New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

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

Post by Ben Asaro »

JAM DIARY, DAY 10. Almost two weeks in and I feel that the performance is just starting to take shape. Pulling this project off is a bit like one of those pyramids acrobats make: each layer has to be solid, complement the one before it, made on the fly, and support the overall piece.

An overall structure is starting to take shape now, thankfully.

The Lyra-8 continues to confound, every time you adjust one Voice, it affects all the others and most times there's no going back to where you were, especially if you're using modulation. Once the modulation is changed by adding voices, I cannot go back. It's critical to not get frustrated because THAT'S WHAT THIS MACHINE DOES lol.

In terms of general composition, the best strategy for me seems to be to alternate between layers of L8 and SubH. Starting with something that has a rhythmic pulse without any real pitch helps get things into a semi-flow, but since nothing is sync'd and I'm doing the overdubs manually, there are all these wonderful little glitches.

Here is where the performance currently stands, https://drive.google.com/file/d/16Rwdq3 ... sp=sharing
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

JAM DIARY, DAY 11. I really enjoyed the jam I recorded yesterday so much that I decided to use that as my 'base' or experimenting layer additions. There is definitely a 'performance' starting to emerge, an optimal (to me) series of layers that seems to work best.

During my experimentation, I did notice one 'error' in this approach. I use quotes here because this is a product of my composer brain at work: the knowledge that this massive, evolving sound, is essentially one chord. Now, whilst the Subharmonicon rewards sonic experimentation really well, it does not reward deliberate compositional techniques such as chord progressions nearly as well.

So where does that leave you? Well, if you start building layers in C, you are stuck in C unless you want to add deliberate dissonance to the proceedings. And since my main compositional goal for the first movement is "consonance", that won't do. :D

And that's where my post-recording experimentation bore some fruit!

Since everything is passing through the RC-5, on it's long fade out, it's possible to crossfade between sections.

So, when viewed as an instrument, I can break the Lyra-8 into the following:

VOICE 1/2, rhythmic pulse
VOICE 3/4, drone in key center no. 1
VOICE 5/6 drone in key center no. 2
VOICE 7/8 drone in key center no. 3

That means I can also break the Subharmonicon into a similar 'compositional' chunks:

OSC 1/ SEQUENCER 1, key center no. 1 (re-tune for key center no. 3)
OSC 2/SEQUENCER 2, key center no. 2

+++++

Of course, being methodical by nature, I find this approach to be very appealing!

So my score now looks something like this:

Image

The plan for the performance is:

1. Record/loop the rhythmic layer
2. Record/loop the 'base layers' for key center 1
3. Improvise in key center 1
4. Save the current 'base layer'
5. Fade out key center 1 whilst fading the rhythmic layer back in
6. Repeat steps 1-5 for key center 2
7. Tune the Subharmonicon to key center 3
8. Repeat steps 1-5 for key center 3
9. Return to key center 1
Ben Asaro
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

JAM DIARY, DAY 12. Today's jam was an experiment to see if the idea I scored yesterday would work in practice. I started small, just one change/2 key centers.

I ended up having to change the Lyra-8's setup a bit because if I wanted something strictly rhythmic to loop, it would mean dedicating the first four Voices. It was work the sacrifice, imo, and I tuned the Voices thusly:

VOICE 1/2, rhythmic pulse
VOICE 3/4 na
VOICE 5, root note, key center 1
VOICE 6, 5th, key center 1
VOICE 7, root note, key center 2
VOICE 8, 5th, key center 2

The results are a little mixed. Overall, it definitely worked, but ... it feels to me like the time spent switching between memories could either a) be shortened or b) there needs to be something continuously playing to bridge the motives. I think this is easy enough to do, it just didn't occur to me at the time!

The jam, overall, was a bit rough round the edges bc I'm still figuring it all out, but as a proof of concept, it works.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1CGg027 ... sp=sharing

There are a lot of details to still work out, but I'm liking the journey thus far!
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

JAM DIARY, DAY 13A. After yesterday's entry, I continued experimenting to see how quickly one can switch between memories when I made a serendipitous discovery -- if you have something recorded on a memory, you can cue that memory to play directly in sequence after the current loop is complete, just like cueing up something on a step sequencer. I do not know if this is a design feature; I tried finding this in the manual and could not see anything like this referenced.

For example: if you have a loop in Memory 01 and a loop in Memory 02 and press play, you can continuously bounce between them in Play mode much as you can with a step sequencer.

What does this mean for me? If I change my approach slightly and prepare the rhythmic layer first, I can seamlessly switch between each motive without having to ever stop the RC-5.

Today's experimentation will be proof of concept.
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

JAM DIARY, DAY 13B. Well, that mostly worked lol. :D

Switching between Memories is as easy as I thought it would be, but what I didn't consider was the fact that switching Memories without writing the loop means that when you return to a previous Memory, all I would have was the original layer!

So that caused a momentary panic as I had to rebuild the backing layers on the fly, but it was a blessing in disguise as it allowed me to re approach the piece from the ground up.
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

JAM DIARY, DAY 14. I think I may have had something of a breakthrough today! For the first time I felt like I was in some semblance of control and actually performing. :D
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Eddy Deegan »


Live notes:

Opening is an interesting percussive clicky noise that makes me curious as to what's coming next...

1:05: Bass drone grabs the attention ... and it changes pitch to the classic 4th after just the right time

2:21: Bass finishes repeating the root-4th transition for a second time and something intriguing gently creeps in in the higher registers with a synth part

Shortly afterwards: additional atmosphere sound/pad? Subtle. I like that!

3:35: Attack on the high synth part becomes more legato. I like that too.

The original 'clicky' sound continues to serve as percussion of sorts and it's very evocative.

5:00: Not much has changed but I'm not struggling in any way to keep attention. The high synth part seems to be slightly more active than it was before which might have something to do with it.

5:56: Click and bass fade out ... then the click fades straight back, wetly (reverb-speaking).

... waiting to see where that goes ...

... it's teasing me ...

7:08: Bass slooooowly fades back in
7:15: A higher octave creeps in also
7:50: We resume click, bass and higher synth sound, gently but assertively
8:24: A little clocked square-wave lead motif emerges
8:50: Joined by another part ... sustained high note
9:17: Hints of a square-wave lead sound, again sustained
10:39: I do like the little motif in the outro ... and we fade out.

Summary: I had no problem listening to it in its entirety as a soundscape and I very much liked the timbres and subtle comings-and-goings within it. I don't think it would work for me musically in and of itself but only because I wanted more to be going on and I don't think that's the objective. As a backing/pad/drone/filler for something with more stuff going on I think it would be epic.

I genuinely admire the way you perform musical experiments Ben and I think it's something more of us should invest time in because it's a revealing experience both for listener and artist.

I also feel in some way as if I'm gaining something vicariously through the time investment you're making in your experiments and thank you very much for sharing the diaries, so to speak.

That was time well spent :thumbup:
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Ben Asaro »

Thanks, Eddy! :D
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Arpangel »

Always interesting to see/hear what you’re up to Ben, you’re an inherent part of this forum and you would be sadly missed if you weren’t here, and I’ve leant a lot from your challenges and explorations.
But I’m thinking, considering my approach is the polar opposite to yours, wouldn’t it be interesting, if we could do a musical Air B+B.
You spend a week at mine working my way, and I spend a week at yours working your way, should be very interesting, from my point of view, anyway.

:D:D:D
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That’s another thing

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

Post by Ben Asaro »

LOL possibly! :D
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Re: New synth challenge -- the performance drone recording!

Post by Arpangel »

Ben Asaro wrote: Mon Nov 29, 2021 1:09 pm LOL possibly! :D

I’d probably be so blown away by NY I wouldn’t want to make any music, I can’t say you’d have the same feeling about being here.

:D
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That’s another thing

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

Post by Ben Asaro »

JAM DIARY, UPDATE 15. I'm changing the wording on these updates from "day #" to "update #" since I am not working on this over consecutive days.

I've been going in whole hog on experimenting with using the first two Lyra-8 voices for lo-fi rhythmic sounds. Getting everything to line up just so -- the pattern, delay, and modulation -- is akin to catching lightning in a bottle so I've been recording the ones I like as the base layer on multiple Memories on the RC-5. This is a great jumping-off point for the improvisational parts and prevents recording the initial faffing around trying to design a usable rhythm on the spot.

I am achieving this by setting the Pitch and Tune knobs to their lowest setting, and Sharp and Mod to their highest settings, and then using the LFO as the modulation source. From there it's just a matter of dialing in the LFOs until I have a spacious sounding series of pops and ticks. After that I bring in the delay and experiment until there's a syncopation I like. This is usually the part of the process where I end up going to far, losing a rhythm that I liked previously forever, and having to rest the delays to zero and start over again. :D
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