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Vintage printing presses – When I wasn’t present…

presdsWithout further ado, let’s get into the Oblique Strategies sounds, then. First up is the sound of vintage printing presses in Ilminster, UK from the 1960s (to be precise, the Heidlberg Platen T 1Colour 1966 & Polar Mohr 76 EM Guillotine 1991), sent in by Matt Saunders (AKA Assembled Minds).

We drew the Oblique Strategy card ‘distort time’ for Matt, and here he describes how he went about approaching the sound.

“Card 1: Distort time – layers of instrumentation resolving over different bar-spans; later, fragmention of bars; time-stretching.”

“I used the recording of the Heidlberg Platen T, as the percussive backbone of the music. I cut the field recording into sections and spliced parts together, breaking the rhythm of the machine by leaving an odd timed pause before the clunk of the arm coming to rest on the final beat of the bar.”

“This 4/4 skewed rhythm sits over a steady machine-like beat that spans two bars, but with an embedded element that extends over four bars, whilst the bass and melodies follow a form of six bars, the entire phrase completing over twelve bars. So the music’s integral elements are operating over different time spans to each other, distorting the idea of a linear period of time having a single start and end point, much like the sound of the factory-floor when all the machines are running jobs simultaneously, their rhythms ending at different points in time.”

“There are also sounds from the Heidlberg Platen, a Polar Mohr 76 EM Guillotine 1991, and various percussive sounds made from found objects in the factory, that have been processed, time-stretched and distorted.”

“During the end section of the track from 4:49, the beat and musical phrases are constructed from 5.25 bars, with the phrases at 5:56, dropping to 4.25 bars.”

City version:


Memory version: