Lots going on this final week with the holiday, but I did manage to complete a track...even with a power outage Sunday night.
Part of the concept this week was to include instruments and effects I accumulated in 2019, so we have an acoustic guitar part (vintageparlorguitars.com size-2 parlor) and two electric parts (PureSalem Mendiola, courtesy of Premier Guitar's Mystery Stocking), one of which went through the Balls Effects KWB pedal. Otherwise...this started first as a kind of dub dirge, but got a bit funkier. Other instruments: two drum racks (Cassette 606, Ableton Cyndal kit), Ableton Operator (Funky Organ preset), Ableton Electric (MkI2 Crunchy preset).
Sends: one convolution reverb, one tweaked Echo.
Title from Ernest Rutherford's coinage of "alpha" and "beta" for different kinds of radioactive emissions. (Element 104, the last in our weekly element-related tracks series, was named for him.)
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A week with a lot going on, so here's an all-in-the-box track with five instruments: all of them FM synth Ableton Operator. There's a drum kit, two bass lines (triangle and filtered sawtooth) and two sine-like voices--one for a staccato voice, and one for a pad/drone. There's some auto-pan and Full-Chain master, and an Echo send, but that's it.
Title from the gold target used in the production of this week's element, Mendelevium.
This week's track, done in a few quick passes...and with a day-long pause while the laptop was in the shop.
I had four Drum Rack lines (Kit Carbon, two Muttkaste, Altered Kit), three of which were severely filtered, one of which boosted (one of the Muttkaste). There's also Electric and Vibes, two Res-O-Glas (different Auto-Filter settings), and Epiphone P-J bass (EQ-8). Putting it together...my sense of the "one" kept shifting, so there's a weird floating feeling to this one. I kept needing to cut parts that got cluttered.
Sends: two echo returns, one convolution reverb.
Title from the crystalline structure of Americium, this week's element.
Suddenly, instrumental power pop. This week started with the little legato line you hear in the left channel, and the rest followed along: drums (the Ableton 64-pad rock drum rack, percussion from a maraca sample), three channels of Res-o-Glas guitar (a couple of them through the EH LPB2ube), and Epi P-J bass. A fair amount of auto-filter on guitar, and EQ-8 on bass. Sends: two convolution reverbs. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.
Title from this week's element, Neptunium.
While busy weeks are common now, this one was notably busy. But here's a track anyway. I had kind of a dub idea in mind, thinking of space and interplay...which I kind of got away from, but perhaps not unlistenably.
Drums: Ableton's Borella kit, with Drum Buss, little tiny synth noises from the Ableton DrumSynth kit, and hand claps with Impulse. Epi P-J bass, and Epi Moderne guitar (through Vox Wah). Operator for the organ part. I tracked some fretless guitar that I didn't end up using...but the fretless will probably reappear soon.
Sends: two convolution reverbs, one Delay, and one Echo.
Title from the etymology of this week's element, actinium.
I built this one up out of little snippets of rhythms across four tracks, and ended up with an all-in-the-box piece. Drums and percussion all got reverse gating for a severely clipped envelope--three drum racks (Cassette 606, 808 Depth Charge, percussion) and one Impulse instrument of hand claps. There are two channels of Operator, one for bass, and one for swells, and one track of distorted Puremagnetik Rhodes. Sends: two convolution reverbs (ambience and a weird space) and Echo. Full-chain master on the master channel.
Title from the instability of astatine, this week's element.
This week's track started with the two drum patterns (Electro Dub kit and 64-pad rock kit) that together had a slow, off-kilter groove with each other. I didn't get around to tracking until Friday evening (one whole set of Fahey-tuned guitar that I didn't use, fake Mellotron that I didn't use, either). Saturday I did bass and Epiphone Moderne (Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah, and also a track of non-distorted Moderne with wah). I extracted a track of unintentional sounds from the fuzz channel, and arranged them throughout for some texture; I'd toyed with the thought of building the piece around them, but opted to go for something less outside this time.
Sends: two convolution reverbs (room ambience, weirder room ambience on the fuzz guitar) and one echo (automated send on the one drum). There's a lot of EQ-8 to roll off low frequencies on the bass and on the electro-dub kit. And some M4L Humanizer on the drums. Full-chain master on everything.
Title from one of the earliest uses (fishing sinkers) for this week's element, lead.
A very intuitive piece--I cobbled together three drum kits with syncopated rhythms, and composed a keyboard line...which I threw out after I picked up the Fahey-tuned Univox hollow body. There are three tracks of that, with varying degrees of fuzz. Not a bad hook...though very simple.
Sends: convo reverb and a delay; full-chain master on the master, and drum buss on the drums.
Title from the derivation of this week's element, platinum.
Carved out a little time this week for a track. My initial thought was to do something shoegazey, and then I immediately started making this vintage-y funk thing. Apparently my internal aesthetic compass is a gyroscope.
Drum racks of Acoustified 15 and Emperor kit (through Drum Buss), Operator with a triangle wave and a hint of 3rd harmonic, Electric on the MkI2 crunch preset, Epi P-J with bass rolloff, and Epi Moderne through Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah. Sends are a convolution reverb and Echo on Dub Syndicate preset. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.
Title from the iridescent quality of iridium (which gives it its name).
Another busy week, but this track still came together. I've been listening a lot to John Zorn's The Book Beri'ah, and wanted to do something with a syncopated danceability like many of the pieces there. I put up a Drum Rack (64-pad jazz) through a severe gate (influence of the new Burial there), and then...just responded to it on bass. Then I responded to that with more bass, added hand claps and percussion, and then a layer of baglama-tuned Heit Deluxe guitar. A touch of reverb and a bit of automated delay on the drums/percussion...and here we are.
Title from one of the properties of this week's element, osmium.
Very busy week with travel, but here's a rhythm-driven track that I managed to put together. Three drum racks, an Impulse device (hand claps), two Electric instruments for keys, bass (direct), and Res-o-Glas guitar (direct). Standard signal chains; more notes soon.
Title from a use of this week's element, rhenium.
This week's track started much differently--at 117bpm. I had some interesting drum patterns going on, but couldn't find a way into them. Guitar and keyboard lines weren't all that interesting. So I took a radical step on Saturday and cranked the bpm down to 68--ah, now it's a dub track. OK. Then I could finish it.
Instruments: Drum Rack of 64-pad single hit jazz kit samples, Drum Rack of Dub Techno single hits, Impulse of hand claps, Operator with pitch mod (sort of a cuíca effect), Puremagnetik CP-70 ("Lite" preset), Epiphone P-J bass (EQ-8 to roll off lows), and Epiphone Moderne (through Balls Effects KWB and Vox Wah) for guitar. At the last minute, I remembered to put Drum Buss on the drums. (Oops.)
Sends: two channels of Echo (Dark Fade and Dub Syndicate presets), and one empty-swimming-pool convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the out.
Title from the use of this week's element, Holmium, an atom of which was used by IBM a couple years back to store one bit of data.
This week's track came together in little sessions during the week (new job and travel), so it was easier to do an in-the-box thing--I had the drum patterns (a synth drum kit I came up with, a 909 kit, and Ableton's AstroPlay) and an abstract ring-modulated keyboard line (Ableton's Electric piano). It seemed to need a layer of noise, so I added Ableton's Analog's Coptor (sic) preset, and then did a quick improvisation with my randomizable pitch shifting network in Max/MSP (which begins the piece and continues throughout.)
Effects/sends: Drum Buss on the synth drum and 909, and Frequency Shifter (in Ring Mod mode) on the AstroPlay. One Echo send, and one convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the stereo mix.
This week's piece grew organically from a few drum patterns I put down (one of 808 single-hit samples, one from 909 single-hits). I had an initial synth bass I took out, but did some Ableton Analog synth over them, before replacing the synth bass with Epiphone P-J (through EQ-8 for sub-100Hz rolloff), and tracking clean (through bandpass Auto-Filter with drive and Cabinet) and distorted (Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah) Epiphone Moderne.
Sends: one convolution reverb (to a medium-sized tracking room space) and one Echo (Dub Syndicate, with timing tweaked). Auto-pan on almost everything. I used automation to send the 808 to the Echo channel. Full-chain Master on the 2-buss.
Title is from one of the applications of this week's element, Cerium, which can increase the stability of pigments exposed to light.
Job-search stuff took up a lot of attention and energy this week, but I did carve out a bit of time to throw some drums together--Ableton's 32-pad jazz kit and their 64-pad Dub Techno kit, in the parts you hear in the middle section. Saturday night, I added some rhythm patterns (for beginning and end) and Epiphone Moderne with the output going only to a convolution reverb (with the Dan Harpole Cistern impulse). Then I added some sparse lead lines in another channel, and finally put down some Epiphone bass.
Sends: cistern convolution reverb, and one studio-sized convolution reverb, along with a tweaked Echo plugin. Auto-pan on the Dub Techno kit and guitars, and automation on the jazz kit for hitting the echo at the ends of phrases. Full-chain Master on the mix buss.
Title from the French name for the precipitate of barium sulfate, since barium (atomic number 56) is this week's element.
Early in the week I decided on an odd constraint: the track should have only one chord. (In this case, a Gsus4. So it's a holy chord, maybe.) I played with a couple drum rack patterns--one rock kit, one fingers-on-snare--and thew a buffer manipulation M4L plugin on the fingers-on-snare one for variety.
Saturday evening, I tracked all the guitar--four tracks of Epi Moderne, some straight into the board, some through Vox Wah, some through EHX LPB2ube, and some through Reuss RF-01. There's a lot of the one chord, but also responses to it. Epi P-J bass went on last.
This was a bit tricky to mix, given the one-chord tonality and the buildup of harmonics (themselves accentuated with fuzz), but high-pass Auto-Filter to cut out lows helped a lot. Drum Buss on the percussion helped retain impact, as did some reverb on most parts, and echo for the drums (automated) and percussion.
Title from an early use of cesium, element 55, used for the getters of vacuum tubes.
Kind of a weird arrangement that came together during the week: severely inverse-gated 505 drums, 909 for some heft, Tension clavinet (seriously tweaked to use plectrum, different finger weight...), Electric Mk1 (crunchy), Analog Off-World pad, Epi P-J bass (replacing initial synth bass) and Epi Moderne (through Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah, into Auto-Filter). Sends: two convolution reverbs and one Echo, with Auto-Filter in front to make it interesting. Kind of weird to mix. It also changed tonal center during the arrangement process. Starting to feel like I'm recycling bass lines...but maybe it works.
Title from the element Xenon, element 54.
First track of the year! A fairly simple dub jam--606 samples (with automated auto-filter on kick and snare), bass (Epi P-J with EQ-8 rolloff), Ableton's Electric (Crunchy piano with auto-filter drive), and tabla samples. Sends: two convolution reverbs (one large, one smaller) and Echo (Dub Syndicate). Auto-pan on keys and tablas, Full-Chain Master on the stereo buss. I tried adding some other instruments here and there, but they didn't fit, so I'm keeping it simple.
Title comes from sources of iodine, element 53 (because I'm picking up where I left off).
Last track of 2017, here's a kind of funky thing that came together gradually over the week: drum rack from various sources, couple of Analog synths, Ableton's Electric, guitar (Res-O-Glas) and Bastl Kastle synth. Three convolution reverbs, delay, and full-chain master.
Title from the use of tellurium (element 52) in phase change memory chips.
This one's a simple in-the-box housey piece. Inspiration was reading about one insufferable wealthy blowhard or other who put out a promo video in which he pronounced "discotheque" with four syllables. This kind of gave me the idea of doing a sample-fest of it, but apparently he didn't pronounce it exactly the way I'd thought, so I instead went with a simple synth line that had the kind of cadence I'd envisioned, over a disco-y kind of house rhythm. It fell together rather quickly, which is good, because this has been a busy week.
909 drum rack, hand claps, four tracks of Ableton's Analog. Convo reverb and delay. Not a lot of fancy stuff. Title comes from PA's Route 51, which wasn't far from where I grew up.
Merry Christmas/happy holidays/happy solstice/happy Eggnog Riot anniversary, or whatever you're celebrating!
Mostly in-the-box, plus bass. Drum rack of 909, hand clap samples, Tension/Clav and Electric/Rhodes, Epiphone bass. Lots of roll-off on bass below 87Hz to get out of the way of the kick. Three sends--two convolution reverbs and one filter delay.
Title comes from the 50 Gates of Wisdom/Impurity of the Kabbalah.
This week I bought an old DOD 545 Wah Filter pedal (the beige one), otherwise known as the Bill Laswell pedal, and built up a little groove in anticipation. Initially I used Korg Minipops samples (thanks, Chris!) but there was a bit-depth grit around them that didn't seem to fit with this particular track, so I ended up replacing it with a drum rack of Analog synths. To supplement the kick, I added 606 kick in one track, and then some DR-660 percussion samples (thanks again to Chris! I remember my old DR-660 fondly; traded it for an MXR EQ...). I added a track of vibes, some of Analog, some Operator...but took them all out in favor of two tracks of Live's Electric plugin. Then I tracked bass through the DOD, and it was enormously low--so much so that I decided the kick should occupy a higher frequency range, and spent time fiddling to get a kind of balance. Saturday night I tracked guitar (Epi Moderne, through Vox Wah and Reuss RF-01, but also just through Vox Wah), and put a rough arrangement together. Some further fiddling, and here we are. (Sends: two convo reverbs, one amp spring and one room, and a delay. Full-chain master on the master channel.)
Title from the Kola Superdeep Borehole, for obvious reasons.
Working on some guitar stuff for something else, I did this week's track all-in-the-box, inspired by a friend sharing a bunch of single-hit drum sounds, mostly from unusual and odd drum machines. This one uses some sounds from a Blofeld, along with handclap samples and a bunch of Ableton Analog and Operator synths. Sends are two convolution reverbs and one set of simple delays.
Title from it being week 47, which is the atomic number of silver.
Another very busy week, but I found a few minutes here and there to play with more vocoded drums (tabla) and some other percussive synth, as well as a drum rack of sampled traps...but it wasn't really coming together until I realized it could work in 5/4. Bass clarified it a bit, though some of the MIDI voices (tabla, Operator organ, Operator percussion with Brushed Bell and Rubber presets) were tricky to time. I added some Electric piano at the last minute, and some automation to the sends: two convo reverbs, and one of bandpass Auto Filter (LFO set to random) into Simple Delay.
Title from the slippery feeling of the 5/4.
A return to guitar (Res-O-Glas) and bass (Epi), here's a drifty kind of track, named in part after the 44th department of France.
I started with a Drumulator part, much faster, and slowed it waaaay down, I added hand drum and hand claps, some Operator bass (which I took out) and organ lines, along with grand piano in Simpler...and based on a dream I had, I went back and split the two drum lines, adding a vocoder chain to each one--Analog on the Drumulator and Operator on the hand drum. Grand piano sounded too...grand-piano-y, so I used auto-filter to reduce bandwidth and sent it to sends only. Guitar got some auto-filter, as did the Drumulator kick (to bring out the peak).
Sends are two convolution reverbs and one LFO auto-filter into Simpler. Full-chain master on the 2-bus.