Category Archives: Live Performances

Alchemist/Dark Alchemist

A short while ago, Camel Audio was offering one of those nifty “pay what you want” deals for one of their sound sets, which came with a fairly versatile software player for them, along with some default sounds. I was playing around with some of the arpeggiation presets that were included, and found that one of them made for some very interesting sequences, and I just started playing with it live. I happened to record one of the takes, and this is the result. Not a very interesting story to be sure, but sometimes you just start playing around with various instruments, and suddenly you find inspiration.

Dark Alchemist is a continuation of the series started with Alchemist, and is another, somewhat more random/dissonant take on the sequence.

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)

Synth Thing

Alarm clocks and I have always had somewhat of a strained relationship. As a result, I’ve tried virtually every type of alarm clock out there that I can find, and none of them really seem to work perfectly. Analog alarm clocks have a ticking hand that drives me crazy trying to fall asleep, and while digitals are better, that grating beeping noise drives me insane. So, I try a radio alarm clock, but waking up to someone else’s idea of music isn’t very appealing (and neither is waking up to a screaming car commercial). Okay, fine then, I’ll use a CD-playing alarm clock – but what music can I use? Synth sounds are good, put trance is a bit too much for early in the morning… and anything too mellow won’t get me up. As a result, I created this – an evolving arpeggiation that starts off slow enough not to drive you crazy, but gets powerful and strident enough at the end to actually get you out of bed. Of course, as soon as I do this, I find out that my CD alarm clock is too limited to play recordable CDs… ah, well, that’s life, though.

Production Notes: All patches are done in Vanguard, including that one at the end which will definitely test the THX certification on your speakers… except for the one at the very very end, which is done using a Reaktor ensemble.


This is an ambient piece that I recorded live, using a custom patch that I created for Reaktor Subharmonic. Overall, I think that the sound ended up sounding almost a bit like something you might find in a Vangelis track, and it’s fast become one of my favorite sounds from this instrument. Anyway, the result is a reflective piece with an interesting and distinctive character.


Bandero is my second foray into musical visualization. The raw source for this piece was created on-the-fly, using an excellent application called ColorMusic written by Shinichiro Hirama. ColorMusic literally creates music from colors, by muving the mouse a cross a multicolored image to create interesting musical patterns, and is a much more freeform way of composing music than traditional means. For this piece, the raw data was obtained from a random screenshot, probably from a video game.