Thanks to the Wadsworth Atheneum for the press image of their recent van Ruysdael acquisition, River landscape with boats and Liesvelt Castle, 1641.
"Perfect Waves" [4.8 MB .mp3]
Various sampler and wavetable modules are played with Expert Sleepers PC-to-cv hardware, then mixed as audio loops in Ableton. One Ableton pad is used to sweeten it up a bit. The finished track is then sped up, 16 percent faster.
Update: Let's call this work in process. Now that it's posted and I hear multiple "issues" requiring tweaks. This recent music is a bit like filmmaking where you go on location (recording riffs on the modular synth, with certain sounds coming out of a particular hairball of patch cords, which may be lost once the cords are removed) and then back to the editing room, where you realize you don't have all the "shots" you need and have to compensate for it in post-production.
"Post" in this case means taking some of those modular riffs, slicing them in Ableton and re-pitching and re-sequencing the notes. I can hear several instances where I want to do that here. Also eliminating repetition -- the more I listen the more critical I get of sequencer redundancies.
Update 2: Snipped out 13 seconds and changed some notes and volume levels; re-uploaded.
Update 3: A few changes to the ending; re-uploaded (again).
Update 4: Beats added because I felt this had no "bottom"; re-uploaded (yet again).
"Cumulative Beats 2" [5 MB .mp3]
A less noisy version of this tune, reconstituted using the Elektron Octatrack, with more house-esque beats and a new end section using the sliced Adventure Kid/Inspektor Gadjet single-cycle waveforms ("AKWF_granular_32.wav").
hat tip rene abythe for GIF
"hey, we're having a political discussion here!"
Based on personal experience and anecdote (i.e., reading queries from desperate computer users in help forums), it appears that Microsoft has embarked on a truly sleazy strategy regarding the operating system it sells you (which unfortunately controls the PC or laptop you bought from someone else). It's a practice of controlled obsolescence, where they leverage their own incompetence in the security field to get you to "upgrade" (that is, purchase) a more secure product.
As most people know, Windows integrated web browsing with the rest of the computer's functions (a bad faith response to an antitrust suit in the '90s -- long story), making it possible for third rate hackers to invade your PC through "exploits" on web pages. To patch these "exploits," Microsoft issues a steady stream of fixes through a process called "Windows Updates." Your computer pings the Microsoft website periodically to receive these.
In order to force users to switch to its newest operating system, Windows 10, Microsoft is deliberately slowing down, or even halting altogether, the updating process for earlier operating systems. I have Windows 7 on a PC (that I use for music) and a small laptop (for traveling). The PC requires close to an hour to check for, and download, updates, where it took only minutes a year ago. The laptop stalls out during the update process. Many other users are having these problems, judging from commentary and cries for help online.
You might think that each "upgrade" gives you a better and more sophisticated operating system and that's why you should keep switching. In fact, most are just tweaks on Windows XP, the last really good OS Microsoft developed (in the early 2000s!). Many users would be content to keep XP on their machines, or Windows 7, the company's second best OS, for years, until the hardware failed. With XP, Microsoft famously declared the "end of support" about two years ago. With Windows 7, they haven't declared an "end" but are making it more precarious to use, due to unpatched vulnerabilities, during a transition period where they are also offering a "free" version of Windows 10 (and even trying to sneak 10 onto your machine running 7).
Holding security fixes for ransom is a dishonest business practice that, if done by a local merchant in more innocent times, a customer might "report to the Better Business Bureau." Today, probably nothing short of a class action lawsuit would force Microsoft to be a good corporate citizen. But as individuals, we can make "consumer choices." So, here's the self-righteous testimonial (*smiles, holds PC up next to head for the camera*): I'm now using Linux Mint for most of my everyday computer needs, and keeping the Windows PC offline as much as possible in my music studio. When the laptop stops working or becomes janky with malware, I'll replace that with a laptop running Mint. It's minty fresh!!
Update: Apple led the paternalism curve and still excels at this. If you have a Mac desktop running Yosemite it will nag you to switch to El Capitan. Linux is the only "big three" OS that doesn't treat you like a thumbsucking infant.
Another snippet from Curtis Roads' book Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic, on the topic of the conventionality of Western melodic forms:
Conventional classical and popular styles exhibit a great deal of redundancy in melodic patterns (i.e., parts of many melodies are identical). The tendency of composers to borrow or reinvent an existing tune has been long studied by musicologists. As Thomas Alva Edison (1917) once observed: "I had an examination made of the themes of 2700 waltzes. In the final analysis, they consisted of 43 themes, worked over in various ways." [citations omitted]
You gotta love that hubris of the dilettante one-percenter: "I had an examination made..." What are servants for, after all. If only Bill Gates would examine 2700 waltzes instead of mucking about in charter schools; the world might be a better place. He could even have interns doing it.
Am continuing to read Curtis Roads' book Composing Electronic Music: A New Aesthetic. He has this to say about conventional Western harmony:
A formidable advantage of 12-note ET [equal temperament] over its predecessors was the equality of its intervals. For example, an ET “perfect” fifth interval will sound equivalent no matter which pitches are used to form it; this is not generally true of non-ET tuning systems. Such flexibility means that a composer can write functionally equivalent melodies and chord progressions in any key. It also enables harmonic modulation (i.e., a transition from one key to another by means of a chord common to both). The same flexibility fostered the rise of atonal and serial music and the promulgation of increasingly abstract operations on pitch class sets.
The mother lode of 12-note ET has been mined for 500 years by millions of musicians in innumerable compositions. The tuning is so ingrained that it is virtually impossible to musically express anything new about it. Consider a work for piano; it is constrained by its tuning and timbre from the start. If it is to find novelty, it must seek them not in tuning or timbre, but in other aspects of the composition. This is not to say that it is impossible to express anything new with 12-note ET. However, the new thing is not about the tuning. Rather, the novelty lies elsewhere, for example, in a new interpolation between existing genres, an unusual rhythmic organization, an atypical formal structure, a fresh combination of timbres, a philosophical message, etc.
The pop music industry sometimes manufactures songs that are attractive despite the use of 12-note ET in worn-out harmonic and rhythmic formulas. Yet some combination of elements in the voice, lyrics, audio production, fashion, face, camera angle, lens, setting, hairstyle, body language, stage show, animation, or attitude spawns mass fascination. The familiar melodic and harmonic formula—like the formulaic beat—serves as a comfortable backdrop.
"Bjarney" [5.9 MB .mp3]
Continuing with the house tempo. Sound sources include sliced and rearranged '70s e-piano (from vinyl) and analog synth chords and a bass line from a non-house tune I did. This needs speakers that can play bass to be heard "as intended."
"plEBE" [6.5 MB .mp3]
"Respiration 1-2" [7.7 MB .mp3]
Started re-listening to house records from about 15 years ago and decided to work some of my current ideas into that format. "plEBE" is the more conventionally structured of this pair, "Respiration 1-2" is the avant garde B-side.
drawn with Linux MyPaint