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  • Writer's picturedjSwade

Why Audiostrata?

I am at a point in my musical journey where I have started to think more about the shape and texture of music and how it is built or formed. I have been reminded recently that music contains layers (strata). I like to analogize, so I have begun to visualize my music in terms of geological structures. Of course, such structures are formed in nature, where time and elements yield sedimentary basins, with layers of material. You can see these formations throughout nature. They are certainly a remarkable sight.

I decided to take the concept of sedimentary layers and apply it to music. A song can have many layers. Of course, the foundation is usually the bass and drums. A composer has a wide array of material that they add to that foundation (guitars, pianos, additional percussion, voices, loops, samples) to build a song. In nature, the formation of a sedimentary structure is typically sequential, over time. In music, a composer can follow that same approach, building layers over time, or they can add these musical layers all at once. Like the elements that help form geologic structures, music has "elements" such as beats per minute, time signature and key. Taken together, they work their magic to yield the finished piece.

My first foray into audiostrata, the term I use to describe this musical geology, was the appropriately named "Audiostrata" from my album of the same name. The song starts with drums/bass (the foundation) and a driving guitar riff. Then, it starts to build on that foundation. A keyboard. A recurring gospel voice. An orchestra. A choir. A plaintive electric guitar lead. About midway, the song reaches a peak, then reverses the process, peeling back the layers, until it returns to where it began. I suppose this symbolizes the earth, building up and tearing down, repeating the process on an endless loop.

I composed the rest of the songs from Audiostrata using the same guiding principles. Throughout the process, I have learned a great deal and feel I have grown as a person, a musician and a composer. That has always been my objective.

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