Written by: Kamelmauz (Stephen Calhoun)
By way of background, I am first a practitioner and researcher in adult development and second a creator of sound worlds. The two endeavors overlap because my research focus and my music-making both orbit the challenge and opportunity provided by understanding serendipity. Gestrument is an advanced creative platform for leveraging sonic serendipity and generativity. It combines depth, control, generative and random procedures, with its wonderful gestural (touch) interface.
Four important additional elements bear on my use of Gestrument: one, to my great initial surprise, Gestrument allows players to load soundfonts, that old abandoned sample format; two, its marvels may be unveiled through trial-and-error; three, it can be set up to play without constant interaction; and four, it is a unique MIDI controller able to drive many IOS synths. Gestrument is an ideal tool for making discoveries. It is a gestural and generative touch sampler with a deep and controllable architecture and, also, it can evoke joyful, sonic accidents.
This piece, Deep Blue Signal, provides for two instances of Gestrument, one being a soundfont-based patch, the other pulling in Alchemy Pro by way of Gestrument’s touch interface. A third track combines a live processed pedal steel guitar loop using a moment of eBow. The goal was to improvise a dark ambient soundscape, while leaving some of the sonics to chance. Gestrument is the mainstay of my recent ‘Slow Music.’
It is a deep IOS tool for ambient music. The two presets reflect my sense of how to lay the voices out, organize and keep it simple, and, at the same time, everything allows the preset to just pulse and run and generate “moves.”
Stephen Calhoun, born in 1954, has been following his sonic and visual creative muses since 1973. Recording as Kamelmauz, his most recent recordings feature Gestrument: Apparently Suite, And Apparently There’s More. These bring his releases on Duty Free Records, available on Bandcamp, to seven.