11/19/2013 (12 Moons Solo Project Day 323)

12 Moons Solo Saxophone Project Day 323

Date: 11/19/2013

Instrument: Tenor saxophone

Location: A local garbage dump.  Mount Shasta, CA


Today Bad Luck is on our way back home driving North from Los Angeles to Seattle.  After a good 9 hours of driving under our belt, we stopped briefly for me to record in the town of Mount Shasta, CA, located at the base of the beautiful mountain itself.  We headed up a dirt road that went directly towards the smaller Black Butte mountain.  This road eventually led us to the city dump, and finally a second service road ended at a refuse pile for building materials such as old pallets and lumber.  Bordering the pile were neat rows of old oil drums.  The cold wind was blowing hard off of the mountain and it began to rain.  I decided to set up my mic inside one of the oil drums to experience the drums’ perspective on my sound.

I blasted into the oil drum at a high level of volume.  The mic was placed directly onto the bottom, and I tilted the bell of my horn into the hole at the top of drum to play inside.  Throughout the piece, and particularly so at the end, there’s a great deal of distortion from overwhelming the microphone.  This has yet to happen during this project and was not intentional.  This was the result of a miscalculation on my part as to how loud my sound would reverberate inside the drum.  However, the distortion itself is really interesting.  The brightest clipping takes place on the denser multiphonic clusters versus the straight tone.  During these high volume pieces, the highest recorded levels tend to be at the moment of tongue articulation after having have breathed, rather than during a cluster of some kind.  The fact that the clusters themselves overwhelmed the mic is really interesting to me, and something I’d like to explore more in the future.

During this piece I used a single fingering action and articulated my sound with both my tongue and key flicking on the low C.  The fingering was as follows:

(Left Hand) 1-2-3, Low Bb // (Right Hand) 1-2-3.  Flick closed, then opened on the Low C key.  This helped the multiphonics to emerge in denser shapes.


The image accompanying today’s post is Black Butte mountain, Oregon.