Ambient 3: Miss Ballantyne

by Andrew Howie

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    Very limited run of individually-numbered black vinyl-look CDRs, packaged in a recycled cardboard sleeve, each containing a limited edition print of Miss Ballantyne.

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about

Two-track album, originally released as 'Phonic Estate No.1: Miss Ballantyne' by Calamateur, in May 2013.

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I made this piece of music as part of the MA Songwriting & Performance course I studied in 2012-13.

Here is the Self-Authored Brief I wrote before recording it:

"In 2011, my Great Aunt Marion died at the age of 98. After her death, and once my parents had sold the house (known to friends and relatives as “250”) where she had lived for 80 years, they cleared out her belongings - finding countless old photographs, letters and trinkets, some of which had been lying untouched in her basement for many years. Among these belongings was my aunt’s small record collection, consisting of a few old 78s, Readers Digest flexi-discs and extra-thick 10” vinyl from the 1950s, with the price in shillings still written on the front sleeve.

The records in this humble collection are nothing special – certainly not valuable in monetary terms - and are the type often found in Glasgow charity shops. A serious collector, or a DJ in search of obscure samples, would quickly flick past these records, ignoring them in search of the more valuable or esoteric gems.

I plan to re-contextualise the ubiquitous nature of these dusty old records by sampling excerpts of the music found on them and piecing together a 10-minute sound-collage.

The very nature by which I will create this work, and the unpredictability of how the individual samples will fit together musically, make it almost impossible to predict how the work will sound when completed. However, I plan to take a numerical approach to the piece’s structure, using the chronological order of the records and the significant numbers I’ve already used in telling the story of Marion (98, 250, 80, 78, etc.) to decide the duration and frequency of the samples used, the length of the piece, the tempo, etc.

Pieced together using this combination of careful selection, serendipity and mathematics, I hope the finished music will portray the character of a woman who lived for nearly a century, and who my father, in his oration at her funeral described as brave, loyal, generous and intelligent. This will result in a new piece of music that will be completed by May 2013.

Specifically, musical references for this work are DJ Shadow’s "Endtroducing", Brian Eno and David Byrne’s "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts", Gavin Bryars’ "Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet" and my own "I Can Sing a Rainbow", in which I used a similar mathematical approach to piecing together snippets of music.

The music will be sampled and pieced together at home using Pro Tools 7.3.1 running on a PC.

Miss Ballantyne will be released online via Bandcamp. A series of 25 handmade vinyl-look CD releases, packaged in recycled cardboard sleeves, and each containing a limited edition photographic print of my Great Aunt, will be released exclusively via Bandcamp."

credits

released January 31, 2020

Pieced together, arranged and produced by Andrew Howie.

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Andrew Howie Stirling, UK

Andrew Howie (ex-Calamateur) is a Scottish singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer & prison/community group music tutor. He combines confessional & empathetic lyricism with acoustic instruments, noisy electronics & ambient textures to create introspective, hook-laden songs about uncertainty, doubt & love. You'll find him either holed up in his home studio or playing in your living room. ... more

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