Monthly Archives: October 2011

Feels like I’ve been blogging significantly less for some reason, lately.  Don’t know what’s happened to all the thoughts that used to run through my mind begging to get written down…


In a haze. Cloudy, incoherent, obscured. Numbed, confused, absent. Tonights theme is “Dazed.”

My entry:

Video of me making the song:

My thoughts before compo started this week were to do something with a deep bassline, maybe some nice progressive with a rolling sidechained bassline or something…I was also contemplating doing something BTish, with lots of click percussion and neat reverb effects and such.

The theme came up and I figured instead of doing a 4-on-the-floor progressive beat I’d do something really downtempo.  So we get started off right away with some ambient pads from Alchemy, with some random dissonance, etc.  Then I start adding some drums, using slicex to chop up a chiptune-ish drum loop.  I layer on another drum loop (multiple drum loop layers are awesome!) and add some synths into the mix–again, lots of creepy ditties here.

After what sounds like “robot vomit” (it’s actually a sample from “speak and spell”, we dive into our chorus, where finally we get our main drum loop, plus a delicious, delicious tasty deep bass from Triangle II.  The bass is sidechained to the kick, though subtly so it’s more of a pulsing than a pumping.  The snare here is pretty cool–it’s got heavy reverb, but also heavy compression so that the reverb is very compressed.

After a short section where I filter (actually it’s a samplereducer) the drums, there’s another section where I have a Plucked! instance fed through dBlue glitch to get a slowdown+retrigger effect.  Along with that I’ve got some sort of sound FX with really heavy reverb that’s being passed through supaTrigger for random reversing/slicing action.

The next section has slightly different drums, and now we’ve got Rez down low as a sidechained low pad….and then suddenly wubwubwub dubstep bass.  I don’t actually know how to make dubstep-style basses at all but I remembered that I have a synth1 preset for it, so I used that and just created different instances for the different wub LFO lengths.  I’ll have to look at that patch again later to see how it’s done, exactly.

After a “terror” sample from the speak and spell, I throw in some PHAT drums, with distortion and phat phat phatness for taste.  I probably could have made this section a little bit longer, but instead I use the “tapestop” effect from dblue glitch to transition us back into the chorus.

We’re not done yet though!  After some creepy, heavily heavily bitcrushed noise (notice that the reverb is NOT bitcrushed), I throw in some piano!  It actually sounds really nice despite just being the stock FL Keys grand piano samples.  I was going to use my CVI modeled piano vst, which is probably (?) nicer but it was causing some clicks, so I threw that out.  FL Keys is easier to use and adapt anyways.

After that we get another round of the tasty drums (notice that we have a different bass here), and that’s it!

The whole song clocks in at 7:24…it was definitely nice to do another really long song, and one in this really dark style, since I haven’t done one in a while.  I feel like this one turned out a lot better than some other ones I’ve done in the past too–feels more structured and coherent.  And the drums and bass and everything just work together really well–I feel like I really nailed what I was trying to go for.

I mean yeah, it’s kind of spiffy that FB can say “x and y are now friends after attending event z”, but does this really add any value to my experience?  Does it make me want to come back for more?

Week 5 of the quarter and I realize I actually don’t know much about the two CCRMA classes I’m taking.  For example, I knew that one of them was Fundamentals of computer-generated sound, but I didn’t know whether that was CS476A (aka music256a) or Music220a.  I also had no idea what the heck they were trying to teach us in music220a, big picture.  I knew that we have some sort of (optional?) field trip to monterey bay on thursday.  I didn’t see how that was related to what we’re learning in class, though I don’t know what we’re learning in class.

Turns out music220a is fundamentals of computer-generated sound, and cs476a is music, computing, and design I…but that doesn’t really make sense to me, because out of the three homeworks in music220a, it doesn’t seem very focused on computer-generated sound.  The first homework was to write a sound-test in ChucK (I shudder a little bit every time I hear the name of that language, not because I hate the language itself but because I don’t like what it represents), which okay, makes sense.  But our second was to make a creative score interpretation of ambient noise (how does this deal with computer-generated sound??).  Our third was to create a musical/auditory perception illusion using ChucK, which…is more about perception than computer-generated sound.  And the fourth is to create a voiceover of some sort…what the heck??


If =I= were teaching a class on computer-generated sound, we would be doing much cooler things.  Then again, I guess that would be more of a class on electronic music, rather than computer-generated sound…I guess that kind of sums up the central philosophy disjunct I have with the silly CCRMA folk.  sigh!  Well, it’s okay because we all know I’m cooler than all of them ;)  I proved it too!  Presented one of my OHC entries to them in class, muahahaha.


A game is being played. Is it a peaceful, fun game like a game show? Or is it something far more sinister? Tonights theme is “The Game.”

My entry:

Further proof that I am awesome.

Didn’t really quite have anything particular in mind before compo tonight except that I wanted to do chippy stuff, but that’s pretty much -every- week anyways.  I had just been starting to make some channel presets so that I can just instantly load one of my signature sounds (like the KirbySquare) instead of having to redo them by hand every time.  I’ve gotten pretty quick at redoing them by hand anyways, but this’ll save me a little bit of extra time.

Anyways, I start with something that’s totally NES-y, though the second repetition you can tell isn’t actually NES because there’s 3 pulse channels…haha.

From then I do a megaman-style triangle tom roll and then we’re into UNTS mode.

After layering some chippy elements (including a gated pulse pad), I go into a groovy section with a nice call-and-response solo interplay between a KirbySquare synth and a short pulse width TS404.  Then I layer on another arp and just have things kind of build, just like I did back in Unlock the Universe.  After an NES noise sweep we go into the main chorus section, which has light-yet-tasty sidechaining.  Notice that the main bass here is actually an NES-style triangle bass.

After that there’s another breakdown where we’re treated to more delicious arp-age…this time with added reverb (did you even notice the difference?).  The mood switches here a bit and I use a triangle blip synth with lots of reverb–another staple of mine.  Adding a light triangle whistle lead, NES bass, and delicious pulse pads complete the mix.

I really like the transition out of that into the next section–the crash plus removal of the bass really works well in conjunction with the addition of the hihats and the switchup in the triangle blip rhythm to drastically shift the mood from relaxed to expectant.  Then there’s a pretty awesome buildup, another NES noise sweep, and we’re back into the chorus one more time.

Overall, something I was very happy with, and that everyone else was really happy with too.  I kind of struggled to adjust mixing levels properly and still finish in time (actually I was about 10 seconds late), but it all turned out alright in the end.  I definitely feel like a master compo-er now, and have the reputation to back it up too.