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.
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 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.
This piece came together from some syncopated drum lines and little compositional direction. I put down some Electric and Operator lines, tracked bass around a few repetitive figures, and guitar (Res-O through Vox Wah) on top...which didn't coalesce until I copied the guitar lines to another channel and reversed all the clips in that channel. Then it kind of came together. Very little inline processing except for M4L Humanizer and Drum Buss on the drums, Auto-Pan on the keys, Auto-Filter with drive on the forwards guitar. Sends: two convolution reverbs, Delay, Echo. Full-Chain master on the master channel. Kind of floaty.
Title from associations from this week's element, uranium. I'm a fan of the work of the late sculptor James L. Acord, who was the only private individual to have earned a license to work with radioactive materials, including uranium (which he initially gathered by leaching it off of mango red Fiestaware). He'd planned a series of sculptures--reliquaries--designed to contain radioactive materials, which he'd wanted to install at the Hanford Reservation, a project he didn't live to complete.
This week's track was an in-the-box kind of thing. I'd been thinking of doing something house-influenced, so put together 606 samples, percussion samples, hand-claps, Ableton Analog synths (bass, lead, pad), and then threw some Simpler grand piano through a low-pass and high-pass Auto-Filter with drive for a tiny-speaker feel. Sends: one convolution reverb and one Echo (tweaked to be less noisy and wobbly, and with a longer delay period.) Master channel got some pseudo-mastering assistance from Izotope Ozone 8 (free at the moment) on the more-depth preset.
Title from the crystalline shape of one isotope of this week's element, protactinium.
This week's track was about playing with some syncopated rhythms, which then coalesced into something funky. Drums: one Drum Rack with the Crossroads Kit preset, one 808 Status Quo, one with some tabla samples, and one set of handclaps. Operator on the Funky Organ preset. One track of Epiphone P-J bass, and two of Res-O-Glas guitar (one clean with Vox Wah, and one with Reuss RF-01). A bit of Drum Buss and M4L Humanizer on the Crossroads kit, and EQ-8 on the bass.
Sends: one convolution reverb, one Delay, and one Echo. Full-Chain Master on the mixdown.
Title from the way that thorium-treated lenses will darken over time.
Lots going on this week, so this came together quickly Saturday night and Sunday. Started with reverse-gated 606 syncopated line, adding hand claps. I then tracked three different sets of lines with Res-O-Glas guitar (Balls Effects KWB -> Vox Wah -> Ableton Auto-Filter -> Ableton Cabinet), Epiphone P-J bass (EQ-8 to roll off lows). Then I went back to add a line of percussion, which sounded wrong, so I bitcrushed it. This one was very intuitive--just tracking little improvised phrases that seemed to work with each other.
Sends: two different room sizes of convolution reverb, with one channel of echo. Full-chain master on the 2-bus.
Title from the inspiration for radium's name. Kinda obvious, but there we have it.
Kind of a mood piece. Much of my musical activity this week was focused on the monthly covers project (Black Sabbath this month), so my work on this one was a little later than usual, and more intuitive and reactive than planned.
Drums: reverse-gated 606 and 808, straight 808, and Ableton Cashon kit. Bit of Ableton Electric piano, and Epi bass, with two tracks of Res-O-Glas guitar (Balls Effects KWB pedal into Vox Wah). Bass got the usual EQ-8 low rolloff, while one channel of guitar got the low-pass and high-pass Auto-filter treatment. Both got Cabinet. Lot of send automation to a channel of Ableton Echo (with LFO band-pass Auto-Filter in front of it), and two different room convolution reverbs for space.
Title from the fact that this week's element, Francium, was the last to be discovered in nature, instead of being produced synthetically.
Another all-in-the-box week. Drum machines: 606 (reverse-gated), 808 Aristocrat, 808 Startup, Impulse hand claps. Strings are from Ableton's African sampling project--Zeze, two tracks of Adungu, and finally a Puremagnetik Mellotron cello.
Title from this week's element radon's tendency to seep into buildings from below.
Kind of a chill-out vibe this week. I was hearing some syncopated drumming, so put up a 64-pad jazz drum rack, then some Puremagnetik Rhodes as chords and leads. Saturday night I tracked Epi P-J bass (through the Balls Effects KWB, and with EQ-8 and Cabinet for tone shaping) and Epiphone Moderne (through Vox Wah, both with and without Reuss Effects Repeater Fuzz. Without involved high-pass and low-pass Auto-Filter with drive.). A last pass involved adding some percussion and balancing some chords that weren't quite compatible...and here we are.
Sends: two different Echo plugins (based on vintage presets) and a convolution reverb. Full-Chain Master on the master channel.
Title from the meaning of the name of the village of Ytterby, site of the mine where this week's element (ytterbium) was discovered.
Another piece that accumulated organically: I'd started by putting up a few drum racks against each other (64-pad rock kit, bongos, Hilda kit), and then put a few chords and figures of different keyboards (Live's MkI3 Mellow Piano and Puremagnetik's CP-70 pack, on the electronic-only setting). I put down Epiphone P-J bass, and then Res-O-Glas guitar through EHX LPB2ube, one pass through a mild overdrive, and another through more extreme boost.
Inline effects: M4L Humanizer on drums and MkI3, Drum Buss on percussion. EQ-8 for bass rolloff on bass, various combinations of Auto-Filter (for drive and to roll off weird direct-sounding harmonics from the Alumitones) and Cabinet on guitar. Sends: Convolution reverb (studio room impulse) and Auto-Filter with LFO into Echo on Tweezy Tape preset. Various auto-pan, and full-chain master on the stereo mix.
Title from one method of growing symmetric crystals of samarium, this week's element.
Most of my available evenings this past week involved working on a house-style Tom Waits cover for a tribute project, so I didn't start doing anything with this until Thursday and late Friday evenings. Mark Hollis's passing fresh in my mind, I thought I'd try something kind of organic and sparse, though inevitably this one got more dense over time.
I put up a simple beat in Ableton's 64-pad drum rack and did some light fingerpicking on the Fahey-tuned Univox hollowbody, and later did a pass on bass. I added drum variations, and then put down a few passes of Res-o-Glas guitar through a tremolo pedal, and put one channel of more chordal playing through the cistern convolution reverb--with no direct signal.
Toward the end of mixing, I thought I'd use Auto-Filter for distortion on one of the guitar lines, but dropped it on bass by mistake. That actually sounded pretty good, so I added an effect rack on bass with two parallel chains: one with EQ8 for sub-100Hz rolloff, and one with the auto-filter distortion on the high end.
Sends: two convolution reverbs (cistern and room) with auto-filter low-end rolloff in front, and one Echo on guitars. No dub-style automation on this one.
Title comes from one of the properties of the rare element Promethium.
A busy week of wrapping up a job search...and submitting a couple versions of a track to a cover tune project. As a result, I approached this week's track a bit more intuitively. I came up with a few drum loops (64-pad rock kit drum rack, and 64-pad fingers-on-snare), and did some intuitive guitar with Res-O-Glas through an effect rack of auto-filter with drive and buffer-shuffler for some randomness. Then I put some more Res-O down (Auto-Filter with drive and cabinet plugin)...and finally some Epiphone P-J bass (direct...maybe I should have rolled off lows here, but I didn't).
Sends: Convolution reverb, two different Echo plugins. Full-chain master on the 2-buss.
Title from the meaning of the root of lanthanum (element 57).
Another busy week, including a show using one of my Max/MSP patches, so here's a little dark ambient track making use of the same patch and similar improvisational methods. (The original input is just a sine wave, going through ring mods, pitch shifters, and delays, all of which have some level of randomization.) As a slightly different approach, I also put on a drum rack of Analog-synthesized drums. Bit of convolution reverb, delay, and Full Chain Master as well...and you have this steady-state kind of thing. My younger son suggested the title, because it sounded to him like something malfunctioning. (It does!)
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
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!
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."
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.
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.
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.