A quick experimental sketch, sort of a techno-themed piece. I wanted to do something playing off of some atmospheric noise sounds generated by Noisetar, which is a fascinating synth based entirely around digitally-generated noise rather than traditional oscillators (it’s available for free, in case you’re interested in playing around with it yourself). I used it to create the sort of noise background that the other sounds rise up from. Ultimately, I like the way it sounds as is (I like sticking it in my music player and playing it on continuous loop while I’m working on stuff, with the noise intro/outro it loops quite well), but I’m still thinking about adding in a few things to it and making it into more of a feature-length track.
So, it’s… 2017 somehow, close to a full year without posting here. Suffice it to say, I’ve been working on many other projects, which were not particularly music-related.
One thing I did work on, recently, was another alarm clock project. These days, like a lot of people, I use my cellphone as my alarm clock. However, the default ringtones all kick in immediately when the alarm triggers, creating an abrupt sort of sound that jolts me awake. I wanted to create a custom sound, the kind that’s pleasant (to me) and eases in gradually, but eventually gets loud enough to make sure the alarm is effective.
This track is the result. I’ve also included the download for the iOS ringtone version of it (sorry, I don’t have an android device, so if you want to use it for one you’ll need to convert the MP3 version yourself).
I’m not sure why, but I wanted to make something both painfully chaotic and relatively synchronized. Luckily, there happens to be an app for that, and it’s called BitWiz, a unusual program that essentially lets you program in a mathematical formula, and it will turn it into very intense digital-sounding noises. The underlying sound in the track was generated from a modification to one of the preset sequences, further disassembled with some Sonic Charge effects, accompanied by some of my favorite Reaktor ensembles until I got the level of sound I was looking for.
The result is… marginally listenable, but for some reason I really like it. Listening to it makes me feel… synchronized, somehow, especially when I put it on loop. Although I can’t listen to it for too long because then my ears start to hurt…
Also, the title was originally going to be Kabang for some arbitrary reason, but then I removed the G for an even more arbitrary reason. The removal, however, does not appear to objectively affect the sound quality.
This one is as much an experiment in sound design than anything else, tweaking a synth with a formant filter to create something… well, not really akin to it at all, but slightly evocative of overtone singing (which makes sense, considering that overtone singing is about formant manipulation above all else). It’s certainly an interesting thing to hear coming from what’s basically a subtractive synth, though. Not quite like someone singing, but eerily expressive nonetheless…
So, no surprise, I’m still busy with a dozen different things, which means that it’s been a good long while since I’ve actually sat down with my DAW and really worked extensively on a comprehensive new track. That’s not to say, though, that I haven’t still been involved with music. It’s just been a different process, more quickly playing around with stuff on my phone or tablet when I’m on the go, or pulling up a program and trying out a quick idea in a spare minute. Or, for example, singing random weirdness into the new Music Notes program and seeing how surreal the accompaniment can get:
What that means is that while I don’t have a ton of really cohesive songs to post, I do have a whole bunch of myriad random sound clips, that nonetheless have some very interesting sounds to them.
Such as this quick improvisation in iKaosscilator:
Or a couple of really quick clips of how the same underlying sound can be dramatically different just by tweaking a few effects:
Speaking of which, I’ve been playing around with a lot of new experimental effects, which can do quite a lot with even a very simple two-note sequence:
And then, um, there are these…
So, yeah, that’s what I’ve been up to music-wise recently. Admittedly, among some of these various tracks are some other clips that I think have some promise as the basis of a more extensive work, which will be heading for my DAW likely at some point in this next year (assuming the US isn’t swallowed up in a ravenous vortex of vicious politics). I’m still playing around with sound, still making music, even if it is a little bit more… bite-size at the moment. (Oh, actually, I did come up with a more complete track recently… trouble is, it’s another one for the NSFAE album, which means I can’t exactly release it here.)
In other news, while I haven’t really had a chance to utilize it a whole lot yet, I finally, after years of delay, made the jump to Logic Pro X. Which does, admittedly, have some nice features, although it killed off all of my 32-bit plugins, some of which I do miss dearly, although some of the replacements are even more promising (for example, CamelSpace, from the Apple-devoured Camel Audio, was a nice and extensive trancegate plugin, but Tantra takes it to a whole other level). And, in the interim, I have to admit that my musical style and technique have changed quite a bit, so while I miss some of the old sounds, a lot of the newer instruments that still work are more directly applicable to the things I’ve been wanting to work on, including some phenomenal granular synthesis instruments I’ve been having fun with. Between that and the rather impressive mini-studios I’ve managed to get going on my tablet, there are more opportunities than ever to explore the boundaries of sonic character, and I already have some fascinating ideas about what I want to try next…