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Sonic Infestations-Bruce Arnold, John Stowell by Bruce Arnold for Muse Eek Publishing Company

Sonic Infestation


Bruce Arnold—Acoustic, Electric Guitar and SuperCollider

John Stowell—Acoustic, Electric Guitar and Percussion


"Sonic Infestation" Bruce Arnold has literally deconstructed a free improv session he recorded with the wonderfully inventive John Stowell. Using parts of the improvs, whole sections or superimposed tracks and a gamut of processing, he has created some very unique and to my ear, abstract, music. When I tackled the graphics for this CD, I approximated the process Bruce had used by taking one of my own abstract collages and processing the colors, lines and overall composition using various Photoshop filters. Look and listen. Michal Shapiro

The Procedure

Sonic Infestation is a duet record where all the sounds you hear were played on guitars or drums. What makes this recording different is either the overlaying of one piece of music over another or the processing of the guitar parts to make new sonic events. The session consisted of a series of acoustic guitar duets and one multi layered electric guitar duet with John playing both guitar and percussion while Bruce did multiple layers of guitar processed through supercollider. In the case of the overlaying of two different piece of music this was done at random fashion with relevant material from both pieces being combined to make the whole. The acoustic guitar pieces were duplicated with those tracks being processed via protools or supercollider to create accompaniment or new musical sections of the relevant pieces.

The tracks :

  • "Sonic Infestation": A combination of one acoustic guitar duet and another duet recorded later.

  • "Filtration": Combines an acoustic duet with the acoustic tracks being also used as a rhythm element, by selecting key rhythmic moments within the original tracks and processing the sound.

  • "Exciter-Excitee": Is an electric, multilayered duet with John playing an electric guitar and percussion. Bruce is playing electric guitar processed through supercollider. John and Bruce trade solos.

  • "Primal Resonance": is an acoustic guitar duet superimposed over the electric guitar duet, with relevant artifacts from both sources processed and selected to provide the sonic bed.

  • "Temporal Inversion": Is the overlaying of an acoustic duet over the electric guitar duet with also the acoustic tracks being duplicated and then processed.

  • "Simultaneous Vectors": is an electric guitar duet where multitracks were recorded in 4/4 and 5/4 time signatures. John's solo is processed through a ring modulator.

  • "Segmentation": is an acoustic guitar duet which superimposed over the electric guitar duet where the electric and acoustic track take the forefront at different times. The electric duet is highly processed so original content is hardly recognized.

  • "Mask" is both an acoustic duet and the electric duet superimposed and processed in SuperCollider and Protools, where you don;t hear an of the original tracks, only the new sounds created from the processing of these tracks.

  • "Temporal Crossing": is the combination of prepared acoustic guitar duet with John's chordal accompaniment from the electric guitar duet superimposed.

  • "Palindrama": is an acoustic guitar duet where the tracks have been played backwards and were doubled and used as effects.

  • "Spectralab": is a piece where the first gestures of track 1 were processed. Only the sound of a low E-String was processed by taking the upper partials of the sound and sustaining them using a reverb with an extremely long decay. The resulting sound was again processed through delay effects, to create the final result.

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