Tension in the Mist

A device-duet in layers by Joseph Branciforte

This short test run by a composer based in Brooklyn by the name of Joseph Branciforte combines two devices toward layered, fragile effect. One is a synthesizer that provides for patching by cables to produce various sounds, patterns, and textures. The other, into which the synthesizer’s signals flow, is a delay pedal, which lends a sense of spaciousness that is in direct contrast to the tiny footprint of the actual boxes.

The pedal isn’t the sole source of the airy quality inherent in the track’s tonal material. Branciforte explained to me in an email that while this piece — which bears no title aside from what is little more than a list of the equipment with which it was made (“makenoise 0-coast / ambient loops with earthquaker space spiral”) — is a layering of eight elements. The first seven had already been completed when he hit record on his camera. What we’re witnessing here, in the video, is the eighth and final layer being added to the whole.

The overall effect is cloudy and drowsy, but there is tension in the mist, like the way the stereo play introduces a singsong quality, and how occasional tiny percussive blips suggest a signal beeping in an unattended NASA mission control center. At a minute and a half in length, the piece is best played on loop, which is especially appropriate since it is itself an accumulation of loops.

This is the latest video I’ve added to my YouTube playlist of recommended live performances of ambient music. Video originally published to Branciforte’s YouTube channel. More from Branciforte at josephbranciforte.com, instagram.com/josephbranciforte, and twitter.com/josbranciforte. Branciforte did me the honor recently of adding to a track I’d recorded as part of a Disquiet Junto project.

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