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).
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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 week's track, done in a few quick passes...and with a day-long pause while the laptop was in the shop.
I had four Drum Rack lines (Kit Carbon, two Muttkaste, Altered Kit), three of which were severely filtered, one of which boosted (one of the Muttkaste). There's also Electric and Vibes, two Res-O-Glas (different Auto-Filter settings), and Epiphone P-J bass (EQ-8). Putting it together...my sense of the "one" kept shifting, so there's a weird floating feeling to this one. I kept needing to cut parts that got cluttered.
Sends: two echo returns, one convolution reverb.
Title from the crystalline structure of Americium, this week's element.
Suddenly, instrumental power pop. This week started with the little legato line you hear in the left channel, and the rest followed along: drums (the Ableton 64-pad rock drum rack, percussion from a maraca sample), three channels of Res-o-Glas guitar (a couple of them through the EH LPB2ube), and Epi P-J bass. A fair amount of auto-filter on guitar, and EQ-8 on bass. Sends: two convolution reverbs. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.
Title from this week's element, Neptunium.
While busy weeks are common now, this one was notably busy. But here's a track anyway. I had kind of a dub idea in mind, thinking of space and interplay...which I kind of got away from, but perhaps not unlistenably.
Drums: Ableton's Borella kit, with Drum Buss, little tiny synth noises from the Ableton DrumSynth kit, and hand claps with Impulse. Epi P-J bass, and Epi Moderne guitar (through Vox Wah). Operator for the organ part. I tracked some fretless guitar that I didn't end up using...but the fretless will probably reappear soon.
Sends: two convolution reverbs, one Delay, and one Echo.
Title from the etymology of this week's element, actinium.
I built this one up out of little snippets of rhythms across four tracks, and ended up with an all-in-the-box piece. Drums and percussion all got reverse gating for a severely clipped envelope--three drum racks (Cassette 606, 808 Depth Charge, percussion) and one Impulse instrument of hand claps. There are two channels of Operator, one for bass, and one for swells, and one track of distorted Puremagnetik Rhodes. Sends: two convolution reverbs (ambience and a weird space) and Echo. Full-chain master on the master channel.
Title from the instability of astatine, this week's element.
This week's track started with the two drum patterns (Electro Dub kit and 64-pad rock kit) that together had a slow, off-kilter groove with each other. I didn't get around to tracking until Friday evening (one whole set of Fahey-tuned guitar that I didn't use, fake Mellotron that I didn't use, either). Saturday I did bass and Epiphone Moderne (Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah, and also a track of non-distorted Moderne with wah). I extracted a track of unintentional sounds from the fuzz channel, and arranged them throughout for some texture; I'd toyed with the thought of building the piece around them, but opted to go for something less outside this time.
Sends: two convolution reverbs (room ambience, weirder room ambience on the fuzz guitar) and one echo (automated send on the one drum). There's a lot of EQ-8 to roll off low frequencies on the bass and on the electro-dub kit. And some M4L Humanizer on the drums. Full-chain master on everything.
Title from one of the earliest uses (fishing sinkers) for this week's element, lead.
A very intuitive piece--I cobbled together three drum kits with syncopated rhythms, and composed a keyboard line...which I threw out after I picked up the Fahey-tuned Univox hollow body. There are three tracks of that, with varying degrees of fuzz. Not a bad hook...though very simple.
Sends: convo reverb and a delay; full-chain master on the master, and drum buss on the drums.
Title from the derivation of this week's element, platinum.
Carved out a little time this week for a track. My initial thought was to do something shoegazey, and then I immediately started making this vintage-y funk thing. Apparently my internal aesthetic compass is a gyroscope.
Drum racks of Acoustified 15 and Emperor kit (through Drum Buss), Operator with a triangle wave and a hint of 3rd harmonic, Electric on the MkI2 crunch preset, Epi P-J with bass rolloff, and Epi Moderne through Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah. Sends are a convolution reverb and Echo on Dub Syndicate preset. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.
Title from the iridescent quality of iridium (which gives it its name).
Another busy week, but this track still came together. I've been listening a lot to John Zorn's The Book Beri'ah, and wanted to do something with a syncopated danceability like many of the pieces there. I put up a Drum Rack (64-pad jazz) through a severe gate (influence of the new Burial there), and then...just responded to it on bass. Then I responded to that with more bass, added hand claps and percussion, and then a layer of baglama-tuned Heit Deluxe guitar. A touch of reverb and a bit of automated delay on the drums/percussion...and here we are.
Title from one of the properties of this week's element, osmium.
Very busy week with travel, but here's a rhythm-driven track that I managed to put together. Three drum racks, an Impulse device (hand claps), two Electric instruments for keys, bass (direct), and Res-o-Glas guitar (direct). Standard signal chains; more notes soon.
Title from a use of this week's element, rhenium.
This week's track started much differently--at 117bpm. I had some interesting drum patterns going on, but couldn't find a way into them. Guitar and keyboard lines weren't all that interesting. So I took a radical step on Saturday and cranked the bpm down to 68--ah, now it's a dub track. OK. Then I could finish it.
Instruments: Drum Rack of 64-pad single hit jazz kit samples, Drum Rack of Dub Techno single hits, Impulse of hand claps, Operator with pitch mod (sort of a cuíca effect), Puremagnetik CP-70 ("Lite" preset), Epiphone P-J bass (EQ-8 to roll off lows), and Epiphone Moderne (through Balls Effects KWB and Vox Wah) for guitar. At the last minute, I remembered to put Drum Buss on the drums. (Oops.)
Sends: two channels of Echo (Dark Fade and Dub Syndicate presets), and one empty-swimming-pool convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the out.
Title from the use of this week's element, Holmium, an atom of which was used by IBM a couple years back to store one bit of data.
This week's track came together in little sessions during the week (new job and travel), so it was easier to do an in-the-box thing--I had the drum patterns (a synth drum kit I came up with, a 909 kit, and Ableton's AstroPlay) and an abstract ring-modulated keyboard line (Ableton's Electric piano). It seemed to need a layer of noise, so I added Ableton's Analog's Coptor (sic) preset, and then did a quick improvisation with my randomizable pitch shifting network in Max/MSP (which begins the piece and continues throughout.)
Effects/sends: Drum Buss on the synth drum and 909, and Frequency Shifter (in Ring Mod mode) on the AstroPlay. One Echo send, and one convolution reverb. Full-chain master on the stereo mix.
This week's piece grew organically from a few drum patterns I put down (one of 808 single-hit samples, one from 909 single-hits). I had an initial synth bass I took out, but did some Ableton Analog synth over them, before replacing the synth bass with Epiphone P-J (through EQ-8 for sub-100Hz rolloff), and tracking clean (through bandpass Auto-Filter with drive and Cabinet) and distorted (Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah) Epiphone Moderne.
Sends: one convolution reverb (to a medium-sized tracking room space) and one Echo (Dub Syndicate, with timing tweaked). Auto-pan on almost everything. I used automation to send the 808 to the Echo channel. Full-chain Master on the 2-buss.
Title is from one of the applications of this week's element, Cerium, which can increase the stability of pigments exposed to light.
Job-search stuff took up a lot of attention and energy this week, but I did carve out a bit of time to throw some drums together--Ableton's 32-pad jazz kit and their 64-pad Dub Techno kit, in the parts you hear in the middle section. Saturday night, I added some rhythm patterns (for beginning and end) and Epiphone Moderne with the output going only to a convolution reverb (with the Dan Harpole Cistern impulse). Then I added some sparse lead lines in another channel, and finally put down some Epiphone bass.
Sends: cistern convolution reverb, and one studio-sized convolution reverb, along with a tweaked Echo plugin. Auto-pan on the Dub Techno kit and guitars, and automation on the jazz kit for hitting the echo at the ends of phrases. Full-chain Master on the mix buss.
Title from the French name for the precipitate of barium sulfate, since barium (atomic number 56) is this week's element.
Early in the week I decided on an odd constraint: the track should have only one chord. (In this case, a Gsus4. So it's a holy chord, maybe.) I played with a couple drum rack patterns--one rock kit, one fingers-on-snare--and thew a buffer manipulation M4L plugin on the fingers-on-snare one for variety.
Saturday evening, I tracked all the guitar--four tracks of Epi Moderne, some straight into the board, some through Vox Wah, some through EHX LPB2ube, and some through Reuss RF-01. There's a lot of the one chord, but also responses to it. Epi P-J bass went on last.
This was a bit tricky to mix, given the one-chord tonality and the buildup of harmonics (themselves accentuated with fuzz), but high-pass Auto-Filter to cut out lows helped a lot. Drum Buss on the percussion helped retain impact, as did some reverb on most parts, and echo for the drums (automated) and percussion.
Title from an early use of cesium, element 55, used for the getters of vacuum tubes.
Kind of a weird arrangement that came together during the week: severely inverse-gated 505 drums, 909 for some heft, Tension clavinet (seriously tweaked to use plectrum, different finger weight...), Electric Mk1 (crunchy), Analog Off-World pad, Epi P-J bass (replacing initial synth bass) and Epi Moderne (through Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah, into Auto-Filter). Sends: two convolution reverbs and one Echo, with Auto-Filter in front to make it interesting. Kind of weird to mix. It also changed tonal center during the arrangement process. Starting to feel like I'm recycling bass lines...but maybe it works.
Title from the element Xenon, element 54.