fixed media work focused on field recording and DSP
Composer: Brett Masteller
TrainScape (2007) in an 8-channel acousmatic work. When I first moved to Chicago in 2005 I was rather annoyed by all the noises in the city, mostly the sounds of the trains because I lived so close to the L-tracks. Around the same time I was reading R. Murray Schaefer’s book The Soundscape: Our Sonic Environment and the Tuning of the World. Through my studies of the sonic environment I learned to embrace the sounds around me by saturating my listening space.
When I began working on TrainScape I spent a couple of weeks riding Chicago trains and recording the sounds to create a large sample library. To generate the piece, the sample library was randomly accessed to play a specific clip and create a specific spatial path. The recordings were also analyzed in real-time to find peak amplitudes in the spectrum. The pitches of the peak amplitudes were then used to control frequency information for a bank of oscillators. The bank of oscillators was then cross-synthesized with the original train sounds in order to accentuate the most prominent pitches of the trains. The resulting sounds are not drastic alterations of the original sounds. Instead, the resulting sounds are a kind of meditation that I entered into during the process of creating this piece.