wandering electronic music

Serial 2016
my project that began with a goal to finish one track per week, and mutated near the end of the year to a goal of 100 total tracks.


1Jan 10 They What 1:17 The first week of the year is often weird; this one included driving back home from a trip just after several highways were closed due to record flooding, and a dead video card that brought my desktop down for the better part of 3 days. So the first track of this series is also weird, built around samples chopped from the already rearranged movie "Of Oz The Wizard." It didn't seem like a track that wanted to be very long.
2Jan 15 Snowforts Glisten 4:45 I used to worry that my identity as a musician requires specializing in a particular genre. But I've really always had this exploratory process where I didn't know what each track was going to sound like until it was done. It doesn't mean I don't have a personal style, it just means I'm not intentionally setting any limits. I've finally accepted that. Anyway, this uses a lot of u-he Bazille and Twisted-Electrons AY3, with Melda MTransformer and good old SuperDestroyFX Transverb. It's in 5/4 time and the melody line is written as straight 8th notes, but I have Maschine set to 96% reverse swing over a 1/4 note cycle.
3Jan 23 Earthquake in the Shoebox Factory 2:17 The title for this 7/8 track is borrowed from a forum commenter's description of their own odd sense of rhythm. I used a couple of lo-fi sampled drum kits, one instance of Razor, some sampled noise, Bazille, and Twisted-Electrons Therapsid.
4Jan 31 Fractal Cocktail 1:08 This wasn't going to be the weekly track. This was just going to be playing around with some effects techniques. So I loaded up my standard TR-808 sample kit that I use for testing things... and wound up starting on this track anyway. It's just the drumkit, a couple of instances of FM8 and a couple extra instances of Maschine's DrumSynth on cymbals, plus a bunch of effects as usual.
5Feb 7 Beak Full of Teeth 3:32 While other people are watching something about a Superb Owl, I'm working on music with a title inspired by a sports team logo we noticed was a bird's head that was also grimacing toothily. I broke out the Meeblip Anode along with PlastiCZ, Kore Player, AAS Ultra Analog VA2, and some of my own noise recordings.
6Feb 14 A Wisp of Snipes 2:27 "Do an ambient track," I told myself. "Those usually go really well for you." So of course I didn't. 9/8 time, CR-78 samples with a ton of distortion from a couple of experimental plugins I wrote, and a few layers of TherapSID parts with various effects chains.
7Feb 18 Smart 97 4:45 Guess whose MIDI controller died this week? And guess who replaced it with a MicroBrute? That's what we call a silver lining!
I've never been a hardware snob. I don't believe Real Analog Warmth (tm) is necessarily better than virtual analog, much less all the other options software gives us. Most listeners can tell the difference, and most musicians can't either in most cases. Our kind tend to fetishize the shiny black boxes with knobs on them. But! I also don't deny that some hardware is pretty damned cool, inspires a different kind of approach, and some instruments (hard or soft) definitely have a unique character. So I'm not really a software snob either, except I mostly hate cables. :)
Anyway: This track also features Hive, Bazille, Phosphor, and Rounds and a bunch of samples.
8Feb 23 Ambitious Mist 8:13 It must be Waldorf Week -- this track uses two instances of PPG Wave 2.2V each going into D-Pole. I chose Plogue Chipsounds for a little extra bass support, Alchemy from the defunct Camel Audio (THANKS A LOT APPLE) for a bit more stuff, and reverb was provided by a couple of Valhalla plugins as well as Spirit Reverb. It was a little rough on CPU usage.
The name comes from my spouse's description of the nearly rainy weather one morning.
9Feb 27 Dot to Dot 2:19 Oh no, I've broken the system. Two in the same week! I've been semi-down with a cold, but also inspired, and working on music in my better moments. This one uses the AY3, an induction coil mic sitting on the AY3 to pick up extra digital noise as well as layering in a colored version of the AY3's output, Microbrute, Alchemy and some drum samples.
10Mar 3 Droom 3:45 This was going to involve, besides the drums, a whole bunch of different hardware and software synths doing their versions of triangle waves. The Microbrute, backed with MOscillator, stuck mostly to the plan, though cooked a bit with the MB's filters. Serum, Chipsounds, and Prism had other ideas, and the wonderfullly noisy SID triangles didn't make it in at all.
11Mar 10 Someday I'll Wear That Boot 3:59 This may be the most mainstream track in this collection so far, but that's not saying a whole lot, is it? The main rhythm/whooshy bassline is Microbrute through Tantra and Ratshack Reverb; background drones are also Microbrute, while Hive, Serum and some sliced drum loops modulated into noise fill in the rest.
12Mar 17 Just Someone Else's Computer 2:39 This has been a week for political action, seemingly endless political arguing (blargh), and starting to change up my hardware a bit. The new stuff may arrive tomorrow, but I figured I'd get this track done and leave some room for exploring the new gear afterward. So we have some of my own noise samples for the intro, Digicussion drum samples later, Chromaphone 2 for pads, PPG Wave 2.V for supporting pads, Hive for arps, and the MicroBrute through the Fuzz God for rhythmic violence.
13Mar 19 Socialist Machine 4:25 New gear bonus track! If I had to pick just one word to describe the Soulsby Atmegatron it might be alarming, but I was enamored with it right away. It's a chiptune ninja of course, but it's also ridiculous how versatile it is just in its base configuration -- I have an FTDI cable on the way too so I can try its other personalities. In this track, Atmegatron handles the bass/lead line, with the opening/supporting tremolo from Microbrute, pads from Serum and PlastiCZ, and drums from Tremor and Maschine. The track was named by random generator and I love it.
14Mar 24 Fearless Symmetry 4:44 More Atmegatron -- one layer for the sort of steppy cycling sound that comes in at about 0:24 where it sounds like itself, and two more for where it sounds like TR-606 drum samples. :D And lots of pads -- MicroBrute on the warmer stuff, Chipspeech on some secondary ones, Razor on the more aggressive filter-modulated ones. A bit of NI Kinetic Metal because a recent forum thread reminded me I haven't used it in a while. A "cadenced" noise sample from Detunized, and a monotone background whine from Chipcrush.
15Mar 26 Any Portal (in a Portal Storm) 2:27 This one features another new toy: Groovesizer TB2. It's another Arduino-based reprogrammable all-digital synth; the default paraphonic "Quartet" firmware is considerably more traditional and less lo-fi than the Atmegatron, but it has some tricks up its sleeves. Accompanying it here is Synplant, Specdrum samples, and the vocal stylings of Bert Gotrax and Lady Parsec HD.
16Mar 29 Slow Pong 3:38 Staying ahead of the curve here with the 16th track early in week 13. This track starts with Delayertron (in the running for my favorite Atmegatron firmware) into Valhalla Ubermod. It picks up some noise samples vocoded by the Delayertron track, then Microbrute with MHarmonizer in parallel, the TB2 through Echobode, and Cromina String Machine. I wanted to keep it both busy and simple, and I think I've achieved that.
17Mar 31 Old Fortran 3:14 I just had to sneak in one more in the first quarter of 2016. I've been following the release of the Korg Volca FM with some interest, still not sure whether I want to pick one up someday or just stick with FM8. Accordingly, I used a couple of FM8 instances here, along with TB2, just a few stabs of Microbrute, and Chipsounds for some extra noise.


Check out my older musical projects:
Falls A Star
Lotus Wire


All music is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Creative Commons License