Imagine the ur-ambient Erik Satie musique d’ameublement concept en plein air.
Step 1: Familiarize yourself with the concept of furniture music, or musique d’ameublement in the original French. This was an idea of Erik Satie’s. Often cited as a precursor to ambient music, it was music that would mix in with the furnishings, and serve as furnishings. Presumably these were indoor activities.
Step 2: Imagine the concept of furniture music transported outdoors.
Step 3: Record some “outdoor furniture music.”
My main ideas for this challenge were:
- “The music should come from furniture”, ie, it should be self-contained and interesting on its own, without requiring a performer. For this, I composed a simple piece on the OP-1 and the OP-Z. The OP-1 is playing random sequences of notes via the tombola arpeggiator. The OP-Z is playing a simple arpeggio, with a few added random notes and automated key changes. This way the song can loop while being interesting without human intervention.
- “The music should react to the environment”. I wanted to have a piece that responded to the presence of people, discouraging them from actively listening. I thought of using a PIR (passive infrared) or LDR (light dependent resistor) sensor to reduce the volume as people approached. In the end I used an LDR sensor to control a delay on the OP-Z (via a Kona Field Kit FX).
The OP-1 and the OP-Z were recorded into a Zoom H6, which also captured the sounds from the outdoors.