I imagine that most people by now are familiar with NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month – the idea being that you sit down, write somewhere around 2000 or so words a day, and try to put together a complete novel in November. I have participated in NaNoWriMo before (in fact, you can find the story that I wrote for it elsewhere on my collection of sites), and have tried some of the various offshoots. I had no idea if this was actually a thing for music (I didn’t actually look it up until just now, but there are apparently some established challenges like this, including the RPM Challenge, February Album Writing Month, and National Solo Album Month).
I did not participate in any of these directly, but the challenge was roughly the same: work on and produce… some kind of sound just about every day, and create an album’s worth of stuff by the end of the month, while at the same time learning more techniques and doing further experimentation and familiarization with my collection of usual (and especially unusual) sound design tools and plugins. So, I worked on it through the month of November 2018, and now that the month is in the books, I am hereby releasing my NaAlProMo album.
If you want to just jump straight to the music, you can click on the link below to grab a ~100MB zip file containing the music files for the entire album.
Download the NaAlProMo Album
The album itself is definitely in the experimental genre, and contains over 60 tracks of… sound, or music if you’re feeling generous with the term. It contains everything from quick clips and sequences to full(ish)-length tracks. The album is focused in part on algorithmic generation, and features pseudo-randomly generated sequences for the underlying melodies. It also features techniques such as granular and spectral synthesis, among others.
Some of the plugins and program used in the project include: Dune 2, Z3TA2+, Hourglass, Quanta, Granulizer 2, Grainspace, Reaktor 6, MUnison, Microtonic, Drum Pro, Battery, BYOME, and many more…
While you can grab the archive and check out all of the audio files that way, I wanted to put some of my favorite tracks from the album in this post to stream directly:
audio test project
audio test projectt
fxtesting Edit 2 Export 1
As you may know, one of the things I like to do are field recordings and sampling of unusual potential instruments. While it’s true that the standard plastic fidget spinners don’t make a whole lot of interesting sounds (unless you like slightly clattering plastic), metal fidget spinners can spin fast enough to create some interesting wind/propeller effects, along with interesting metal ringing sounds as the spinning metal part tends to resonate at a certain frequency (this is especially true of stainless steel ones, which create an effect not entirely unlike a tuning fork or a singing bowl). Also the metal ones provide enough inertia that they can produce interesting audio with a loose or dirty bearing, allowing for some interesting mechanical grinding and wobbling timbres.
I’m considering doing another free sample pack using some metal spinners that I’ve come across here and there (recorded with my field recorder, so probably not studio quality, but useful to do things with in experimental music nonetheless). In the meantime, though, here’s a track that’s basically recordings of a few different metal spinners, processed through some glitch and granular effects to create an interesting little sonic noise-scape:
Step 1: Take the glass top to a corningware dish and spin it upside-down on a tile countertop.
Step 2: Record the oscillating glass noise.
Step 3: Experiment with the clip using various forms of granular synthesis, gating, extreme filter and delay warping, hyper-driven amps, and other fun stuff.
Step 4: Wobble Grind (Maximal) Wobble Grind (Minimal)
Oh yeah, warning: there’s a reason this one’s tagged “earbleed.” Some of the extreme driving produced some unusual side effects that are very shrill in pitch, so you may want to carefully moderate your volume when listening (or listen to the “minimal” version on the right, which has less of the especially hard programming).
This track is somewhat similar in composition method to Fourscore, and was created in an attempt to make a musical “card” for Mother’s Day. In a similar vein, the phrase “Happy Mother’s Day!” was entered into the DAW’s piano roll, in a font style similar to a 7-pin dot matrix display. The sequence is then looped and used with several different instruments, primarily a selection of sounds from the Sculpture physical modeling synth (some processed through the Space Designer reverb) and a custom arpeggiated sequence that I created in NLogPoly. The track is backed with a few drum loops and samples from Logic Pro. It is a little towards the atonal and discordant side, but has a punchy and direct sound that is definitely growing on me.
An ambient experiment involving several different sound sources, including time-stretched samples of city and construction noise alongside several different temporally varied versions of a field recording I did of walking around in a rainstorm with a creaky umbrella. It also features some Logic loops to complement the sound and the grinding, serendipitous feedback glitching that resulted in some of the samples as part of the stretching process. There are also some custom-tuned reaktor sound generators and several drum loops processed through ringshifters and granular synthesis. The result of all this? Well, it’s a sort of ambient/illbient weird thing that I guess could be somewhat relaxing (well, once you get through the grinding feedback-laden introduction, at any rate).
This is a very quick experimental piece that I wanted to try. A while back, I started playing around with trying to put image data directly into a music track by actually punching visual sequences into the piano roll. This time, I wanted to see what would happen if you tried to create pixellated text across an octave.
That’s literally what the track is titled. I found it while going through some audio folders on my PC. I think it’s some sort of insanity involving energyXT’s programmable arpeggiator, but I’m not entirely sure.
new midi clip
Essentially, this piece started off as three seperately played live arpeggiations – one focusing on a sort of standard synth sound, one “playing” a preset not unlike a military ship’s warning klaxon, and one of a glistening crescendo loaded with piercingly high frequencies. The first piece contains all the sequences, one after the other. The second piece, Insanity, mixed all 3 of them together… simultaneously. The result is an absolute sonic cacophony of insane noise – which, surprisingly enough, I actually like listening to (at least until it makes my ears start bleeding and I have to reach for the volume off control in desperation). Be forewarned – not for the faint of heart.