Serial band and project starter, synth player who considers himself a guitarist, compulsive weekly composer.
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.
Once again, I only devoted time to this one very late in the week, with the syncopated drum and percussion lines. I'd had a thought of emphasizing bass, and having the guitars be more of a background wash...and a number of things claimed time during the weekend, so what I'd had tracked...had to fit together somehow, so here we are.
Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Jazz, Ableton Percussion drum rack. Bass: Epiphone P-J with EQ-8 low-end rolloff. Guitars: PureSalem Mendiola through Balls Effects KWB for some grit, and also through high-pass Auto-Filter. There's one track of bridge pickup, one of neck pickup (output to send only), and another track of output to send only. Some clips are reversed.
Sends: one convolution reverb, one Valhalla Supermassive, and one delay. There's another convolution reverb I almost used--a large space--but it ended up sounding too mechanical on drums here.
Title from M58, a barred spiral galaxy.
I'd had no ideas for this week's track until late Saturday evening, when I thought of a couple rhythms, and the idea of having bitcrushed and natural drum samples together. I put down some patterns in Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz, and bitcrushed some complementary patterns from Ableton's 808 Core Kit with Redux (4 bits), avoiding the long tails with Gate.
Bass is just low notes on Ableton's default settings for Electric, though I also rolled off a bit of low end with EQ-8. Other keys: another channel of Electric, Operator's Organ2 Clicky preset (reverb send only), and Spitfire Labs Soft Piano.
Sends: Ableton Echo, a convolution reverb, and Valhalla Supermassive. Max Humanizer on the drums, and full-chain multiband compression on the stereo mix.
Title comes from the Ring Nebula, M57.
This week...there's been a lot to do, so I only spent a few minutes Friday night coming up with an intuitive drum line. On impulse, I went for one of the drum racks I did using Ableton Operator to generate the drum sounds. Saturday, I tracked bass, initially thinking a bit of 70s electric jazz (after reading Ethan Iverson's interview with Keith Jarrett from some years back) the one drum loop I'd written, and then thought to track more bass against it, higher up the neck. Then...rather than writing guitar, I added some ostinatos with Ableton's Analog, and electric piano lines with Ableton Electric. By this point...there wasn't any jazz left in it.
Inline effects: EQ-8 with different amounts of bass rolloff on each of the two bass lines, Max Humanizer on the drums.
Sends: one room-sized convolution reverb on bass, Valhalla Supermassive for keyboards, and Ableton Echo for occasional rhythm on the drums and keys. There's Full-Chain multiband compression on the stereo mix.
The title comes from Aristotle's notion of the number of layers of the universe.
This week started with some rhythms in Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz (ultimately with Max Humanizer)...and then I didn't touch them for several days. Friday evening, I had a chord progression in mind that was a lot slower than the rhythms, so...ended up rejecting that, restoring it to just-faster than what I'd originally written.
I did several passes with the PureSalem Mendiola through the Balls Effects KWB, some with the bridge pickup (left channel, with Glue compressor), and some with the neck (right channel, which also gets some auto-filter bass rolloff). Next a pass with the Epi P-J bass, getting some EQ-8 bass rolloff.
Sends: Ableton Echo, room-sized convolution reverb, and Valhalla Supermassive. Full-chain multiband compression on the stereo mix.
The title comes from NGC 55, a galaxy in the constellation Sculptor.
Turn of the Wheel
The first idea I had this week was to concentrate on bass and drums, emphasizing toms and avoiding the snare. Initially I wasn't sure if I'd include guitar at all. I'd come up with some syncopated rhythms in Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz drum rack, and put a long-decaying Echo send on it. (At the end, I gave the drums a bit of Max Humanizer.)
I put down some bass lines with my usual Epiphone P-J bass (with EQ-8 roll-off below 120 Hz), and then realized I wanted another track of bass, higher on the neck, to respond to the first track. (That second track of bass got EQ-8 bass rolloff with a higher shelf.)
Then I'd thought I should have something else in there for sonic variety, but wanted to change things up a bit from recent tracks. So I grabbed the Heit Deluxe I keep in Turkish baglama tuning (Gg DD Aa), and put down two tracks of improvisations against the bass lines. (It's going through an EHX LPB2ube with the left and right channels cascaded into one output.) One channel got some high-pass Auto-Filter with drive, and the other didn't have any additional in-Ableton processing. Both got sent to a room-sized convolution reverb (along with the drums and bass).
In arranging, I thought to do some reversing of some of the Heit chords, and sent that track to a return channel with Valhalla Supermassive. And the stereo mix got multiband compression with Ableton's Full Chain effect rack.
Title comes from the number of years in three Saros cycles of solar and lunar eclipses; this is apparently called a Triple Saros or exeligmos--the turn of the wheel.
Welcome to 2021's challenge! And apologies for the date/time confusion! (Looking on the bright side, those of us who've been working toward Sunday evening submissions...now get a chance to submit first thing instead of right before the deadline.)
I started this track late in the week, having a few rhythms in mind, but not much else, I put up some MIDI loops in Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Special (with Max Humanizer), and then responded to them with two tracks of guitar (home-made Res-O-Glas, direct into the Focusrite, with some Ableton Auto-Filter for tone-shaping). The initial thought around the guitar line was related to Miles Okazaki's weekly scale-shape project for 2020 (on Instagram), though the scale I'd started with...I ended up moving away from. Ultimately, I ended up filling in some spaces with reversed clips.
I used the usual Epiphone P-J bass (with low-end EQ-8 rolloff) in response to those guitar lines, and...really, that was about enough. I just needed four tracks.
Sends: Two convolution reverbs (one large, one smaller), one Ableton Delay, and Valhalla Supermassive. Full-Chain multiband compression on the stereo mix.
I'm picking up last year's naming scheme (number of week for the year, starting at 53). The title comes from port 53 being the port for DNS services.
Lots going on this final week with the holiday, but I did manage to complete a track...even with a power outage Sunday night.
Part of the concept this week was to include instruments and effects I accumulated in 2019, so we have an acoustic guitar part (vintageparlorguitars.com size-2 parlor) and two electric parts (PureSalem Mendiola, courtesy of Premier Guitar's Mystery Stocking), one of which went through the Balls Effects KWB pedal. Otherwise...this started first as a kind of dub dirge, but got a bit funkier. Other instruments: two drum racks (Cassette 606, Ableton Cyndal kit), Ableton Operator (Funky Organ preset), Ableton Electric (MkI2 Crunchy preset).
Sends: one convolution reverb, one tweaked Echo.
Title from Ernest Rutherford's coinage of "alpha" and "beta" for different kinds of radioactive emissions. (Element 104, the last in our weekly element-related tracks series, was named for him.)
Join us for 2020 over on Weekly Beats!
A long track. This past week included a show on guitar, through a new Max/MSP patch. The signal chain is a Waves Factory Cassette VST, four parallel tapin/tapout pairs with variable lengths and regeneration, and convolution reverb. Delays and reverb also had variable bleed back to the input, and I set up message objects with fixed delay amounts so that I could snap the delay suddenly to new values. It's a work in progress, but I'm into the direction in which this is going. (UI work is important here; I'm using the Mira app to give more immediate access to the controls.)
Still, kind of a cool wintery vibe here.
Guitar (the Res-O-Glas) is going through a MOYO passive volume pedal and into the Focusrite. I pseudo-mastered this in Live with the Full-Chain Master effects rack.
Title from the unexpected volatility of this week's element, Lawrencium.
Lots going on this week, including patching for an upcoming show. But here's a track, built up in response to a vague sense of syncopated rhythm. Drums: Ableton's Brush Rack, Acoustified, 20, Impulse of handclacps. Keys: Ableton's Electric (MkI2 Crunchy), Simpler Grand Piano, and bass.
Title from the symbol for this week's element, Nobelium.
A week with a lot going on, so here's an all-in-the-box track with five instruments: all of them FM synth Ableton Operator. There's a drum kit, two bass lines (triangle and filtered sawtooth) and two sine-like voices--one for a staccato voice, and one for a pad/drone. There's some auto-pan and Full-Chain master, and an Echo send, but that's it.
Title from the gold target used in the production of this week's element, Mendelevium.
This one came together kind of unexpectedly--I'd wanted to use my new(-ish) acoustic guitar, a size 2 parlor guitar from Vintage Parlor Guitars. The unexpected bit was that the first rhythm I had in mind worked best with a simple kit built up from Ableton's Operator FM synth--so the track first seemed to have a kind of Autechre direction. I threw in some Operator bass, and some Simpler with grand piano and prepared piano samples, and put in a return channel of convolution reverb with the Fort Worden cistern impulse response.
While I tracked several electric bass lines, I didn't end up using them--they weren't quite working with the rest of the track.
At the end, I impulsively put acoustic guitar in the second half (recorded with a Karma Mics condenser-in-XLR-body), and it pretty much worked, especially with some normal-room convolution reverb on a send. There's also some Waves Factory Cassette plugin on the grand piano. I'd initially had it on the guitar, but it just mainly made it sound bad.
There's some Full-Chain Master on the output, a bit of automation to the sends, and an additional send with Ableton Echo. And that's about it.
Title from the half-life of the longest-living isotope of Fermium (element 100).
A reactive piece built up from a general sense of drum groove. One realistic-ish drum rack (64-pad rock kit), one 808 (mostly kick, with occasional obvious drum machine snare), hand claps, two channels of Epiphone P-J bass, and three channels of Epiphone Moderne guitar (through Vox Wah). I'd had a line of keyboards I took out. Auto-Filter with drive on one guitar channel, Auto-Pan on 808 and high bass, Drum Buss on the rock kit.
Sends: two convolution reverbs, and a channel of Echo.
Title from the property of this week's element, Einsteinium, which is radioactive enough to damage its crystal structure just by existing.