I forgot to time this one, but it's a fun live jam anyway so kind of low effort. Maybe 30-40 minutes?

This is a two-synth jam: Oberheim XPander and Kilpatrick Phenol.

I set up the XPander to play a loop of chords in the background. The Phenol was played live using self-triggering mechanisms (no keyboard). There's actually a fair amount going on for not that many synths.

No software effects except for limiting/EQ on the master track.

Warning: some high frequencies.

More submissions by Arcana for Weekly Music 2017

Dec 31, 15:25 - 16:05. After an idea that sounded too EDM/progressive for my tastes (but honestly did have some musical merit), I decided that I'd bust out the modular instead and goof off.

This is different from what I've done before on the modular. The pitches and rhythms are generative (mostly). One thing that I'd consider doing differently is having the drums on a control - being able to better control individual parts is pretty important and this patch didn't really allow that.

It's partly generative, but not fully - I did do a lot of knob turning to change pitches, parts, rhythms, and so forth.

I actually submitted this really late - on Dec 31 (a full week after it's due). It's an aborted attempt because I wanted to actually do something that wasn't a laid-back EDM-style song like this and was going to start over.

Sunday, Dec 17. Need to start early because I have company over tonight.

10:50 - 12:40. Not too much to say, I kind of lazied myself out at the end. I should really revisit tracks and continue on them but for some reason working on details feels tiring to me, I wonder how I can get around that.

Technical notes: Kick drum from the modular, on clock (I kind of need a way to control that). Lots of Nord Lead stuff also.

15:50 - 17:50. I can't even begin to say how long I spent making this because I've had so many interruptions. I think I got set up, then got interrupted for 10 minutes, then I had to go downstairs to watch food and then I was back up, then I had to go back down again and it kept on happening, so I suspect that I've spent under an hour actually making the song and recording it.

Total time: Who knows

Sunday, Dec 10, 15:50.

Bill, a local musician, suggested that I run my guitar through the modular to see what comes out. I don't know if a lot will, because I don't have a ton of audio effects in my modular but who know?

Also, I decided to update software on my main computer for music thinking it would take only a few minutes. I was wrong. Almost an hour later I still haven't started my music, so I moved some of my gear and went to my laptop, so now I have a random assortment of instruments to use: a guitar, my modular, and the Meeblip Triode.

The irony is that as soon as I started typing this up, the installation ended up completing. Screw it, I'm settled in, I'm going to start.

Technical notes:

- Computer with two MIDI channels: one is going into the Meeblip, which is playing the bassline.

- The other MIDI channel is playing the drums and the drone simultaneously. The guitar triggers also a midrange synth that you can barely hear.

- Guitar playing the lead.

The weirdness of this song is more of a consequence of its construction (like it's dumb that I used a single MIDI channel to control both my drums and my pads) than anything else.

At some point I thought that this was going somewhere, but then something happened and I was unable to get the feeling that I wanted, and things weren't really ever resolving, so I just kind of gave up. There were some potentially good sounds, but it never really came together melodically or harmonically and I can't really concentrate on sound design if the harmonies and melodies aren't feeling good to me.

I probably spent about two hours making this? Pretty unhappy with how this came out this week.

I was a minute late on submission. Two late submits in a row!

Actual track notes:

- A lot of Nord Lead doing the saws and leads. Some of the bass was Alchemy. Arps were a Massive patch with Logic effects. Drums were a combination of MASCHINE samples and the Basimilus Iteras Alter module on my Eurorack, which was actually super amazing and really brings me some joy.

Sun Nov 26, 2017.

I have a few things on my mind. First, getting down more chord progressions and considering how I can more quickly sequence guitar chords in the sequencer (why is it a piano roll and not a guitar roll?)

Second, how do I get that cheesy Anime OP-ED chord thingy down? (ex: Crossing Field from Sword Art Online.)

Third, I got a few new modules this week, but I didn't get the one I was actually most excited for: Pamela's New Workout by ALM. I might try to do some interesting sounds as a result but they'll be not quite the "final product" so to speak.

Finally, I've been listening to a lot of EDM and stuff with really, really high production values. It would be nice to learn more about production and how to really get that EDM sound design down in like, an hour or less. I know that this takes a lot of knowledge and time that I haven't really invested. I keep complaining about both EDM-style sounds, sound design, production, and mixing, but haven't really internalized it all yet. I think I should get a book or do a regular study session on this now that I've become a million times more comfortable with theory.

16:55 - 19:01 (2h 7m).

(Key: D minor/F major (Bb))

Chords used:

Dm Am Bb C


I probably spent at least half an hour on figuring out what I wanted the backing harmony to be.

Monday, Nov 20.

20:45 - 21:35. I'm late - yesterday was busy. I am doing some home renovation stuff so I spent most of the day doing that rather than making music.

Here's a little diddy. No guitar (it's faster to lay down synth music). Did some live noodling with a sequencer though.


A B D7 E Dsus4 E

Time: 50m.

Sunday, Nov 12.

12:25 - 12:35. I'm probably going to be out all afternoon, so I'm going to try to crank out a drone track from nothing (no patches or anything) in a few live takes in about 20-25 minutes.

12:45 - 13:00. Resume and attempt to start recording.

13:00 - 13:15: Minor amounts of software post-processing: mostly adding EQ and some compression and a bit of light plate reverb.

So total time about 40 minutes. Not my shortest song ever… but it's an improv.

Sunday, Nov 5.

14:15: I'm trying to learn the sequencer on the Linnstrument. It's taking a bit of time (I probably started an hour ago). I also have to go out tonight in less than 2 hours and I don't have any songs yet, so if I don't get anything started soon you might end up with another modular noise improv this week.

15:45: Finish. The end result is pretty different from what I was practicing because my mini-keyboard that I was playing leads with ran out of power. I wasn't a huge fan of it in the first place, but without it I can't really play a melody so you get random accents instead.

I used Linnstrument's step sequencer for the bass. The wavetable was selected by modulation value, so it ends up being that each note in the sequence is different from the last.

Total time: 1h 30m (without setup time).

Stuff used:

Synthesis Technology E352 for bass

Intellijel Dixie II+ for accents

Roland TR-8 for drums

Linnstrument as a controller/sequencer

I wanted to make a generative patch on the modular so I could set it up and let it play while kids answer the door.

What I realized pretty quickly is that I don't have enough modulation options in my modular to quite get the effect I wanted. I still hope that the result is sufficiently spooky or haunting without annoying the hell out of us at home.

Sun, Oct 29.

I'd like to make a generative Halloween patch so I can play it when kids end up ringing the doorbell.

Ambient modular improv.

Sunday, October 22, 11:00-11:50ish

Today might be busy, so I figured I'd record a "quick" improv track just in case I don't make it back to the music later this afternoon.

This is done with my modular and Arpeggionome, an iPad app. The modules doing the heavy lifting here are the E352 Cloud Terrarium and the Dixie II+ through Polaris FIlter and Noise Tools doing the S&H filter effects.

No post-processing except for some compression/limiting through Neutron.

I forgot to turn on the initial time, but I think it's been about 50 minutes or so. I tried about three takes (and some repatching) before I was happy with the result. There are still some changes that I would make if I kept at it - some of the high notes are too sudden and better gating would have helped maintain a background drone.

Sunday, October 15. I started by making a patch on the modular. I want to get some S&H action going now that I read through the Intellijel Noise Tools manual.

14:20 - 16:50. I really lazy-produced this track and lazy-composed it. It's pretty noodly but kind of has this avant-garde feel to it.

Sunday, October 8.

16:00 - 16:20: Warm-up and scale practice.

16:20 - 18:05: Song finished. Not too many notes.

This was a bit of a lazy entry. I did a lot of practice trying to play E minor on various parts of the neck using one of the pentatonic shapes as a guide, so it's not exactly a song of intense passion - mostly just scale-based noodling, lots of layering, and repeating chords.

In some respect WeeklyMusic has become "guitar practice" but I guess that's not really a bad thing…

Total time: 1h 45m

Despite how epic the song is and how fitting the title is, my wife came up with it because she joked that what I really wanted to do today was play Divinity: Original Sin 2.


Sunday, October 1.

15:05 - 17:20: I am taking guitar lessons. Today's lessons is to do scales more smoothly across two octaves. While listeners might not really hear differences, behind the scenes I'll be working on playing on scale tones more dexteriously.

I also watched a pretty good 4 and a half video about making thicker, more epic chords. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3U5PBQDpxM

This is a little more soulful and epic than the music I normally do?

Total time: 2h 15m

Pseudo-epic-trying guitar ballad.

Notes: I tried to steal chords from pop songs, but it was too hard to figure out how they were supposed to sound good together.

Starting in earnest:

16:35 - 18:50. 2h 15m

Really? It sure felt longer than that.

Saturday, Sept 16: I started this on Saturday, but I didn't keep a time log. I maybe spent 30 minutes on this doing a drum loop, some bass, and a few chords.

Sunday, Sept 17: 16:05 - 18:30.

This turned out to be a pretty normal rock song with some synthpop elements to it.

It was mostly a good opportunity to practice more guitar playing. I realized that my guitar goes out of tune a LOT, I tuned it three times because it was drifting out of tune while I was making the song. Maybe this is normal though and I didn't really realize it.

I spent a modicum more time on the drum design this week than normal - as the song developed I swapped out a lot of the 808/909 samples I had for more traditional rock samples, but I do have a few synth samples there.

Total time: Probably 3h?

Instruments: Software drums, 3 tracks of real guitar (lead/rhythm/backing chords), two Nord Lead tracks (pads and bass), one modular synth (background countermelody)

Sunday, Sept 10.

Learning objectives:

- Improve rhythm guitar timing and tuning

- Use synth chords

- Use synth lead countermelody contrasting with guitar

13:00 - 13:20: Noodling and exploration. In 20 minutes, I laid down initial stab chords, a beat, and some bass.

16:50 - 18:55: I resumed this. It's…. really dancey-like. I think I spent a little longer than average on production, but still not that long. Older versions had bad timbre + level matching between the guitar and synth leads so I fixed that up a bit. The song itself is really really simple and predictable, so if I wanted to work on this it would actually need to be on the composition to draw interest. I didn't actually add a whole lot of rhytm guitar to this.

Total time: 2h 25m


- Guitar

- Nord Lead 2x

- Future Retro 777

- My modular synth

- MASCHINE 2 (for drums)

Various software effects


Sunday, Sept 3, 16:15

It's streak.club time, but I also noticed that PRC356 has a Splatoon 2 remix this week and since I'm a Splatoon fan, I thought I'd give this a shot.

Here's the link: http://compo.thasauce.net/rounds/view/PRC356

16:15: First, learn the song. Chords, key, scales. There's a bit of note-borrowing going on from other scales here (something that I am pretty bad at - I stick to the scale tones a LOT).

17:30: Okay it took me like 30 minutes to get a 4-bar riff. At this rate I'm not going to finish before streak.club's deadline.

19:30: "Done". Only because I'm out of time - the parts all need to be redone so it's more solid. It's kind of outside of my ability but now that I've laid down the song it means that I can practice… and with time…

All of the parts (4 guitar tracks, 1 bass track) are played live (over many takes) except for the drums, which is a computerized drummer.

I guess it's awesome that I managed to do a remix in a few hours that's recognizable as the original.

Total time: 3h 15m

Sunday, August 27, 16:20 - 18:45. 2h 25m

Laying down some beats. Trying to make a few sounds on hardware…

Okay, this turned out okay. The modular patch that I started with is not front-and-center but does some strange and interesting things in the background that I'm happy with. The guitar playing is nothing to write home about but at least can carry the song. I think I wanted to make a progressive synth-pop style song with guitars for some time now and at least this succeeds.

Sunday, August 20, 15:00-17:21 Modular + Guitar Jam.

First 30m was setting up the studio and getting some initial tuning and patches in for the modular synthesizers, and fiddling around with some initial melodies that might be okay.

I kind of wanted this to be done, I didn't particularly like the end result too much. The mood changes too much and I wasn't sure I wanted to go back and fix it all.

Weekly Music 2017

Make a musical composition every week

weekly from 2017-01-02 to 2018-01-01