Category Archives: Semi-Industrial Life

Famicom Jam/Apreggiations

Ahhh… it feels so good to finally have some actual equipment! As to the song, I’ve always liked video game music, especially the “chiptunes” available from old systems, such as the NES and Genesis. They have a pure sound, and pioneered a variety of interesting sounds, including some fascinating arpeggiations. It is a sound that is not replicated much these days except by enthusiasts (perhaps for a good reason), but for their time, the consoles (and especially RPG games on the consoles) were able to reproduce a huge variety of interesting, polyphonic sounds that went far beyond the blips and bleeps of every early computer games. I almost get the sense that this same transition is now being made on cellphones and other handheld devices… At any rate, the Japanese name for the NES was the Famicom, hence the name.

Fast-forward to today, when I finally registered the incredible Vanguard synth instrument. For me, the Vanguard indicates a very large evolution in sound for me, as I can finally recreate some of the trance-inspired sounds that I’ve been trying to locate for quite some time. If you’re really into trance, check it out – it almost sounds better than some software synths that cost twice as much, and you can find a large number of preset banks for it if you’re determined enough. Anyway, one of those preset banks, by ProSounds, has a very interesting arpeggiated preset that, for some reason, reminded me of those interesting, early synth presets that were present on some of the early consoles.

So, I decided to just jam with a variety of different chord structures and sequences – and these tracks are the result. Unlike many of my other tracks, which are preprogrammed before being recorded, both of these pieces were performed live (the second piece was slightly quantized to fix a small glitch). The first piece is basically me just jamming away – in the second one, I try to pay a little more attention to specific patterns. Believe me, this is a great preset to just jam to, and let yourself be inspired… I could probably play around with this sound for a good half-hour if I was determined, but that’s a bit much for this website to handle :)

These tracks are of slightly higher quality than some of the previous ones (160kbps). I’m going to try this slightly upgraded sound quality for now, assuming that it doesn’t end up taking too much space on the site… I think the sound quality is just slightly better. As I’m writing this, I’m occasionally moving my hand over and trying some additional arpeggiations between sentences… Programming music in advance is nice for the exactness of the composition that you can create, but it’s definitely fun to just play around with a sound in realtime and see what you can come up with.
Production Notes: Sequenced in Logic Express. Instruments: Vanguard Synth (Prosounds Preset). Method: Recorded live using external keyboard controller. (I plan on adding this info to all of my tracks eventually, so that you have an idea how the track was built)

Temple Mount

Temple Mount, in my opinion, is one of the most professional-sounding songs I was able to produce in my old studio setup. It’s also the first song written (somewhat) with a purpose in mind. After having a radio show for a while, it seemed like a good idea to have an actual theme for my show. That being said, the inspiration for this song is probably from a remix of “Now We Know” by Hawkeye, which was used as an opening song in one of my first mixes for the program, as it had that kind of “radio news show theme” sound. In the end, though, Temple Mount ended up not sounding much like it – the closest comparison I could make is with some of the electronic sounds found in 80’s New Wave music. As for the name, I composed this music shortly after seeing “Black Hawk Down,” and had initially wanted to name it Mogadishu (in reference to “Madagascar” by Art of Trance, arguably one of the best electronic songs in existence) but decided against it. I finally decided to name it Temple Mount in reference to the horrendous violence that was occurring in the Middle East at the time. After all, if people listened to electronic music instead of blow each other up, wouldn’t the world be a much better place?

Fun Fact: Temple Mount was the intro music to my broadcast radio show, Life to a Beat (on KZSC Radio), for most of its broadcast run.

My Song

I almost wanted to call this track “Mr. Garage Band Demo Song.” Because, in essence, that’s what this is – a cool demo of me basically “playing around” and trying out all of the different features of Apple’s excellent looper/synth/sequencer, GarageBand. Instead, I decided on the name “My Song,” as this is the default track name assigned by GarageBand… still, despite that, this is still quite an original compilation, and definitely has a distinct “digint” feel to it.

This project was actually done in a number of sessions over the course of a couple of months – mainly because when I got up to 4 tracks of audio, my old computer didn’t have the juice to support any more, so I picked it up again when my new comp arrived. In terms of influences, I guess I was going for a slightly experimental-ambient sound, with maybe a slighty Bassic kind of sound… it definitely ended up in my usual experimental style, though.

If you listen closely, you’ll notice quite a few of Apple’s “stock” loops in this piece… although probably with some sounds you haven’t heard out of GarageBand before. This is because a number of the sounds are sampled from the excellent Green Oak Crystal audiounit synth. At any rate, I definitely like the ambience and ever-changing nature of this piece… this piece may not be for everyone, as it has its dissonant spots (ah, who am I kidding? If you’ve gotten through some of my other music, I’m sure you can handle this), but I find that I have this urge to play it over and over again…

I was originally going to post the first, slightly rougher version, but I decided to go back in and clean up a few spots before I posted the “re-tuned” release.


CoolPad was one of those rare compositions that was actually done incrementally, bit by bit, over the course of a number of weeks. Initially, CoolPad started with a single pattern I was playing on a Reaktor synth that I was demoing. So, I recorded a loop of the pattern, and began adding on other sounds, including tones from Buzzer, Vanguard, and others. Finally, I threw on a fairly simple drum loop, and that was the basic sound. From there, more things were layered on, and various different sounds came into play, finally leading to a breakdown and another buildup (with some sounds almost reminiscent of “Midnight in Berlin”), before finally coming up with a decent ending.

Aside from the main Reaktor pad sound and a few others from the likes of Buzzer, almost everything in this track is done with an instance of Vanguard (except for some EXSP strings). The drum loops (there is actually more than one) are from Garageband Jam Pack 2.


This is an odd, abstract, and kind of avant-garde electronic piece, with various widgy noises. It’s sort of darkly ambient in parts, with fun electronic beeping and otherworldly sounds. It’s generally quite a bit different than most of my other music. Basically, I was playing around in Live, and I decided I wanted to create something different, something that sounded a bit creepy and discordant, and this is the result. Overall, it’s not horribly complex, and I whipped it up fairly quickly, so it ends up being somewhat minimalist, but I think it sounds more direct as a result.

Created using Ableton Live. Drums are done using the built-in Impulse, other sounds from Green Oak Crystal, Reaktor Subharmonic, and the Beast. All midi programmed directly, no pre-fab loops.