Disquiet Junto 0290 Text-to-Beat

The Junto this week asks for a track built on a rhythm created with text-to-speech software.

One of my first considerations was how to show the process in a video, but I soon remembered the V-tech Alphabet Desk that has been used by my kids for about a decade now.

I'm a fan of the V-tech toys, having used another one in an early Ninja Trax recording.

This afternoon I set up my SM7 microphone to record the Alphabet Desk and was surprised at how quiet the level seemed to be, since when the kids use it it seems impossible to ignore the recorded voice.

This evening I started exploring making loops in Ableton Live, adding gates to emphasise rhythms.

The X proved to be a versatile syllable, with the initial "eh' serving as a snare and the 'chs' becoming a hi-hat.

You can also hear a lot of the B.

As the Junto directions suggested 2-3 minutes, I figured it was just enough time to not worry about developing harmonic progression but I did adjust the pitch in parts.

All of the parts come from the V-tech except for the kick, which is an 808 sample.

Naviarhaiku184 – deepening winter night

The haiku this week suggested something gritty, so I turned to my circuit-bent Casios.

Really bad turnout

Disquiet Junto 0289 Ancient Artifacts

Step 1: Imagine an instrument that has been lost in the sands of time.
Step 2: Imagine what that instrument sounded like.
Step 3: Record a piece of music employing that instrument.

The idea of an ancient instrument suggested one that used the human body. Chest-thumping, hand claps, finger snaps and flicking stretched cheeks were the result.

I can imagine sitting in a cave and hearing the reflected sound of flicked cheeks. My beard helped stop my cheeks aching and the cotton gloves did too.

Disquiet Junto 0286 Found in Translation

The Junto instructions this week ask for multiple versions of a track:
Consider what it means to “transliterate” something, and how that differs from “translating” something, and how both differ from “interpreting” something.

This spoke to my process of recording and then remixing tracks and there was a track that I'd already processed in various ways.

'Smoke' was a song very quickly recorded at the end of 2015, when I'd been keen to put something down without a clear idea what it might be.

At the time I'd written lyrics very quickly, recorded two takes and decided to layer them up rather than edit bits together.

Then in March this year I'd revisited the track, adding a bass part that was recorded for another song.

I'd experimented with repitching the vocals and added drums using Live's samples.

More recently I'd come back to the original and attempted to more drastically remix the parts.

In the third section of the video above, you can see I've layered much shorter samples and you can hear I've used Live's Beatrepeat effect to create new melodies.

Disquiet Junto 0285 Live Barcoding

The Junto this week asked for music from the three barcodes nearest to me.

When I started looking I found this sales gimmick from Woolworths that used a kind of a barcode on cards with various fauna and insects to trigger recordings.

I'd quietly waited until my kids lost interest in the cards and player, which had to be purchased seperately, but haven't yet taken the step of soldering an output.

For this project I picked three barcodes that offered a variety of wide and thin stripes.

I interpreted the stripes as notes quickly recording a single take singing each card. Then I thought it'd be fun to add the sounds of the card being read by the player.

In Ableton Live I looped the card sounds but kept my singing as single takes, then decided to add more variety by dropping one part down a fifth. Then I extended the parts so they repeated, then edited one with another to get a length of nearly three minutes.

I layered up these six parts and had an idea to duplicate the card sounds, slightly offset some then pan each into opposite channels.