Early in the week, I had a funky drum beat in my mind, and threw it together with Ableton's 64-pad rock kit. I didn't have a chance to put guitar on it right away, so I temporarily filled the track in with a looped field recording from my back yard. Gradually, keys went on (filtered Analog), and I added bass. Finally, late Sunday, I had a few minutes to put guitar (Res-O-Glas, Vox Wah) on, and then I cut down the field recordings significantly, as well as slowing speed and dropping pitch.
Drums: Drum Buss, vinyl distortion. (I'd got it into my mind that this would add character.)
Bass: EQ-8, with bass rolloff.
Guitar: Auto-Filter high/low pass with drive.
Field recordings: Auto-Filter high/low pass, auto-pan
Sends: convolution reverb, Echo ("A Bit Tipsy" with time changed and noise/wobble reduced). Full-chain master on the 2-bus.
Title from Fermi's name for element 94 (plutonium) when he'd thought he'd discovered it--"hesperium." (He didn't.)
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.
Back to the funk. This week brought a new pedal (the Balls Effects KWB pedal, a variant of the MXR Distortion +/Ross pedal with switchable diodes and sweepable clipping), so I used that on guitars and bass. This one started as drum tracks (Drum Rack 64-pad Jazz kit), to which I added a bit of a low end with additional Typhoon kick and some percussion). Then I added two Puremagnetik Rhodes pianos, and laid down guitar (modulated wah and stationary wah) and bass (EQ-8 for bass rolloff). Sends: room-sized convolution reverb and an Echo channel.
Title from...a dad joke about the use of gadolinium (element 64) as part of the emergency shut-down procedure of some reactors, including the CANDU. (Sorry.)
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.
Dry funk kit, hand drum kit, claps, marimba, bass, organ, synth. Tracked guitar, but it was a bit sloppy, and I cut it. (Hey, been sick this weekend.) The goal was to do something like a lost instrumental b-side of a Grace Jones session with Sly and Robbie, with Bill Laswell remixing.
8 tracks (drum rack of single-hit trap kit, handclaps, percussion, three electric pianos, guitar, bass). Funk. Half-way through the year!
Nothing special in production notes, other than my using the Glue compressor to side-chain the bass to the biamped/dual-filtered kick drum. (One resonant peak on the shell, one on the beater). The glue compressor gets a bit dirty on the peaks in a pleasing way. Also there are two different convolution reverbs with different small rooms for air on them.
Otherwise, lots of editing on the guitar to remove notes--not to hide mistakes so much as to make space.
I thought I'd do a house track this week, but the drum pattern was kind of boring...until I cut the tempo in (nearly) half. I'd written some synth parts that I ended up taking out, and then adding piano and Rhodes, along with bass (Epi P-J) and guitar (Epi Moderne, with Vox Wah and occasionally Reuss Repeater Fuzz). There's a drum rack of dry funk drums with a 909 kick (auto-filter on everything to emphasize percussiveness and distort), impulse hand claps, a drum rack of single-hit tabla samples, a drum rack of Rhythm Ace single hits. Lots of things got high-pass auto-filter to carve out some space, and the bass got a sidechain from the 909 kick. M4L humanizer on drums, tablas, and hand claps. Sends are two convolution reverbs (one long for almost everything and one short for the bass and drums) with high-pass auto-filter to keep it from booming, and a chain of simple delay and filter delay with an LFO band-pass auto-filter in front. Nearly everything got auto-pan and the percussion got some delay automation.
Title from the fact that I slowed everything down.
Started planning toward a dark ambient piece, and then wrote a funky bassline. Whoops.
Drums: Drum rack of dry funk drums, with auto-filter high-pass with resonance on both the kick and snare. This also went through a bit crusher, which I automated to vary throughout the track. There's also a 909 kick in places, and some hand claps.
Bass: Epiphone P-J into the Focusrite, with a bit of convolution reverb. Sidechained to the kick.
Keys: Ableton Electric (Wurlitzer) getting Auto-Filter with drive and Auto-Pan for tremolo, Ableton Analog (Glass2 Hollow), Bastl Kastle
Guitar: Epiphone Moderne into the Focusrite, Ableton Auto-Filter (band-pass with drive) and Auto-Pan (tremolo).
M4L Humanizer on all MIDI instruments except the keys, Auto-Pan on almost everything for spatialization, and Full-Chain Master on the two-channel output.
Title...from the election in France, which was better news than not. And it's the anniversary of Dien Bien Phu, so there's that too, if you prefer.
A funk track emerged this week. I started playing with beats (single-hits from a dry funk kit), added percussion (tabla, claps, conga/bongo), Wurlitzer and Rhodes...some piano and organ that I removed, put on bass, and two tracks (distorted and not distorted) of Epiphone Moderne through the Vox Wah. Notable production items...included M4L humanizer, subtle use of a couple different convolution reverbs (room and plate), simple delay cascading into filter delay, and not any automation--it just seemed to work better as a static thing.
Title comes from association from the Pythagorean distaste for the number 17, coming as it does as the interval between the numbers 16 and 18. Also, I've used a lot of major seconds in this. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/17_(number)#cite_note-14, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_second#Epogdoon)
Also, mad respect to anyone hanging in there!
Not feeling particularly well most of the week, so the fundamentals of the track didn't emerge until late in the week, with some simple drum parts, and bass. Initially I went for a sparse post-rock thing, but threw that all out when I reduced the drums to the simplest patterns, and re-built them as something I could reasonably play dubby bass against. (Two tracks of bass--one with cabinet plugin, and one with auto-filter and distortion, both side-chained against the kick) Having been listening to some Laswell projects, I put tables on there as well, and Ableton's Behr stringed instrument. As a last-minute addition, I tracked a bunch of guitar (Res-O through Vox Wah, into band-pass auto-filter), and played a lot with automating sends (one to a convolution reverb, one to LFO band-pass auto-filter into filter delay). M4L Humanizer on the drums and tabla, and full-chain master on the 2-mix.
Title from the wikipedia entry on the number 14:
Take a set of real numbers and apply the closure and complement operations to it in any possible sequence. At most 14 distinct sets can be generated in this way. This holds even if the reals are replaced by a more general topological space. See Kuratowski's closure-complement problem.
This started kind of funky early in the week, and then (as sometimes happens) things got dubby. I started with an 808 kit, and just wasn't getting the impact I wanted. 909 was better, but distracting from the funk feel, so I replaced the 909 with a kit of dry single hit drums. In editing, I slid the snares a tiny bit late, and the hats a tiny bit forward, to see how that'd sit. I added some percussion and claps, and kick and toms from another kit, high-passing this second kick so it was almost another tom.
I added Ableton's Tension instrument for clavinet and Electric for Wurlizer, both going through band-pass auto-filter, with LFO modulation. I tracked bass (Epiphone P/J on P, into the Focusrite), putting a bit of Cabinet plugin inline, along with side chain compression triggered by the kick. Then I tracked guitar (Epiphone Moderne through Vox Wah), putting it through band-pass auto-filter with drive, giving it a small-amp sound.
Most tracks got some automation to the sends--these were two convolution reverbs (large space and large tracking room), and a filter delay with LFO-band-pass auto-filter going into it for extra wah.
All the drums and percussion got 30ms of M4L Humanizer (maybe shouldn't have used it on the drums--some hits seem too late now), and the master channel got full-chain master.
Title from the fact that, according to Wikipedia, "Twelve is the smallest weight for which a cusp form exists."
All in the box--drum racks, Impulse, Electric, Tension...and a lot of Auto-Filter wah on a lot--including a delay send channel with auto-filter on the front. (I'd recorded bass for this, but ended up replacing it with Tension Clavinet when the key changed.) It started as a dub thing, but got funkier, and I ended up applying wah to a lot of it. Busy week, so not a lot of time to devote to tracking, but I did spend some time in the evenings making variations to the drum line.
I had a show this weekend, and spent much of the week preparing for it (new Max/MSP patch, testing with instruments), but late in the week, I wanted to hear something like this drum beat, and whipped that up with some keyboards. I tracked bass and guitar on Saturday, and spent a few hours on Sunday to arrange and mix. There's a drum rack of dry trap kit (high-pass Auto-Filter on the kick; low-pass Auto-filter with drive on the whole kit), one of a hand drum I have, and hand claps (with low-pass Auto-Filter with drive to make it a little less clean). There's Ableton's Electric instrument (MkI2 Crunchy) through band-pass Auto-Filter with modulation, Simpler (Grand Piano preset) with the same Auto-Filter treatment, and Collision (Street Bells) for some variety. (I almost put vibes there, but low street bells sounded better.)
Bass is the Epiphone P-J (on P), with a little convolution reverb. Guitar: '67 Kalamazoo into Vox Wah, and the same guitar through the Reuss RF-01 Repeater Fuzz into the Vox Wah. I tracked more parts than I used.
The tricky thing with this one was getting the parts not to conflict; everything worked better the sparser it was. There's some simple delay in addition to the convolution reverb, and Full-Chain Master on the master channel.
The title comes from it being week 4, and is a bit of a reference to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.