I listen to a significant amount of chiptune music, but it’s been a while since I’ve tried working on any. However, I’ve recently been playing with a small synth called MiniBit that I picked up during holiday sales. It’s devoted entirely to that chiptune/lo-fi sound, and has some quite intriguing tones, including a mini-“additive” waveform editor. I’ve been throwing some algorithmic rhythms at it and the results are far more intriguing than I anticipated.
The following tracks feature a couple of randomly-generated and subsequently edited waveforms, along with some default drum patches, with some processing by BYOME to get the “squishy” sort of extra ambient drum bed. These are more demo loops than full songs, but the second one seems like it could have served as the background music in a rudimentary platformer back in the day…
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:
So, over the holidays, one of my gifts to myself was to take advantage of holiday sales to flesh out my library of instrument and effect plug-ins, on computer and on mobile (especially to take advantage of the AUv3 instrument integration into iOS mobile DAWs). On the computer side, though, I picked up a couple of interesting effects (Glitchmachines Quadrant and Illformed Glitch 2), and a couple of synths that were different from my standard repertoire, including Wiggle, which I’m not sure I can even quite describe yet, and the most recent synth designed by Dmitry Sches, Thorn.
Maybe it’s the fact that I’m more experienced with different types of synthesis now, or the fact that the instrument really is quite intuitive to program, but I’ve actually been getting into some sound design with it. Aside from the now-defunct Vanguard, which had few enough parameters that I felt like I could tackle them all, for the most part I’ve mainly done tweaks to existing synth patches. Something about Thorn, though, makes me really want to just dive right in and see what I can create. I haven’t even tried any of the presets that it came with yet, just starting from a blank preset and going from there, and I’ve already created some interesting stuff, like the following clip, which is just one of my synth programs applied to a simple set of notes:
And just for fun, here’s a version of it accompanied by some effected drums:
A Sequence (Drums)
A quick experimental sketch, sort of a techno-themed piece. I wanted to do something playing off of some atmospheric noise sounds generated by Noisetar, which is a fascinating synth based entirely around digitally-generated noise rather than traditional oscillators (it’s available for free, in case you’re interested in playing around with it yourself). I used it to create the sort of noise background that the other sounds rise up from. Ultimately, I like the way it sounds as is (I like sticking it in my music player and playing it on continuous loop while I’m working on stuff, with the noise intro/outro it loops quite well), but I’m still thinking about adding in a few things to it and making it into more of a feature-length track.
I’m not sure why, but I wanted to make something both painfully chaotic and relatively synchronized. Luckily, there happens to be an app for that, and it’s called BitWiz, a unusual program that essentially lets you program in a mathematical formula, and it will turn it into very intense digital-sounding noises. The underlying sound in the track was generated from a modification to one of the preset sequences, further disassembled with some Sonic Charge effects, accompanied by some of my favorite Reaktor ensembles until I got the level of sound I was looking for.
The result is… marginally listenable, but for some reason I really like it. Listening to it makes me feel… synchronized, somehow, especially when I put it on loop. Although I can’t listen to it for too long because then my ears start to hurt…
Also, the title was originally going to be Kabang for some arbitrary reason, but then I removed the G for an even more arbitrary reason. The removal, however, does not appear to objectively affect the sound quality.