Category Archives: Semi-Industrial Life

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.

Trance Sequence

Well… after a day of listening to endless hours of mixsets, I was getting ready to head off to bed when a melody popped into my head. I quickly rushed over to the computer and banged out a horrible rendition of the melody, then went to bed. The next morning, I picked up the melody, and tried to get it to sync correctly – no dice. So, I ended up doing some editing, and what was to be a laidback melodic track turned into bass-pounding hardtrance… In any case, this project rolled to the final note after some hours, and then a couple more of additional tweaking. All in all, it was definitely an interesting project, and aside from a few program glitches, came together surprisingly quickly – my other recent “long” piece, which is being released simultaneously with this one, was done incrementally over the course of weeks.

I had planned on doing a “pro mastered version” of this, with all sorts of fascinating EQ, compression, and so on, with a powerfully EQed GPO Steinway Grand in place of the Bashar Maestro soundfont. However, once it was put into place, I realized that while the piano sounded absolutely amazing on its own, it turned the mix into a muddled wall of sound that drowned out the other instrumentation. Unfortunately, while working on resolving this and coming up with a new mix for the track, the sequencer became unstable, and eventually corrupted the project file so that I could no longer open it, as well as the automatic backup. As I have no other versions of the project file, the resulting mp3 is, regrettably, the only surviving version of this track.

This track definitely falls within the genre of trance, but it doesn’t necessarily follow all of the usual rules that you’ll hear in the mainstream – it definitely takes on a life of its own, and it definitely has the feel of a DigInt piece. That being said, it covers most of the high notes – the 1/4 note 808 kicks, the required section of slow, muted pad sounds, drum/filtersweep buildups, and a number of powerful, screaming arpeggiated leads. The peice definitely harkens back to the harder sounds for the earlier days of trance and rave music – it tires to be clean and dirty at the same time, and almost succeeds at both.

One thing to note is that I was inspired to do this track by System F’s powerful “Dance Valley Theme 2001.” It was the model that I used for tweaking Vanguard and some compressors to at least somewhat emulate that crisp, clean, articulate bass sound. The bass pattern is slightly based on that as well (okay, maybe more than slightly based… but the actual notes are quite different, and let’s face it, there are really only so many ways to do a 3-note trance bassline). DVT, however, is a much different track, and is in fact one of my favorites – it harkens back to the day where trance was much less complex, much cleaner, and much less homogenized. DVT definitely stands out as a track all on its own, and I can only hope that my music can live up to that as well. If you can track down that tune, it’s definitely worth a buy – which is why it’s a shame that it’s virtually impsosible to find in the states (I heard it in a recording of Armin van Buuren’s A State of Trance, from a webcast on ID&T Radio).

As usual, all sequencing work was done in Logic. There were a number of different things that went into this track. The piano and strings were done with the EXSP sample player – the piano is the Bashar Maestro Piano soundfont, and the strings are a string ensemble patch from Garritan Professional Orchestra (oh, and one of the basslines was from a preloaded EXSP sample). The main leads, the bassline, and the pads were done in Vanguard – many were from the Bigtone soundbank, although the second main lead was my own custom-tweaked “powercore” preset. Oh, and the weird, wobbly sound thing that comes in at some point was done in FilterScape. Finally, the drums were done with the GarageBand Drum Kits sample instrument, with the TR-808 sample set.

BTW, you can also download this track from SoundCloud.


This song is basically indicative of my love/hate relationship with Christmas carols. Well, okay, maybe not so much love, but you have to admit that some of the traditional Christmas songs have a very nice sound to them – until you’ve heard them over the radio, the television, the supermarket PA system, and quite possibly your own atonal co-workers. So, in all honesty, this song is more about my hate of Christmas carols, coupled with my love of the pure, unadulterated sounds of basic sine waves.

As you can probably tell, the main melody is played live, by me, and is partially – but not entirely – corrected via post-processing. This, in fact, is partly intentional, as the goal of this song is to be interesting, while being just annoying and out-of-sync enough to drive you absolutely crazy! Of course, that wasn’t my intent when I began this piece – I had been playing around with different sounds on my keyboard, and listening to pure sine tones, when I tried out various melodies, including the classic Noel. So, I decided to play it into my sequencer and mess around with it a bit. However, after playing it over and over and over and over again in the sequencer, I decided that there is no way I’m going to make a Christmas carol that does not somehow embody the sheer annoyance that they seem to spawn in most people about this proximity to the holidays – and so you have this piece.

Don’t let that description turn you off, though – it’s still an interesting piece. It does follow my tendency to like building tones onto melodies over continually varying instrumentation, but I think that it has some very intriguing layering to it, as it goes from the simplest tones possible, to frenetic insanity, and back again. If you like Christmas music, or if you hate Christmas music, or if you just want to annoy your co-worker with more of the musical holiday spirit, then this is the track for you!

Production Notes: The track was, of course, produced and sequenced in Logic. The main melody line is created by the AirySynth, which is one of the best synths for creating simple, pure tones (not to mention the fact that it’s free, if you’re interested in playing around with it). Bells with EFM-1, weird detune thing with Buzzer, gliding synth lead by Crystal, and everything else by Vanguard. Yes, I know there’s a very slight glitch at the front of the track – I think this has something to do with the way the synth activates, so you’ll just have to live with it until I can figure out a workaround.

Also note that I have nothing against Christmas as a holiday, religious or otherwise – I just have something against the overwhelming commercialism and trite musical drivel that accompanies it.

Matrix Hit

After the One Silver Bell prototype, Matrix Hit is my first real attempt at trying to design trance music. It stems from a number of influences, including some of the instrumentals from The Matrix (hence the name), an excellent trance piece called Open Your Eyes by Nalin & Kane, and a song by The Cynic Project that I don’t quite remember. However, that being said, this piece has a voice, and a sound, all its own.

There are a number of technological advances in this work over most of my previous pieces. This was written in a newer version of Melody Assistant, and I was able to use the built-in sound filters to enhance the violin sample to its present state. The beat structure is also set up differently, to great effect, and the percussion samples were also upgraded. Put together, Matrix Hit is by far one of the most professional-sounding pieces that I have written.



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.

Project – Modified

Project – Modified was the very first song to be posted on my website. The concept for this song, interestingly enough, originated from a project that came along before DigInt officially began – DEK Radio, my first-ever experience with anything akin to broadcast radio, many years before Life to a Beat. With the advent of, and the completion of a Macintosh mp3 program capable of Shoutcast streaming, DEK Radio was my first foray into the world of broadcast radio.


I hesitate to mention September 11th, because of the strong feelings and single-minded patriotism that is fast becoming associated with it. Still, it is an event that has touched everyone to some extent, both in the united states and abroad. This song isn’t a tribute – I won’t try to force patriotism on you. No person, no country, is entirely innocent or guilty – by the same token, no one person or country is with or against God.

Doobie Doo

This is actually, I believe, one of the first pieces I ever sequenced. It has a relatively simple melody and beat, but it’s still a strong piece of music. I had originally composed only the first 10 bars or so, and, as with many of my pieces, came back to it after a long hiatus to flesh it out. The piece can stand alone as it is, but it is one of the pieces I have considered remixing with some added background to give the piece a more complete sound.