New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

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New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

Well, I guess this will end up being my last synth challenge of the year as it's almost October and I'm finishing up my previous challenge (scoring a silent film) and I have no idea how long it will take to pull the next one off!

This is going be a bit rambly because I'm just starting to think seriously about how I'm going to do this and am already coming up with various obstacles and mental knots to untangle. :)

The goal of my next challenge is to record in real time a performance using just the Lyra-8 and Subharmonicon. And maybe a kick drum or some other minimal percussion? Not sure.

I have my effects chain already done (discussed in another thread) and a BOSS RC-5 looper. My goal is to have the output of the looper going straight into my interface and press record. What it gets is what it gets, so I'm expecting this to take days or weeks to get a performance I can live with. As I am off the last two weeks of November, that's my target to work on it in earnest.

The first challenge I was met with was: how long will this be? And will I have any control over how long it will take to get it 'right', or at least 'good'? My guess is that this piece will end up being quite long, probably between 20-30 minutes total. That doesn't worry me, my pieces tend to be very long anyway.

But how to approach this with the looper had me stumped for a few hours today. My original idea was to record 30 minutes of blank space and then overdub layers. However that would lead to the piece being hours long! I kept trimming and trimming and I think I've settled on a length of 1 minute for the track. If I start with a 1-minute long blank, I can then get the first drone layer up, overdub, and then 'perform' each subsequent layer as I improvise, record, and layer again and again.

The idea is, in theory, when I have a dense enough bed of layers, I can improvise a 'lead' layer of the Subharmonicon over the rest. I'm pretty happy with this approach and it looks pretty sound. I'm sure that during the coming weeks this will be modified and tweaked to match the real world constraints of doing this all live -- to say nothing of becoming proficient in improvising with this setup in the first instance!

Overall, I'm excited to start documenting the project here and am looking forward to recording something as a 100% live performance.
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Bob Bickerton »

Probably of no use, but I've finally figured out a way off creating rather nice drones on my harp (the sort with strings) using a Gamechanger Plus Pedal https://www.gamechangeraudio.com/pluspedal/.

You can layer up several loops on top of each other very quickly (if that's what you want) and you can run it in 'wet' mode, which might suit your application. It has it's own effects loop (for the looped sound) into which I patch an Eventide Blackhole pedal to provide some movement to the drone.

This has seriously revolutionised what I can achieve with the harp live and I have heaps of control over how quickly the recorded loop fades in and fades out.

Just a thought.

Bob
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

Yes, it’s an a beautiful pedal, I’ve looked into it before. Can it store more than one loop at a time?
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Arpangel »

My experience has been that dedicated loopers aren’t good for me, regarding creating drones, I find delays much more flexible, and things very slowly fade out, allowing new layers to be added, hence more variation over long periods of time, Frippertronics style.
Also, you may find that adding a "lead" over the top, will end up superfluous and just not needed.
I think a large number of oscillators, through processing, gives enormous scope for variation.
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by The Elf »

...and I use a combination of long delays *and* loops. The Enso looper has a looping mode that also lets it fade off like a delay, so you get the best of both worlds.
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Arpangel »

The Elf wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:27 am ...and I use a combination of long delays *and* loops. The Enso looper has a looping mode that also lets it fade off like a delay, so you get the best of both worlds.

I’ve been looking for something like that for a long time, I’ll check it out.

:thumbup:

Uh-Oh, just found out it’s software.
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by The Elf »

Arpangel wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:52 am
The Elf wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:27 am ...and I use a combination of long delays *and* loops. The Enso looper has a looping mode that also lets it fade off like a delay, so you get the best of both worlds.

I’ve been looking for something like that for a long time, I’ll check it out.

Uh-Oh, just found out it’s software.

Yup - no hardware equivalent I'm aware of. Closest I can get is with my Line 6 Helix that will loop and delay at the same time.

The Helix will delay-fade over minutes and (thanks to me hassling Line 6!) now stays in time with the tap tempo light!
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Bob Bickerton »

Ben Asaro wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 2:10 am Yes, it’s an a beautiful pedal, I’ve looked into it before. Can it store more than one loop at a time?

Yes, in group mode you can layer up lots of loops. But maybe think of it as a sampler rather than a looper. It samples a short section of audio when you press down the pedal and, I assume, cross fades the sample which it then loops. Slightly different approach, not so good for the attack on short notes, but manages tails and sustained notes really well.

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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Bob Bickerton »

The Elf wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 9:33 am
Arpangel wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:52 am
The Elf wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:27 am ...and I use a combination of long delays *and* loops. The Enso looper has a looping mode that also lets it fade off like a delay, so you get the best of both worlds.

I’ve been looking for something like that for a long time, I’ll check it out.

Uh-Oh, just found out it’s software.

Yup - no hardware equivalent I'm aware of.

Recently bought a Electro Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper (https://www.ehx.com/products/720/) which does exactly that. You can programme up to 60 seconds of fade out - best looper pedal I’ve come across yet!

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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

Arpangel wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:00 am My experience has been that dedicated loopers aren’t good for me, regarding creating drones, I find delays much more flexible, and things very slowly fade out, allowing new layers to be added, hence more variation over long periods of time, Frippertronics style.
Also, you may find that adding a "lead" over the top, will end up superfluous and just not needed.
I think a large number of oscillators, through processing, gives enormous scope for variation.

Neat! This will be much less of an ambient/Frippertronics/musique concrete thing and closer to pure drone music, though not as dry as most drone albums.
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

Bob Bickerton wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 10:16 am
The Elf wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 9:33 am
Arpangel wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:52 am
The Elf wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 8:27 am ...and I use a combination of long delays *and* loops. The Enso looper has a looping mode that also lets it fade off like a delay, so you get the best of both worlds.

I’ve been looking for something like that for a long time, I’ll check it out.

Uh-Oh, just found out it’s software.

Yup - no hardware equivalent I'm aware of.

Recently bought a Electro Harmonix 720 Stereo Looper (https://www.ehx.com/products/720/) which does exactly that. You can programme up to 60 seconds of fade out - best looper pedal I’ve come across yet!

Bob

The BOSS RC-5 has programmable fade in and fade out as well.
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

Bob Bickerton wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 10:10 am
Ben Asaro wrote: Fri Oct 01, 2021 2:10 am Yes, it’s an a beautiful pedal, I’ve looked into it before. Can it store more than one loop at a time?

Yes, in group mode you can layer up lots of loops. But maybe think of it as a sampler rather than a looper. It samples a short section of audio when you press down the pedal and, I assume, cross fades the sample which it then loops. Slightly different approach, not so good for the attack on short notes, but manages tails and sustained notes really well.

Bob

Thanks for the extra info, Bob! Yes, it looks like a granular sampler, very cool, and I do actually want one, but I’m not sure how relevant it would be to this particular project. Still, you never know, GAS has a weird way of causing new things to show up! :D
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