Here's one I recorded in a few quick, improvisatory sessions, but it needed a bit of attention to edit together. My initial thought was to emphasize toms and kick, avoiding the snare if I could, and then respond to that. (There's a snare rimshot sound every so often, but no overt snare hits.)
Recording the guitar went quickly, though once I'd settled on which key I preferred, I did need to go back and record a bit more. With bass, I'd recorded a bunch of parts, and ended up throwing most of them out, going instead with lines I tracked last in arrangement view.
Guitar: PureSalem Mendiola straight into the Focusrite. (Each channel got inline Auto-Filter for drive/coloration). Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II (neck pickup only). EQ-8 for some low-end rolloff. Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Special, with Max Humanizer.
Sends: Valhalla Supermassive, Ableton Delay, convolution reverb with Auto-Filter to roll off lows.
Title comes from the lenticular galaxy NGC 74.
This one began with the syncopated drums (Ableton 64 Pad Kit Jazz) and not much else of a thought behind it, though a few electric piano chords with PureMagnetik Berlin Mark Two kind of pointed the way. I added the usual 80s Epiphone Embassy II bass, tracked a bit more of the electric piano, and then finally tracked pedal steel. I'd tuned the 9th and 10th strings down a bit, from their usual E9 values (so the tuning is now A C# E F# G# B E G# D# F#), and that gives me a bit more of the notes I want on the low side of the board. (I track pedal steel with a Moyo passive volume pedal.)
Inline processing: a bit of Max Humanizer on the drums, Glue compressor on the pedal steel, and the usual EQ-8 on bass. The usual full-chain multi band compression on the output.
Sends: Ableton Echo, convolution reverb, and Valhalla Supermassive.
Title comes from NGC 70, a distant spiral galaxy.
Here's one that grew kind of organically out of some syncopated drums. I'd started with Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Rock, and something in the high-hat suggested a funky approach. For some extra flavor, there's 64 Pad Finger Snare LBB, and a track of handclaps.
I initially tracked a few Rhodes lines with PureMagnetik Mark Two Berlin, but ended up removing them, along with PureMagnetik Mellotron. Instead, I tracked a lot of Epiphone bass (though initial loops weren't quite funky enough, so out they went), and then two passes with PureSalem Mendiola through Vox Wah (one bridge pickup and one neck pickup.)
Inlines: Max Humanizer on the drums and percussion, Bass got the usual EQ-8 rolloff.
Sends: Ableton Delay, Valhalla Supermassive, and room-sized convolution reverb. Full-Chain multi band compression on the stereo out.
The title comes from the root of the Rhône river, which runs through the 69th department of France.
A very loungey/dubby kind of thing. By my usual standards this would be late (for various weekend reasons), but I'm taking advantage of this year's scheduling. This one started with sparse drums--initially I was thinking hip-hop, but with the dub echo, extremely mellow electric piano, and pedal steel...it went in a different direction.
Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Dub Techno kit, with Max Humanizer
Keys: PureMagnetik electric piano, Berlin Mark Two, with some auto-pan
Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II with flatwounds and EMG selects, p-pickup only, EQ-8 for low-end rolloff.
No-name 70s kit-built 10-string pedal steel with Moyo volume pedal, with Glue compressor and auto-pan
Sends: two Echo channels, one convolution reverb (with high-pass filter in front) for air on drums and bass, and Valhalla Supermassive
Full-chain multi-band compression (flat) on the stereo mix.
Title comes from the largest graceful graph on 14 nodes having 68 edges.
Another intuitively-structured one, this one began with a slow drum beat, and got interesting when I added long-persisting delay with filtering to it. I did a few different rhythms with Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Special drum rack, and added some handclaps, along with some Rhodes which I took out again.
Next up was Epiphone P-J bass, using the usual signal chain (EQ-8 for bass rolloff), though I'd also rolled down the tone control. I'd initially thought of rolling off highs...but changed my mind for this one, so the bass is close to typical.
Guitar was home-built Res-O-Glas through the Balls Effects KWB for a bit of overdrive, and Vox Wah for both tone shaping (rhythm track) and effect (lead track).
Sends: bandpass Auto-Filter with LFO frequency center into Ableton's Echo (analog triplet dub preset, tweaked to remove some noise), Valhalla supermassive on a large reverb preset, and high-pass Auto-Filter in front of a room-sized convolution reverb.
Inline: Bass got EQ-8, while drums got Max Humanizer. Guitars got some auto-pan to get them out of each other's way, though lead guitar also got some Glue Compressor. And I used that channel to do some reversed clips from time to time as well.
The editing/arrangement process involved a lot of cutting things out--I played more than I kept in. (This is even down to certain notes; it just sounded better with things left out.)
Title comes from *67 being the call-waiting-blocking code for a lot of telephone systems.
This week's track came at me kind of sideways--while I started with syncopated drums as I often do...the melodic and harmonic components started with keyboards, lending a different flavor, I think. On Saturday I tracked a few bits of guitar, not sure how it'd all come together, and bass on Sunday before collaging the clips. Finally, I tracked a couple guitar phrases to fill in gaps. And...here we are.
Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Jazz with Max Humanizer
Drum Rack of hand claps with Max Humanizer
Piano: PureMagnetik CP-70, acoustic only
Electric Piano: PureMagnetik Rhodes Mark One, through AudioThing Motor
Bass: Epiphone P-J, low-end rolloff with EQ-8
Guitar: PureSalem Mendiola through Ableton Auto-Filter (high-pass and low-pass with drive, Ableton Utility and Cabinet
Sends: Bandpass Auto-Filter with LFO into Echo, Valhalla Supermassive, convolution reverb with high-pass Auto-Filter
Title comes from this being the 66th track since I started doing numerically-based names, and stretches of the famous Route 66 have been removed from maps.
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 was a busy weekend, so I'm getting this up late (for me). It's also just a four-tracker, and short. This started as some syncopated drum patterns in 6/4, with some alternate drum lines in 4/4, and alternating between the two. I used Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz for these, and added a bit of Max Humanizer to slop it up a bit.
I did bass next--the usual Epiphone P-J with just the P pickup. I also did the usual EQ-8 rolloff. Some of these suggested different, related keys, though...I didn't really explore that thoroughly.
Guitars were done in a few passes, but had the same signal path: PureSalem Mendiola through Balls Effects KWB and Vox Wah, though one channel was neck pickup and the other bridge pickup.
Sends: two convolution reverbs, one large room, and one larger hall. There's also Echo plugin. And there's Ableton's Full-Chain multi band compression rack on the output.
Title comes from there being 63 groats in a guinea, according to the old English monetary system.
Running maybe a bit late on this one--hey, it was Thundersnow weekend--but I've been uploading at the start of deadlines, not the finish. So...going to say it's all good.
This one started with some syncopated drums (64 pad kit rock) and a couple (Ableton Grand) piano chords...and I thought to add Epiphone bass (usual P-J, EQ-8 low-end rolloff and reverb send) and...instead of regular guitar, just pedal steel (no effects other than passive volume pedal). I fleshed it out with a few more piano bits, added and removed hand claps, and added some sends: Delay, Valhalla Supermassive, Echo (Dub Syndicate preset), and convolution reverb with high-pass auto-filter in front to avoid low-end buildup. I went back and added some Max Humanizer on drums to reduce the mechanical feeling, and did alternating sends to delay and echo.
The title comes from the ziggurats of the Sumerians, who gave us the 60-minute hour, among other 60-based things.
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.
Once again, I only devoted time to this one very late in the week, with the syncopated drum and percussion lines. I'd had a thought of emphasizing bass, and having the guitars be more of a background wash...and a number of things claimed time during the weekend, so what I'd had tracked...had to fit together somehow, so here we are.
Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Jazz, Ableton Percussion drum rack. Bass: Epiphone P-J with EQ-8 low-end rolloff. Guitars: PureSalem Mendiola through Balls Effects KWB for some grit, and also through high-pass Auto-Filter. There's one track of bridge pickup, one of neck pickup (output to send only), and another track of output to send only. Some clips are reversed.
Sends: one convolution reverb, one Valhalla Supermassive, and one delay. There's another convolution reverb I almost used--a large space--but it ended up sounding too mechanical on drums here.
Title from M58, a barred spiral galaxy.
This week...there's been a lot to do, so I only spent a few minutes Friday night coming up with an intuitive drum line. On impulse, I went for one of the drum racks I did using Ableton Operator to generate the drum sounds. Saturday, I tracked bass, initially thinking a bit of 70s electric jazz (after reading Ethan Iverson's interview with Keith Jarrett from some years back) the one drum loop I'd written, and then thought to track more bass against it, higher up the neck. Then...rather than writing guitar, I added some ostinatos with Ableton's Analog, and electric piano lines with Ableton Electric. By this point...there wasn't any jazz left in it.
Inline effects: EQ-8 with different amounts of bass rolloff on each of the two bass lines, Max Humanizer on the drums.
Sends: one room-sized convolution reverb on bass, Valhalla Supermassive for keyboards, and Ableton Echo for occasional rhythm on the drums and keys. There's Full-Chain multiband compression on the stereo mix.
The title comes from Aristotle's notion of the number of layers of the universe.
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.
Turn of the Wheel
The first idea I had this week was to concentrate on bass and drums, emphasizing toms and avoiding the snare. Initially I wasn't sure if I'd include guitar at all. I'd come up with some syncopated rhythms in Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz drum rack, and put a long-decaying Echo send on it. (At the end, I gave the drums a bit of Max Humanizer.)
I put down some bass lines with my usual Epiphone P-J bass (with EQ-8 roll-off below 120 Hz), and then realized I wanted another track of bass, higher on the neck, to respond to the first track. (That second track of bass got EQ-8 bass rolloff with a higher shelf.)
Then I'd thought I should have something else in there for sonic variety, but wanted to change things up a bit from recent tracks. So I grabbed the Heit Deluxe I keep in Turkish baglama tuning (Gg DD Aa), and put down two tracks of improvisations against the bass lines. (It's going through an EHX LPB2ube with the left and right channels cascaded into one output.) One channel got some high-pass Auto-Filter with drive, and the other didn't have any additional in-Ableton processing. Both got sent to a room-sized convolution reverb (along with the drums and bass).
In arranging, I thought to do some reversing of some of the Heit chords, and sent that track to a return channel with Valhalla Supermassive. And the stereo mix got multiband compression with Ableton's Full Chain effect rack.
Title comes from the number of years in three Saros cycles of solar and lunar eclipses; this is apparently called a Triple Saros or exeligmos--the turn of the wheel.
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 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!
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.
A reactive piece built up from a general sense of drum groove. One realistic-ish drum rack (64-pad rock kit), one 808 (mostly kick, with occasional obvious drum machine snare), hand claps, two channels of Epiphone P-J bass, and three channels of Epiphone Moderne guitar (through Vox Wah). I'd had a line of keyboards I took out. Auto-Filter with drive on one guitar channel, Auto-Pan on 808 and high bass, Drum Buss on the rock kit.
Sends: two convolution reverbs, and a channel of Echo.
Title from the property of this week's element, Einsteinium, which is radioactive enough to damage its crystal structure just by existing.
This week was an exercise in cutting to make something kind of ordinary potentially interesting. I had a chord progression in mind that was fun and satisfying to play, but which sounded...pedestrian. Rather than throw it out, I went for cuts. While I tracked it in a straightforward way, in this rendering, the first half of this piece disrupts the progression by emphasizing off-beats, and the second half restores the cut sections, but removes the parts that are audible in the first part. Two other guitar lines get a similar cutting treatment, without the restoration, and parts of the bassline are cut as well.
Drums: one track of 64-pad rock kit (every seventh beat dropped), and one track of 808 samples. Guitar: three tracks of Res-O-Glas recorded through the Vox Wah, with different sets of low-cut and high-cut Auto-Filter to simulate amp drive. Bass is the usual Epi P-J with EQ-8 low-cut, and a bit of air with a convolution reverb send. Guitars get that send, too...as do drums. There's also a delay send that the drums go to. There's flat full-chain master on the 2-bus.
Title from the use of this week's element (californium) to start nuclear reactors.
Travel had me starting very late on this one, only doing some initial beats in 6/8 (Ableton 64-pad rock kit) and bass on Friday night, adding a bit of Operator (1st and 3rd partial) late Saturday. Initially I'd thought of adding guitar, but...I found myself enjoying the sparse dub-like quality of this, even though it's not that heavy on the dub delay. It needed something else at the end, so I added three tracks of Simpler with different field recording samples.
Sends: Convolution reverb (with Auto-Filter bass rolloff), Echo (Dem Ducks, with tweaks). Full-chain master on the 2.
Title from a quality of berkelium, this week's element--it emits low-energy electrons, so it's safe to handle...but on the other hand, it decays into the very-radioactive californium, so...if you have the opportunity to handle any, just don't.
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.
Early in the week, I had a funky drum beat in my mind, and threw it together with Ableton's 64-pad rock kit. I didn't have a chance to put guitar on it right away, so I temporarily filled the track in with a looped field recording from my back yard. Gradually, keys went on (filtered Analog), and I added bass. Finally, late Sunday, I had a few minutes to put guitar (Res-O-Glas, Vox Wah) on, and then I cut down the field recordings significantly, as well as slowing speed and dropping pitch.
Drums: Drum Buss, vinyl distortion. (I'd got it into my mind that this would add character.)
Bass: EQ-8, with bass rolloff.
Guitar: Auto-Filter high/low pass with drive.
Field recordings: Auto-Filter high/low pass, auto-pan
Sends: convolution reverb, Echo ("A Bit Tipsy" with time changed and noise/wobble reduced). Full-chain master on the 2-bus.
Title from Fermi's name for element 94 (plutonium) when he'd thought he'd discovered it--"hesperium." (He didn't.)
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.
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 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.