Archive for the ‘music – tm’ Category
Am pleased to announce a new Bandcamp release titled Knob Twiddlers.
Some LP notes:
Between Christmas and New Year's I made a cassette tape of tunes using my modular synth's "Quad ADSR" module as an LFO/clock/trigger for various gear. The resulting polyrhythmic or at least slightly eccentrically rhythmic tracks undergird the songs with ADSR in the title (in this and the previous release, Discreet Mutations). Otherwise I am continuing a program of self-bricolage where I take older tunes, chop them up, speed them up, combine them with other songs, or write new passages that serve as bridges and fills among dangling motifs. Am continuing to rely heavily on Native Instruments' Massive synth for ear candy to sweeten up these tracks, but there is also a fair amount of live, analog material plopped in here.
A new Bandcamp front page has thumbnail covers for the 12 releases so far.
Your support in the form of buying the LPs or songs is very encouraging, but all the material can be streamed. Cassettes are available for certain releases; eventually I hope to have the entire catalog available on cassette and probably CD-R as well.
This is track #5 on the Discreet Mutations LP release.
I had posted a couple of incarnations of "Bass Transitions" back in the free download era. This version is chock-a-block with house-y organ stabs. There is a more than usual amount of song development here! The screaming wah-ed out softsynth part in the middle is possibly a bit jarring but I felt the song needed this so that the spacy counterpoint thing that follows comes as a soothing relief.
Many thanks to all who've purchased, listened to, or faved "Discreet Mutations" so far.
If you want to support this blog -- which endures like a stubborn flame while millions sink into the dark corporate miasma of "social media" -- buying digital LPs or tapes is the way to go.
But only do it if you like the music -- am not looking for indulgent teeth-gritting from people who hate electronic beat-oriented tunes.
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Am pleased to announce a new Bandcamp release for the new year, titled Discreet Mutations.
Some LP notes:
These tracks feature many presets from Steinberg (Cubase) and Native Instruments (Kontakt, FM8, Battery), particularly arpeggiators that play the provided synth patches.
I don't hear enough other music using these tools to know how successfully I've personalized the patches, or if that matters. The music also incorporates field recordings and riffs played "live" in the studio using Eurorack modular gear and, in a few songs, a '90s-vintage filter called the Mutator. To my ear these change the meaning of the presets, setting up a conversation between the canned and the spontaneous, 1s-and-0s vs voltages, clean vs dirty, etc. There is questioning going on here, and emotional content (mostly anger and humor, not much sadness). Please check out the first track, "Suspicious Activity," if your time is limited -- I think it's kind of funny, especially if you are a rider of a certain NYC metro area subway system.
Compared to earlier work, the tunes are shorter but also more full. The Cubase DAW makes it possible to timestretch and stack riffs: at the most I can handle four or five interacting simultaneously, but it's like working a puzzle to fit them all together. The shortness is due to boredom -- if anything sounds too repetitious, I cut it out.
A cassette version of this recording is available! Same price as the digital, plus postage.
Note: These tunes use the full audio spectrum (i.e., aren't written with tinny laptop speakers in mind)! In some cases, notably the track "Discreet Mutations," crucial segments are laptop-inaudible because they are bass notes. A halfway decent pair of speakers are recommended, if those can be obtained.
YouTube by Rene Ae
1000 organic views by year end, let's do it.
"Small business chic" design for audio cassette cover.
Cassette is available on request to digital purchasers of "Home Electo for Fun and Profit," my last bandcamp release for 2014.
Am pleased, and yet, humbled, to announce a new LP on Bandcamp: Home Electro for Fun and Profit.
10 tracks, consisting of mostly new material, with a few accelerated versions of older tunes -- meaning they are played faster, then cut and spliced with new ideas.
This is my tenth and final Bandcamp release for 2014 -- 100 songs in all have been published this year. Am working on CD-R and cassette versions of all of these; a cassette version of this release is available on Bandcamp (including streaming and downloads) as well as the digital version. Your support in the form of buying the LP or songs would be very encouraging, but all the material can be streamed.
Notes for the Home Electro for Fun and Profit LP on Bandcamp. These are mostly tech jottings so I remember what I did. Any thoughts, questions, etc on the music itself are welcome at the email address on this about page -- the contact form on Bandcamp also works. This is my tenth and final Bandcamp release for 2014 -- 100 songs in all have been published this year. Am working on CD-R and cassette versions of all of these; a cassette version of this release is available on Bandcamp (including streaming and downloads) as well as the digital version. "Home Electro..." is mostly new material, with a few accelerated versions of older tunes -- meaning they are played faster, cut and spliced with new ideas.
1. Jeff's Birthday 02:57
In several songs on this release I am using the Expert Sleepers "Step LFO" plugin, which converts audio signals from a PC into sequenced control voltages that can be used to drive Eurorack modules. One channel sends gate info and another sends pitch -- these do not have to be synchronous. In this tune am crafting synth patches with the Step LFO output in combination with hardware (LFOs, VCAs, filters, compressor, and pitch-shifting effect to make the quasi-chords). In most of these, the underlying sound source is ALM's SID GUTS module, which includes a vintage Commodore 64 sound chip. SID GUTS also has its own internal modulation, which can be triggered by this same computer/hardware setup. Loops from live sessions are recorded, cut up, and rearranged in Cubase; am also adding beats (a stripped-down version of a Loopmash preset).
2. Antimatter Park (132 bpm) 01:51
Beats and minced vocal sounds made in the Elektron Octatrack and rearranged in Cubase. In this tune and "Antimatter Park," am using the Octatrack's LFOs to randomize sample rates, sample start times, comb filter settings, and other variables. You may note the repurposing of samples from "Random Series Ending," a tune on my previous LP. Sorry, I had a few more things I wanted to do with those!
3. Electroll 1 (2014) 02:18
I made CD versions of my earlier tunes and inadvertently played them 16% faster in a DJ-style CD deck, and many of them sound better to my ears now. This "atmospheric hiphop piece" (as I described it last year) is rearranged, then sped up, using timestretch to preserve the pitch. The original was done mostly with the Reaktor Rhythmaker synth and reverb'd Vermona Kick Lancet desktop drum unit (the latter is making the eerie hoot owl sound, among others). A melody from the end of the song was moved to the beginning and many notes were trimmed to increase the pace.
4. Heavy Hippos (Double Spectral) 01:56
A piece from 2005, "Heavy Heavy Hippos," employed Native Instrument's now-discontinued Spektral Delay plug-in. Trying to duplicate that sound I used the "Spectral" effect from the Reaktor User Library, which is not as versatile. The first part of this tune features Spectral and the second part is a drastically reworked (and sped-up) "Heavy Heavy Hippos," with a new synth line and ride cymbal drum solo.
5. Cut Bait 01:20
That same DJ deck I used to boost the speed of my earlier tunes allows one to make loops "on the fly," as they say, using the unit's push buttons, so I recorded a bunch of these, beat-matched them in Cubase and made this arrangement.
6. A-112 Delay Experiments 02:51
Doepfer A-112 sampler in delay mode, with a couple of mixers to create a feedback loop. Six minutes of meandering experimentation (posted in 2012) were cut back to 2:51 and the underlying beats were tightened up for this leaner, meaner version.
7. Blight Curvature 2:29
Bass, piano and some atmospherics done with the Linplug Alpha softsynth. The percussion is all turntable sounds manicured and run through various effects. The e-piano part was moved from the end to the beginning and the speed was increased (again, with timestretch to preserve the pitch).
8. Spheres 303 01:03
Expert Sleepers ES-3 and Step LFO plugin used with various Eurorack oscillators and filters for a short TB-303 like jam. It's not as spontaneous as it sounds -- loops got moved around and miraculously remained fluid and crackle-free, which is unusual with this much "live" filtering.
9. Antimatter Park 02:30
Same method as Antimatter Park (132 bpm) -- the bpm here is 105.
10. NY Home Electro Suite 03:44
Same method as "Jeff's Birthday" above but adding some other oscillators: Tiptop's Z3000 and WMD's Gamma Wave Source.
Video version of "Chorus of Angles I," a music track posted Nov. 2011. Watch for the Ken Burns effect.
Embedded videos stay up until they drop off the blog front page (yes, how quaint) and then the embed code is removed (the links stay up). Not that you need to know these Byzantine self-made rules.
As for the embed, it's always good to take abstract art and stick logos all over it. These could be removed but am kind of enjoying the horribleness of it.
Notes for the Quantum Leap Sideways LP on Bandcamp. These are mostly tech jottings so I remember what I did. Any thoughts, questions, etc on the music itself are welcome at the email address on this about page -- the contact form on Bandcamp also works. This is mostly new material, continuing some lo-fi sampling ideas explored on the releases 40 Yards from the Machine and Household Kit. A small, nerdy collection of Eurorack sampling modules makes many of the sounds. Lower sampling rates and bit depths sidestep the tech world's inevitable drive to bigger files and bloatware, while still exploring some twisted notion of the "state of the art" -- hence the title of this release.
1. Random Series Ending 02:10
Have been collecting and manicuring individual .wav files of short (as in a second or so) duration for use in a various sampler hardware and software. The intellectual dilemma here is always "what the hell do you sample" so you are not dragged into period quotation (old jazz licks or vintage synths) or problems with someone else's copyright. My solution is cannibalized bits and pieces of my earlier tunes, live modular synth sounds, and sample-cleared percussion hits from various sources, to make this growing collection.
For this tune and the two "Refrigerator Drumming" tracks below, I made a group of "mega-recordings" playing the wav files in the ADDAC .wav player module, with some echo, and capturing the results. The Elektron Octatrack's MIDI Out triggers the files in the ADDAC, and a toggle switch determines if the wavs (about 30 per SD card) are played sequentially or randomly. The mega-recordings are, at this stage, mostly incoherent ramblings. After repeated play, riffs or tunes emerge that can be cut out and looped. Some of it -- the "ending" referenced in the title of this particular tune -- is left random.
Additional sounds in this tune are raindrops hitting an aluminum ladder outside my apartment window (clearly audible at the beginning), organ arpeggios from a Kontakt vintage synth instrument (whoops), and vocal samples (described in Number 7 below).
2. Bass Transitions (Nebulae) 02:17
Another wav player, the Qu-Bit Nebulae, makes an appearance. Expert Sleepers' computer-to-control-voltage hardware (specifically the ES-4 gate expander) triggers some ten-year-old Battery kit samples in the Nebulae's "one shot mode." ES's Silent Way LFO plugin sweeps the global pitch control, adding a pitchbend melody to the samples. A couple of parts were recorded this way, processed through a digital effects module in real time. Additional beats and bass lines were added in Cubase. Changes to Cubase's tempo track causes the middle section to play at incrementally slowing speeds.
3. Refrigerator Drumming 02:34
Composed/played entirely in the Octatrack sampler. The noisier parts come from ADDAC sessions described in Number 1 above. Additional sounds: my fingers drumming on top of my refrigerator door, a rare revelation of innate, biological percussive ability.
4. Quantum Leap Sideways 2:09
Doepfer A-112 sampler in wavetable mode. Expert Sleepers LFO randomly "sweeps" the wavetables while a run of MIDI notes from the PC is playing. The middle section layers the A-112 and ADDAC for a bassline and incorporates riffs from an earlier tune, "Gamma Wave Source and A-112 Delay with Freeze." The plucked guitar-ish sounds are from the (pre-loaded) wavetable sounds in WMD's Gamma Wave Source module. The tricky part here was recording a wavetable into the A-112 that had enough variety of soundwaves to make the random triggering interesting. I used the "Wiard wavetables" saved as a one-second sample, for reasons too boring to explain here.
5. Slap Bass Cannery 02:08
The Qu-Bit's one shot mode again, this time triggered with external MIDI notes. The samples were Battery's "Green Atmo" kit. Pitchshift and other effects from from Doepfer's DSP FX module were used to treat the sound. Then, some editing in Cubase, using timestretch to speed up and slow down the parts. The "ethereal" melody is a chord using three Eurorack modules, including a Pittsburgh filter in self-oscillating mode. That same filter is used in the quieter, "spacy" part about halfway through.
6. Drone College Triangle 02:22
A graft of two earlier tunes: "Drone College" (sampled from an Electribe rhythm box) and "Triangle and 8-Bit Delay" (modular synth ditty). In order to make the graft it work I had to repeat the beginning of "Triangle" -- that was predictable so I was forced to write some harmony/counterpoint to the original tune, for a dramatic finale.
7. External Arbitrary 02:58
Shreds of vocal samples in the Octatrack, mostly for the percussive properties of plosives, sibilants, fricatives and vowel-like utterances derived from the spoken words "gigabyte," "arbitrary," "acceleration," and "external hard drive." The microphone on a handheld .wav recorder was used to speak directly into the Doepfer A-112 sampler, after amplifying the "line out" somewhat. I triggered the A-112 with the Octatrack's MIDI Out, sampled the sounds, and manipulating them further in the Octatrack's audio editor. The simple melody parts were done with the modular synth and the beats are Sidstation samples triggered inside the Octatrack. A small forest creature from YouTube is also featured.
8. Refrigerator Drumming 2 01:17
Riffs from the mega-recordings described in Number 1 above, combined with some previous beat loops, arranged/played in the Octatrack sampler.
9. Woodchipper Dub 02:18
The bass lines and tempo track from "Bass Transitions (Nebulae)" were kept in Cubase and a new set of percussion samples was recorded with the ES-4 gate expander triggering the Qu-Bit. For melodic loops I recycled softsynth riffs from an earlier tune, "Woodchipper Gardens." The arpeggiated organ parts in the middle, from NI Massive, are new.
10. Beats the Alternative 03:52
This was the first tune recorded of this group. I had the idea of using insert cables in the Vermona drum machine to add effects from Eurorack modules, mainly filter-swept distortion from Doepfer's DSP FX module. MIDI Out from the Octatrack triggers the Vermona and a couple of Eurorack modules. To have enough variations of a rather limited repertoire of patterns and timbres to justify the nearly 4 minute run time, I ended up breaking down each voice into separate tracks and extensively editing in Cubase.