Serial band and project starter, synth player who considers himself a guitarist, compulsive weekly composer.
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!
I wanted to do something ambient this week, and it ended up a bit more dense than I planned, but there three convolution reverbs (two of which, cascading, give that breathing effect), a lot of synthetic percussion, some drum machines, Kastle modular synth, and slowed-down singing bowl (as well as slowed-down in-my-tracking-space ambience). Title from the bell-like tonality of the singing bowl, and the fact that 15 is the fifth Bell number.
Not feeling particularly well most of the week, so the fundamentals of the track didn't emerge until late in the week, with some simple drum parts, and bass. Initially I went for a sparse post-rock thing, but threw that all out when I reduced the drums to the simplest patterns, and re-built them as something I could reasonably play dubby bass against. (Two tracks of bass--one with cabinet plugin, and one with auto-filter and distortion, both side-chained against the kick) Having been listening to some Laswell projects, I put tables on there as well, and Ableton's Behr stringed instrument. As a last-minute addition, I tracked a bunch of guitar (Res-O through Vox Wah, into band-pass auto-filter), and played a lot with automating sends (one to a convolution reverb, one to LFO band-pass auto-filter into filter delay). M4L Humanizer on the drums and tabla, and full-chain master on the 2-mix.
Title from the wikipedia entry on the number 14:
Take a set of real numbers and apply the closure and complement operations to it in any possible sequence. At most 14 distinct sets can be generated in this way. This holds even if the reals are replaced by a more general topological space. See Kuratowski's closure-complement problem.
This started kind of funky early in the week, and then (as sometimes happens) things got dubby. I started with an 808 kit, and just wasn't getting the impact I wanted. 909 was better, but distracting from the funk feel, so I replaced the 909 with a kit of dry single hit drums. In editing, I slid the snares a tiny bit late, and the hats a tiny bit forward, to see how that'd sit. I added some percussion and claps, and kick and toms from another kit, high-passing this second kick so it was almost another tom.
I added Ableton's Tension instrument for clavinet and Electric for Wurlizer, both going through band-pass auto-filter, with LFO modulation. I tracked bass (Epiphone P/J on P, into the Focusrite), putting a bit of Cabinet plugin inline, along with side chain compression triggered by the kick. Then I tracked guitar (Epiphone Moderne through Vox Wah), putting it through band-pass auto-filter with drive, giving it a small-amp sound.
Most tracks got some automation to the sends--these were two convolution reverbs (large space and large tracking room), and a filter delay with LFO-band-pass auto-filter going into it for extra wah.
All the drums and percussion got 30ms of M4L Humanizer (maybe shouldn't have used it on the drums--some hits seem too late now), and the master channel got full-chain master.
Title from the fact that, according to Wikipedia, "Twelve is the smallest weight for which a cusp form exists."
An extremely busy week of work, performance preparation, and performance, with ups and downs. Coming off a very satisfying snwv set with my new Max/MSP patch at Oscillate: Pittsburgh 2017, here's a quick improvisation with just a sine wave oscillator into the patch. I added a bit of reverb and full-chain master in Live, and cut out a longer part of the noisy waterfall section, but otherwise it's the result of this improv. Features of the patch: pitch-shifting, delay, delay regeneration, and sample-rate and bit-depth reduction, all of them randomized and continually updating. And the time between updates is itself randomized, for extra confusion. Title comes from previewing the piece for the kids, and talking about it after they listened.
All in the box--drum racks, Impulse, Electric, Tension...and a lot of Auto-Filter wah on a lot--including a delay send channel with auto-filter on the front. (I'd recorded bass for this, but ended up replacing it with Tension Clavinet when the key changed.) It started as a dub thing, but got funkier, and I ended up applying wah to a lot of it. Busy week, so not a lot of time to devote to tracking, but I did spend some time in the evenings making variations to the drum line.