Tonights upload is inspired massively by the incredible release on 12k by Antti Rannisto titled Ääniesineitä.
I am not sure what Antti Rannisto is doing these days, but whatever it is, I think he should be doing it for SM-LL. So in the future I would like to make that happen.
For me personally, this is one of the strongest releases on 12k, perhaps due to its uniqueness for that label, but also I can’t say I have heard anything like it before, or since, and that is a very special thing.
My upload pales by comparison, and was a quick sketch I made before heading out this evening. Creating it was very enjoyable and is certainly something I have been dying to do since beginning these uploads.
As many of you know, I have often mentioned earlier releases of 12k, and this one has come up many times, however I have never really created something with this so much in my mind.
Creating something so close to something else, may seem like a pointless thing to do for some. I couldn’t disagree more. If you have yet to do it, I suggest you do so. You will not only learn so much more about sound, the creation process, and how you feel about it while creating, but also develop a new appreciation for the things you love.
I hope you enjoy tonights upload.
So I thought given we have been having such amazing fog today, I would do something I don’t normally do, and that is a little re-created a little melody using a synth sound I worked on based on John Carpenters The Fog, and the track called ‘Where’s the Seagrass” all sequenced through my new bestest friend ever… Cubase.
(Yes, go buy yourself an Atari Mr Clough)
I have to say, what should have been a very, very quick little thing this afternoon, turned into a blooming nightmare while I thought I would really tweak the sounds even more. I intended to have unique envelopes for each filter, and one set for each oscillator. Still, after wondering why notes where cancelling and deleting half the patch n an attempt to bug check, I released although the sound wasn’t massively long audibly on the release, alas it was there just filter out. Doh!
Anyway, a long story short, the patch was simplified, the fog disappeared outside our studio window in typical British weather, Lucia is hungry as it is my turn to cook (not sure how that happened again) and I was kind of left feeling like I was all dressed up with no party to goto.
A short, collection of chords to get you in that foggy mood. An enjoyable albeit long winded process of working on synth sounds as apposed to noodle based patches. And I think I might well do some more of this in the future, although hopefully a little more interesting.
One thing that did come to mind, the sound of those Moogs used by Carpenter, wow! The texture in the release of the notes is really nice. I think he has some subtle ringing reverb or something on the sound but still, a really nice kind of subtle metallic ping just as the envelope does its thing. The Nord sounds… well, weak as Nescafe by comparison. Its power is elsewhere, but really that analogue sound has so much detail in one sound, so subtle but so full of hiss, clicks, buzzes, and flaws. It’s no wonder that modern music has a tendency to be sooooo full of rubbish, as the sounds being more digital are basically dead by comparison. Like a perfectly presented dead.
For me perfection is more an idea, a open definition more than a soulless rendition.
Speaking of soulless renditions… enjoy this little Carpenter upload.
At the end of frustration perhaps something can be found?
Today has been a challenge on my time. Everything has took longer than I had hoped. At the end of the day I had my upload to create, and thought to myself I would quickly do an arpeggio patch. Now for those of you who have some experience with creating arpeggio patches then you will know these things are a beast to program. I didn’t know this. For something that seems so easy on most synthesisers, they are a massive undertaking in modular systems. Lesson learned.
So I did something else… and that failed.
Time was ticking by, I had something else I needed to do after the upload, and already it was approaching midnight, my head spinning. I longed to turn off the gear. Pictured myself throwing it across the room. Wondered why I decided to do these uploads for yet another year. And then I thought, “well, you know what, I don’t decide these things when tired and dizzy, but when enthusiastic and thinking clearly” So I pushed on.
I finally come to the conclusion that I would do something very, very simple and see if I could make that work. After a little tweaking here and there, things started to sound midly interesting. Yes, it definiltey grows on you. It isn’t anything amazing, but something is there, and perhaps something that I have often struggled to do before.
Simplicity, real simplicity.
Normally something simple for me will be a more complex simplicity. Complexity hidden in simplcity. But this, this is almost borderline cheap, naff, plastic, basic, default. And there is definitely something interesting in that.
Perhaps it is just my head spinning after all, but there is something I do know for sure. Had I not committed to these uploads again, had I not simply decided, then tonight would have ended long ago, I would have quit. The equipment would have been turned off and that would be that. And I am sure another day would deb the same, and yet another.
Now failure is no bad thing, but chain failures is like chain smoking, no good for anyone. The occasional sneaky cigarette out the back porch when the partner isn’t looking, now thats kind of romantic. But chain smoking, you basically stink of shit, and you know it too.
My point is, constantly giving up is only going to give you failure, but failure learned from, now that is something worth feeling tired for… and you smell better too.
I think if maybe, perhaps, if we push ourselves past the point of our normal cut off, something is there for us, something interesting, rewording, and worth that little extra effort, if not just a smile when finally getting to go to sleep.
I am happy.
Today I picked up something that I have been pondering over buying for a little while now. And while the thought was there, it was for something that I’m not really in a position to afford at the moment. Still, I said to myself I am only buying it if it’s very cheap, quite convinced I probably wouldn’t be so lucky. Well, luck was on my side.
So the Atari 1040 STE has finally found a home back in my studio. I first owned one many years ago, back in my teens. First I had the STE which was replaced with the Mega STE. This machine was what I created most of my music on, in a period that was filled with music writing. ‘The grid’ as I used to call it, would slowly play havoc with my mind, after hours and hours, day after day creating music. Although, having said that, this was also a time I found coffee.
So for todays upload, I very quickly knocked together a little groove, something very, very simple, but already I feel I can hear that sound I have missed for a long time. You might be mistaken in thinking you know what that sound is, but I am not so sure. I am not so sure it is all that audible, if at all. It is something about the using the Atari that allows sounds to be heard differently while creating with them.
I have had these thoughts of how machines influence our creativity, and how machines have been massively reduced or abstracted over the years, what with the introduction of more software based products. For sure, Cubase is certainly the beginning of this phase, being also software based. Although for some reason, a software, this specific software, this specific version, is associated with the Atari STE. For this reason I personally see them as a machine. A combination of components working in perfection.
This idea of perfection is often thought of in that things should be perfect, i.e. faultless. I think that although this is true, the problem here reveals how we feel about faults, or what we consider faults at all.
I have sat with the Atari this evening, hour after hour passed trying to get a version of Cubase to work so I could bring you something special tonight. Hours of messing around with formatting disks, programmes not working, bombing (now that shows how geeky you are) until eventually it works. But still, there is more to do. I have to move it into the studio, a massive space is required and so moving everything around and it’s in. But still, no there is more. I have to fell my way around this software again. The cursor is slow, the edits don’t move right, the mouse seems to need miles. I add notes and they appear somewhere else, I forget every time I add a new track it increase the midi channel, leaving my confused when I can’t get sound in the edit screen. Everything is so simple, so clunky. The mouse itself is a brick, connected by a wire no less.
And yet, it is perfect.
I have to slow down, I have to consider, I can spend that time listening. And if nothing else but the sound of that space bar, bringing a smile to my face… that is what it’s all about. That is was makes music sound great. That relationship, that purpose in machinery.
I have a big yellowing box that takes up more space on my desk that almost anything else, and yet it does what it does, perfectly.
Remember what makes you smile, and cling on to it for dear life, as to be honest, life isn’t worth living if you are dodging your happiness.
Lastly, tonights upload. A quick tweak of my 808 kit, sequenced and jammed on the Atari, muted sequencing here, stopping with that ‘sexy bar of space’ (now that’s a track title). Anyway, let’s get it up before midnight. Enjoy.
First off apologies for the lateness of this upload, what can I say, today has been a packed day. Something I did notice today while working on some mastering, was again the importance of time invested in something, and the affect this has on our musical output and generally feeling towards what we create.
Something that always bothered me about computers, or I should be more specific in that it’s not computers but actually technology and its use. The bother was that just because something is easier using a certain technology, this doesn’t make it always the best choice.
I noticed this more and more that often the reasons for somebody using say a piece of software, was often due to either cost or time. Now cost I can understand to some degree. The person choosing to use a kind of ‘do it all in one box’ approach, saving lots of money and space. One piece of software that does everything, and why not. The consideration being things can be done much quicker in software and therefore allowing ‘more’ time to create. Or at least that is the idea.
For me, I think there is a massive potential problem with both of these approaches.
The problem lies wherein the analogue world, things did cost money, and things did take a lot longer. This was just how it was. There was hardly a choice in certain equipment, cost would largely dictate that, and so people would have to create things with what they could afford. Obscure sounds, directions and even whole genres and scenes were created. The sounds were listened to over and over until people got into them. Creating something unique, inspired largely in failing to emulate their peers who had much more expensive equipment or more knowledge perhaps.
The importance here I feel was they would spend a age, getting into their sound, creating their world and then presenting something incredibly fresh and exciting to the world. Today, we get given whole genres past as presets and sound libraries. Everything seems marketed to a genre, a scene as apposed to creativity in general. Although in some ways this is ok, it is something that I always think needs to be considered when buying into it.
The other area is time. Today things are done so quickly, that quite often we don’t even need to listen to what we create. Take today for example. I wanted to record some music I created and although I could have dragged it from my computer folder into Pro Tools, I decided to record it in again, running some Eq on it, and so having to listen through the whole tracks while I did so. During that time I remember decided certain things, gaining confidence about my sound, building a sort of bank of information in my head to use in the future. This ‘time’ I invested into the music gave me the chance to find something new, to learn, to test myself and to begin to wonder how things could deb presented. I argue that I would have never come to these decisions had I simply dragged…and dropped.
I was reminded earlier about the period shortly after my buying my first PC for music back in 2000. I was generally late to this technology, as for me, PC computers were not my idea of creating music. To me, music was about hardware, about Atari STE’s and certain equipment that I attributed to that world. PC’s at that point didn’t fit that world.
Soon after I was heavily into computer processing, and initially I created some very interesting tracks, using the computer more as a sound source, running into the mixing desk where I would experiment with structure… just as I had done before. Although in a short period of time I found that tracks became loops. Things just never got finished. This didn’t go on for months, but years. The very idea of finishing a track would scare me. I would just listen back to my old stuff, over and over and over again. The fear just rose and rose until I questioned if I was ever able to write a track again. Silly now I think back. My way out was through live jamming, performances and collaboration. I had to find systems of responsibility that ensured I created again.
Right up until today, I have carried these systems, and added to them. Looking out for anything that would challenge time, alter engagement with machines, and always value conversation about such stuff.
The Nord G1 is another challenge. A time consuming, sometimes unpredictable machine, that often with all it’s possibilities suggests that it can no longer produce something unique. It challenges creativity, patient, and a constant demanding of listen and tuning of micro details in all sounds.
This post is long, so I will leave it with this thought. Next time you think about doing something while creating your music, think about how things have moved forward, become quicker, easier and stop yourself and ask, maybe difficult is good, maybe longer is good, maybe troubles and hassles is good, maybe, just maybe having to wait for things to load is a good thing. After all, is music as good these days for you?
Tonights upload is scary… although it could be my sleepy tea kicking in. Once patch, no dials turned, and things just done what they did. Enjoy.
So as you might have realised from the picture I am thinking of getting an Atari STE once again to sequence on. This was a computer that I used back in my teens, and was the first computer I really used for music. Up until that point, like many others, I used pre-midi connections such as trigger, sync, cv + gate and even played live. Remember that? Playing your strings or easy parts?
So I am kind of keen to revisit this set-up, not because of any nostalgic thing, although I am sure it will be fun seeing it all again, but more because a different system allows different ways of working. Back in the time I would have been using the Atari, I would have been young, and had only been writing music for 8 years or so. Still, this would have been very early days and really the beginning of sequencing and created more complex tracks. Well, complex in the way I think of complex anyway.
Another reason I am thinking of getting an Atari, is because it will be a joy to use, make me smile, and ultimately be sat there looking at me saying ‘turn me on’. To me, machines are key in relationships with music creating, and for all the great software out there, and there is loads, and I use lots of it, I rarely have a relationship with it such as I have done with machines. Perhaps the only exception to this is a performance patch me and Lucia have developed for our Mimosa Moize project. One patch that we slowly develop, tweak and perform with, tends to create a familiar setup that has some similarities to a machine. Even when I think of Audiomulch, or Bidule or other such software that I haven’t used in ages, it seems always developed, tweaked regardless whether I use it or not. The next computer I need to use it on, would be a later and so different software and any relationship with it has to be worked at again.
That Atari and Cubase, is still the same.
Todays upload is a small patch in the Nord G1, coming in just under a mere 49.9% cpu. It’s a funky, quirky little groove and I hope you enjoy it. Again, it’s all G1, nothing else.
(Update: A few minutes after finishing this post, I was the lucky winner of an Atari STE. I think it only seems right to do some midi sequencing of the Nord G1 when I get it.)
Day two of this new run of uploads, lasting until 2015, wow, that’s quite scary when you think about it. So think about this, while you might be listening in, remember when it all ended so quickly last time at the end of last year? well that is going to happen again, and it’s going to happen before you know it. Time does indeed move pretty fast Ferris. So if your thinking about learning the Nord, getting some kit, releasing a track, sending a demo off… well get to it and skip reading my rants that follow.
So the plan this time with these uploads, is to try and attempt to make more simple, little ideas sound wise. I guess more a variety of explorations of the Nord G1, more ideas than sketch or track. I think one of the main reasons I slowed up so much this year was due to them becoming more like tracks, and I want to preserve them for something more special, like my label.
Maybe this format seems a little similar to how it went before, and to be honest it might well ‘sound’ similar in some respects, but the difference here I guess it to do with how I think about it while I create. And how something is thought about is probably ‘the’ biggest battle with anything.
While making something I tend to always think of its application. Rarely do I turn the equipment on and just play about for playing sake. For me, I feel this approach of play allows me far to much freedom, I get lost in sound, direction, and generally feel pretty pooped and pissed at the end of it, with often nothing much to show. I feel the same with lots of modern technology and for this reason am quite selective about it, but, that is probably best left for another post.
For todays upload I wanted to explore various bass sounds working together in a more typical rhythmical pattern, and basically am testing out somethings I have concerns about.
This time I started by listening to a loop of a Pole track called Pirol on Waldgeschichten 2. I basically sat there listening to this on loop for the whole while I got some modules hooked up and continued doing a bit of copying and comparing as I built the patch, getting it somewhere handy. The reason I did this, and this is something I do quite often, is to learn better how to position my sounds along side a certain feeling or balance of frequencies that I appreciate in someone elses.
For me, this is also how I end up referencing or talking about the music I create. How I begin to understand it. It is always created in this context and therefore can often lead me to talk about or describe certain sounds I create as artists. For example, ‘that Pole-like bass but with a more Vladislav/Mark Fell-like pattern’.
I have heard some people get a little annoyed at their sounds being described or compared to other artists. This whole pigeon hole thing I guess. Although I can kind of understand it, I generally can’t see the problem. I certainly don’t mind. We all have a way of communicating about sound, and if it is through making it like spitting out bass and rasping sounds with our mouth when describing that crap music that has filled the Formula One coverage recently here in the UK, or it is using an artists name, it’s each to their own and for me personally, it all helps in our understanding of sound and the development of a genre. In-fact, referencing artists is a great way to understand a persons taste and place it in some kind of context, a place or time. It references history, scenes or equipment.
Todays upload, although not sounding much like Pole in the end, and largely due to last minute changes, it definitely nods towards that groove and pace he seems to go for. Ultimately though, in a few days when I get to listen to this one on some speakers, as I do these uploads on headphones, hopefully I will have balanced the frequencies used a little more predictably than sometimes has been the case.