Fashions, and that

A few weeks ago a friend of mine who is studying fashion textiles at University in London asked me to come along to a photo shoot she was going to be working on for a fellow student.

I have no knowledge of (or interest in) fashion at all. I do however have an interest in some fashion photography, especially since I became aware of the amazing dream-like work of Sarah Moon, some of which you can see here and here.

On the day it turned out that I had little to do. The uni had lots of hi-tech photographic equipment, which the main photographer the ladies had recruited was using. I'd never actually been in a photographic studio before, so it was interesting on that level at least. Some part of that equipment had sensors which caused the main lights to flash every time I took a photograph with my own flash attached, which meant that it was almost impossible for me to get a decent exposure. So I had to remove my flash unit and improvise. I also had to keep out of the way most of the time, and not shoot when the main photographer was shooting. I ended up taking only a few of the model and more of the shoot itself. Only a few came out, and they can be seen here.

This is my favourite of the lot:

This Weak Flesh

ARC02, titled "This Weak Flesh", was released around August 2000. The fourth ARCart release and the second on the ARC label, it has a bit more of a straight ahead techno feel to it. It's not my favourite release, although it was one of the more successful releases on the label.

"Got To Get Down" is just a 30 second intro that I put together from a sample from a disco track...I think. The sample appeared again later on ARCN05 in the track "Got To Get Down Again".

The bulk of the first side of the record was given over to the title track, "This Weak Flesh". Although it could have been sequenced on anything due to its simple structure, I'm pretty sure this was made with the Notron. The main synth sound came from the EMU Audity 2000 I think. I don't dislike this track, but it does sound a bit too structured and simple to me now. Not that I think simple tracks are bad per se, just that this is perhaps a bit too clich├ęd. It also contains a very lazy sample on my part. One of the sounds looped up in the background of the track is a sample from another techno track released the same year, recorded by Claude Young. Bad form on my part, and just laziness, really. My set up never facilitated a particularly useful method of recording samples so I probably pulled this one off a CD that was lying around. I know that CY was aware of it at the time (he'd have heard it on the promo I sent him) and he kindly chose to never bring it up with me in person. I don't make music these days but if I did....or if I had developed the same attitudes around sampling which I hold now, this track would never have been made....or at least would have been different. Even though the sample arguably isn't the most significant feature of the track, I can't listen to it now without that thought nagging at me. That said, the feature which makes this track - the long, haunting synth sound which builds during the breakdown - caught the ear of Johan Bacto and that fact later helped to facilitate the Hardcell remix on ARCN04.

"Right To Left" is another track that I have mixed feelings about, 10 years after release. I always feel as if I don't like it much, until I hear it and find I'm actually quite into it. I guess the use of what sound a bit like "standard" Detroit techno type stabs puts me off at first, but then I enjoy the groove of the track and the way it develops. I also like the fact that there are one or two "happy accidents" in the track, created by me moving the tuning control for that synth stab the wrong way or too far during the recording.

By far my favourite track on this record at this stage is the last track, "He's Got A Knife". Many assumed that the vocal sample in the track was repeating the words in the title, but that's not correct. The vocal sample is very very short, maybe a quarter of one beat long. If it were to say anything it would only be "SA!". The rest of the phrase isn't vocal at all, but a mash up of the distorted drum samples and the short vocal stab which come together to create a loop which could under some conditions be heard as a voice saying "he's got a knife". I like the breakdown in this track, the sudden way in which the beat jumps back in, and the harsh oppressive feel of the track as it repeats over and over. This track was recorded by looping up the kick drum/vocal/distorted drum pattern as a single sample (you can hear that it is all one sample right at the end when I filter it down to nothing) over which are a couple of hi-hat and snare sounds from the TR-606 and that wibbly JD-800 synth sound that appears in the breakdown.

Files are in 320kbps mp3 and lossless FLAC formats. Both are compressed from the same WAV files which in turn are taken from original digital recordings. I’m willing to provide WAV files to individuals who specifically request them and for whom FLAC isn’t sufficient. If requesting WAV files, please let me know which tracks you want.

See further comments on the label art concept and track titles here.

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