoned Ape)
- Barack Obama (Stoned Ape)
- Bilbo Baggins from "The Hobbit" animated 1970s cartoon (The Volcanist) (listen for it -- "and I shall call you... STING")
- ... and the sound the dying spiders made when Bilbo fought them in Mirkwood Forest of the same cartoon
I'm a total fucking goober.
In winter 2014, the concept for Diametry came to me in a dream. I jumped out of bed and started trying to apply my whirlwind of thoughts into words. This is what came out of that:
Diametric objects are direct opposites of one another, like water and land, but are connected symbolically and symbiotically. Both are necessary to the survival of the other, each completing their life circle. In diametry two people that are the farthest from eachother in contrast are more alike than anyone else in the world.
Diametry follows the story of two wanderers who struggle in, and eventually attempt to pull themselves out of, a hazy nightmareland filled with Huxleyan oppressors and hellish warmongerers. Refusing to be overtaken by the drugged stagnancy that destroys the essence of the good (or their perception of what is good), the two wanderers quickly discover they are polar opposites and that by Fate's sense of humor alone did they collide. Using their spiritual diametry to their advantage, they manage to escape the gates of the dark city. In getting closer to what feels like enlightment, and upon exiting the thicket of propaghandish media saturation and entering a forest of self discovery, the wanderers discover the failure of their nature and the inevibility of their downfall. As the house always wins, no human or breathing being cheats nature. While they happily shed the giant burden of numbed senses, they take on the bigger burden of being extremely self-aware. Many adventures are experienced and many hurdles are jumped. Broken and weary from their journey and the pain of newly acquiired reality, the wanderers happen upon a large body of water where beyond the thick fog lies the daunting unknown. Only those that truly understand their futility are permitted to float into what would be the pineal gland equivalent of heaven, a place where celestial gates are actually a mist thicker than that of the dark city they escaped. Both wanderers shed their belongings and dip into the current, hoping to emerge into the only life that will accept those that have decended in to the madness of reality and returned none the same.
My goal behind this is to provide a speculative look into the nature of morphing sound environments that occur and transform over time, much like the way that we experience sound on a journey through a visually enticing place. No instance is ever the same and your senses are flying in every direction. Imagine yourself Getting on the train and enduring the rage of metal meeting metal, then entering a city into a crowd of jammering and scuffling people. Then Venturing through the alleys and the tops of buildings, down into the belly of the earth, and finally reaching the edge of a dock on the water where every sound is distant except for the slowly flowing water and soft rain storm. You end up in a world that is the opposite of the world you started in, and even after all the pain you experienced in pulling yourself through the door, appreciation of the mindstate you shed will remain in hindsight.
I am interested in the sound events that occur naturally and incorporating them in to my workflow. this album is based on the input and oversaturation of media and how this mixes with the metamorphosising atmosperes we experience minute by minute. Diametry blends in layers, melding with our consciousness and keeping us whole. We are who we are because of it, It is a reference to human connection and the roles we take in it.
Use stems to help with track transitions (these need to be mastered too)
Finish the ending to understand with orchestral build up that fades into sound of rain and water splashing. Have the final sound be a super epic build up of bass and synth that stops short, so that if the album is on repeat it will flow perfectly.
Diametry final tracklisting forecast:
2. Streetlight Daydream
5. The Volcanist
6. Infinitesimal (record stefs music box and use)
7. To See Eye (use non beat part from one of your epic parts on LLELL, make it more ambient ish, add subbass and sick sound sample design of glass breaking and over compressed and stretched machinery samples. Add sound samples you havent used yet. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style.
9. Stoned Ape
10. Into My Eyes (Remix)
The first track i worked on that made realize "wow this is going to be a full length ablum" was The Volcanist.
I still remember coming home from some party, I'm pretty sure it was Pinch or Scuba at Public Works (Pinch spun this all vinyl set, some guy bumped the table his decks were on, he got super pissed), sitting down at my shitty self built PC and being in the middle of sequencing the beat from that track, and almost dying from how excited I was by it. Shit sounded GOOD. REAL GOOD. Everything just seemed to start coming together at once. The gears began spinning.
That's how writing this whole album felt: like it was supposed to exist. Everything kept falling together over and over again. From Maura's vocals on Radiation to the African chant in Radiation. I would just drop samples into the timeline and somehow they would sound right, and with a bit of manipulation, sound perfect.
Upon the album's completion and release, I came to this realization and jotted this down in my notebook:
"You released Diametry on the same day the Norway massacre happened.
So trippy, one of his main court dates fell on my bday, also I released diametry on 22 July 2011"
I found this random thought in my notes and found it interesting to include for historical context of the time Diametry was released. In a lot of ways, tragic acts of violence that humans commit on each other is one of the many subjects of this album (Volcanist is a reference to the atomic bombs dropped on Japanese citizens by the United States, ending world war two and tarnishing humanity to this day). As Norway is such a serene area of earth inhabited by peaceful people, this event rocked the world and threw it on its side. Obviously, I hadn't planned things to go down this way, but I remember hoping that my music could somehow help those affected find a way to heal their wounds. Music is a very powerful healing agent,
wtf is wrong with me.
Diametry is a seemless album where each track fades into the other without spaces between. To do this, you have to be very specific where each cut happens. Here are the timings:
Diametry transition timings
Diametry 0:00.000 to 01:33.05689
Streetlight daydream01:33.05689 to 08:11.15635
Transfigure 08:11.15635 to 15:31.12543
Radiation 15:31.12543 to 22:03.42807
The volcanist 22:03.42807 to 29:23.18901
Infinitesimal 29:23.18901 to 37:07.29562
Two see i37:07.29562 to 40:40.01860
Beyond 40:40.01860 to 47:46.28341
stoned ape47:46.28341 to 52:47.31874
Into my eyes 52:47.31874 to 57:59.25768
Prism 57:59.25768 to 1:03:58.16420
Understand 1:03:58.16420 to 01:10:44.29606
Diametry's colorful visual concept was constructed by my friend Chris Hines, who I know through IDMforums, based on a number of landscape paintings by Stefani O'Driscoll.
Stefani and I were dating at the time (around 2010) and lived in this little rinkadink yet kind of cozy 1br apartment in the Tenderloin (downtown San Francisco), back in 2010. Our purpose of moving there was so that I could pursue my education at SFSU, and that we both could get the fuck out of Sacramento. The idea of moving to the littlest big city on earth seemed so romantic and carried so much artistic appeal that it was hard to resist. The transition from Sacramento to SF was both a dream and an extreme challenge for us, and we had to adapt. It was rarely easy. The first year living in this place not-so-far-from-home still made us feel like we had entered an entirely new universe, but we gave ourselves little choice but to fall into it, all in, all bets off. While I produced the sounds that made Diametry from when it became dark and pretty much until the sun came up, Stef had to bear with me while I looped samples and tracks over and over again at a loud volume. i damn near drove her insane. I can understand, as I make weird fucking sounds, and they would drive me insane if I wasn't already insane. in the end she appreciated the outcome. Diametry. Even though this was a difficult piece of art to produce it will remain special between me, Stef, and a the other people involved in its creation. More on them later...
Stef's paintings that we included with the liner art were produced with acrylic on canvas by her. One day that I can almost remember, with the sun shining through our wannabe bay windows in mid-afternoon, she painted this piece evoking a misty green threshold to a forest, a prairie, with a red tree guarding it. Something about the contrast in colors attracted me to the idea that this symbolically portrayed that, in our reality, things that don't typically belong in a certain place/reality/dimension generally, eventually, tend to thrive where they are blessed to be -- they flourish, even. this budding concept of opposing colors and silly double entendres (if you don't get the "duh I'm a tree" along with the fact that there is a big fucking red tree on the cover, and the album is called. fucking -- **DIAMETRY**. just say out loud, do you get it now? yeah that reference. you get it now. good job... what were we talking about?) fit so well with my message that I had to see it through. I don't care what your opinion is regarding run-on sentences.
I asked Chris to royally fuck up the tree forest with digital art, and he was all on board. Stefani was never happy with the idea of someone layering ideas on top of her art, but my vision was to push the idea of Diametry further. What defines that idea better than to expose a portal of digital glitch computer art pouring itself out into the canvas of an organic painting? I felt it was the most appropriate idea.
I'll post the work in progress from him once I get the ok. It's pretty funny, for example:
Yeah that's my face. I'm really regretting not making that my album cover right now. Chris is a fucking hilarious guy. He makes great music. In fact, he just released an album here. I mastered his album "Dollarstore" on IDMf that you can find here. The further you delve into this guy's life, you're going to very quickly realize that Chris is a genius. Yibbon is brilliant beyond words. Please pay attention to Chris Hines and everything he does. Thank you.
Ok back to me.
I have a lot more to say about Diametry so when I have time I will come back and add things as I go.
I just need to make sure you got this on repeat: Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style. Wooosh woosh amon tobin style.
attached is the original version of my remix of Toronto Is Broken's "Into My Eyes" which has the vocal sample from somewhere that I couldn't include it in Diametry (honestly don't know what i was thinking... I included every other fucking thing in there). Enjoy! Take it for free, I give zero fucks.