Sun Mar 13 2022 20:00:00 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
Last week was the fourth and final week for the experimental music course I've been taking. Due to being busy with other things, I had put off the "homework" for a week and got back to experimentation this weekend.
Last week's lesson was all about synth techniques. What a doozy! I feel like that's a very difficult subject to cram into a 90 minute session. Even if you can be certain that people have some exposure to basic signal theory and techniques, it's really difficult to describe a patch and there's definitely some problems around expecting people to have access to specific modules (are formant and shepherd filters that commonplace? lol). As an exhibition, it was very cool...but as a teaching/learning session, I think it was a bit of a stretch.
I did 3 or 4 different patches, one of which was strongly inspired by one of Jamie Stewart's example patches in the class (although I made a couple small tweaks). I took some of the session audio and arranged it into this rough track:
Honestly, in a pretty dark place while making these. Stoked with how they turned out, but the mix could use a lot of love, something that I'm not going to put time into right now though.
Tue Feb 22 2022 21:30:00 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
As I mentioned in the last blog, I'm taking a zoom course on Composing Experimental Music, we have optional "homework" assigned -- which is really a set of flexible techniques to experiment with and explore timbre.
In class, Jamie demonstrated several means of exploring amp feedback width stringed instruments (including the immediately recognizable autoharp!), and I really don't have any viable stringed instruments right now. I really wanted to make one out of scrap wood and rubber bands, but time didn't afford that this cycle (I hope to revisit sometime soon). It occurred to me that the springs inside the spring reverb tank might behave a little bit like oddly shaped "strings", so I performed some feedback experimentation.
In this experiment, I left the reverb tank input open, so all sound was internally generated through mechanical vibration of the springs -- either through externally tapping with hand or drumstick, or by the speaker vibrations resonating with the coils. This is what I had really hoped to explore.
I absolutely LOVE the industrial echoing machinery sounds of the spring reverb, but I wasn't going for that this time around.
I got some interesting resonances by playing with various effects settings and modulating the position of the tank and riding the effects controls (mostly volume).
From this experiment, I have put together one rushed/stupid video and one clip of excerpts.
I later set the amp on its back and had the tank sitting on the mesh facing down/vertical. This allowed me to adjust positions while being more able to monitor the effects controls with two hands. I worked with several varied effects modes, but mostly used the downward pitch shift in hopes of getting a lower frequency bass response and reducing the high-pitch static feedback tone that everybody can picture in their head right now.
It was a much longer session, but here are several edited excerpts:
Direct link is here: Homework 02b
I am pleased with the resonant tones/outcome of this experiment, and I believe that additional exploration with a bass cabinet or feeding back through a transducer (possibly through mechanical linkages of odd varieties) could yield even more interesting timbres.
Sun Feb 20 2022 00:30:00 GMT-0800 (Pacific Standard Time)
I'm taking Jamie Stewart's course on Composing Experimental Music, and it's already halfway through and I'm enjoying it tremendously. It's blazingly fast paced and is covering a TON of ground on so many varied topics really quickly.
All of the "homework" is optional and this course is just not for credit or anything, but one of the reasons I wanted to take it was to be exposed to some new possibilities and to nudge myself to do some more experimentation.
For the first assignment, I decided to dust off a synthesizer I built 20 years ago, the triwave picoswash. I ran it through a modeling amplifier that was scrounged from a dumpster that I later repaired (tho it's still fucked up, only one of the digits on the display is working). Jamie covered a little about frequency beating (not a new concept, but one I haven't explored much recently), so I decided to spend some time de/tuning the two sides of the triwave into giving some interesting beat patterns.
Of course, the triwave always sounds better when patched through the noise swash, and then I ran the amp in a reverb/delay mode with the parameters up basically all the way (tho it's hard to be sure with the broken display, heh).
So here's a brief clip from that session, just recorded on a phone:
The second class gave several assignments, and one of them involved capturing a field recording and then turning it into a composition using the DAW. It was a rather slow and mostly quiet Friday afternoon in my neighborhood, but I managed to get some sounds recorded and turned them into this piece here:
Here is the direct link to mp3 here: Homework 02a
I'm pleased with the way it turned out! I wanted to make some musique concrète while keeping some aspects of the source material clearly audible. I wanted it to sound like a field recording, but with some enhanced editing/mixing/structure/interest.
There are several more parts to the "homework" (all of it is optional, for fun/learning/experimentation), I have a bit more to finish up and share. More to come in a following blog entry.
Tue Jun 27 2017 20:23:20 GMT-0700 (Pacific Daylight Time)
I wanted to build out my own sample pack by extracting audio from a set of video files, and built a tool to help do that. Maybe you're into this stuff and want to check it out too? Here's the source on github: