Here is me playing a familiar set of instruments and sounds in some sort of Key-of-D-minor with the Arabic twist at the end. Note to self, I need to brush up on my theory so I can communicate what I’m playing better to other musicians. My brain and nervous system definitely click at a solid 90 bpm, slow ‘n’ steady, like this piece (and many others I do). Man, talk about downtempo.

Anyways: I’m still fine-tuning my “live Live” rig for a performance in September, and this was yet another tweak of my controller knob definitions. Feeling really good about the ability to switch things up on the fly, even using the same called up patches and plugins. The primary arp sound is a Korg MS2000R, of which I think I’m (finally) finding a new-found respect for (it’s been a rocky relationship).

Throughout the piece there isn’t much going but really subtle knob-twiddling and the like while playing a few piano notes in D as noted above. I liked the outcome, so here it is, after a little cleanup and EQ to remove some noise, but still have it come alive afterwards. Noise: the only weakness of hardware synths, and the lack of it is the primary seductive lure of software synths for me. Amadeus Pro (the audio editing app for the Mac) has a real kick-ass noise removal algorithm, which I forgot about until this thing here. Enough rambling, here it is.

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Okay, the concept was simple enough. I figured, so here I am in the 4th day of my mini-holiday, a long weekend. Maybe I should wind it down by recording something simple. You know, fire up a decent piano sound and hit record. See what happens. Maybe get a happy accident.

When I tried to apply my parental musical self to be disciplined and apply myself in this task, it caused my inner musical child to throw a tantrum. Obviously.

I was doing well for the first, oh, 10-12 seconds, at which point I was trying to figure out the mode I was going for here… like telling my inner child to metaphorically “eat your peas,” do something I didn’t necessarily want to do, musically. Which promptly created the “Don Music” moment:
“I’ll never get it, never, never…” *bonk*

This has been brought to you by our two sponsors: Sesame Street News, and Acme Oven Mitts… that inner child in me envisioned having oven mitts on my hands. Take your musical peas and shove ’em, said the kid, talking back to the musical parent.

If you’re unfamiliar with the Muppets character “Don Music,” I suggest you catch up and watch this clip here on YouTube. The Don Music character was one of the few removed characters from Sesame Street’s history, due to his tantrum-like behavior. Bad influence on kids of my generation, maybe? The Muppet itself was recycled into the character Guy Smiley after that.

Should submit this to Joe Walsh or Tom Waits for their next album? Maybe I’d get my own contract.

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I’m a bird person. Don’t get me wrong, I like dogs and cats, but I’m either allergic the animals themselves or the level of attention they demand on my schedule. I had a cockatiel for some 25 years that passed away a year ago. After a year of a relatively quiet house I decided to get a pair of parakeets a few months ago to liven it up sonically around here for when I’m solo.

It can be difficult to record animals up close when they are wary of an object nearby with red lights on it. Anyways, I did manage to get a decent recording of Azul & Verde during their first week here using the SONY PCM-D50 with it’s built-in mics, set to the highest sample setting. Amadeus Pro was used as the editor to pitch the trimmed recording down in 1-octave intervals, but maintaining the elapsed time; which is why the recording loses a bit of clarity during each pass. Or rather, I may have done the conversion incorrectly despite having sampled it at a really high rate/kHz, I still lost the highs/mids. It’s a tricky science, it is.

By the way: for the scientifically minded, I discovered during this little experiment that parakeets, like humans, really don’t like hearing their own voice(s) played back to them very much.

I separated each octave by short tones.

1st pass: Original Recording
Sounds like: Freakin’ normal real-world chattering, agitated parakeets.

2nd pass – Pitched 1 octave down
Sounds like: Baby seals, clucking chickens, bicycle hard-braking tire rubber squeaks

3rd Pass – 2 octaves down.
Sounds like: Small monkeys fighting over a banana, turkey gobbles, puppy barking

4th Pass – 3 octaves down.
Sounds like: Crows, Large monkeys fighting over a banana, hound dogs on a fox hunt, squeaking sound you get when you clean glass

5th Pass – 4 octaves down.
Sounds like: Large pigs or hogs, horses (sort of), walruses

6th Pass – 5 octaves down.
Sounds like: Deep sea creatures, whales with gas, things that go bump in the night.

Sound Designers: if you ever get a chance to record an excited parrot hopping around in its cage, do so. If you play that down on a low key using a sampler, it sounds like a dinosaur bellowing straight out of “Jurassic Park.”

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Time to “pull a phoenix” and rise up from the ashes. I had quite a few things in my life going on that took precedence. But now the dust has settled, time to get serious again about this project. It still has life.

There’s about 3GB of recordings and a bunch of started ditties without write-ups which I can cull from. A bunch of software and a few hardware updates in my “rig.” Time to test my aural memory on each of those files floating around unlabeled and uncatalogued on my HD.

The first file I opened was not too hard to remember, though. It involved a recording using oversampling (really high rate) of the (new) parakeets in the home here. Guess what? Their tweets sound like a dog’s bark, just pitched up. Who knew? Check it out in the next post.

This came from the 30-minute recording mentioned in D-a-D #013. It uses three patches from Omnisphere: what you hear in the beginning until about the one-minute mark in all one big fat Tarnce* patch; the second track is a fade-in string pad. There are 2 copies of this used here: one is panned left; and the other panned right with different EQ and offset by about 1 second – this becomes obvious since the track panned left ends first. Finally, from 1-minute on you hear the same “water-in-a-tube” sound I used in D-a-D #014. Obviously I’m getting attached to that sound.

The “title” of this ditty has three sources:
1) The ending of the chord progression is similar to “Where The Streets Have No Name” by U2.
2) It’s basically nothing but a Trance or IDM music lead-in/breakdown/snippet; that part that plays before the drums come in, or the bass drops, and people dance.
3) *And finally, “Tarnce.” This is a running gag in the forum. I guess folks there have a hard time typing “trance.” Or, like me, some folks have a hard time just listening to trance and poke fun at the style of music itself. However I do like the intros and outros.

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This came from the 30-minute recording mentioned in D-a-D #013. It uses three patches from Omnisphere: those “movie voices,” some patch that uses birds & animal in-a-market samples, and an arpeggiated xylophone/marimabas/tin can/glass sound. I used Logic to mix the recordings together. I reversed an edited portion of the xylophone line and then used a crossfade to bring in the main part of the song. The voices cut off just when the reversed line ends. There is a little reverb added.

I enjoy using ambient “nature effects.” I love the unpredictability of the mixed outcome. Hell, I have at least 24 hours worth of different types of rainstorms that I have recorded over time. Not too hard to do in Central New York since it rains here more in total amount than Seattle, Washington.

Also there is a little tremolo high-pass filter for the ambient sound so it doesn’t muddy down the lead so much, and provide a little more perceived space.

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This came from the 30-minute recording mentioned in D-a-D #013. It uses just two patches from Omnisphere. I added & controlled the Leslie effect on the piano after-the-fact in Logic when I was mixing the two recordings together. I also added a little reverb overall, and added chorus ensemble for the last 2 notes of the piano line. I love that water-in-a-tube sound, with a few whales mixed in.

I envisioned in this ditty a picture of Trent Reznor putting some white stuff on his nose and hitting the beach. At night. And in an uncharacteristically good mood.

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