tom moody

Archive for the ‘music – tm’ Category

"Half-Calf," "Two Themes"

"Half-Calf" [5.6 MB .mp3]

"Two Themes" [3.5 MB .mp3]

Am sort of using Linux Ardour, with its plugins, as a loop generator, and then assembling the loops into songs in Windows Cubase. (Cubase is still faster and more reliable for me as a final editor.)
I am using Ardour's MIDI out to trigger a (hardware) modular synth, and then recording the output back into Ardour and combining it with softsynths. One of the softsynths is Calf Plugins' Fluidsynth, which plays "soundfont" samples. I found a collection of soundfont files based on the E-Mu Orbit synth module, from the '90s, which is where the rave nostalgia in "Half-Calf" is coming from.

- tom moody

February 12th, 2016 at 10:02 am

Posted in music - tm

"Hardly Soft"

"Hardly Soft" [3.9 MB .mp3]

The main melody was done with Calf Monosynth in Linux Ardour. It was mixed with several Moog Concertmate parts in Cubase Windows.

"No Windows" got some slight EQ and volume tweaks. [3.7 MB .mp3]

- tom moody

February 6th, 2016 at 1:25 pm

Posted in music - tm

"No Windows"

"No Windows" [3.7 MB .mp3]

My first track produced on my PC running the Linux Mint OS. Ardour is the software used -- a DAW (digital audio workstation) that handles similarly to Cubase.
The sound sources are

--the Moog Concertmate keyboard, played live and recorded into Ardour
--some found old school synth beats
--Doepfer modular mini-synth, triggered by MIDI from Ardour and recorded simultaneously into the DAW
--Calf's Monosynth, a softsynth plugin for Ardour that can be played using an Ardour MIDI track and exported as audio
--"Reasonable," a default softsynth for Ardour MIDI tracks

For a soundcard I used Native Instruments' Komplete Audio 6 (hat tip Joel for suggesting this). The ALSA driver in the Linux "kernel" recognizes this class-compliant USB device; audio ins, outs and MIDI are ported to/from it using the JACK streaming & connection program. This took a few days of reading forums to set up (although Ardour installs JACK automatically, I had to add the NI hardware in a separate Jack control called QJACKCTL, and instructions on how to do this varied).

Am very happy to be able to make music pretty similar to what I've been doing on Windows and have a final mixdown without (unintentional) clicks or glitches.
MAJOR NEGATIVE: At present the only way I can run Ardour is with an unacceptable amount of latency (about a fifth of a second). When I reduce the sample buffer I get pops and the dreaded "XRUNS" -- dropouts in the audio. The next task is to try to optimize the PC (which has a fast-enough processor and lots of RAM) without interfering with other things I use the computer for. Ardour also has a tendency to crackle when moving windows and clicking graphics inside the interface while audio is playing. This is annoying but doesn't affect the final output.

- tom moody

February 3rd, 2016 at 1:00 pm

Posted in music - tm

studio diary: music on linux

My five year plan (which is about four years ahead of schedule) is to move all my art and music production to a PC running Linux.
I made some progress this week getting my music studio set up. Linux Mint is a great all-purpose operating system but is not particularly "professional audio friendly."
So I've been getting a USB audio card to work with Ardour (essentially Linux's version of Cubase). There is a tricky interaction of drivers for the hardware, a low-latency streaming/connection protocol called JACK, and Ardour itself. I had to adjust the CPU governor to allow for maximum speed, which took a couple of hours of reading forums and watching out-of-date YouTube tutorials.
I'm hoping by later this week (or next) I'll have a new Moog Concertmate piece done using Linux instead of Windows for sequencing, recording and mixing. If I never mention it again it means I didn't get it working.
Hat tip to Joel Cook for suggestions and letting me vent in emails.

- tom moody

January 31st, 2016 at 9:37 pm

Posted in music - tm

"Oh This Moog"

concertmate_mg-1

A new music track:
"Oh This Moog" [4.4 MB .mp3]

A friend lent me his Concertmate MG-1, which works amazingly well for a 35 year old analog instrument.The image above is from Vintage Synth Explorer, which explains:

The MG-1 was built by Moog for Realistic (Radio Shack), and was designed specifically for the home market. Very basic and easy to use, this is a nice cheap way to get your hands on Moog sounds!

The MG-1 is a 2-VCO monophonic/polyphonic analog synth with a genuine 24dB/oct Moog filter, however the overall sound is thin. On the MG-1, the VCOs are referred to as 'Tone Generators'. It can produce sawtooth, square and pulse waveforms, and the oscillators are detunable and syncable. A simple ASR (attack, sustain, release) envelope called 'Contour' can be applied to both the amp and the filter. The LFO section provides triangle or square wave patterns as well as Sample-and-Hold. Additionally there is a simple Ring-Mod effect called 'Bell'.

It doesn't have MIDI control so I was forced to play the keyboard. That got old fast so I used the MIDI-to-CV converter in my modular synth to drive the pitch and gate controls in the back of the Concertmate. The MIDI and hand-played parts were overdubbed in Cubase for "Oh This Moog." No other sounds were used -- this is all Realistic Moog.

- tom moody

January 28th, 2016 at 7:45 am

Posted in music - tm

Stasis Field Day (new Bandcamp release)

Am pleased to announce a new Bandcamp release titled Stasis Field Day. "SID Street 4" is the sixth track on the LP.

Liner notes:

Some of these tunes date back as far as 2009 but all were remixed to bring them up to "Bandcamp standard" (i.e., loud). New parts were written and tracks that sounded sluggish got timestretched to 83.333% of their original length. Lots of modular synth, breakbeats, and vintage beatbox sounds in these. Have fun.

Your support in the form of buying the LPs or songs is very encouraging, but all the material can be streamed.

[embedded player removed]

- tom moody

September 18th, 2015 at 8:12 am

Posted in general, music - tm

guest dj-ing tonight on anonradio

Tonight, a 11 pm (Central), Midnight (Eastern), I'll be doing a guest mix for ffog's show on anonradio.
The link for the live stream is at the top of that page (a popout player for VLC works well for me but there are other options). ffog's (aka Joel Cook's) page is here.
Wlll be playing tunes I like by other people, including vintage prog, current-ish techno, '60s soundtrack music, and assorted ephemera.
If you miss the show, the archive page is here or check ffog's page.

- tom moody

August 31st, 2015 at 12:34 pm

Posted in music - tm

ffog mix of my tunes on anonradio; my mix of other ppl's tunes coming monday

ffog (Joel Cook) does a regular internet radio show on anonradio called Please & Discomfort.
On August 18, his set included about an hour of my tunes, which he streamed from my Bandcamp pages. An archived version of this linkjayed mix is available, so check it out: [mp3]

I appreciated hearing his choices -- thanks, ffog!

On Monday night, 11 pm (Central), Midnight (Eastern), I'll be doing a guest mix for ffog's show. Will post details on Monday (Aug 31). These will be tunes I like by other people, including vintage prog, current-ish techno, and 60s soundtrack music.

- tom moody

August 28th, 2015 at 1:30 pm

Posted in music - tm

"Gatecrasher"

This is the second track on the Crude Essence LP on Bandcamp.

There are many tunes called "Gatecrasher" but this one actually has a crashing gate. The use of string samples (reversed and otherwise modified) is kind of a new thing for me.

[embedded player removed]

- tom moody

July 31st, 2015 at 8:58 am

Posted in music - tm

Crude Essence (new Bandcamp release)

Am pleased to announce a new Bandcamp release titled Crude Essence.

Liner notes:

Noisy samples from field recordings, made in and out of the studio, are the heart of this release. Street voices, slamming gates, plastic bag dispensers at the deli, crackly vinyl "ghosts of the past," "sounds of the internet," old songs of mine cut up and granularized. Several voltage-controlled low res samplers were used. The songs are very short and structured. Strings also figure prominently -- synthesized and found.

Your support in the form of buying the LPs or songs is very encouraging, but all the material can be streamed. A cassette version is available!

[embedded player removed]

- tom moody

July 15th, 2015 at 3:34 pm

Posted in music - tm