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
So, it’s… 2017 somehow, close to a full year without posting here. Suffice it to say, I’ve been working on many other projects, which were not particularly music-related.
One thing I did work on, recently, was another alarm clock project. These days, like a lot of people, I use my cellphone as my alarm clock. However, the default ringtones all kick in immediately when the alarm triggers, creating an abrupt sort of sound that jolts me awake. I wanted to create a custom sound, the kind that’s pleasant (to me) and eases in gradually, but eventually gets loud enough to make sure the alarm is effective.
This track is the result. I’ve also included the download for the iOS ringtone version of it (sorry, I don’t have an android device, so if you want to use it for one you’ll need to convert the MP3 version yourself).
Download as iOS Ringtone
An experimental album of music played/sequenced live and recorded on my phone/tablet using various music apps. All songs here are the first “live” draft, and may be corrected/reprocessed later. Generally ambient synth/rock sound.
1. Barbecuew (created by… my voice, primarily)
1. An Unpopular Lactobacilli (created in Beatwave)
2. A Vaguely Popular Lactobacilli (created in Beatwave)
3. RainA (created in Rockmate)
4. Yergi (created in Rockmate)
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).
As you may know by now, I’m quite a fan of the democratizing nature of technology in terms of music creation, and the proliferation of tools designed to make creating music fun and accessible to people of all ages and skill levels. An application that I came across recently, Isle of Tune for iOS, definitely fits the bill: it’s a simple algorithmic sequencer cleverly disguised as a city-building sim. You lay out roads to define the sequence, buildings and scenery placed alongside generate nodes and effects, and cars on the road serve as the “pulse” to trigger the sounds in sequence. The program gets more interesting, though, when you realize that the cars can travel at different speeds, in different directions, and that the roads can be constructed to be far more than a simple loop or linear sequence. This makes the program great for exploring Reich-esque phased patterns, and makes for some surprisingly unique musical opportunities.
Below is the sound of a couple of cities that I designed, although I’m currently working on some that are far more complex…
Pretty much everything on this track is generated to some extent by Reaktor’s various ensembles. The core of the track is a heavily transformed live playing of Reaktor’s Acoustring ensemble, modified by Traktor effects, and accompanied by a large number of Reaktor algorithmic grooveboxes and sound generators. The overall result is a pseudo-ambient piece with an interesting, pulsating sound that cycles between gentle and gritty. This song was definitely interesting to work with, as it took the original melody line and managed to transform it into something almost unrecognizable compared to the original, but much more interesting.
There are two versions of the track that you can download – the Minimal version, which focuses mainly on the transformed melody accompanied by a couple of generated sounds, and the All-Inclusive version, which includes many additional generators and grooveboxes. The minimal version is good for listening to the essence of the track, while the all-inclusive version has a much fuller sound.
Playing live, with an echoey, ambient synth environment (unfortunately, I can’t remember which synth I was using for this, but it might have been FilterScape). A very relaxing, flowing ambient techno track.
An original live composition created using the Nintendo DS experimental music cartridge Electroplankton.