Posts Tagged ‘drone’

Generative Music, an experiment (no. 16)

Tuesday, September 21st, 2010

I’ve recently (as in, over the past few years or more) been fascinated with the concept of generative music, something that Terry Riley first brought to my attention (see my blog entry and version of his aleatoric/generative composition “in C”) and that of course Brian Eno has championed. Eno has found success with many different generative systems, most recently and notably a series of iPhone apps including Bloom which compose random ambient music based on a handful of parameters the user defines.


Wanting to tackle something like that myself, but wanting to start simple, I found that I can do this with Ableton Live and the sample devices that come with the Max for Live package… without even opening Max itself.

Max For Live's MIDIgran effect

The Follow Action feature with 8:1 odds of repeating vs stepping back to the previous clip.

Using the randomized sequencing trick I used in “In C”, plus the Max for Live MIDI effect “Max MidiGran” I was able to take a simple 2-note passage (that forms the main drone) — playing only very long notes of C and F alternating which you can here, below — then separately for each of 2 additional “solo” synths, repitches randomly and remaps to a note on the C major pentatonic scale. These come and go randomly based on probabilities I set up and on multiples of 8 bars.

Then I added a drum machine loop, which also comes in based on random probabilities.

Finally, I added another Max effect that brings up some random feedback to the main drone and the drum machine at unexpected moments. Might be too jarring for the effect I was originally going for though.

It’s also number sixteen in the ridiculously optomistic “song of the week” project, but better late than never…

DOWNLOAD:

#16 Opalize (mp3, 24MB)

UPDATE: Here is another mp3 generated by the same setup. Very similar of course, but different!

#17 Opalize (reprise) (mp3, 24MB)


Vuvuzela! (USA Wins 1-1 vs England)

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010

Vuvuzela

If you’ve watched any of the current World Cup, you have an opinion about the plastic horns that the fans use to blare on and drone throughout the matches. Surprisingly, all of my friends seem to like the background noise they provide and find it somewhat soothing. Others, or so I’ve heard, find them extremely annoying and liken them to the sound of attacking hornets. Okay, I will admit that they do sound like a swarm of bees, but I actually like the sound of bees. I am not sure, but I am pretty sure that it’s not a coincidence that the word “drone” is used both for male worker bees and the droning sound that bees make.

So whith that in mind, here is a Vuvuzela-heavy remix of the US-England game this past Saturday, or at least the last 14 minutes of the last half. You can hear the US score the “winning” goal at 5:15 (thanks to British goalie Robert Green, who I offer my sincerest condolences to).

Vuvuzela (mp3)

at noizefest ’09 (no. 11)

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

This was not a “song”, at least insofar as I did not rehearse for it other than to check my equipment that morning. (This will very apparent to you after listening to any portion this.) But it was noizefest, so there ya go.

noizefest placard

Sign by Ray Bong, who through the miracle of the internet knew about my other life as an Apple developer and a certain pissy email that I got from the CEO-emeritus Steve Jobs. I don’t really think that makes me his “enemy”, but it was good stagecraft, and was probably the most interesting part of the set.

So here’s the recording of what turned out to be my first completely solo set ever, clocking in around 12 minutes, and titled thanks to Ray Bong. You can hear him shout out at the very end!

#11 “Enemy of Steve Jobs” (Noizefest NOLA 2009) (17.6MB mp3, 12:49)

Thanks to Phil of Slobodan for letting me use his amp (that’s his feet in the picture above). Setup was 6 string electric through overdrive, looper (Boomerang), then echo (Memory Man) into the amp. Most of the noise is the Memory Man delay loopback.

hopping over shadows (no. 9).

Monday, February 16th, 2009


augnanure castle, oughterard, co. galway

#9 Hopping Over Shadows (5:24, 7.4MB mp3)

Four tracks: (1) 12-string acoustic guitar, (2) sine wave drone*, (3) tabla, (4) rhodes electric piano through electro-harmonix hog.

you will recognize this as a revisiting of (although re-recorded from scratch) and developing upon idea no. 1, “12-string open G rag #2.”

* for the drone i used the rather simple “potpie simulator” max patch (v4), which you will read more about later.