This one started with a sparse and syncopated rhythm I imagined, and grew a bit organically from there: first vibes (removed) and PureMagnetik Berlin electric piano, and then PureSalem Mendiola guitar lines (straight into the Focusrite). Finally, a pass with Epiphone bass. My timing is very loose on this one.
There's the usual processing here: Drums are the 64 Pad Kit Jazz with Humanizer. Bass gets the usual EQ-8 rolloff. One guitar gets high-pass Auto-Filter with drive. Sends: one echo and two convolution reverbs (one large, one small). Wide & Warm audio effect rack preset on the output.
The title comes from NGC 89, a peculiar spiral in Robert's Quartet.
Kind of a late edit on this, but it was a busy weekend. This one's drums (Ableton Acoustified Kit 02), two tracks of Epiphone Embassy II bass (one with EQ-8 low-end rolloff, and the other with Auto-Filter high-pass, played higher on the neck), and two tracks of home-built Res-O-Glas guitar--one through Montreal Assembly Count to Five (the backwards-sounding one) and one straight to the Focusrite, though with some low- and high-pass Auto-Filter with drive.
Sends: one echo (with LFO band-pass Auto-Filter in front), one convolution reverb (with high-pass Auto-Filter in front), and Valhalla Supermassive. There's Wide&Warm preset compression on the stereo output.
Title comes from this week's number, counting from last year.
A very collage-like piece, tracked Friday night and Saturday. I started with an odd drum track with Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Special, added a few keys with PureMagnetik Rhodes (Berlin), and then tracked several loops with bass (new D'Addario half-round strings replacing the flats; there should be a touch more high-end) and PureSalem Mendiola through Reuss RF-01 and Vox Wah. The result? Kinda dense, maybe.
Sends: two convolution reverbs (with high-pass in front), Valhalla Supermassive, and Echo with modulated Auto-Filter in front, as a pouring-one-out in honor of Lee "Scratch" Perry.
Inlines: Max Humanizer on drums, EQ-8 for low-end rolloff on bass (still), some high-pass Auto-Filter and Cabinet on guitars. Wide & Warm audio effects rack preset on the stereo mix.
Title comes from 87 being the international calling code for (apparently) phone calls to Inmarsat.
A friend sold me his Montreal Assembly Count to Five pedal, so that's featured on this week's track. I did a few ambient improvs with that (with home-built Res-O-Glas and CMI E-200 guitar strung with Nashville high tuning), and added Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz drums, and a pass with 80s Epiphone Embassy II bass.
Sends: two convolution reverbs and one echo.
Title comes from the asterism with this name containing M85.
Tracked over the weekend, but I didn't have much of a chance to arrange it until Monday, and it required a bit of listening for editing. I'd started with some syncopated drum patterns (sounds from Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Jazz), and then I put down some sparse guitar with the PureSalem Mendiola through the Balls Effects KWB, and then bass. On listening, it made sense to move some of the guitar tracks to a different channel, so this ended up being a four-track thing.
There's a slight difference to how I'm approaching the bassline, particularly in the bridge, which makes this a bit of a departure, I think.
Inlines: Max Humanizer on drums. Guitars got high-pass Auto-Filter with some different cutoffs and different levels of drive, along with some Glue compression and different Cabinet modelers for air. (1x12 seemed to work best here.) Bass got the usual EQ-8 low-end rolloff, but also some compression as well. The stereo mix got Ableton's Wide & Warm effect rack for compression/eq.
Sends: two convolution reverbs (one large, one small) with high-pass Auto-Filter in front. Also a channel of delay on the 3.
The title comes from hepteracts having 84 penetrant 5-faces.
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.
I didn't begin this one until Saturday evening, with a sense of doing something sparse--a bit like Bark Psychosis, though this did end up going in another direction. Having checked out a few Ableton Loop sessions, I also thought to use the clip-level probability interface for the drums and keys--in these cases, usually the first beat is at 100%, but subsequent notes were at 75-80% probability.
Drums are Ableton's 64 Pad Kit Special, with a bit of Max Humanizer, and sends to convolution reverbs.
Bass is the usual 80s Epiphone Embassy II, with some EQ-8 low-end rolloff, and sends to the reverbs for air.
The keyboard is LABS soft piano, with Auto-Pan and a send to an Echo plugin.
Guitars are 2008 Danelectro baritone on both pickups, with inline high-pass Auto-Filter with drive, and sends to the reverbs.
The title comes from the fact that this is week 78 since the beginning of 2020, so...78 rpm records came to mind.
I'd had a thought of doing something a bit sparser this week, and while this one's more dense than I was thinking, some of the initial inspiration remains. The rhythms are mostly very syncopated, and are done with the usual 64 Pad Kit Jazz with an automated delay send and Max Humanizer.
For guitar, I used my home-built Res-O-Glas, and started with the little single-note line, and then responded to it with the chordal tremolo guitar (using a pedal from Mike Carey in Milwaukee), with a send to Valhalla Supermassive. I went back and forth between trem and non-trem channels, to do leads in response to rhythm, and rhythm in response to leads. The clean lead channel had a send to a large convolution reverb--spacious, but not quite as harmonic as the Valhalla.
For bass, I did the usual 80s Epiphone Embassy II, on the P-pickup. It got some low-end rolloff with EQ-8, and a send to a smaller convolution reverb (as did the drums).
The title comes from the use of the number 77 as a password at the Swedish border during WWII.
Another quick-recording/long-editing piece. This one started just as some drum syncopation, with a few atmospheric keys...and then kind of came together with bass and guitar.
Drums: Ableton 64 Pad Kit Jazz, with Max Humanizer
Keys: PureMagnetik Berlin electric piano
Guitar: PureSalem Mendiola through Vox Wah; one channel with Auto-Filter drive
Bass: 80s Epiphone Embassy II with EQ-8 low-end rolloff
Sends: convolution reverb (with high-pass Auto-Filter in front), Echo, Valhalla Supermassive
Master full-chain audio effect rack on the output.
Title comes from Messier 76, the Little Dumbbell Nebula.
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.