"My first recycling experiment" or "how I hacked up Rob Davidson's String Quartet beyond recognition"

So I have to give a seminar at UQ (Aus) in about 3 weeks time, my confirmation of candidature. Basically it's an opportunity for the postgrad people at the school to meet me in person, ask me questions about my PhD research and check that I am not a crazy person. I'll have limited time, which is probably a good thing since I could easily chat all day long about myself, the artists and examples I am inspired by, cool things I have read recently.... and just generally harping on about the wonderful creative potential of technology. As it stands I only have 25 mins to "wow" them, so I figured it would take less time trying to explain all the stuff in my head, when I can probably just play them some examples of what I'm talking about.

(What I'm talking about is the subject of that last blog of mine - this whole idea of a composition evolving, the recorded artefact becoming the starting point for a new creation.)

So I decided to experiment, to find out how easy it is to chop and manipulate an existing recording in order to create something completely different. My string quartet is not finished, so I stole Rob Davidson's String Quartet - a live recording that had some really interesting room ambience in the mix, and some fun audience sounds (coughing, sneezing, etc).

Here's an excerpt from Rob's recording (the opening):

String Quartet - Rob Davdison (Opening/Example) by LeahExperiments


The following experiments/hack jobs were made purely by recycling bits of the above recording, with bits mostly taken from the first movement. In Logic, I used EQ, scissor, time-stretch, reverse, reverb & flex tools to completely mess it up.

Experiment 1:

Experiment 1 (recycling String Quartet by Rob Davidson) by LeahExperiments


Experiment 2:

Experiment 2 (recycling String Quartet by Rob Davidson) by LeahExperiments


I'm not sure if the results are good enough to play at the seminar, but I think they are interesting all the same. There are some peculiar dissonances that I wasn't expecting, which resulted from combining notes and chords taken from different places where tunings had slightly shifted in the performance. In some places this is pleasing, in others it definitely grates! When I took a short sample and stretched it a long way it produced a rustling guitar-like effect, which I thought was a happy accident. The limitations in my examples are clear with regard to melody/harmony/tonality - this was partly due to the fact that I chose to focus on a short section of the recording to plunder for samples, but mostly due to me being lazy and opting for drone-based harmony layers and glitchy rhythms.