Serial band and project starter, synth player who considers himself a guitarist, compulsive weekly composer.
Week 40 of the year, here's a return to real bass and multi-track arrangement. Drum rack of Ableton Analog instruments for synth drums, tabla single-hits, another hand drum single-hit Impulse instrument, one for hand claps, two different instances of the Ableton Electric instrument, Ableton's Operator on the Plastic Vibraphone preset, and real bass. Sends are two convolution reverbs and a delay; there's some inline auto-filter here and there, along with EQ8 and Cabinet on the bass. Varying degrees of sends, some of which are automated. Full-chain master on the two-bus.
Title comes from the heat-resistant properties of zirconium (atomic number 40).
Yet another busy week...but it should lighten up after this. Here's a quick improv with the Max/MSP patch, with guitar as the input. There's a bit of convolution reverb on the output. Noise at the beginning comes from the variable bit-depth and sample-rate deduction, and while I wanted that out...it's just kind of part of it now.
Another even busier week, so here's another quick improv with the sine-waves-and-random-processing Max/MSP patch. There's some convolution reverb using an impulse from a Swedish reactor, some EQ8 to roll off above 8K (because it's peaky up there), and full-chain master. Title comes from the n=3 magic hexagon, which sums to 38.
Very busy week involving work, a report for a class I'm taking, and a live set, so here's a quick improv using my pitch-shifting and randomizing Max/MSP patch, processing some simple sine waves. There's a touch of compression and convolution reverb on there, too.
Title comes from one of the uses for rubidium, atomic number 37.
This started with a little drum pattern I was hearing in my head, and which I thought I'd (once again) have in a drum rack of Analog instruments. (I tweaked the kick from last week, and it's sounding a little closer to what I want.) I added another channel of Analog ("Canadian Boards" preset) for a warbly little melody fragment, and put down some Simpler with a Mellotron single-note sample to accompany it. This seemed to suggest a kind of 80s-technology aesthetic, so I also put in a Simpler instrument with a Fairlight sample (the "Swanee" airy pipe), and for extra percussion, a Drum Rack of PAiA drum machine single-hit samples.
Saturday night, I tracked bass (Epi P-J straight into the board, Cabinet plugin and reverb send to give it air, some EQ-8 to roll off sub-100Hz), some guitar (Epi Moderne through Reuss Repeater Fuzz and Vox Wah straight to the board). While I tracked some melodic lines, I ended up relying more on dissonant harmonics and fragments than full lines. For a final x-factor, I tracked some noisy Bastl Kastle.
With the bass, I'd thought to keep up the 80s theme and flange it, and then took that out...but brought it back as an automation that I bring in every so many bars. Sends were just a room-sized Convolution reverb (Auto-filter in front to roll off bass and reduce boominess) and a simple delay.
Title comes from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Thirty-Six_Dramatic_Situations
Super-busy week and weekend. But here's a minimal track: just drum rack of Analog for synth drums, ring-modulated tabla, electric bass (Epi P-J into the board, cabinet plugin, reverb send, and rolling off -6 dB below 100Hz, mostly one track but an occasional other voice) and sparse Analog into a reverb send. Sends: two convo reverbs and one delay. Full-chain master on the 2.
Title from the frequency shift plugin on the ring modulated tabla.
A piece that went through a number of iterations before I found the vibe of a kind of house track. There's a lot of percussion: single-hits on 909, hand drum, tabla, hand claps, some Ableton Collision instruments (marimba and metal plate), Operator for bass, and the sampled Behr stringed instrument from Uganda. Not a lot of inline processing but lots of automation to different sends--two convolution reverbs, a simple delay, and a filter delay. It's long...but that was the vibe.
Title from the fact that quantum dots (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_dot) are sometimes made with selenium, which has the atomic number 34.
I wanted to try a different approach to things this week, and built up a track with some layers of evolving/developing/heavily processed sounds. There's a simple kit of Analog-synth drum hits (this also goes through parallel vocoder processing), Ableton's Light and Shadow Operator synth preset, Collision with the gong preset (going through the filter taps effect), Collision with the Pitch Pad preset, bass (parallel processed with different Auto-Filters: one a low pass only, and one low and high to give a band from 100Hz to 1KHz), and Kastle synth. There are three send channels: two convolution reverbs, and one Max Spectral Delay; there's a lot of send automation as well as auto-pan on almost everything.
Title from the fact that the Triangulum galaxy is M33.
(Track art: By Alexander Meleg - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31...)
This one developed along one direction and changed course a few times before veering into somewhat psychedelic space funkbot territory. I started with tablas and 909 samples, and put them through a vocoder, gate, and reverse reverb, which made them more accents than primary rhythm. I added the usual dry funk kit, but instead of auto-filtering the kick, I just punched up its level significantly--as a result, I think it conflicted less with the bass than it often does. As an x-factor, I added LFO to adjust the bit level of Redux randomly, which pumped the cymbals in a pleasingly weird way.
I tracked a bunch of soft synths and then took them out, finally returning to one soft synth. I tracked bass (through EQ8 to pull down sub-100Hz and side chain with the kick) and guitar (Reuss RF-01 fuzz, Vox Wah, and Auto-Pan with a square-wave tremolo in time), and Bastl Kastle modular synth for flavor.
I used three different convolution reverbs, one cascaded set of delays, and filter delay with LFO auto-filter in front.
Title from the use of the Kastle.
Capping a couple of weeks of illnesses with some indie mope-rock. I'd started with something else entirely, but the B section (rhythm) baritone guitar line popped up, and the rest followed. Only MIDI instrument is a drum rack of dry funk single-hits with a lot of auto-filter and M4L Humanizer (automated, so that it's sloppier on the slow sections, but tighter on the faster ones). Danelectro baritone (left channel) through auto-filter and cabinet plugins, Res-O-Glas (right channel) through glue compressor, auto-filter, auto-pan tremolo, and cabinet plugin, Res-O-Glas (slow auto-pan) through Reuss RF-01 Repeater Fuzz and Vox Wah, Epiphone bass through EQ-8, side chain compressor, and cabinet plugin. Everything through full-chain master.
(Post-upload, I tweaked the mix and re-uploaded.)
Dry funk kit, hand drum kit, claps, marimba, bass, organ, synth. Tracked guitar, but it was a bit sloppy, and I cut it. (Hey, been sick this weekend.) The goal was to do something like a lost instrumental b-side of a Grace Jones session with Sly and Robbie, with Bill Laswell remixing.
This one coalesced while I was thinking of other things, and ended up becoming a kind of atmospheric low-key dubsteppy kind of thing. Then when I went to track guitar after having tracked bass successfully, I had to embark on a 45-minute exploration of why my USB converter didn't seem to be passing audio. (In the end...it was a bad cable. But I had also spent time messing up the converter settings, so I had to fix them again.)
Instruments: rack of dry funk single drum hits (lots of filtering on here to roll off highs), hand claps, Linn percussion, two different electric pianos, Mellotron samples, Epi P-J bass on P, and home-made Res-O-Glas guitar.
Two convolution reverbs (one short, with auto-filter to roll off lows one long), and typical delay cascade.
Title from the fact that 27 is the prime reciprocal magic square of 1/7.
8 tracks (drum rack of single-hit trap kit, handclaps, percussion, three electric pianos, guitar, bass). Funk. Half-way through the year!
Nothing special in production notes, other than my using the Glue compressor to side-chain the bass to the biamped/dual-filtered kick drum. (One resonant peak on the shell, one on the beater). The glue compressor gets a bit dirty on the peaks in a pleasing way. Also there are two different convolution reverbs with different small rooms for air on them.
Otherwise, lots of editing on the guitar to remove notes--not to hide mistakes so much as to make space.
A quick, mostly in-the-box track: trap kit single-hits, 909 kick on occasion, hand claps, tabla, Analog percussion, Operator upright bass, and Bastl Kastle synth for flavor. I had a few other voices in this and took them out. Lots of auto-filter, some auto-filter modulation on the delay send for some dub feeling.
Title from looking up the number 25 and seeing that the French department of Doubs is 25. (Could have called this "Doubs," but it wasn't quite dubby enough.)
I thought I'd do a house track this week, but the drum pattern was kind of boring...until I cut the tempo in (nearly) half. I'd written some synth parts that I ended up taking out, and then adding piano and Rhodes, along with bass (Epi P-J) and guitar (Epi Moderne, with Vox Wah and occasionally Reuss Repeater Fuzz). There's a drum rack of dry funk drums with a 909 kick (auto-filter on everything to emphasize percussiveness and distort), impulse hand claps, a drum rack of single-hit tabla samples, a drum rack of Rhythm Ace single hits. Lots of things got high-pass auto-filter to carve out some space, and the bass got a sidechain from the 909 kick. M4L humanizer on drums, tablas, and hand claps. Sends are two convolution reverbs (one long for almost everything and one short for the bass and drums) with high-pass auto-filter to keep it from booming, and a chain of simple delay and filter delay with an LFO band-pass auto-filter in front. Nearly everything got auto-pan and the percussion got some delay automation.
Title from the fact that I slowed everything down.
I wasn't sure where this one was going, but started with a trap set drum rack in which I replaced the kick with a 909. I thought I'd follow the general rhythm and not worry too much about tonality, and it started getting interesting when I added percussion with Ableton's Behr pack and some handclaps. Initially I had some Operator bass, then some Analog bass...and took them out when I tracked some Epiphone bass. A bit of Electric piano (Old School Roads preset) and sparse guitar (Res-O-Glas, straight into the board) pulled it into a thing. There's also some second bass guitar, and some Operator percussion. Notable: high-pass filter on bass that rolls off under 40; sidechaining against the kick with the Glue compressor instead of the regular compressor. And a high-pass and low-pass auto-filter on the guitar, instead of a band-pass as usual. Convolution reverb and Simple Delay-> Filter Delay for sends, and full-chain master. Auto-pan on most things, but no Humanizer this time.
Title from the 128bpm, which is a power of 2.
An all-in-the-box piece this week, it started sounding to me like my old on-iphone-sequencer yoctonaut project, so I'm considering it a kind of reboot. Having listened to a lot of minimal techno at the end of the other week, I wanted to go for clipped/gated percussion sounds. In some cases I used Ableton's gate plugin, but in others I just shortened the length of the played sample in Simpler. There's a drum rack of a dry trap kit that's gotten a lot of Gate on the short cut preset, as well as high-pass and low-pass auto-filter (and it's side chained to the kick of the next percussion channel). A drum rack of 909 kick and hat got shortened at the point of sampling, and got a lot of high-pass filter on the kick. Two channels of Impulse (hand claps and percussion) got short-cut gate treatment, one with that preset, and one with a tweaked attack to shorten it.
The bassline is in Operator, for which I used three sine voices and some low-pass filter. It's side chained to the 909 kick pretty heavily.
The rest of the voices (a pad and two leads) are in Analog, mostly variants of heavily low-pass filtered sawtooth voices, one with an initial pitch modulation for percussive presence.
Sends: three convolution reverbs (two ambience or dry room, one a much larger hall space), one Simple delay, and one Filter delay. Everything got some auto-pan except the 909 and bass, with the 909 getting randomized volume modulation with auto-pan. No humanizer on this one! And the master got Full-Chain Master, as always.
The title comes from the fact that in (sub)atomic physics, 20 represents an island of stability for numbers of protons and neutrons in heavier isotopes
Wasn't sure where this week was going, but I started with three tracks of identically voiced Ableton Analog synth, which had a kind of string section sound--I kept these to odd, non-matching meters, and then added two tracks of drums--a jazz kit (which I bitcrushed and then removed the bit crushing from) and 909 with 4/4 parts. I added synth bass, which seemed to propel things...but didn't seem right on its own. Late in the week, I tracked a bunch of bass...that I didn't end up using, and then Saturday night heard a different way of playing it, so used those parts. (As ever, 80s Epiphone Embassy II on the P pickup.) I'd recommended that a friend check out Birdsongs of the Mesozoic (particularly the Beat of the Mesozoic EP), and had Martin Swope's playing fresh in my mind, so I tracked some Epiphone Moderne through the Reuss Repeater Fuzz and Vox Wah (all the way up). At the last minute I put on some grand piano lines with Ableton's Simpler.
Only the trap set got M4L Humanizer. Other instruments got varying degrees of auto-filter, and bass is sidechained to the 909 kick. Almost everything got auto-pan, and the mixdown got full-chain master. Sends are convolution reverb (Berlin Powerstation impulse) and filter delay into simple delay.
Title comes from the Bàbi and Bahá'í concept of Váhid, or Unity--a group of 19.
Started planning toward a dark ambient piece, and then wrote a funky bassline. Whoops.
Drums: Drum rack of dry funk drums, with auto-filter high-pass with resonance on both the kick and snare. This also went through a bit crusher, which I automated to vary throughout the track. There's also a 909 kick in places, and some hand claps.
Bass: Epiphone P-J into the Focusrite, with a bit of convolution reverb. Sidechained to the kick.
Keys: Ableton Electric (Wurlitzer) getting Auto-Filter with drive and Auto-Pan for tremolo, Ableton Analog (Glass2 Hollow), Bastl Kastle
Guitar: Epiphone Moderne into the Focusrite, Ableton Auto-Filter (band-pass with drive) and Auto-Pan (tremolo).
M4L Humanizer on all MIDI instruments except the keys, Auto-Pan on almost everything for spatialization, and Full-Chain Master on the two-channel output.
Title...from the election in France, which was better news than not. And it's the anniversary of Dien Bien Phu, so there's that too, if you prefer.
A funk track emerged this week. I started playing with beats (single-hits from a dry funk kit), added percussion (tabla, claps, conga/bongo), Wurlitzer and Rhodes...some piano and organ that I removed, put on bass, and two tracks (distorted and not distorted) of Epiphone Moderne through the Vox Wah. Notable production items...included M4L humanizer, subtle use of a couple different convolution reverbs (room and plate), simple delay cascading into filter delay, and not any automation--it just seemed to work better as a static thing.
Title comes from association from the Pythagorean distaste for the number 17, coming as it does as the interval between the numbers 16 and 18. Also, I've used a lot of major seconds in this. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/17_(number)#cite_note-14, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_second#Epogdoon)
Also, mad respect to anyone hanging in there!