tom moody

Archive for the ‘music – tm’ Category

"Tiny Synth Trio"

"Tiny Synth Trio" [3.3 MB .mp3]

A little chamber-ish piece. Two synth voices were triggered by the Doepfer A-154/A-155 sequencer, hard panned left and right, and recorded in Linux Ardour. A third voice (panned center) is the Calf Monosynth, playing on a MIDI track in Ardour.
One of the hardware synth voices is the Pittsburgh filter in oscillator mode, with a uLFO square wave used as modulation through the filter's "Q" cv input. The pitch is controlled from the uLFO and the filter knobs are used to tweak the timbre.
The other hardware synth voice is the Doepfer A-112 sampler playing piano and single-cycle waves.

- tom moody

October 18th, 2016 at 8:10 am

Posted in general, music - tm

"Bassline XL5"

"Bassline XL5" [4.9 MB .mp3]

Recorded and arranged in Ardour (Linux version)

Track 1 -- Ambient and Hoover-ish synth voices are Loomer Aspect, a VST softsynth that works in Linux (the LXVST folder holds the plugin). Sequencing is Ardour MIDI.
Track 2 -- Bassline is SIDGuts module (MOS 6581 chip from Commodore 64), triangle waveform. Sequencing is Doepfer A-154/A-155, envelope Tiptop Z4000. SIDGuts filter is modulated by Bubblesound uLFO sync'd to Doepfer A-160 clock. Some reverb at the end using Calf plugin.
Track 3 -- Above bassline is compressed using Calf and Ableton multiband dynamics plugins, used alternately with Track 2.
Track 4 -- Soft kick drum is Loomer Aspect. Sequencing is Ardour MIDI.
Track 5 -- E-Mu Orbit soundfonts, percussion sounds played in Calf Fluidsynth, dry and wet with Calf vintage delay. Sequencing is Ardour MIDI.
Track 6 -- "Raw" wav files from NI Battery Digital Processing kit, played in Qu-Bit Nebulae one shot mode. Sequencing is Doepfer A-154/155. Wavs are played dry and also using Tiptop Z-DSP Clocked Delays cartridge.
Track 7 -- Synth "lead" lines are played with SIDGuts (sawtooth and pulse waves), same filtering arrangement as above. Sequencing is Doepfer A-154/A-155. Another lead line is a 4-part chord using the SIDGuts, WMD Gamma Wave Source wavetable synth (2 parts), and Doepfer A-112 sampler. The chord is mixed down to a single track using Pittsburgh Audiomixer/Attenuator and filtered in Bubblesound SEM20 filter.
Tracks 8-10 -- Gene Krupa-like Ableton beats layered together (on Windows PC) and recorded in Ardour -- two breakbeats by Sample Magic (audio) and DM ARP 2600 Drums by Flatpack (MIDI kit)
Track 11 -- Celesta notes by a "well-known modern composer" (sample from vinyl)

- tom moody

October 13th, 2016 at 6:00 pm

Posted in music - tm

"Short Ant March"

"Short Ant March" [4.75 MB .mp3]

The MIDI looping bug was fixed in Ardour (the DAW I'm using on a Linux PC) so I fired up a couple of its plugin synths for this tune. The somewhat placeholder-ish melodies are multitracked over DAW-sync'd rhythms from modular hardware (specifically Qu-Bit Nebulae processed through Z-DSP's Clocked Delays cartridge). Kicks and hats, recorded from Ableton running on Windows, are layered in on separate tracks. The samples in the Nebulae are from an ex-NI Battery kit called "Digital Processing," which basically consists of short glitchy noise bursts. Composing beats for them in a Eurorack sequencer was fun.

Update: Reduced gain slightly, reposted.

- tom moody

October 7th, 2016 at 7:37 am

Posted in music - tm

"Rings and Strings"

"Rings and Strings" [9 MB .mp3]

Ring-modulated synth arpeggios meet revamped classical string orchestra.
Arranged in Linux Ardour, with the Ardour MIDI clock driving a modular synth sequencer triggering the Qu-Bit Nebulae sampler. Some additional production assistance in Ableton Live, and Wavelab to massage the string samples.

- tom moody

September 30th, 2016 at 8:53 am

Posted in music - tm

"Nebulous Gates"

"Nebulous Gates" [6 MB .mp3]

This may end up as the rhythm track for a fuller song but am liking its current minimal state.

The Qu-Bit Nebulae is a Eurorack module now out of production despite much hype and hooplah when it launched a mere couple of years ago. It has a high degree of latency that makes it incompatible with other modules but is nevertheless capable of playing eight CD-quality samples simultaneously (in "one shot mode") and allowing the pitch of each sample to be adjusted with physical knobs on the module. With latency compensation it can be triggered and recorded so as to be in sync with other tracks in a DAW (in this case, Linux Ardour).

For this tune, samples were loaded in batches of eight, then played (i.e., triggered) with a hardware sequencer (Doepfer A-154/155), synced to Ardour's MIDI clock. Ardour was then used to record the resulting polyphonic riffs and arrange them singly and in combinations (along with a few other riffs, such as hihats, previously recorded from the modular synth).

At first the Nebulae was dropping notes -- this made for some interesting pauses and syncopation despite being unintended. Turns out that the MIDI clock module (Vermona qMI) receiving Ardour's clock signal and passing it to the sequencer was sending trigger pulses that were too brief to register. A way to send gates (longer pulses) that the Nebulae would recognize was jerry-rigged.

Continuing the theme of "recently obsolescent hardware and software," all the samples come from NI Battery's Machine Kit (which collection has been dropped in the current Komplete roster). The Machine Kit consists of drum hits and pitched sounds made with the Elektron MachineDrum. The samples used here are raw, that is, not additionally processed with Battery effects. Which of the samples to be loaded into the Nebulae was determined by crude aleatoric means -- the first eight samples in an alphabetical list, followed by the next eight, until about two-thirds of the Machine Kit samples were used. Each group of eight responded to the sequencer notes set up for the previous group, unless it sounded bad, in which case the sequence and/or sample assignments within the Nebulae were adjusted.

This is lot of nerdy detail -- sorry, these are my notes so I'll remember what I did.

Update, September 26: Major rewrite of post.

- tom moody

September 22nd, 2016 at 10:39 am

Posted in music - tm

"Half Clocked"

"Half Clocked" [5 MB .mp3]

More modular synth sounds, assembled into a tune in Linux Ardour 5.3.
For this one I tried to build a techno-style track from the ground up. Kick, snare, and hihat sounds are individually concocted using white noise, FM, sine/square waves, envelopes, a mixer module, and a compressor (the last of which makes the beats audibly more dynamic).
The melodies are chords emanating from individual modules (analog and sampler).
The "clocked" refers to Tiptop Audio's Clocked Delays cartridge for their ZDSP module. The white noise snares get a fair bit of that treatment here. Also used was a sample-and-hold module to change the filter settings on the main tune that runs throughout.
The only "cheats" are kicks and static-y sounds borrowed from the tune "Eight Gates," crafted with the Octatrack.

- tom moody

September 20th, 2016 at 8:15 am

Posted in music - tm

"Gamma Surfer," "SIDGuts Sequence"

"Gamma Surfer" [8.4 MB .mp3]

"SIDGuts Sequence" [5.8 MB .mp3]

Back to music-making on Linux. These tunes were produced using the digital audio workstation Ardour. Its midi-looping bug still hasn't been fixed -- I complained and was told I was being redundant, that's what the bug tracker is for and this is already a known issue. Yeah but it's been a known issue for over six months, how are you supposed to know what users think is a priority to fix if we don't speak up and ... oh, never mind.
One thing about Linux is the developers aren't part of a corporate empire that employs help desk personnel to pretend to care about customer concerns, so the developers handle their own forum traffic and are mucho crabby from dealing directly with humanity at its neediest.
Anyway, because they won't or can't fix the known bug, I decided as a workaround to use the sequencer on my modular synth to write the melodies, and use Ardour's MIDI clock to keep everything in sync so the synth notes could be recorded and edited in the workstation as audio. This worked well, and Ardour's latency compensation eliminated the slight lag in recording time. But then Ardour was crashing like mad during the editing process. I don't even dare mention this on the forum -- the developer would just heave a sigh and refer me to the "how to report crashes" page. Am hoping that the upgrade to 5.3 (done after these tunes) will fix some of that.
So the sounds here are mostly recordings of modular synth patches, with some added percussion from softsynths and snippets from Ableton where I transgressed on my all-Linux-and-modular premise.

Update: Just finished another tune using Ardour 5.3 and it was extremely stable. Whatever was causing crashes in the previous version has apparently been remedied.

Update, Oct. 1: The MIDI looping bug was fixed in Ardour version 5.4.

- tom moody

September 10th, 2016 at 7:06 pm

Posted in music - tm

"AK Breaks"

"AK Breaks" [12.6 MB .mp3]

Weeks in the making -- while I did other stuff -- but it does take longer to do five minute tracks. The "AK" refers to the Adventure Kid single cycle waves, played in Reaktor with "cheap spring reverb" effects. The "breaks" refers to some drum breaks I downloaded from Ableton, which perk things up, for me at least. Also featuring some sounds made with Linux Ardour, driving my modular synth, and on a separate track, playing those E-Mu Orbit soundfonts featured a while back.
The final mix was done in Ableton, with generous amounts of space-echo style tape delay (from NI's Guitar Rig effects rack) vibrating throughout.
Arrangement-wise, it takes time getting where it's going, but am happy with the way the motifs pile up at the end.

Update: Trimmed slightly, re-uploaded.

- tom moody

August 31st, 2016 at 2:54 pm

Posted in music - tm

"Cumulative Beats (Fat Tech Mix)"

"Cumulative Beats (Fat Tech Mix)" [5.6 MB .mp3]

Continuing to mine some beats I made back in April for sample-nuggets. This version is unabashedly house-esque, with a ridiculous boomy 4/4 beat from an Ableton "make music like the pros" collection.

- tom moody

August 6th, 2016 at 7:05 pm

Posted in music - tm

"Piano Exercise 1"

"Piano Exercise 1" [5 MB .mp3]

Have been listening to Carl Orff's Klavier-├╝bung and got inspired to make some "exercises." Having a human player for this would be appreciated -- MIDI doesn't handle loud and soft velocity (dynamics) very well so this version is mostly loud.

- tom moody

July 30th, 2016 at 11:44 am

Posted in music - tm