"Moon Joker"

"Moon Joker" [mp3 removed -- please listen on Bandcamp]

My second experiment in converting a lengthy atonal work into a short tonal work. The first cut up maestro was Stockhausen; this one is the original Ahr-nuld (Schoenberg).
I took snippets from a vinyl version of Pierrot Lunaire, op. 21, then looped, layered, and timestretched them onto a 120 bpm timeline/grid.
This is a raw, possible first draft. Normally if something feels missing percussion or reverb would be added. Here the clips were left unenhanced, including all the room tone, artifacts, turntable noise, and hiss from increasing gain on very quiet passages. Hours went into manually de-clicking the loudest pops from the vinyl, but no de-noising or de-crackling software was used (it's expensive!). The remaining noise then becomes part of the piece, in some cases adding rhythmic interest without the need for extraneous percussion.
In his liner notes for the Nonesuch edition of Pierrot Lunaire, Charles Wuorinen describes the work as a culmination of Schoenberg's "contextually atonal" works before the arrival of the composer's 12-tone system. Wuorinen's definition of contextual atonality isn't very clear -- he seems to be saying that each work has its own rules of tonality, as opposed to the Western canon's rules up to that point (1912). He says that Schoenberg made intuitive, ad hoc choices in the arrangement of notes and phrases, causing the music to be unpredictable from minute to minute, while unified by the poetic text and the organization of the work into sections.
Nevertheless, individual runs of notes are quite musical, when de- or re-contextualized. I made 24 clips of varying lengths, and ended up using most of them. Phrases from different sections "stacked" surprisingly well -- that is, shared the same key signature without having to transpose notes.
Why do this? Software makes tonal experiments possible without having to hire musicians. And the noise component adds new timbres and content. Ultimately, though, it's low grade revenge porn.

Industrial Nonsense (new Bandcamp release)

Am pleased to announce my 34th Bandcamp release, Industrial Nonsense.

[Note: embedded players -- which I basically hate -- are replaced with links when they move off the blog front page]

Liner notes for the LP:

This LP continues the work methods from the previous one, Hardware Sequencer. Several tracks use the Doepfer cv-to-midi converter, which reads the sequencer notes erratically (resulting in riffs that may be used or culled, depending on the quality). Along the way I started adding beats from the Machinedrum. Most (but not all) of the pads come from Legowelt sample packs. The tracks are terse, as usual.

If you'd like to support this blog (now in its 19th, ad-free year) buying the occasional Bandcamp song or LP is a great way to do that.

Hardware Sequencer (new Bandcamp release)

Am pleased to announce my 33rd Bandcamp release, Hardware Sequencer.

[Note: embedded players -- which I basically hate -- are replaced with links when they move off the blog front page]

Liner notes for the LP:

What I might call minimal you might call short. I can't extend these tunes any longer and am not sure I want to -- they're fairly relentless for as long as they last.

Many employ the Intellijel ┬ÁScale II module, which converts sloppy voltage settings from a Doepfer sequencer (not depicted in the photo) into cognizable scales and harmonies.

Most of the synth sounds are in the "simple waveform" category, which connotes vintage computer games, bandwidth-hogging, and noise (like rock guitar but nerdier).

If you'd like to support this blog (now in its 18th, ad-free year) buying the occasional Bandcamp song or LP is a great way to do that.

"qMI Three Channel Composition (2019 mix)"

"qMI Three Channel Composition" [mp3 removed -- please listen on Bandcamp]

Revised version of a track from October 2012.

Notes from 2012: "Vermona's Quad MIDI Interface allows you to write polyphonic tunes [on a modular rack] with monosynths and/or mix four-part harmony in the [rack]'s mixer without later overtracking."

Notes from 2019: Added drums, and a new section at the end where the MIDI from the original tune was used to play softsynths on the PC.

"Thx for the Add (2019 mix)"

"Thx for the Add" [3.8 MB .mp3]

Revised version of a track from November 2011.

2011 notes: "This starts all 8-bit* then a secondary theme comes in [consisting of] MIDI controller-controlled CVs altering a [modular] synth's** filter cutoff (pitchbend) and pulse width (mod wheel). At about 1:30*** the 8-bit part drops out and the secondary theme continues over various Reaktor Nanowave patches playing the main theme. It ends with piano..."

2019 notes: Edited to remove needless repetitions of themes. Piano part revised and re-recorded.

*Not sure what module -- possibly the Doepfer A-112 sampler.

**Not sure what module -- something with pulse wave, obviously.

***1:00 in the revised version.