Serial band and project starter, synth player who considers himself a guitarist, compulsive weekly composer.

All submissions (16)

Lots going on this week. Here's a quick track mostly in the box, with some guitar, and lots of swelling reverb.

16 Macedonian Sun.mp310mb

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.

15 Bell.mp313mb

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.
14 Closure and Complement.mp310mb

(production notes coming soon)

13 Secret Agent Tardigrade.mp312mb

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."

12 Cusp.mp312mb

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.

11 MSP Birds.mp36mb

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.

10 Tetractys.mp311mb

(Production notes coming. Mostly in-the-box Ableton, with two tracks of Res-O-Glas guitar and one track of Kastle modular synth.)

Title from the nine-tailed fox of Japanese and Chinese mythology.

09 Kitsune.mp315mb

To shake things up a bit, I decided to see what I could do with TR-606 samples this week, as opposed to the usual 909 hits. I used an effects chain with two parallel chains on the kick sample, with two high-pass filters, each with a medium-high resonant peak. One was for general kick body resonance, and the other was for the beater, to punch through. I ended up filtering the snare and hats as well.

There's a drum rack of percussion and one of handclaps, a track or Rhodes-ish Electric (with some auto-filter to punch it up), and Tension through an LFO-controlled bandpass auto-filter for a wah effect. And there's some Analog through a pulsing mono auto-pan. There's also some x-factor noise from the new Kastle modular synth, a totally fun little thing. (The patches I've made so far are pretty broad-spectrum, so I hit them with high-pass and kept the level low. A work in progress.)

Everything got auto-pan, and all the percussion (plus some of the keys) got some send automation (delay and reverb). Full-chain master on the 2-bus.

Title comes from the eight vertices of a cube.

08 Vertex.mp311mb

A very busy week, so here's a track without a lot of automation...but has a kind of groove. All in the box, with Ableton drum racks (lots of auto-filter carving on the 909 samples), impulse (bitcrusher for grit and abstraction), Analog, and Operator. I put in two convolution reverb sends (one of which was the Dan Harpole cistern), but only used one...so I wasted CPU cycles. Also a send of Filter delay into delay. Lots of auto-pan, but no humanizer: most of these tracks sounded better with a mechanical consistency, but the not-on-the-grid instruments sounded better left alone (not quantized/humanized).

Title comes from the fact that it's week 7, and heptagons are the first regular polygon (counting from 3) that can't be produced with a compass and straightedge method.

07 Compass and Straightedge.mp312mb

This was a strange piece--initially I started it as a house kind of thing--with a shuffle--but it didn't seem to lead anywhere, even after putting on electric piano, synth, and percussion. I ended up nearly doubling the bpm to 151, and then it was...too jittery. So I cut the 909 tempo by half, and it seemed to make sense, in kind of a mello jamz™ kind of way. (Admittedly, a lot of my attention this week was on the Max/MSP patch for a show I'm doing next weekend.)

Instruments: Drum rack of 909 (bunch of filtering on this to tame the highs and accentuate the kick), drum rack of hand drum (low-pass and high-pass auto-filter), Impulse instrument of hand claps (high-pass auto-filter). Two tracks of Electric, one with band-pass auto-filter and one with high-pass, both with LFO and different kinds of drive. I had a couple different synth voices that I ended up taking out--they didn't match where this was going.

Bass: 80s Epi Embassy II (P-pickup) into the board, with some Cabinet plugin.

Guitar: two different tracks of Epiphone Moderne (neck pickup) through EHX LPB2ube, into the board. One channel got high-pass Auto-Filter and Cabinet plugin, while the other got band-pass Auto-filter for that small-amp sound.

All MIDI instruments got a touch of M4L Humanizer (24ms), and everything except bass and 909 got auto-pan.

Sends: Convolution reverb and a chain of Filter delay into Simple delay. Master got the usual Full-Chain Master.

Title comes from the sixfold symmetry of snow, and the fact that it's week 6.

06 Symmetry.mp312mb

Here's a track I worked on little by little during the week, and it was ok, but not terribly engaging...until I went all disco-house on the drums. That got it going again.

Production notes: one drum rack of single hits of dry trap kit (auto-filter to roll off lows and highs, add some distortion, and accentuate the resonant peak of the kick, and also parallel processing with band-pass + simple delay and band-pass + grain delay), one track of 909 (auto-filter high-pass with resonant peak to pop the kick, and a low-pass to tame the highs), Impulse instrument of hand claps, and drum rack of hand percussion (auto-filtered for tone shaping).

Keys: two Electric instruments (MKI2 crunchy preset into different auto-filters: one high-pass, and one LFO band-pass). Bass: 80s Epi P-J into the board, side chained to the 909. Guitar: self-built Res-O-Glas Belmont with Alumitones into a band-pass auto-filter with drive, for the small-amp sound.

Sends: one convolution reverb (a church), and one chain of simple delay into filter delay.

Unusually for me, I used the Warm & Wide Drums mastering preset on the master channel, instead of the Full-Chain Master I usually do; this time this one sounded a bit better. Everything except bass and the trap kit got auto-pan, and all MIDI instruments got 24ms of Humanizer.

Title from some free-association from the idea of 5 (for week 5), in that we conventionally have five material senses.


05 Perception.mp313mb

I had a show this weekend, and spent much of the week preparing for it (new Max/MSP patch, testing with instruments), but late in the week, I wanted to hear something like this drum beat, and whipped that up with some keyboards. I tracked bass and guitar on Saturday, and spent a few hours on Sunday to arrange and mix. There's a drum rack of dry trap kit (high-pass Auto-Filter on the kick; low-pass Auto-filter with drive on the whole kit), one of a hand drum I have, and hand claps (with low-pass Auto-Filter with drive to make it a little less clean). There's Ableton's Electric instrument (MkI2 Crunchy) through band-pass Auto-Filter with modulation, Simpler (Grand Piano preset) with the same Auto-Filter treatment, and Collision (Street Bells) for some variety. (I almost put vibes there, but low street bells sounded better.)

Bass is the Epiphone P-J (on P), with a little convolution reverb. Guitar: '67 Kalamazoo into Vox Wah, and the same guitar through the Reuss RF-01 Repeater Fuzz into the Vox Wah. I tracked more parts than I used.

The tricky thing with this one was getting the parts not to conflict; everything worked better the sparser it was. There's some simple delay in addition to the convolution reverb, and Full-Chain Master on the master channel.

The title comes from it being week 4, and is a bit of a reference to the Four Foundations of Mindfulness.

04 Foundations.mp311mb

This week I wanted to hear something dubby and bass-heavy, with two bass lines going, and this is the result. Tracks: Drum Rack of a trap set played with brushes, with Auto-Filter for tone-shaping. Also a Drum Rack of hand drum hits, Impulse instrument of hand claps, and a 909 kick, all of them going through Auto-Filter to varying degrees as well.

Keys: Electric piano (MKI2 Crunchy) through LFO Auto-Filter for a wah effect, and Operator (Funky Organ).

Bass: two channels of 80s Epiphone P-J (P-pickup only) straight into the board. One channel got 50% of a Cabinet plugin, and the other got Auto-Filter (high-pass with drive) and compression to tame some variance.

Sends: convolution reverb, and a channel of LFO band-pass Auto-Filter into Simple Delay into Filter Delay. The percussion got automation to go to the delay channel at different times, while that was nearly constant for the electric piano. All MIDI instruments got M4L Humanizer, and everything except the trap set and primary bass got Auto-Pan. The master channel got Full-Chain Master for compression/limiting.

Title from the dub feel and ride cymbal.

03 Dub Ride.mp312mb

I wanted to go in a different direction this week, and picked up the bağlama-tuned Heit Deluxe (like this one, but not as clean and in a red-burst), and came up with the main riff. I recorded that to the shaker, and ended up with about three minutes. During the week, I added percussion (tambourines, hand drums), hand-claps (MIDI), and a trap-set kick drum in an effects rack with two parallel high-pass filters--one to accentuate the beater, and one to accentuate the resonance of the shell. I also recorded a number of other guitar lines to respond to the initial one, and to extend its length a bit, editing them into a structure.

Tuning: GgDDAa, played with fingers. Each guitar channel got different degrees of Auto-Filter, one of them bandpass, two high-pass, with different degrees of drive. I also used a bit of filtering/drive on the hand claps and hand drums. Rather than auto-panning most things, I left most things statically panned, and just auto-panned hand claps and some percussion in time with the track, to set up a call-and-response effect. I did add a bit of delay on the claps, but most atmosphere is from two convolution reverbs (one small space, one larger)--my idea was to keep it as much like a field recording as I could.

The master channel got Full-Chain Master for compression/limiting.

Title comes from the history of the bağlama--since it comes from the saz used by the Azerbaijani Ashiqs, whose name is related to the Avestan root iš-, which means "to seek" or "to search."

02 To Search.mp311mb

Whoops, didn't realize at first that our deadline was Saturday night. Here's one I'd been working on this week, out of the desire to hear a Laswell-dubbified Jesus-Lizard kind of thing. Not sure I got there, but it's an interesting direction. Drums: rock kit, some high-pass auto-filter on the kick to boost it, low-pass auto-filter with drive to roll off some overall highs and give it some grit, and I put 24ms of M4L Humanizer on there to give it a bit of breath. (Any more than that felt too slow and sloppy.)

Bass: 80s Epiphone P-J (P only) with flat wounds into the board, some Cabinet plugin to give it air, and a convolution reverb send.

Keys: Clavinet with LFO bandpass auto filter into delay for that hypnotic thing, and Operator (Funky Organ) to give some pad effect.

Guitar: two tracks of Epiphone Moderne through EHX LPB2ube (cranked, two sides cascaded) and Vox Wah for tone shaping.

Sends: two different convolution reverbs (one with a high-pass filter to keep the kick from getting boomy), and three different filter delay combos, some with simple delay, one with band-pass LFO auto-filter for the dubby drum effect.

Also, Full-Chain Master on the 2-mix.

Title is a reference to the Jesus Lizard.

(Edit: brought one of the guitar motives back in toward the middle and end.)

01 Basilisk Dub.mp311mb

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