Archive for the ‘tracks’ Category

New Track: Quaternion Dimension

So, 2012 is shaping up to be a good year for bringing things to completion. Up at SoundCloud is another new ukuphambana track.

[Note: track no longer on Soundcloud]

This is another example of the sort of time-travel remixing I described in a previous post, though it is not actually the track I was describing there. (That one has itself gone dormant and awaits another day for its turn.)

This one started out as a live jam six or seven years ago. A year or two after the initial jam was recorded, I took a first stab at editing it into a finished track, adding some squiggly acid-style synth lines and recording some some inspired but very sloppy keyboard jamming. That was about 2006. After that first attempt, the first version of the track sat 80% finished on my hard drive for another six years until I felt ready to give it another stab.

After blowing the dust off, the first thing I did was edit mercilessly, removing over two minutes of unnecessary noodling. The second thing I did was meticulously recreate my live jam, note for note, as a programmed sequence. This meant keeping all the quirks and nuance of the initial performance, but removing the awkward, horrible timing which plagued the original version. Then, just to keep things from getting too boring, I decided to leave the original take in as a barely-audible background element; in that role, the dodgy timing winds up sounding more like a sort of subliminally shifting echo of the main version.

After doing that cleanup work, I was ready to finish the remaining 80% of the work required to finish off the track and release it to the listening public. And yes, if you’ve ever completed a long project, you know that this math works out perfectly well. And if all that sounds like more time and energy than any sane person would invest, then … you’re right.


New Track: Block Transfer Beats

Another new ukuphambana jam is up in the cloud of sounds. I can never decide whether any given track I do is too normal or too weird, but a friend has already described this one as being the closest he’s ever heard me come to doing a straight up techno track. I’m pretty sure he meant it as a compliment? But now I’m worried that I didn’t spend enough time personalizing it, somehow.

On the other hand, I spent nearly two hours finishing it up last night, and most of that involved adding elements which are essentially subliminal, or at least not audible unless you really, really focus on details I don’t expect anyone other than me to bother with. So there’s that.

Anyway, hit the link to transfer the ones and zeroes to your listening apparatus of choice. From there you may manifest it as the periodic displacement of air molecules. Your Cochlear nuclei will thank you for it!

[Note: track no longer on Soundcloud]

New Track: Aslepiadaceae

I accidentally an ambient track! This one is equal parts Eno homage and study in modular sequencing with Numerology. I’m quite pleased in particular with how the bass part turned out.

This is very different from what I normally put out, and part of me was tempted to leave it on my hard drive as an unreleased learning exercise. But in keeping with my 2012 resolution to be less precious about my work…here it is. Hope you enjoy it. The next track will have some proper tunes and beats and such, I expect, but no promises about “normalcy,” whatever that involves.

[Note: track no longer on Soundcloud]

New Track: In The Future We Shall Know Less

The latest ukuphambana track is available on SoundCloud.

[Note: track no longer on Soundcloud]

This one was initially sketched out back in 2006 sometime, but I only got it together to fill it out and release it this past month. It’s the closest thing to noise that I’ve done in a while, though you could argue that it’s closer to electro-acoustic. Lots of stereo things going on, and most of the sounds are distinctly uncomfortable. Only one of the insect-like noises was actually made from a recording of insects; most of it was synthesized in one way or another. The levels sound a bit off to me, still — I’d like it to be louder — but every attempt I made at mastering it ended up making it worse, somehow.

Might come back to it, might not. Either way, in the spirit of breaking myself of excessive preciousness, here it is, warts and all. Moving onto the next track tomorrow, hopefully. No loafing!

New Track: Free As a Neutrino In A Light-Year of Lead

New track on SoundCloud

[Note: track no longer on Soundcloud]

This one was an experiment in organizing resources for speed of production: I used Renoise for beats and part of the bassline, Numerology for melodies and harmonies, Ableton Live for mixdown and post-production, and Metasynth in homeopathic doses for a dash of extra DSP weirdness here and there. Nearly all of the synth sounds are from one or another bit of Native Instruments software.

So, sort of a “blend the strengths” approach. Not my most innovative work, but a solid entry in the back-catalog, I reckon, and I managed to put it together in a matter of weeks instead of months. I need to be far less precious about finishing things up, and this is a step in the direction of doing that.

The title of the track refers to the fact that neutrinos interact so weakly with the rest of the universe that one could pass through a light-year of solid lead and still have only a 50% chance of colliding. It was applied post-facto, as usual, but I think it fits the feel of the song, somehow.

Putting My Sounds To Work

So, I got a comment from a freesound user informing me that he had used one of my recordings in a track he wrote. It’s a sort of ambient thing, quite nice. You can listen to it on SoundCloud.

I had wondered how long it would take for something like this to happen, and also how it would make me feel when it finally did. Happy to report that it makes me feel pretty good, actually. I may start releasing bits and pieces of more organized unfinished work — beats, tunes and such — just to see if anyone picks up on any of it.

Or I might completely forget the idea. Time will tell. This definitely nudges me a bit further in the direction of doing it, though.

New Track: Within Epsilon Of Bleem

I recently finished the track which I started near the beginning of 2011, and has been my major work in progress since then. I’ve published a copy of it on soundcloud:

[Note: track no longer on Soundcloud]

This track represents a major step forward in the way I’m working on music; in particular, I’ve figured out some workflow improvements which mean that I can integrate the various software and hardware bits that I like to use together better in a way that allows me to blend their strengths. I learned a lot working on it. I hope to write about some of that here in the near future, if I find the time.

As for the result: it’s a bit dense, production-wise, but that’s mostly by design. I tend to write things that way because I personally like music that has some hidden layers, things to go back and find on repeated listens.

Whether it all holds together is harder for me to gauge. It makes sense to me, but I’ve listened to it a few hundred times, and I was there as it came together. I’m probably still too close to it to know whether it will ever make sense to anyone else. It’s a bit like the way that parents with very young children understand every word they say, thinking their child speaks perfectly clearly. Really it’s that they’ve trained their ear to their child’s language patterns so well that they filter out the distortions, while it sounds like gibberish to everyone else.

So I don’t know whether this track is a gifted child, or if I’m just making allowances. This is completely typical, by the way. I rarely know whether anything I’ve written is any good until I’ve spent at least a few months away from it and come back with fresh ears. In the meantime, all I can do is move onto the next thing and hope for the best.

Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy it and as always, thank you for listening.

Return top