Today it’s our turn to highlight Cities and Memory’s own contribution to the Oblique Strategies project. We picked out a lovely field recording by contributor Berrak Nil Boya from her home city of Istanbul, Turkey – the sounds of Caddebostan Beach at 7.00 am in the morning, with waves, birdsong and dogs barking. The Oblique Strategies cards we drew were Give the name away and (Organic) machinery.
Organic machinery was the straightforward one. I layered several instances of the wave sounds and applied some bitcrushing effects to some of the layers, panning them to the extremes of the stereo field to give a light machine-like ‘crunch’ at the edge of the wave sounds.
I then brought in some synth sounds built from the sounds of piece of metal and oil drums to work around the edges of the piece, giving organic machinery a presence throughout, but not so strongly that it overpowers the beauty of the original recording.
For ‘Give the name away’, I decided to recall the noble tradition of the musical cryptogram, in which the notes used in a piece hold some meaning external to the piece itself. I used two different synth lines to spell out the location name as far as I could – since the name contained lots of letters from the beginning of the alphabet, there was rich musicality in its name.
The lead, higher synth spells out C-A-D-D-E-B-ost-A-n (Caddebostan), while the underpinning bass synth answers it with B-E-A-C-h (beach). The two synth lines weave in and out of one another, as the two halves of the location name are allowed to build the melodic base of the whole piece.