Arcana makes music regularly and likes video games, music composition, synthesizers, and UX/UI design.

All submissions (103)

I did five themes last time and there's three left to go.

Zelfie asked for a theme that followed a reference track that resembled 70s funk/disco.

Pixie asked for a "whimsical" theme and linked me some songs from World of Final Fantasy that were composed by Masashi Hamauzu. Pixie's theme took a while. I broke out my piano book for SaGa Frontier 2 (I don't play piano) and studied one of the songs and learned like a metric ton of stuff about whimsical and bright piano music from just two sections.

I still have one more theme to do: my own (T'mi's theme). The running idea is a combination of the Terminator theme and some random rock riffs to give it a super heavy wall of sound. It's not done, hopefully I'll finish it this week and you'll see the third track.

This week, I offered to create character themes for members of my Free Company (guild) in Final Fantasy XIV Online.

What was I thinking?!?

Anyway, here's three of the themes that I completed this week. The first asked me for "Concerning Hobbits" with a side of horror, the second asked me for "a somber theme with a sense of loss" and the third asked for "something whimsical" (except that I knew that she likes ZUN).

Edit: Okay, I added a fourth which was BY FAR the hardest one to do because it was based off of the B section from Isabella's Lullaby ( and I almost NEVER do super maximal orchestral stuff like this.

Edit 2: Fifth song came up. I added an Alter:Ego voice here (the request was creepy, yet upbeat), but Alter:Ego is pretty finicky and I don't really like how the voice ended up coming out so I'm redoing it.

The little child tastes freedom after escaping from a life time trap.

A bunch of experimentation here with actually playing some parts live in MIDI (over many, many takes).

Unfortunately I don't really like the outcome. It's a little shrill and the melodies aren't varied enough and the harmony isn't really that interesting or exciting, so it's a little bit of a "I wrote it and dumped it off" today.

The adventurers scale the dreadful Elisius Mons while still under pursuit from the Captain of Templar Orionus.

Yes, the title is entirely made-up.

A cinematic piece that I composed as a throwaway mostly to try out Damage 2 by Heavyocity (which is a very expensive and very high quality cinematic drum library).

I wrote this, didn't really like the direction or the compositional choices, and decided to just kind of slap an end on it and not really worry about the transitions, the sudden mood shifts, or anything else. I'd rather just finish it up and let the idea go and start on something different for now.

Title refers to the ring around a star (which is where the coronavirus got its name from). I didn't really want to refer specifically to COVID-19, everyone's kind of done with "quarantine" themed songs I think.

This is practice with making tense, more film-score like tracks. I kind of want to make one of those epic battle themes one day and in the middle there was a transition that I kind of wanted to make more tense but I didn't quite get it right and was a little too tired to try to really push through it today, so instead of changing the mood I kept it the same and finished.

Song notes:

Bm, a lot of harmonies, tiny amount of melody and not that much counterpoint going on. Mostly work with drums here. Meter is 6/8, which is pretty obvious from listening. I do go from 3-bar phrases to 4-bar phrases after the transition.

Something something flying in the sky watching the world from above while kittens are in the rocket

Yes, it's this melody again. I created it during One Hour Compo, then I tried to redo the song during WeeklyBeats 1 2.

THE SONG'S BACK! WeeklyMusic gets a turn at this because I want to use the melody in something but the song hasn't really come together, ever. That said, I think it's much more successful this time around because I basically shortened it a ton.

BONUS: I mashed it up with this other One Hour Compo song so really, nothing in this song's original, other than me slicing things up from old music.

And you know what, the result is possibly better than the original songs.

It does need some work. The beginning need some more texture and timbre - and mostly in some double-checking the arrangements and lots of production work, levels, mixing, etc.

A critical junction could be a road where you have to make a decision, a point of no return, or, quite literally, the place on the circuit board where you need to keep intact for the device to keep functioning so everyone makes it out alive.

Liner notes are:

  • I wanted to learn a little bit about how to make that epic film score feeling. I realized a big part of it was doing "epic drums" and that involved me having to look for a bunch of samples and instruments that I wasn't really using. I acquired a bunch of trailer hits, got together some samples with reverb and long tails, and so forth and came up with this. It's not particularly mixed awesomely or anything but the intent was to get the basics of the sound. Next time I might make up a template or something.
  • The composition leaves a little to be desired, it could be a little more interesting and could use a bit more movement (though that implies that it needs a bit more length and development as well). But I kind of got tired, I was doing other music for most of the day (working on the previous Kittens in a Rocket) and figured that I could upload this because I did it a little earlier in the week.

This is a redoing of The Cats Got Into the Rocket Ship ( from WeeklyBeats Week 51.

There are still a lot of the same elements, but much of the arrangement is different and I'd like to think that the harmonic changes are better in the second version than in the first one and that the musical ideas are a little more developed. I am still not quite happy with the arrangement. I think I need to give myself a rest and look at it tomorrow.

As with most songs where the arrangement isn't great, I haven't concentrated too much on mixing and polish, so expect some mud/bad timbres/etc. I am trying to improve in this area too but I'm focusing so much on arrangement, composition, and harmony/melody these days that production/mixing/sound design is taking a back seat.

I'll tag anything that's an ongoing work as "WIP" (work in progress).

A quick jam with Modular and Meeblip Geode synth (which did the bass).

Sequenced with Deluge and Stillson Hammer MkII. Featuring odd sounds from Plaits and Cursus Iteritas.

I think I'll be trying to work on good melodic parts more this coming year. Doing house and techno beats is fun, but if I can create better melodies it's going to make all of the difference for me.

I got this note from a buddy of mine a few weeks ago:


Just dropping a line about Soy Un Navidad. The only rules are to poorly translate into Spanish and have text-to-speech do vocals. Oh, and send the Spanish lyrics, so I can attach them to the album. Outside of that, feel free to do just about anything that comes to mind. If you have any questions or anything, feel free to reach out."

Liner notes:

I did this track live (after many takes) on my hardware synths. (It kind of felt like hard mode)

  • Vocals: Octatrack. I roughly sliced them up and “arranged” them.
  • Chords: Some synth on my Deluge
  • Organ (Eurorack): Mutable Instruments Braids through a delay and a Spring Reverb and a Polaris filter
  • Bass (Euroack): Intellijel Plonk
  • Drums (Eurorack): An analog sine wave + Basimilus Iteritas Alter

It’s in the key of F major.


O Come All Ye Faithful

Oh ven, todos ustedes fieles
Alegre y triunfante
Oh, ven, o vienes a Belén
Ven y miralo
Nacido el Rey de los Ángeles!
Oh ven, adoremoslo
Oh ven, adoremoslo
Oh ven, adoremoslo
Cristo el señor

Canta, coros de ángeles
Canta en exultación
Canten, todos ustedes ciudadanos del cielo arriba!
Gloria a Dios
Toda la gloria en lo más alto
Oh ven, adoremoslo
Oh ven, adoremoslo
Oh ven, adoremoslo
Cristo el señor

Chill-out house I guess. Recorded live, as usual. Going to bring this one to the local modular meetup.

Used the modular with Deluge on partial sequencing and chord duty.

A really upbeat dance song made with my latest gear thingy, the Synthstrom Deluge.

All of the sounds and arrangement is done with that single box.

I haven't fully figured it out, so the sound design is not exactly ear-popping, but I was able to compose and arrange the entire thing using that box (with some EQ and Limiting post-processing in software after recording).

Considering that I got the Deluge a week ago, being able to compose something using only that piece of gear is actually pretty amazing for me.

BTW, as I mentioned last week, I released an improvisational album at If you like listening to the Eurorack jams that I post here check it out.

I was working on my National Solo Album Month entry when I realized that I needed a song that was toward the end of the album that doesn't have as much energy as the song before it.

I released the album. It's a bit of a hack because it's super improvisational.

A fast song! Techno! Beats! That arp sample that I always use. There's NOTHING risky in this song at all. It was still fun.

Almost forgot to upload this week.

I actually made two songs outside of One-Hour Compo. This one is the better of the two.

Some techno for you all. This is a mini-practice for a synth meetup I'm going to tomorrow.

It's done with Eurorack modular, Analog Four, Octatrack, TR8s, for a LOT of musical tracks, but I only use one track on the Octatrack and two tracks in the Analog 4.

Sorry for "cheating" three weeks in a row by uploading One Hour Compo songs. I've had some busy weekends (seminars, traveling) and haven't really devoted a lot of Me time to music lately.

The theme was a creepy, misty forest ( so I decided to create something that resembled a creepy 80s synthesizer movie soundtrack. In this song, I used the Alesis Andromeda A6 and the Nord Rack 2x for all of the sounds (I didn't have my Analog 4 in the same room at the time, too bad!), along with effects from VSTs (Eventide Quadravox, Valhalla Shimmer, SoundToys EchoBoy, SoundToys Devil-Loc Deluxe, SoundToys Radiator, iZotope Neutron 2) on individual tracks, and iZotope Ozone Elements 8 on the master track.

Next week, I think I will dig deeper with musical expression.

I was traveling so I uploaded my only song this week.

Emotional note here is groovy with a hint of mystery and apprehension.

Another live song to polish up more live skills and arrangement skills. A common problem with me is that I don't create good lead sounds, so this is something I think I need to practice a bit more.

Last week I bought a uPlaits (by Tall Dog) and am trying out a few things now. It essentially takes the place of the E352, but I think the sounds are a little more musical and melodic. Some things I'm trying:

  1. More coordinated drops. I try silence in the middle, I don't think I quite succeed.
  2. More fills, to keep drums driving and interesting
  3. B sections in songs, even though they're in the same chord progression. In this one, I accidentally hit the octave up key midway for a track. It actually sounded good, so I left it. I actually wanted to bring up the next 16-step loop (which I also have).
  4. Sounds that are a little more coherent. Plaits just sounds good overall, but things seem to gel together a bit more.
  5. Ozone Elements to maximize everything. That's also a bit of a learning curve also.

Instruments used: Only the Eurorack! Main sound sources are BIA (kick/snare), Plonk (hat), Plaits (lead), Cursus Iteritas (arp), and Dixie II+ (bass).

Emotional tone, I wanted something exciting and groovy and danceable. That's usually not hard to do for me.

An all-in-the-Eurorack techno track that I made to try to exercise a new module, uPlaits by Tall Dog (which itself as a smaller version of Mutable Instruments Plaits). It's playing the repeated sequence that you hear throughout the entire song.

There are a few things I should have done after I tried a few takes - I think I should have applied a few more effects to the Plaits and maybe also set up another set of sequences to switch between. I think I'm kind of outgrowing the Stillson Hammer mk2. However I'm mostly happy with the arp sequence, the drums (BIA for the win) and the rather anxiety-inducing lead. Also, it's easy to accidentally self-resonate the Morgasmatron, so I need to remember not to do that if I don't want ear-piercing sines (like at the end of this recording).

I admit that I didn't really think of an emotional tone before starting, but overall it's an apprehensive emotional tone.

I reused the live set I created earlier this week for One Hour Compo because that's what happens when you're lazy but still want to make Weekly Music deadlines.

That all said it really isn't that simple. I redid the lead arp compared to the previous live song, I changed the lead timbre, and then I envisioned a better set of transitions and scene changes.

Song overall is pretty simple. I actually recorded a single take.

I really wanted to give the song a "chill", cyberpunk/electronic feeling, with a bit of groove and direction. That was the aim, I hope I made it!

A trance song. Originally composed for OHC, it was pretty good so I just did mostly touch-ups.

Practicing trying to do pickup recording on my Octatrack with a pretty chill-out track.

The answer is that there are a few problems that I still need to work out, like exactly what size the audio buffer is because it always cuts out.

The song itself is a pretty chill house-is track with Modular and TR-8s. I get a feeling that I need to get a new modular sequencer the more I try to fight the Stillson Hammer, but sequencers are $$$ and I want to save up some money first.

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