Saturday, August 31, 2013

Day 253: Homage

My freshman year in college I was required to go to many music recitals.  There are many performance majors in a school of music, but all of the students don't normally make time to go see the performance majors perform (which is a requirement for their degree).  So, the School of Music made it a requirement for students to attend "x" number of these a year.  Then on occasion, there would be visiting composers, performers, or groups.  One of these visiting composers was electro-acoustic artist Carl Stone.  I attended a clinic where he played some of his music and spoke about his compositional methods, but was too shy to ask any questions myself.  Later, that evening, I went to a performance and had my mind blown.  It was not like anything I had ever experienced and opened a new door for me musically.  To summarize it changed the direction of all music I would make afterwards.
This piece is a reference to his record "Mom's" and, more specifically, the first track on that record.



Friday, August 30, 2013

Day 252: Exploring the New Rock

So this is a slight homage to the Rolling Stones, but is really more of a diatribe about how things are fucked up in America, A.K.A. "The Land of Opportunity".

First, let me state that I firmly believe America is a pretty great place to live, and it seems like many others agree, otherwise we would have significantly less immigration.  People emigrate to lots of other places, but I doubt Kurdistan has the same problems we do.  What I AM talking about is that while people say "You can be anything you want here." or "The sky's the limit."  I would say that's not quite true.  Some people are victims of circumstance and it's nearly impossible to break out of those circumstances.  Rather than rant anymore I'll let the music speak for itself.

Lyrics:
You can almost always get what you want (welcome to America),
In this land of giants and fools, 
you follow each and every rule.  
You think you know how to escape
But you don't know any way. 

 Only in america.

As long as night moves on, 
express yourself in every song, 
hold your head up high,
you can do it all, 
any way you want, 
you will never fall.  

Only in america, 
here in america.

You can almost always get what you want (welcome to America), 

Here in America.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Day 250: Revive

After much debating on the Propellerheads user forum I bought two new synths.  Revival and Antidote.  Two very different instruments, that can co-exist peacefully, as today's piece will show.  It's the most money I've spent on something musical in awhile, but sometimes you gotta splurge.  Enjoy.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Day 249: Experimental Experiment

Working on new routing combinations, seeing what the results are.  It's pretty weird.


Monday, August 26, 2013

Day 248: Almost 250, Actually 250 (Not Really)

heineken-is-goodSince I started counting at zero, this is actually post 250 (Edit: post 249 due to counting error).  Another 115 days and we'll be at a year.  It's flown by so far and I can say that I've learned a lot about making music, production, and myself.  Today's piece seems to be inspired by DJ Shadow.  So does that make it instrumental hip hop?



Sunday, August 25, 2013

Day 247: LoopLoopLoopLoop

"We have to go back to the beginning."

I love films about time travel.  Particularly ones that make it messy and 'normal'.  Sort of this is something that happens and it has consequences.  Usually there's a lot of action in those movies, and that's fun too, but it's the conundrums and disconnects with the way that we normally think of life that helps me to enjoy them any more (see Primer for an example).

This piece, for the Disquiet Junto project on Soundcloud, was inspired by that kind of feeling.  The vocals are only one sentence.

"We have to go back to the beginning."


More on this 86th Disquiet Junto project, in which a song was made based on its assigned title (“Hyperloop”), at:


More on the Tesla Hyperloop at:


More details on the Disquiet Junto at:




Saturday, August 24, 2013

Day 246: High Five Piano Alive!

A few days ago I was having a REALLY BAD DAY, so I went into my studio, shut the door, hit record, and started playing piano.  It's a little noodley, but it was one take.  To be completely transparent, I did clean up some notes in post.  After that I added a little accompaniment and voila!  Insta-filmmusic!






Friday, August 23, 2013

Day 245: More Music for the Days

A kind of mixed bag piece today.  There's some experimentation with Bitspeek, some with the Konstruct Refill, some with delay.  Overall it came together all right, I suppose.

Lyrics:
You may not come back from this, this time.

No one asked you to speak.  
Why don't you take the time?
Think for yourself, don't bother me.
I don't have the time.

You acted like a fool, 
you thought you were so cool,
Now you have to deal with all the consequences of your actions.

No one asked you to speak.  
Why don't you take the time?
Think for yourself, don't bother me.
I don't have the time.


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Day 243: Last Junk

Here's the third, and possibly the last, piece for HitRecord.org.  I've created several instruments from the samples provided, so they may pop up again from time to time.

I imagined this piece in an indie short film with lots of cuts back and forth between the two people meeting for the first time.


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Day 242: Not a piano

This track is another one for HitRecord.org.  Today I realized that it's against the user policy to actually publish these works anywhere other the HitRecord website so I might redo this one with an instrument/sample that isn't attached to the site.  Otherwise this, yesterday's, and tomorrow's track won't be on the next 100 days album.

We can't have that at all.


Monday, August 19, 2013

Day 241: Hit that Record button

I'm a member of HitRecord.org, Joseph Gordon-Levitt's site that is currently making a TV show exclusively from user submissions.  It's a really interesting project and this one was right up my alley.  Basically, it's making music from junk.  Composer Nathan Johnson (Brick, Looper) took a bunch of field recordings in a junk yard and people remix them into music.  This was my first effort.  More to follow.

More info here.


Sunday, August 18, 2013

Day 240: Automatic Monkey Robot Hat Machine

Another experiment using strictly automation to create music.  I should note that these were inspired by Peff and his great tutorial on controlled voltage.  Pretty dark again.  I'll try to make the next one pretty and diatonic...


Friday, August 16, 2013

Day 239: Mixed Roles

Today's piece is another that is a Disquiet Junto assignment.  These three simple tasks are deceptive:

You will make the beat with an oscillator.
You will make the background sound bed with a drum machine.
You will make the melody with a field recording.
Yes, I can do all those things.  

Where I threw myself a loop was my field recording.  It's not very "melodic".  I ended up making it into an instrument, then processing that instrument with milliseconds-long delay.  By playing with the delay you can create pitch - basically it's just an oscillator, only less precise.  

The actual oscillator I used for the beat was VERY basic.  The primary beat is a stair step wave pattern on 1,2,3,and 4, then in my "B" section I threw in a hemiola square wave to create more tension.  Rather than use the oscillator to create any tones I chose to just use the "clicks" of a very slow oscillator as a metronome of sorts.

  Finally, the sound bed created by a drum machine.  I have umpteen-thousand different kinds of drum machine (patches) and could have easily "cheated" and made this part simple.  To be fair I used a 606 drum machine and turned it into an ambient pad.  Washing it out with the right amount of reverb and other effects I came to what I felt was an appropriate sounding pad.  The key here was to focus on the only things with decent tone - the toms.

In the "C" section of the piece I turn the roles on their heads and allow everything to fall into it's right place for just a moment.  The oscillator creates a tone, the drums play rhythm, the field recording is noise.  Oddly, it doesn't really feel right to me.  The new roles they have been assigned are their proper roles... if there is such a thing.


More on this 85th Disquiet Junto project, in which a song is made with three simple parts (oscillator, drum machine, field recording), at:
http://disquiet.com/2013/08/15/disquiet0085-3parts/
More details on the Disquiet Junto at:
http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Day 238: Like a Robot Boss

This track comes courtesy of controlled voltage in Reason.  I've done a bit of routing and playing with just a few waveform generators so you could hear this short work.  The title kind of presented itself after the work was done.

I will admit that I felt like a fucking champ after successfully routing all the stuff in the picture and creating what I can comfortably call music.







Day 237: Back to the Past

A throwback track with a retro feel to it.

Lyrics:
There is a sun on the horizon calling you.
You are the bird, 
I am the sky,
We're almost there.

You are the moon,
I am the child,
We're nearly there.

Don't slow down, 
Til you reach the top,
then you hold your head up high.
Don't slow down,
Til you touch down,
Then you hold your head up high.

You hold the keys to the palace of your mind in your hand.

Don't slow down, 
Til you reach the top,
then you hold your head up high.



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Day 236: More on the Machine

Partially inspired by the "Wild Card" book series, edited by George R.R. Martin

Lyrics:
Not likely to find my way back,
Not going to try, just try to act.

Where is the path?

Closet full of ghosts. 
Closet full of lies,
You expected the truth,
I'm not that kind of guy.

Where is the path?

We all stand in line, biding our time.

You haven't got an honest bone in your mouth.
You have the courage to take it down South,

Where is the path?

A hole in your shoes matches the hole in your soul,
Dirty teeth smiling as you take on your role.

Where is the path?

Gun in your hand looking for the line, biding your time.
Villain  on the streets wreaking havoc above,
Stay below.
On the streets 
Stay below.


Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Day 235: Spaced Out

As someone famous never said "I like my music like I like my women:  LONG, SLOW, AND AMBIENT."

As I continue my daily experiments with the Malstrom synthesizer unit I'm coming to appreciate it a little more.  Working with it takes a little more "effort" than Thor or Subtractor.  If you put some thought behind your decisions then the machine yields some stupendous sounds.  With Thor and Subtractor I frequently twiddle knobs and play with random routing to see how it comes out.  Malstrom requires a little more finesse.

This piece has a strong Brian Eno influence to it, although it didn't start out that way.  The synth stab you hear at the beginning was the start, which, to me, is very un-Eno-like.  It evolved into this kind of noisy ambient piece you hear here over a few days work.


Monday, August 12, 2013

Day 234: Getting Up There

An ambient work that's just begging to be in a film.  Now to find the film....


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Day 233: A Lesson in Madness


This track needs words.  It's the third in my series of using the Malstrom synth unit and only that (well, not counting effects).

Make sure you listen all the way to the end.




Friday, August 9, 2013

Day 232: Daily

This is another experiment in collaboration with the Disquiet Junto.

I wanted to include some sounds that were part of my day-to-day life in this modified field recording.  I've always liked the sound of the baler at my job (it compresses cardboard boxes into very flat layers so as to aid in recycling) and I've always felt that it was somewhat musical.  This gave me an excuse to record it.  Second, the quiet one, was just the sound of pumping gas, or petrol, at a filling station.  The pump made an interesting squeaking sound, so I went with it.  The rest is just making them fit together and making the piece somewhat interesting.  Cheers.

More on this 84th Disquiet Junto project, in which two distinct field recordings are connected through a transition between isolated elements, at:

http://disquiet.com/2013/08/08/quotidianthread/

More details on the Disquiet Junto at:

http://soundcloud.com/groups/disquiet-junto/


Day 231: Along these lines

Sometimes I have a scant couple of hours to complete a piece in its entirety.  This was the case for today's work.  Then it's back to laundry, work, kids, driving, dishes, bills, and all other manner of things.  Oh yeah, thinking about tomorrow's piece also.


Thursday, August 8, 2013

Day 230: Not Religious in Nature

Wanted to work on a piece that used just the Malstrom synthesizer in Reason.  It's a pretty awesome little unit, but I frequently ignore because Thor is so much more powerful.  I've tried before, but didn't have a whole lot of luck.  It went a little better this time.  Please enjoy.



Lyrics:
The Sun in the sky showed us it was time to bring out the sacrifice.

You stood above the crowd shouting so loud,
Finger pointing the way,
Words sounding so true.
You pulled out all the lies,
You held them in the air,
All of us stood in awe, going nowhere.

You showed us the way,
Nothing we could say.

When words won't suffice,
Action will have to do.
You held up your end of the bargain.
We have to follow all  the way down.
Something in the truth of the path you showed us.

REFRAIN

The Sun in the sky showed us it was time to bring out the sacrifice.

REFRAIN



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Day 229: Cleaning House

Was going thru old tracks on the hard drive and found this little gem.  It's been sitting there for a couple of years at least.  Time to let it out into the world.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Day 228: Three Chords and the Truth

So this piece has three chords...  three really long, long... long chords. And then the first one plays again.  We'll call it "ambient".

Lyrics:
Do you understand?


Monday, August 5, 2013

Day 227: 8 Bits, both barrels

Quite some time ago I started on an album called "8Bit Roundhouse".  My original plan was to make an album of chiptunes, but after working on it a little I decided that traditional chiptunes don't really have enough timbre and color variation for me.  Instead it's become more of an "influenced by videogames and 8-bit music" album.  This is the opening track on the album.

I'm hoping to have it finished by the end of the month.

Cheers.

Lyrics:
I can't believe the things I'm seeing,
I can't believe you can live this way.
I can't believe your house is caving in on itself.
Now what do you want to do with yourself?
Where do you think this ends?
Where do you think this is?
Where does this end for you?
Where do you think this is?


Sunday, August 4, 2013

Day 226: On Being Under Surveillance

Today is another installment in the Disquiet Junto project on Soundcloud.  It's an exploration of a redacted document recently released from the NSA.

The document itself is pretty laughable, but the first thing I thought after looking at it was to turn it on its side and recreate the small mountain range of black lines to control pitch, frequency modulation, volume, and a few other things.


When looking at it this way, in my eyes, it immediately becomes a "musical" document.  After creating a few tracks and putting them thru several permutations based on the document I added a "B" section in which the "A" section gets totally scrambled, last I added a vocal at the end with the words "Are you listening?" For good measure, I ran the vocal thru a "glitch" patch so as to scramble it appropriately.  Wouldn't want anyone to understand it now, would we?

The piece itself is firmly in the "experimental electronic" genre, but I felt like some musicality emerged from it.


Friday, August 2, 2013

Day 224: Singing

Singing to Henry.  More production this time.
henry-sitting


Thursday, August 1, 2013

Day 223: Quietly

We listen to the sound of bells,
No one can hear them,
No one can tell,
You wait with ears strained, patient to see,
Is anyone listening to you or to me?