Earlier this week I was thinking of a simple rhythm and found myself tapping it out on the steering wheel: 4/4 on the left, double-time on the right. I brought it into Ableton Live as a kick/floor-tom combo, and started tracking guitar against it. Ultimately...I took the percussion out of it, but it was a way to start.
There are four tracks of guitar here (PureSalem Mendiola) with a touch of convolution reverb. There's a bit of grit on some of the tracks, from turning on the vintage circuit of the UA Volt1.
The title comes from the former Rt. 498 in Maryland.
Still with the guitar-only, this one four tracks of PureSalem Mendiola (bridge, neck, both, with one going through Uni-Vibe), This one's rather pretty, and has a bit of a vibe.
The title comes from the asteroid 507 Laodica--we're back to the celestial objects for this week.
With a very busy end-of-week and weekend, I was able to wedge in just a couple short tracking sessions, and a late arrangement/edit cycle. This one's just three tracks of PureSalem Mendiola into the UA Volt-1, with a touch of convolution reverb and the usual stereo compression.
I'm kind of neutral about this one--the stronger theme only came about in the last Sunday afternoon tracking, and earlier sessions had a bunch of wandering things that didn't make the final cut. It has a pleasant enough vibe, though.
The title comes from IC 506, an elliptical galaxy in the constellation Hydra.
This week's track came together in one quick Saturday-night tracking session with the PureSalem Mendiola and...a new-to-me stereo Uni-Vibe pedal.
There are four tracks of guitar, though the Uni-Vibe track is itself (of course) stereo, with chorus on the left and vibrato on the right. One can sum these down to monaural with the width control, but I kind of liked the stereo separation. Since I needed two inputs, I went into the Focusrite Scarlett instead of the recent UA Volt, and the slightly different sonic profile is a neat change.
As I usually do, I started with one little motif (the Uni-Vibe at the beginning) and responded to it on multiple tracks, then going back and repeating the process for new sections. There's even a bit of a key change in here, which is nice. Also, as usual, there's some convolution reverb and the wide & warm preset audio rack on the stereo out.
The title comes from the number 505 being the magic constant for the magic square and n-queens problem, for n=10.
Earlier this week, my Monday night ambient improv livestream was delayed by a bad cable, though it took me 20 minutes (live on Twitch) to figure that out. I ended up recording a lot of the plug/unplug/restart/swap-gear process, and had the thought that I should incorporate it into this week's track. That's the buzz/wah-noise/click sound in the background at the beginning, middle, and end.
Initially I'd tried sub looping a lot of it to use it as a rhythmic element, but that ended up sounding annoying. So I played guitar against it, and ultimately reverted to some snippets of the debug-noise, with cleaner guitar as an alternative or counterpoint.
There's some convolution reverb here, as well as compression/eq on the stereo.
The title comes from NGC 503 being an elliptical galaxy, but also from the ellipses in things I've left out of this, and the interruption of the live performance.
The three-guitar thing continues. I didn't start this one until late Friday night with the initial melody, chords, and counterpoint. Then Saturday and Sunday I wrote responses to those. While I think I'm due for a change in direction, this one developed in a way consistent with recent ones, though the (simple) chords seem a bit stronger.
Three tracks of PureSalem Mendiola (bridge, neck, both pickups) direct into the UA Volt 1, sometimes with the "vintage" circuit engaged. Some convolution reverb and Wide&Warm compression/eq preset on the stereo out.
The title comes from the minor planet 502 Sigune.
This one's back to three tracks of PureSalem Mendiola. I started this Saturday evening, and it didn't really take any shape until Sunday afternoon with an editing/tracking session. Sparser, slower than recent ones. Some of my right-hand technique emphasized more lower midrange than high frequencies. Not really a plan there; it's how it came out.
Convolution reverb, compression/eq in the stereo out.
Title comes from this interesting wikipedia factoid about the number 501.
Another 4-track guitar piece. I keep thinking to do something very spacious and minimal, something barely-there...but once I start writing parts against other parts, the pieces tend to fill up. There's still a bit of space here.
As I've been doing lately, this is just PureSalem Mendiola into the UA Volt 1, with some convolution reverb on the tracks, as well as the Wide and Warm mastering preset from Ableton.
This marks the 500th weekly composition I've done since joining the 2014 Weekly Beats project. That's...a lot of music.
The title comes from the model number of the old rotary telephones: the Western Electric 500. (Had I known the title in advance, I could have tried tracking with a little Western Electric amp I have...but I write first and do titles later.)
Thank you for listening (so far)!
By my count, this is the 499th weekly composition I've done since I started at the end of 2013 (for the 2014 Weekly Beats). I went into late Saturday with no ideas in mind, and started playing with a few altered chords, then responding to them, and then stitching it all together. There are four tracks of PureSalem Mendiola in standard tuning, and some convolution reverb.
The title comes from minor planet 499 Venusia.
Something a bit different for this week. I've been building up a Max/MSP version of the patch that Jaap Vink was using at the Institute of Sonology in Utrecht in the 1970s. This is an 8-channel version of that, with an attempt to make it responsive for live performance. (I actually prefer the performance I did just prior, but I mistakenly recorded it as mono.)
The title comes from the minor planet Iva 497.
Kind of an intense week on a number of fronts. The slowness of this piece is a bit of a reaction to that, an attempt to maintain a bit of quiet and space. Guitar: 1960s Univox hollow body (likely a Coily model), tuned in a variant of John Fahey's C tuning. (His was CGCGCE; this is B F# B F# B C#.) Three tracks, just a bit of convolution reverb. A touch of grit from the UA Volt 1.
The title comes from the minor planet 496 Gryphia.
PureSalem Mendiola and 80s Epiphone bass. Once again through the UA Volt, mainly just to try bass through that. There's still some EQ-8 low-end rolloff on the bass, but it doesn't have to be as extreme as some earlier tracks. Some of that may be from the Volt on the Vintage EQ setting, but also there's no kick drum here, so I didn't have to make room for that. Otherwise, just convolution reverb and the compression/EQ on the stereo bus.
The title comes from yet another minor planet, 495 Eulalia.
A return to three tracks of guitar without heavy editing or effects, largely to test a new USB converter (Universal Audio Volt 1). There's some crunch on here, from the converter's preamp itself--it's a bit more musical than clipping on the Focusrite Scarlett. There's the usual convolution reverb and compression/eq on the stereo bus.
The title is from the minor planet 494 Virtus.
This one's odd. After several weeks of fairly naturalistic playing, I thought to do something with severely edited sounds--short cuts out of longer-duration chords and intervals. The signal chain was PureSalem Mendiola through Balls Effects KWB distortion (to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the clip), and into Vox Wah for tone shaping. The middle and end sections reveal a bit more of the original playing, but a lot of this is edited down from that. One emergent riff came from copying and pasting the short clips over some previous material--I wouldn't have arrived at this riff otherwise.
There's some convolution reverb and the usual wide&warm preset for compression/eq, but no funny stuff other than the hard edits.
The title comes from A493 in Wales, which (according to Wikipedia) avoids the town of Cross Foxes.
I'd approached this week with the thought of changing some working methods. While some things stayed the same (one guitar, no inline tone shaping, common click track), this time the guitar lines are mostly more spacious, and the structure more tenuous and intuitive.
In previous weeks, I was able to edit tracks down easily--if everything's 4/4, with clearly defined phrases, edit points are obvious. With this piece, aggressive editing also removed the vibe. It was easy to crush this one accidentally. What I ended up doing was recording from session view to arrangement view, triggering clips in the session view, and then tweaking a few things later. That preserved the fragile development of the piece. It also led to a structure that was kind of linear in order of tracking, though that's not necessarily a bad thing.
The individual parts varied between 6/4 and 4/4, some with pauses at the end, and some without. I also used a volume pedal for rolling off the attack on some notes. There's convolution reverb, and the usual compression/eq on the stereo mix. It's kind of a vibe.
The title comes from the minor planet 492 Gismonda.
Guitar trio again, but this time with Danelectro baritone. There's some high- and low-pass Auto-Filter with drive on the bridge pickup, and some EQ-8 with low-end reduction on the neck pickup. And two convolution reverbs, in addition to the usual Wide&Warm preset for finalization. No outboard effects.
The title comes from US Highway 491 (formerly 666), which gives access to Shiprock, NM.
Two very late, very short tracking sessions of three tracks of PureSalem Mendiola. Still similar working methods, but a slightly different harmonic/melodic approach in places. (Still with the barre chords, not that that's a bad thing.)
Convolution reverb and the Ableton Wide & Warm compression/eq setting on the stereo bus.
The title comes from Carthaginian navigator Himilco, who apparently reached the northwestern coast of Europe from the Mediterranean in 490 BCE.
Much of my free time over the last week has been directed toward migrating my websites to a new cloud instance, which also (due to the age of the codebase) means redeveloping them. So it's a work in progress.
Even so, I found some time to track a little guitar-and-pedal-steel thing. PureSalem Mendiola and no-name 10-string 1970s pedal steel in E9 tuning. There's the usual convolution reverb and mastering plugin, but otherwise no funny stuff.
The title comes from the minor planet 489 Comacina.
An exercise in bringing a piece together with edits. I'd tracked a number of compatible melodic and chordal bits against each other, but there wasn't a defining idea, other than the first theme's emergence in 3/4. (Surprisingly, that theme does appear near the middle.) There are the usual choices here: three parts, no inline effects, but a send to a convolution reverb, and the stereo bus compression/eq.
The title comes from NGC 488, the Whirligig Galaxy in Pisces.
Another intensely busy week, so here's an attainable three-guitar piece. PureSalem Mendiola, a bit of convolution reverb, the usual compression/eq on the stereo out. This one has a middle section with a chord progression that's five beats long, which mixes things up a bit.
The title is from the minor planet 487 Venetia.
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