Serial band and project starter, synth player who considers himself a guitarist, compulsive weekly composer.
Last week's piece required quite a bit of arrangement, so to get myself back on track for this week, I opted to improvise with pedal steel and my eight-delay Max/MSP patch. A few weeks ago, I added FFT pitch shift to the patch, and 50% blend of one-fifth down is very satisfying. So there's a lot of that here
The signal chain going in is pedal steel > Balls Effects KWB (a fuzz/boost), Vox Wah, and Moyo passive volume. Inside the patch, there's the FFT, a VST of AudioThing Reels, the delay lines, a send to a VST of AudioThing Motor, auto-pan, and convolution reverb (Huddersfield Town Hall) on the output.
The eight delay lines were set to different lengths, but they were related by calculating 12-part increments from a base of 15.5 seconds.
To keep things from becoming too austere, I added yet another convolution reverb (Fort Worden Cistern) in Live, and put Full Chain multi-band eq/compression on the output.
The title comes from 83 being a safe prime.
A very late upload by my usual schedule (though not "late" for this streak). All the tracking took place this past weekend, but arrangement wasn't something I could get to until last evening. My usual method of working on these is this:
It was the same thing here, but the pieces weren't quite fitting together until fairly late. Some of the not-quite-fitting might be from A/D latency, which seems to tack a bit higher than the setting when I first open Ableton. It's most notable on bass here, though I did warp some late notes into place when they seemed much later than "feel."
Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Special, with Max Humanizer and 80-90% probability on most drum hits, though 1, 2, and 4 get 100%.
Keys: PureMagnetik Mark Two Berlin
Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II, with EQ-8 low-end reduction
Guitars: PureSalem Mendiola through Balls Effects KWB. One channel's mostly neck pickup with the other being mostly bridge.
Sends: Ableton Echo plugin and convolution reverb (BM7 Clear Ambience) with high-pass Auto-Filter in front.
Wide & Warm preset audio effect rack on the stereo output
Title comes from radio emissions from an unknown object in M82.
Here's a piece I started late in the week, with no plan in mind. I started with a beat that wasn't particularly clear or strong, relocated the 1, and then worked up some variations. The kit: Ableton's 64 Pads Dub Techno Kit, with 90% randomization on a lot of beats, and a touch of Max Humanizer, as well as echo send on the 2 and 4.
Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II, direct to the Focusrite A/D--there are two tracks of bass here, one higher on the neck (panned slightly left) and one lower (center). The higher one got Auto-Filter high-pass, while the lower one got EQ-8 with the low end rolled off 6dB, rather than cut entirely.
Guitar: home-built Res-O-Glas with Lace Alumitones, straight into the Focusrite. There's AudioThing Wires on this, 50% blend.
Sends: Ableton Echo, one convolution reverb, and Valhalla Supermassive on the guitar.
Title comes from M81, a Grand Design spiral galaxy.
I'd thought I was going to do something more abstract this week, though my bass- and guitar-playing sessions ended up making it kind of funky. So it's a groove.
Drums: Ableton Fairfax kit, which sounds interestingly synthetic, but also has some impact. I added a touch of Max Humanizer and gave it some room-sized convolution reverb, and automated delay send on the 2 and 4.
Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II, on p-pickup. Low-end rolloff with EQ-8, and then another track also of bass, but in the higher register, with high-pass Auto-Filter with a bit of drive.
Guitar: PureSalem Mendiola on the bridge mini-humbucker, through Balls Effects KWB. One got room-sized convolution reverb send, and the other got a much larger hall send.
Title comes from the function of the old 80-type vacuum tube.
This one goes up late for me, though not late for this year's streak. This one is another all-Danelectro-baritone piece, which started with syncopated drums (64 Pad Kit Jazz), got a keyboard line (PureMagnetik Berlin Rhodes), and then a bunch of baritone parts (basslines, chords, lead figures).
My initial pass at collaging these together...just didn't work. So I let it sit a day or so, and reassembled it from sections that I knew worked. Now it's kind of a summer jam.
Drums got some Max Humanizer and some randomization, as well as increased drive from Drum Buss. A couple guitar lines got high-pass auto-filter with drive, and a few got the Glue Compressor. Baritone bass got a bit of EQ-8 low-end rolloff, but not like my real bass does.
Sends: one room-sized convolution reverb (with high-pass auto-filter in front), Delay, Echo, and Valhalla Supermassive.
The stereo mix got an audio effect rack, on the Master Wide & Warm setting--a bit of a change from my usual, but it sounded better here.
Title comes from the number 79 being a Happy prime, Lucky prime, and Sexy prime (with 73).
I didn't begin this one until Saturday evening, with a sense of doing something sparse--a bit like Bark Psychosis, though this did end up going in another direction. Having checked out a few Ableton Loop sessions, I also thought to use the clip-level probability interface for the drums and keys--in these cases, usually the first beat is at 100%, but subsequent notes were at 75-80% probability.
Drums are Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Special, with a bit of Max Humanizer, and sends to convolution reverbs.
Bass is the usual 80s Epiphone Embassy II, with some EQ-8 low-end rolloff, and sends to the reverbs for air.
The keyboard is LABS soft piano, with Auto-Pan and a send to an Echo plugin.
Guitars are 2008 Danelectro baritone on both pickups, with inline high-pass Auto-Filter with drive, and sends to the reverbs.
The title comes from the fact that this is week 78 since the beginning of 2020, so...78 rpm records came to mind.
I'd had a thought of doing something a bit sparser this week, and while this one's more dense than I was thinking, some of the initial inspiration remains. The rhythms are mostly very syncopated, and are done with the usual 64 Pad Kit Jazz with an automated delay send and Max Humanizer.
For guitar, I used my home-built Res-O-Glas, and started with the little single-note line, and then responded to it with the chordal tremolo guitar (using a pedal from Mike Carey in Milwaukee), with a send to Valhalla Supermassive. I went back and forth between trem and non-trem channels, to do leads in response to rhythm, and rhythm in response to leads. The clean lead channel had a send to a large convolution reverb--spacious, but not quite as harmonic as the Valhalla.
For bass, I did the usual 80s Epiphone Embassy II, on the P-pickup. It got some low-end rolloff with EQ-8, and a send to a smaller convolution reverb (as did the drums).
The title comes from the use of the number 77 as a password at the Swedish border during WWII.
Another quick-recording/long-editing piece. This one started just as some drum syncopation, with a few atmospheric keys...and then kind of came together with bass and guitar.
Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Jazz, with Max Humanizer
Keys: PureMagnetik Berlin electric piano
Guitar: PureSalem Mendiola through Vox Wah; one channel with Auto-Filter drive
Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II with EQ-8 low-end rolloff
Sends: convolution reverb (with high-pass Auto-Filter in front), Echo, Valhalla Supermassive
Master full-chain audio effect rack on the output.
Title comes from Messier 76, the Little Dumbbell Nebula.
This one took a few turns after I'd started working on it. I'd started with a few syncopated drum parts (Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz), and thought there'd be a moody atmospheric thing happening. Then I picked up the Danelectro baritone, and a bassline came out that had some attitude to it. I put a few chords to it, and then the next basslines came out with a lot of swagger. So...out with the plan. I did several more passes with the baritone, mostly straight into the board, but then cut a few leads through the Balls Effects KWB and Vox Wah, finally adding a few more through the Reuss RF-01 (and Vox Wah), which come at the end.
Inline effects: Max Humanizer and Drum Buss on the drums. Some Glue Compressor on the baritone, with some Auto-Filter with drive on the cleaner chordal baritone parts.
Sends: Delay on drums, with two different convolution reverbs (one with high-pass auto-filter to prevent boominess) on the baritone.
Title comes from their being 75 uniform polyhedra, if you omit the infinite ones.
Here's one I recorded in a few quick, improvisatory sessions, but it needed a bit of attention to edit together. My initial thought was to emphasize toms and kick, avoiding the snare if I could, and then respond to that. (There's a snare rimshot sound every so often, but no overt snare hits.)
Recording the guitar went quickly, though once I'd settled on which key I preferred, I did need to go back and record a bit more. With bass, I'd recorded a bunch of parts, and ended up throwing most of them out, going instead with lines I tracked last in arrangement view.
Guitar: PureSalem Mendiola straight into the Focusrite. (Each channel got inline Auto-Filter for drive/coloration). Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II (neck pickup only). EQ-8 for some low-end rolloff. Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Special, with Max Humanizer.
Sends: Valhalla Supermassive, Ableton Delay, convolution reverb with Auto-Filter to roll off lows.
Title comes from the lenticular galaxy NGC 74.
Kind of a lot going on this weekend, but I thought to make a trilogy of all-baritone pieces. So here's another.
Drums: Drum Rack of Ableton's Towel Kit, with Max Humanizer. Maybe the challenge here was simplifying the drums enough to work with the guitar.
Guitars: 2008 Danelectro Baritone, no effects. Some inline Auto-Filter and Glue Compressor on the left and right channels (with cabinet on one), and a bit of EQ-8 to roll off the bass.
Sends: one Echo, one Valhalla Supermassive, and one convolution reverb.
Title comes from the number of bits in the Arecibo message.
Another rather busy week and weekend, so this one came together in a few quick sessions: one to come up with some drum beats, one with Danelectro baritone guitar for all guitar parts (three tracks--bass, rhythm, lead), and one to arrange/mix.
Drums: Ableton Drum Rack, using the Towel Kit preset rack--there was a slightly dead thump to these that I liked. There's some Max Humanizer on the drums as well (30ms).
All guitars are Danelectro baritone. The bass got a little EQ-8 to roll off extreme lows, and the lead got some Glue Compressor to control dynamics.
Sends: one Echo, one convolution reverb, and one Valhalla Supermassive.
The title comes from there being several religious sites and traditions mentioning 72 temples. There's kind of a road-trip vibe to this one, I think.
A crowded weekend--I still tracked everything, but didn't get the pieces arranged until Monday evening. (The way the deadlines fall this year, that works out.) It's a short piece, a bit sloppy (trying to fiddle with latency settings here), but it has a pleasantness to it.
All Danelectro baritone guitar (the 1449 reissue from 2008) straight into the Focusrite A/D--two tracks of both pickups (lead and bass), one of just the bridge (rhythm). Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Rock with Max Humanizer. Keys: Puremagnetik Mark Two Berlin.
Sends: one convolution reverb, one Echo (with LFO auto filter in front of it), Valhalla Supermassive. Multi-band full-chain on the output.
Title comes from 71 being the algebraic degree of Conway's constant, which describes a property of look-and-say sequences.
This one began with the syncopated drums (Ableton 64 Pad Kit Jazz) and not much else of a thought behind it, though a few electric piano chords with PureMagnetik Berlin Mark Two kind of pointed the way. I added the usual 80s Epiphone Embassy II bass, tracked a bit more of the electric piano, and then finally tracked pedal steel. I'd tuned the 9th and 10th strings down a bit, from their usual E9 values (so the tuning is now A C# E F# G# B E G# D# F#), and that gives me a bit more of the notes I want on the low side of the board. (I track pedal steel with a Moyo passive volume pedal.)
Inline processing: a bit of Max Humanizer on the drums, Glue compressor on the pedal steel, and the usual EQ-8 on bass. The usual full-chain multi band compression on the output.
Sends: Ableton Echo, convolution reverb, and Valhalla Supermassive.
Title comes from NGC 70, a distant spiral galaxy.
Here's one that grew kind of organically out of some syncopated drums. I'd started with Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Rock, and something in the high-hat suggested a funky approach. For some extra flavor, there's 64 Pad Finger Snare LBB, and a track of handclaps.
I initially tracked a few Rhodes lines with PureMagnetik Mark Two Berlin, but ended up removing them, along with PureMagnetik Mellotron. Instead, I tracked a lot of Epiphone bass (though initial loops weren't quite funky enough, so out they went), and then two passes with PureSalem Mendiola through Vox Wah (one bridge pickup and one neck pickup.)
Inlines: Max Humanizer on the drums and percussion, Bass got the usual EQ-8 rolloff.
Sends: Ableton Delay, Valhalla Supermassive, and room-sized convolution reverb. Full-Chain multi band compression on the stereo out.
The title comes from the root of the Rhône river, which runs through the 69th department of France.
A very loungey/dubby kind of thing. By my usual standards this would be late (for various weekend reasons), but I'm taking advantage of this year's scheduling. This one started with sparse drums--initially I was thinking hip-hop, but with the dub echo, extremely mellow electric piano, and pedal steel...it went in a different direction.
Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Dub Techno kit, with Max Humanizer
Keys: PureMagnetik electric piano, Berlin Mark Two, with some auto-pan
Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II with flatwounds and EMG selects, p-pickup only, EQ-8 for low-end rolloff.
No-name 70s kit-built 10-string pedal steel with Moyo volume pedal, with Glue compressor and auto-pan
Sends: two Echo channels, one convolution reverb (with high-pass filter in front) for air on drums and bass, and Valhalla Supermassive
Full-chain multi-band compression (flat) on the stereo mix.
Title comes from the largest graceful graph on 14 nodes having 68 edges.
Another intuitively-structured one, this one began with a slow drum beat, and got interesting when I added long-persisting delay with filtering to it. I did a few different rhythms with Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Special drum rack, and added some handclaps, along with some Rhodes which I took out again.
Next up was Epiphone P-J bass, using the usual signal chain (EQ-8 for bass rolloff), though I'd also rolled down the tone control. I'd initially thought of rolling off highs...but changed my mind for this one, so the bass is close to typical.
Guitar was home-built Res-O-Glas through the Balls Effects KWB for a bit of overdrive, and Vox Wah for both tone shaping (rhythm track) and effect (lead track).
Sends: bandpass Auto-Filter with LFO frequency center into Ableton's Echo (analog triplet dub preset, tweaked to remove some noise), Valhalla supermassive on a large reverb preset, and high-pass Auto-Filter in front of a room-sized convolution reverb.
Inline: Bass got EQ-8, while drums got Max Humanizer. Guitars got some auto-pan to get them out of each other's way, though lead guitar also got some Glue Compressor. And I used that channel to do some reversed clips from time to time as well.
The editing/arrangement process involved a lot of cutting things out--I played more than I kept in. (This is even down to certain notes; it just sounded better with things left out.)
Title comes from *67 being the call-waiting-blocking code for a lot of telephone systems.
This week's track came at me kind of sideways--while I started with syncopated drums as I often do...the melodic and harmonic components started with keyboards, lending a different flavor, I think. On Saturday I tracked a few bits of guitar, not sure how it'd all come together, and bass on Sunday before collaging the clips. Finally, I tracked a couple guitar phrases to fill in gaps. And...here we are.
Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Jazz with Max Humanizer
Drum Rack of hand claps with Max Humanizer
Piano: PureMagnetik CP-70, acoustic only
Electric Piano: PureMagnetik Rhodes Mark One, through AudioThing Motor
Bass: Epiphone P-J, low-end rolloff with EQ-8
Guitar: PureSalem Mendiola through Ableton Auto-Filter (high-pass and low-pass with drive, Ableton Utility and Cabinet
Sends: Bandpass Auto-Filter with LFO into Echo, Valhalla Supermassive, convolution reverb with high-pass Auto-Filter
Title comes from this being the 66th track since I started doing numerically-based names, and stretches of the famous Route 66 have been removed from maps.
This past week brought unfortunate family news. To be as easy on myself as possible, this week's track is an improvisation with pedal steel guitar and my eight-delay Max/MSP patch. There's a Moyo volume pedal to take the attack off, Waves Factory Cassette for a bit of character, and a convolution reverb for space. The reference delay time is 19300ms, and the individual delays are based on divisions of 21 of that amount. Each delay is a different value.
This is essentially real-time, though I did tweak levels after the fact, and shortened the end fade.
The title is from Euler's idoneal numbers, also called suitable numbers, of which there are 65. (And I hope that this is a suitable tribute to those we've lost this week..)
Running a little late (for me) on this one, for...reasons. I wrote the drum patterns late Saturday night and Sunday afternoon, had some piano lines I threw out, and put down bass (Epiphone P-J, EQ-8 rolloff, room-sized convolution reverb send) and pedal steel (Balls Effects KWB, Moyo Volume, Ableton Auto-Filter, Glue Compressor, Utility, Auto-Pan). I ultimately replaced the piano with Ableton's Operator (Bells & Thin Pad preset). Then...although I'd tracked more pedal steel, I just put in some reversed accents from the first channel into another.
Sends: room-sized convolution reverb, Echo, and Valhalla Supermassive. Full-Chain multi-band compression on the stereo mix, and finally some inline Max Humanizer on the drums.
Title from 64 being the sixth power of 2.
This was a busy weekend, so I'm getting this up late (for me). It's also just a four-tracker, and short. This started as some syncopated drum patterns in 6/4, with some alternate drum lines in 4/4, and alternating between the two. I used Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz for these, and added a bit of Max Humanizer to slop it up a bit.
I did bass next--the usual Epiphone P-J with just the P pickup. I also did the usual EQ-8 rolloff. Some of these suggested different, related keys, though...I didn't really explore that thoroughly.
Guitars were done in a few passes, but had the same signal path: PureSalem Mendiola through Balls Effects KWB and Vox Wah, though one channel was neck pickup and the other bridge pickup.
Sends: two convolution reverbs, one large room, and one larger hall. There's also Echo plugin. And there's Ableton's Full-Chain multi band compression rack on the output.
Title comes from there being 63 groats in a guinea, according to the old English monetary system.
This one started as a kind of dub rhythm, which I did in Ableton's Drum Rack (with 64 Pad Kit Special), against a couple different Echo sends. Next I added a few accents with acoustic samples from a Yamaha CP-70, and initially melodica (which I then replaced with Operator, replacing all the parts). Instead of a regular guitar part, I went with the no-name pedal steel through Moyo volume (and ultimately high-pass Auto-Filter with drive, Cabinet for air, and Utility to bring the gain down). Finally I tracked Epiphone P-J bass (with EQ-8 bass rolloff).
Sends: in addition to the two echoes, I added a couple convolution reverbs: one a spring, and one a regular room.
Inlines: there's also some auto-pan on pedal steel and keyboards, as well as Max Humanizer on the drums. There's full-chain multi band compression on the whole mix.
Title comes from the fact that the rings of Saturn, if compressed into one thing, would be about 62 miles in diameter.
I had a thought to do all-in-the-box this week, partly thinking of Daft Punk retiring their collaboration, but then departing from that initial idea. There's still 808 as the drum machine (via Ableton's 808 Startup Kit), 4-bit Redux on the handclaps, and Ableton's Analog for bass and two synths. I also went for WaveTable (Juno Organ Wave, with the filter cutoffs brought way down).
Inline processing: I made use of Live 11's clip randomization with a narrow range of velocity variation in the drums here and there, as well as some in the bass. It might not be very audible. There's also a touch of Max Humanizer on the drums, which kind of defeats the purpose of using drum machine voicing...but maybe not.
Sends: Hybrid Reverb (the jury's still out on how useful I'll find this; I think I just prefer convolution reverb alone, rather than blended with an algorithm, and I'm not all that sold on the impulse I used here), Delay, Echo with LFO Auto-Filter in front, and Spectral Resonator, which is responsible for that little sparkly mechanical flourish every so many bars.
There's also the usual multi-band compression on the output.
Title comes from 61's status as the smallest proper prime
Running maybe a bit late on this one--hey, it was Thundersnow weekend--but I've been uploading at the start of deadlines, not the finish. So...going to say it's all good.
This one started with some syncopated drums (64 pad kit rock) and a couple (Ableton Grand) piano chords...and I thought to add Epiphone bass (usual P-J, EQ-8 low-end rolloff and reverb send) and...instead of regular guitar, just pedal steel (no effects other than passive volume pedal). I fleshed it out with a few more piano bits, added and removed hand claps, and added some sends: Delay, Valhalla Supermassive, Echo (Dub Syndicate preset), and convolution reverb with high-pass auto-filter in front to avoid low-end buildup. I went back and added some Max Humanizer on drums to reduce the mechanical feeling, and did alternating sends to delay and echo.
The title comes from the ziggurats of the Sumerians, who gave us the 60-minute hour, among other 60-based things.
A little later than usual with this one, but...the timing of the challenge works in my favor here.
This week I (mostly) finished restoring a 70s (maybe earlier? but the pickups seem to be 70s) pedal steel, built from a kit, and out of commission for quite a long time before it came to me. I've put on new tuners, cleaned things up, made adjustments, and...it's a playable instrument! I've wanted to play a pedal steel for years, so it's nice to bring that to life. So this week's track had to feature it. (Inline effects: a bit of Auto-Filter for high-pass, and Auto-Pan for faint tremolo.
I did start with a couple syncopated patterns I came up with using Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz, with some Max Humanizer. After tracking pedal steel and Epiphone bass (usual EQ-8 rolloff), added two tracks of home-built Res-O-Glas guitar (through the Balls Effects KWB and Vox Wah, then inline high-pass Auto-Filter and Cabinet for some air).
Sends: two Echo channels (Tape Reverb and Dark Fade presets), and two convolution reverbs with high-pass Auto-Filter.
There's Master Full-Chain (flat) on the stereo out.
The title comes from there being 59 stellations on a regular icosohedron.