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In the music we hear today, alteration and manipulation of sounds is a normal, everyday occurrence. Audio creatives have a diverse amount of tools and software available to them for transforming sounds, for example by adding effects, changing their pitch, looping, and thus changing the original sound to a new one beyond recognition. Just the same as how photos can be manipulated with software and apps, recorded sounds can be modified.
These sound-altering practices were once very experimental and obscure, available only to a few wealthy composers who had the technology available to them and a very open mind. But their advances and discoveries paved the way for electronic music and led to the creation and affordability of the software we use today to manipulate sounds with a simple click or a swipe.
In the 1940’s, the first kind of electronic music, “Musique Concrète” was created. The technology available to the composers who innovated these practices was audio magnetic tape (think of the tapes inside of cassettes). They would record sounds they found out in nature or in their surroundings onto the tapes, and then manipulate the sounds by cutting the tape strips, changing the speed they play at, and experimenting with sounds in various ways. It can be compared to manipulating filmstrips to create a moving picture.
Although their creations were considered very experimental, they were significant because suddenly technology became a tool for composition, free from the need of musicians or instruments. And the ability to record on tape and replay at home changed the music industry forever.
What we did in the commercial is a tribute to these early electronic pioneers. We went out to collect sounds in various locations around our beautiful island and processed them into a musical track. We creatively altered sounds, such as the sound of ocean waves, cut it up, looped it, and made a beat with it. Take the sound of two sticks of wood hitting each other, loop it, create multiple copies of it by copy paste and change the pitch of each copy to create a harmonic symphony of percussive hits. Take the voice of “Coco Piña” Ice cream man, alter it with reverb, and thus sonically evoke a distant memory, perhaps a memory from childhood.
And now technology is readily and affordably available to us, and we can capture moments on the spot with our phones or portable handheld recorders. No need for expensive equipment, studio time or difficult learning curve. If you happen to walk into an unexpected musical “masacote” from amazing street musicians, you can pull out your recorder and capture the memory, replay and share it infinitely.
This is a very exciting concept, as now essentially anyone anywhere can create, and there is more music than there ever was being shared around all corners of the world at lightning speed. Recorded music also gave raise to the DJ. We select recorded music and replay through our portable equipment in order to share and enjoy the songs and memories with other people.
I started making music in my bedroom with just a computer and a synthesizer, which would not have been possible years ago since these tools were very expensive and only available in research laboratories or universities. I am a product of technology being in the hands of the people. The fact that we were able to go outside with our portable microphones and recording gear, record and process the found sounds into a track in our bedrooms with our laptops is a marvel of modern times which should not be taken for granted. And the greatest part is that our process was captured on film and shared for the world to see at any time, infinitely!