Saturday, September 27, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
I find myself often revisiting this video ever since I first saw it last year. It is fascinating. Instead of Fourier and sine waves or wavelet theory, a piano is used for the different additive components. I am glad that they made the piano speak in English so I can be even more amazed at the intelligibility of the speech.
Tuesday, September 23, 2014
So... a couple conversations came up at Knobcon about writing songs:
I suppose that it is becoming more and more scarce that electronic musicians actually sing songs and have melodies, verse, chorus, etc. It is sort of strange to me that it surprised other people who were previously unfamiliar with my music for me to actually be singing - but I guess that it makes sense because a lot of modern modular synthesizer artists are making impromptu dance music or experimental noise.
I like the idea of a song that can be covered on other instruments. In order for this to happen, there has to be some components to the song that others can latch onto - whether this is a melody, chord progression, or structural latch. I am not saying that without these elements, you don't have music or you don't have a song. I am also not saying that other people should cover my songs. I am simply saying that I try to write songs that have these components which make a song relational. I like to make music that a person can remember a certain moment in the song or think about when they are not hearing it.
So I have been obsessed with portative/portativ organs lately. I used to think that possibly modifying an accordion with pipes would be sufficient, but the pipes for more than a 2 octaves would end up being to bulky to be small and portable - most accordions are 3 octaves or more. The following is a video of a portativ organ, played beautifully in the perfect environment - a hall for reverberation. This last weekend, I picked up 2 ranks of pipes to build 2 portativs that I had won in an auction - one out of 4' Tenor Celeste pipes and one out of 8' Flute pipes. Obviously, I will not be using the entire rank but only about 2 octaves. I will have to figure out a good way to make the bellows and action.
Friday, August 29, 2014
The Arturia MiniBrute is a fantastic synthesizer and really stands up to a lot of vintage synths. I must point out that it has been correctly stated that the mixer section was designed with a lot of headroom so if your levels are too high in this section, the sound can easily become distorted or unusable. I tend to keep levels under 75% and often around 50% to avoid unwanted overdrive.
Before I bought one, I thought that the “metalizer” of the triangle wave would be one of the more useful and unique features about this synth. For me, it turns out that adding more than a little of this effect (turning the knob past 30% or so) makes the sound way too bright and harsh in a bad way. Though I like noise, the sound is more similar to nails on a chalkboard than grinding metal.
One of my favorite features, it turns out, is the sub oscillator. This surprised me, because it seems like a rather mundane thing to be excited about. The sub allows for 2 different waveforms (including sine), 1 or 2 octaves below. It really sounds fantastic to add a sine wave 2 octaves below the square or saw. The built in saw animator and pulse width modulation allows the ability to make this synth sound larger than a single oscillator synth.
The ability to control modulation with aftertouch is a huge bonus. This makes it a great synth for leads or solos, but certainly is not limited to such things. Since I got it, I have used it for bass, snare, various leads, and external filtering/processing.
The only thing that I think could have made the MiniBrute even more useful would have been to allow each of the waveforms (and especially the sub) an option or switch to be mixed in before or after the filter, but before the “brute factor” pot.