Monday, May 12, 2008

ARP Watch: Chronic Dreams

Haven't been doing much ARPing lately, but here's an album that just came out on Magnatune that has a little of my ARP wizardry on it:

Four Stones - Chronic Dreams 2

Listen to the song "Through The Glass", and you'll hear it.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Welcome, Matrixsynth

I see that the kind folks at MatrixSynth posted a note about this blog. Thanks! I'm embarrassed to say that I haven't updated in months; that's primarily due to my having started graduate school this year, and just not having much time. But hey, hop on the RSS feed, and I promise there will be more eventually. :).

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Recent Tracks

I realized recently that with the format of this blog, it's sort of hard to listen to the actual music (which is the whole point, right?). So I put in this handy new mp3 player that's got a list of all the tracks in it. It should auto-play, too. Nifty, no?

More tracks coming soon, I promise. The office has been dug out, the ARP has been plugged in, and music shall flow once again.

Wednesday, January 31, 2007


At the insistence of my friend Karl (aka "Liquid Faith"), with whom I've been working (albeit slowly) on an electronic music collaboration for some time now, I'm finally getting back to work on some ARP compositions. Today was the first in months. Here it is:

Garnet (mp3, 5.6MB)

Karl told me I had to make one that was at least 10 minutes. I tried, but all I got was 5 and a half. Hey, it's better than my usual (45 seconds). I didn't focus on any particular patch this time - just messed around until I got what I wanted. This is just 3 tracks - one on a tonic, one on the dominant 7, and one playing an ostinato. I slowly and carefully nudged the tuning and resonance around to get the interesting textures.

And the name is for my friend Carrie, who may or may not be having a baby today.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Patch 2: Trumpet & French Horn

Here it is, in all of it's trumpety glory:

02: Trumpet & French Horn (mp3, 2MB)

Here's the patch:

(Click for a full-size PDF.)

I decided that this sound called for a more studied approach than my last one. An actual composition, written in Finale, sent to the ARP via MIDI. I would kill several birds with one stone:
- learn how to get MIDI signals out of my computer;
- avoid the latency problem on the mbox (because I can record each line separately);
- take on a compositional challenge I've not done recently (4 part harmony)

The composition took me longer than I expected. It'd been a while since I did any four-part composition or arranging, and even with the radness of having Finale play the parts together for me as I composed, it still took a long time. I'm happy with the results, though; it's got a steady rhythmic feel that makes it come off as alomst baroque, but the harmonic structure is more dense & modern (perhaps a little jazz influenced). The modal center of the piece keeps shifting, so it's not really in any one key. If you're interested, here's the score: PDF | Finale

The tones don't exactly sound like trumpets or french horns, but you can (kind of) see the resemblance (sort of). I opted for a sound somewhere in the middle of the two instruments.

Getting the composition to play on the ARP required a USB-Midi interface; I went to Shred Center and picked up a Midisport Uno. Another $40 dropped, but for a good cause.

Recording the parts back into my computer was a bit of a trick, as Finale wouldn't play back midi while Protools was running (probably jealous). So I extracted the parts in Finale and exported them individually to MIDI, then imported those into Protools, which can play back MIDI and record audio simultaneously.

The first pass sounded a little bit too synth like, so I dampened the envelope to sound a bit duller and re-recorded the parts at a slower tempo (which was easy after having imported those MIDI files into Protools). I had originally planned to manually add expressions to the tracks as I recorded them, but I didn't; I may do that for a future composition, but this time I decided to just let the parts stand.

A little stereo separation and d-verb on the results to make it nicer to listen to, and it's a wrap. I may post some more compositions along this line, or I may just move on to my next challenge: Patch 3, "Trucker Bass". Seriously.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

file fixes

When I moved hosts a few weeks ago, it escaped my attention that I messed up the paths on all the sound clips on this blog. Doh. Anyway, they're fixed now. More to come this week.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Always We Begin Again

Tap tap tap ... is this thing on?

Ahem. So, it's been a while (6 weeks) since I've posted here. That is primarily because I haven't done a darn thing on this project. But don't lose hope! I've been commissioned to do a soundtrack for a short film called "A Mind Away", and I just started work today. That involved getting the recording setup back together, blowing off the dust, and remembering what I was doing. I sent the director the first scene rough today (after discovering, to my joy, that ProTools LE does in fact allow sync video editing) and I will moreover be doing a lot of work in the coming few weeks.

I've also moved web hosts, so I'll have enough space to put all my tracks up for the world to enjoy. So far, I gotta say, WebSiteSource has been head and shoulders above any other host I've ever tried.

I'm going to get in the habit of posting weekly on this blog, with something interesting to listen to. Also, patch #2 (trumpet and french horn) is done and I'll post it next week. And wait'll I tell you about my new "Video Game Music" project ...