Announcing synnack Katrina

by Clint on December 3rd 2011

Work is well underway on the next synnack release, Katrina, and should be complete early 2012. This release will be a roughly 45 minute single track and released on Force of Nature as part of the Natural Disaster Series.

Explaining the narrative influences behind this release will be much easier than prior blog posts about other releases. I am from New Orleans. Though I had moved from New Orleans to Boston a few years before hurricane Katrina hit, my family and many of my friends lost pretty much everything, at least in terms of earthly possessions.

This release has been planned for years. I've been wanting to do this pretty much since the storm. I wanted a close connection between the events surrounding Katrina, my memories of dealing with that period of my life, and the music itself. To embed my personal narrative into the final result. With that said, it's not easy to get motivated to sit down and relive painful memories like that. It's taken me a while to really sit down and dig through the material the way I needed to realize the idea. So here I am, 6 years after the storm, finally getting close to finishing it.

Early synnack releases like v1, v1.5, and v.2 were done with a ton of sampling. There were instruments played but so much of the raw material originated as audio found on my hard drive or created in software that was then twisted and warped into soundscapes. With v2.5 I explored the opposite direction, making a release pretty much entirely of synths, and modular analog ones at that. From a technical perspective, Katrina is a merge of the two worlds. My growing modular synth certainly makes an appearance, but the addition of field recorded audio sets this release in a new direction from the prior work.

The field recordings are taken mostly from home recorded video taken during the actual storm itself. My father was into amateur video - before there was a YouTube. After Katrina, he would trade DVDs with people at work of footage they shot during the storm. Lots of disturbing footage. People showing cars and houses floating down the street as they rode out the storm. People showing the aftermath and describing in detail what the viewer was seeing. After my father's passing, I came into possession of all these DVDs he collected. I also had footage I took myself during the first Mardi Gras after Katrina while in New Orleans as video from a cheap Sony Cybershot camera. I even have footage I recorded in 2011 at a Red Sox game with my iPhone the night before hurricane Irene was to hit Boston where this psychotic nut job was ranting on and on, mocking anyone concerned or making preparations to ride out that storm. It was really close to the anniversary of Katrina and disturbing to sit and listen to just how clueless people can be when they don't experience something first-hand.

To create Katrina, I took all of this video footage, stripped the audio off, and busted it up into clips in Ableton Live. These "audio from video" clips were combined with synth recordings in much the same process used to create v2.5 where I sat down (today in fact) and recorded a live, 45 minute performance to create the resulting work.

Once final edits and mixing is done and the release is posted for download, I'll elaborate on the blog about exactly what was used in a play by play.

The official release page is being built at http://www.synnack.com/releases/katrina.php and on forceofnature.cc for the label.

Stay tuned.

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