15ips Archive: "Demos"
I love learning about the physics of sound. One thing that really interests me is phase – two or more signals can be out of phase with each other, which causes distortion that can be either a nuisance or an artistic device. On a guitar that’s out of tune, you’ll see that the strings vibrate unevenly with each other and the sound is kind of muddy or muffled. Tuning a guitar adjusts the strings so that they’re tuned to whatever key, but also so that they vibrate “in phase” with each other, producing the clearest possible sound.
In music, phase distortion can be used to alter the timbre of sounds, and it also creates a sort of vibrato / tremelo effect. Both of these are demonstrated in this piece. “Reflection I”. Play the piece here or download it here.
This should be played on good headphones or on a decent speaker configuration.
Did you ever learn to play an instrument, and then struggle to find your voice with it? I’m turning a corner, creatively. I feel like something’s changing but I don’t feel like calling it anything… it just is, and I’m happy to have it.
Here’s an experiment that turned out well. I love Allen Ginsberg and this is my interpretation of his poem, Psalm III. It’s not mastered yet but I’m really pleased with it so far. I hope you enjoy it.
19 October 2010 in Demos
Direct mp3 link: Click Here
Edit and archive.
I’m dead tired… it was nice to do nothing and just relax. I’m putting off the parts list / shopping list project for Saturday.
I found this video series by accident… I was searching the Web for something totally unrelated. This guy’s name is Cameron Paul and he apparently had a big hand in creating the dance DJ aesthetic as we know it today. He’s also a native San Franciscan.
Here’s my favorite clip. He gives a no-nonsense intro that I think most people can follow. I like it when people break things down into really simple concepts.
Dig the outfit. He did the official mix of Salt N Pepa’s “Push It” – it was actually a remix of an earlier recording.
… And here’s a quick noise piece that I’m going to use between sections of a larger piece I’m working on. It’ll probably be edited for length.
Direct link: Here
Calistoga wishes and M&M dreams.
I reworked the demo from the last post. I like this version a lot better.
Demo Clip Demo Clip Demo Clip:
It’s been nearly two weeks since I last wrote. I’m a bit bogged down in projects right now and I haven’t had much opportunity to make music.
A few technical issues have sprung up and I’m taking care of them as best I can. I was really hoping that I’d be out of the woods by now, equipment-wise, but it looks like I’m not there yet.
After eliminating most of the hums and buzzes from my studio, I hooked up my Tascam 48 eight track machine to the console and started recording. On playback, however, I noticed that four of the eight channels were producing weak signals. The needles on the VU meters looked right, and it wasn’t an issue with the mixing console. Something is happening in the amplification stage in the tape deck.
I opened up the machine and removed the amp cards to clean and inspect them. After putting them back in, the problem was still there and it appeared to follow the cards. That means that there’s something wrong with those individual amp cards. Maybe. I’m waiting to pick up a calibration tape, and I’ll start from the top and work to the bottom to find the problem and (hopefully) its solution.
Also, with my secondary Tascam 34b quarter-inch four track machine, I noticed problems with the reel motors on playback, fast forward, and rewind. When a tape is loaded, the motors will run at normal speed and then grind to a halt. So, I opened the deck, removed the motors, and gave them a full cleaning. I will also replace the bearings once I find a bearing puller to remove the old ones. I also replaced the belt, which I was going to do anyway.
This doesn’t touch on the issues that I’ve had with other equipment, but I should fix these two things before I move on to other projects. The eight-track is my primary multitrack, and the four-track machine will be very important for editing loops and for doing echo and delay. I kind of need them to work. You know.
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I had a loop sitting on the bench, which I left there after I discovered that my eight track was broken. I put it on the working four-track deck and recorded it into Audacity. The original sound is a guitar chord, and I cut off the attack and made a loop from the remainder. This is one of my favorite techniques because the sounds that it produces are very glassy, and often sound like chimes. This was recorded in my bedroom, and I purposely EQed it to bring out the room sounds: my dehumidifier, street traffic, and general environmental white noise. It’s great as a demo, and I will eventually do it again in a proper studio for a more polished result.
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I have a couple of building and design projects on my plate, too. I’m designing a loft bed for my bedroom. Underneath the bed will be a workspace, which means that I can get all of my broken tape decks off of the dining room table and into my personal space. I am also designing a shelf to go over the meter bridge of my mixer, which will hold a couple of lamps and my monitors. Finally, I’m designing a normaling RCA patchbay to handle the accessory send/receive jacks on my console. I will be writing a few posts about that later. Let me just say that it’s going to make this thing a LOT less messy:
Anyway. Enjoy the clip. I’ve got some stuff to do.
The new year has begun, and I’m building a library of sounds and textures for future pieces. I’m starting with what I call the ‘background layer’. Think of it as the ambience/pulse/backdrop/undercurrent: eliciting a particular mood and providing structure to the piece.
I’ve heard this instrument in many performances but I didn’t know what it was… and I’ve always been curious to learn more. This particular instrument has many names, but the name I hear most often is the Singing Bowl. It’s a hard metal bowl, either hand-hammered or machined, and it is typically used in meditation routines. I really like its sound… the attack is somewhat diminished compared to other tuned percussion instruments and it produces a very nice, sustained tone with a long decay. The harmonics and overtones are very pleasing. It’s perfect for manipulating on tape.
This particular recording was made through a very simple process. First, I found a singing bowl performance on YouTube:
I used Audio Hijack Pro to extract the audio, and edited the resulting AIFF file in Audacity.
Step 1: Edit track for length, reverse the track.
Step 2: Copy and paste audio from step 1 into a new stereo track, speed up by 33%
Step 3: Copy and paste audio form step 1 into a new stereo track, decrease speed by 33%
Step 4: Mix, render, export as mp3.
It was a fun exercise to see what’s possible with this instrument. I want to get my hands on a few of these bowls, and explore this further.