Similarity Engine (new Bandcamp release)

Announcing my 26th Bandcamp release, Similarity Engine.
Ten new tracks, created with a dizzying array of software, gear, and samples listed on the release page.

Music diary: I've been posting embedded players to announce these releases, but I think I'm going to stop this practice. The concept of Bandcamp is you are supposed to use "social" to promote music, otherwise it just sits there, since Bandcamp has no in-house means of promoting releases. The one exception is, an email kicks out to anyone who bought your music in the past, letting them know you have a new release. Anyone who hasn't opted out of this process is your de facto community.
Since Bandcamp's artist and release pages are a very good way to organize a large amount of music, I plan to keep using it as a music hub, and let tommoody.us be a place where I keep notes and think aloud about what it means to make a pre-post-internet style of tunes.
I've always pretty much disliked embeds -- it's just one more thing to hang up the loading of a blog page (especially with a new theme that uses scripts, plugins, and third-party font downloads). With the music I've been posting I've been removing the embed code once the blog post has dropped off the front page, and this gets tedious.

"Zyn Archer"

streaming audio on Bandcamp

[embedded player removed]

Another track from my latest Bandcamp release, Layered Timeline Events. The "zyn" refers to ZynAddSubFX, an open source softsynth with a rich array of sounds that is a pain to program due to its nested, easter-egg-like menus and commands. A newer version, Zyn-Fusion, has a more modern interface that's not all that much easier to use. Working in tandem with the zyn bits here are some chords from my Eurorack devices. At one point (0:55) the filter is "played" using 1V/Octave pitch cvs, without any corresponding pitch commands going to the chords that are being filtered. The result is a vocoder-like effect (to my ears).

"Half-Clocked (8 Bit Version)"

streaming audio on Bandcamp

[embedded player removed]

Track from the LP Layered Timeline Events

This track uses a SID chip emulator from the LMMS workstation. The timbre is bit shrill and whiny so I tried to compensate with melodic variations. In case it's not obvious many of these tracks typically start with a sequence ABCDEFG, which can gets boring after one or two repetitions so it gets varied treatments such as ABCDEFH, ABCDEF, ABBDEFG, ABCDFFG, BACDEFF etc. (The letters don't correspond to actual notes in the scale, just how they are ordered.)

These runs have to be free of discordant notes so experimentation is involved. The level of composition is primitive but I'm surprised by the amount of "electronic" music that doesn't even do this much -- the composers just allow the same 8 notes to play while they fiddle around with timbral changes such as filter sweeps. I was admittedly guilty of this in the first few hundred songs I posted but part of "growth," I suppose, is being dissatisfied with your own output and going back to the proverbial drawing board over and over.

"The Curious (Remixed)"

streaming audio on Bandcamp

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Track from the LP Layered Timeline Events

Am already several songs into my next "release" and have been forgetting to "promote" this one. The scare quotes are due to the awkwardness of applying a capitalist frame to an amorphous art project/object (to use a Zappa term). The music could be a product of a hundred decisions based on the dictates of personal and artistic discipline (tonal or atonal? verse or chorus? percussion or found sound?) and not be useful in a commodity sense. Someone else might be able to slip it into a game or elevator but that's not why it was made.

This track was posted earlier in a slightly more ambient form but wasn't working in the context of an LP of fairly tightly-organized tunes so it was edited: whole passages were removed and ear-candy tunes added. The phrase "it's sure to bring out the curious and the kooky" is my line reading of a bit of Firesign Theatre dialog, from Everything You Know Is Wrong. The other human vocal is a field recording of a noisy neighborhood kid, considerably compressed, EQ'd and filtered.

"Three Things They Taught Me"

streaming audio on Bandcamp

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Opening track of my new Bandcamp release, Layered Timeline Events. The track features samples from a youtube-famous sales motivational speaker.
LP notes:

"Layered timeline events" is a prosaic way of saying "songs," in the DAW world of ingrained software conventions (which I happen to like at the moment).

I'm also interested in a place where modular synth and PC music are indistinguishable. Typically I have no idea what was used to make what a few weeks after finishing a tune so I must be succeeding.

The LMMS workstation was used on a number of these tracks, hence the "street" version of its logo (lmms.io/download/artwork/) used in the cover graphic. Also employed were Carla, Tracktion's Waveform DAW, and a bunch of Eurorack investments, I mean, modules.

"Organleggers" is a Larry Niven term, especially appropriate in an era when the elite of Silicon Valley enjoys transfusions of youthful blood to stay alive.