The combination of performed and everyday sound is a many-splendored thing. Often as not, the former is provided a backdrop by the latter. The relative distinctions lend much of such a work’s tension. The performed music expresses the impact of the human mind and physicality on an instrument, while the everyday noises express the external chaos of life beyond our control. It’s a kind of after-and-before shot of the cooked and the raw of the noise of our lives: that which we make of sound, and the sounds that surround us. Different musicians handle the balance in different ways, sometimes leveling the playing field, making the distinction between these two sides less self-evident, perhaps by “playing” the everyday sounds through sampling and processing, or perhaps by bringing random or less formal elements into their own playing.
In the track “Scattered” by ioflow, the procedure was as follows: after improvising on an electric piano, he “then went out to the park to capture some sounds. it was a bitterly cold, intermittently rainy day. came back and combined the two recordings, slicing, processing, effecting, and sequencing.” It’s a lovely combination. Indeed, the processing of the “real” sounds and the electronic nature of the “played” sounds helps find a common ground. Perhaps the strongest association, though, is provided by the improvised nature of the piano playing, the loose correlation of melodic elements that engages the imagination rather than directing it as a formal composition might have.