Category Archives: ableton


Been awhile…

Made a release:

Some of the sounds used are re-purposed sounds made awhile back.  Other sources are (layered) guitar, processed through (variants of) an Audiomulch patch, from the same timeframe.

Lots of retrograde in the Air. Seems appropriate to have appropriated these past sounds, just about now.

Also ironic: It was known, then, at the time of the creation of these sounds, that they would be re-purposed, sometime, eventually…


a shining tree [disquiet0102-sonictinsel]

For Disquiet Junto Project #0102, we were asked to make a one-minute loop that was “glistening, reflective and gentle” to make a secular holiday track:

Done in Ableton Live. Used a Collision patch to make the tolling sound, and ran a Korg WAVESTATION soft synth through the effects part of the emulated Korg MS-20 to make the ‘snow sprinkles’ sounds that make their entrance about a third of the way into it.

This was exported as an actual Live loop.

the beth-el construction company

Uploaded the second drone of the series of tracks I’ve been working on:

Like the previous track, this one was done in Ableton Live (still trying to wrap my brain around Suite 9).

Some of the core sounds were made in AudioMulch (the ‘collision’ sounds in the background are actually a guitar run through AM, with the original guitar signal completely removed).

Two more drones (and one pulse-y/beat piece) to go…

Released under a Creative Commons license [BY-NC-SA].

you must march back towards the things you had forgotten… (disquiet0088-3d)

I’ve been skipping the Disquiet Junto projects (and music in general) these past few weeks. Real life has been a bit… event-filled. But this week’s project appealed to me:

We were told to generate three elements: A beat, a drone, and a ‘melodic fragment’. We were then to use these to create a 90 second piece, with each element ‘showcased’ for 30 seconds by applying some kind of 3D/spatial effect to it. (Melody from 0-29, the Beat from 30-59, and the Drone for those last 30 seconds).

Process details are here. Link to the entire Disquiet project is here. I basically panned the hell out of the ‘melody’ for 30 seconds, applied an interesting pong delay pattern to the beat for 30 seconds, and then ran the drone through an even more interesting pong delay pattern for the final 30.

I’m still trying to find an easy workflow as I make these pieces. I find myself using AudioMulch as the ‘laboratory” for creating the actual sounds, but it’s then easier to load the created sounds into Ableton Live and work on them there. I realize that most folks will tell you to just pick one DAW and learn the hell out of it, but AudioMulch is so much closer to the old-school ‘pedals and cables’ way of doing things, I find it easier to be creative there. Meanwhile, Ableton Live is just so much better at the actual construction of a piece of music, once you’ve created the raw materials.

Speaking of Ableton… 25% off the upgrade to Live 9 if I do it today. Hadn’t intended to upgrade until Spring, but I’m tempted. Live 9 Suite has the Max for Live extension that I’ve been dying to play with for almost a year.

Disquiet Junto 0073: Faulty Notation

The Disquiet Junto project for this week assigned us an excerpt of a geological/topographical map of the San Andreas fault line. Mine is below:

a san andreas fault map excerpt

san andreas fault map excerpt

There were many map excerpts, but this one was mine. I started out with no real idea as to how to approach this, but soon found myself making a detailed markup of how to bind the maps’ characteristics to tones, etc:

Collected the map areas into eight ‘categories’ (to keep it tractable– I lumped together two separate yellows as one tone, for example) and did what I could to read it as a score. Six MIDI instruments (mostly processed Korgs softsynths), keyed in by hand. The “score” was complicated enough that it was best treated like a comp sheet. In addition, two samples of my own were drawn in by hand in the proper places (relative to the other sounds/features).

If you look closely at the markup, you can see that I had originally planned for 5 minutes (300 seconds) because that made the pixel-to-time math easier. I soon realized just how grueling this would be, so it ended up scaling to 3 minutes.

Enjoy. Creative Commons, no commercial use, derivs ok.

(ETA: This one was done in Ableton Live).

disquiet: i, io.

I had started last week’s disquiet project, but then nature intervened with three feet of snow.

That said, this week’s project had us using our own voices for raw material. This worried me (singing is not exactly my forté), plus I intentionally forced myself to use Audiomulch, which I barely know, as part of the exercise. But here it is:

I’m going to continue working with Audiomulch, for awhile. I haven’t been able to configure it to use MIDI events (like a key press) to trigger/start/stop clips as easily as I can in Ableton Live, but I expect this problem to be solvable. Others have solved it already.

Meanwhile, I listened to Tubular Bells for the first time today, on the drive into work. The album’s almost as old as I am, and I had bought this CD set back in 2002, but there it sat in a box all this time.

No impressions yet (when you look at something 40 years past, ‘impressions’ degenerate into ‘historicism’ so I doubt I’ll even bother to go there). But I do note the whimsy. All that English Musical Whimsy, even back then.