Monday, February 16, 2015


For this project, I first  tried using several different kinds of musical instruments and various filters and effects to create the kind of "musical ghost" I wanted, but it always turned into chaos. In the end, my only two instruments were a small panda-shaped electric guitar and the popular 1960's song, "You Were On My Mind" by We Five, both played wrong.

I started by creating several tracks of static noise on the guitar by scraping the pick horizontally up and down the strings, and overlaid the song clips on top of it. I chose the song because it was stuck in my head, and the lyrics seemed to illustrate that too perfectly to pass up. Together with the guitar, it evolved into a story about distraction and disorientation- A nervous, disjointed mess created to jar the listener at every turn.

This feeling reflects my own head space as I was working on it, as well as McLuhan's ideas about order in sound. He writes about the oral storytelling tradition in ancient Greece and how "All the persuasive skills of the poetic and dramatic idiom were marshaled to insure the faithful transmission of the tradition" (McLuhan, 113). While I wanted to evoke a specific emotion or atmosphere, I chose to do that through chaos, unlike the highly controlled Greek poetry that was designed for memorization. I could hardly remember what my piece sounded like as I was making it, and I hope it becomes slippery like that to everyone, leaving only an impression, never a concrete memory of the sounds.


  1. I think you captured the feeling of having a song stuck in your head very well, particularly in having a single part on loop. The sound of the scraping pick is a mix between awful and awesome. It's an interesting noise that you don't normally associate with the guitar.

  2. That pick sound is painful. Did you pitch it up at all? It almost sounds like static to me. Very cool idea; I second Jamie that the looped parts of the song evoke the feeling of having a song stuck in your head and how irritating that can be. Chaotic indeed.