Daze On End

More 'layered sameness' recorded using my four-string guitar.

Naviarhaiku138 - First thing to catch my ear

The sound of running water can be heard here filtering through a few resonators and reverbs.

Disquiet Junto 0243 Synth Trial

The Disquiet Junto this week asks we share a favorite track from the audition tape sent to Ridley Scott for the Blade Runner sequel's soundtrack.

It's funny but hardly a week goes by without thinking about this film. A few weeks ago I read this beaut piece on the typography in the film.

I considered watching the film again today but settled for listening to tracks on Youtube, including beaut interpretations by James Holden and Benny Benassi.

I spent a little while exploring ideas on a Kaossilator before settling on writing a song using VST synths in Ableton Live. In this track I use V-Station, Oddity, Absynth, Massive and Drumaxx.

My idea was to update the style of electronic music a bit but still make it feel somewhat dated, so acid seemed a good direction.

The initial MIDI files were generated very quickly, then the generative approach continued with the MIDI tools in Live. The arpeggiator, scale and chord ('Film noir' preset!) effects were used to shape the notes before directing them to synths.

Valhalla Shimmer is in the mix and I automated the pitch in places, particularly that decaying effect at the end. There's also Ohmforce Frohmage on the drums for a muffled effect.

Indian Ocean

My Dog Has Fleas

Learned a lot from James Hill about phrasing chords on a stringed instrument.

His version of Voodoo Chile is virtuosic.

RIP Soundcloud

Today, 22 August 2016, marks the end of Soundcloud's Groups functionality. Unlike many changes to the popular audio-hosting website, it's happened with very little fanfare.

The end of Groups signals an end to my interest in Soundcloud. As much as I've appreciated their service in hosting my music for over seven years, I feel that withdrawing from their website is the only way I can express my disappointment with their decision to undermine the communities I enjoy.

Through Groups like the Disquiet Junto and Naviar Records' projects I have listened, been heard and learned from musicians based all over the world.

I've written elsewhere about the productive creative practice in making music and noise that I've maintained as a result of meeting the deadlines set by people like Marc and Marco, who run these two Groups respectively.

I'm sure Soundcloud have their reasons to close Groups. I know that I haven't been a great patron for their website. I bought a subscription to their service once so I could download my most popular song, then sought a refund almost immediately.

I've also been frustrated by Soundcloud doing things like stopping me from creating playlists (like this one of 120 Junto tracks), so I'm happy to have avoided feeling frustrated by paying for a service that doesn't work. (I am happy to see I've now recorded over 140 Junto tracks though!)

When the Junto's 101st project came along I started producing videos to show some of the processes involved in producing my tracks. I now have a playlist of 64 Junto tracks with videos and I'm pleased to see that Marc has an aspiration "for the Junto to become 'platform-agnostic'" through using llllllll.co "as a central place for each project".

This forum-based approach for the Junto makes sense as it's a model that's worked for the Ninja Tune Forum-based projects I've been involved with and provides an easy method for communicating with other producers. That Forum isn't as popular as it once was but, looking at my followers on various Soundcloud accounts, I get the impression that Soundcloud now isn't as popular either.

The Ninja Tune Forum also offers an interesting comparison as it has benefited from the shuttering of a similar service, when the Warp Records forum was closed. In that case an audience migrated to the Ninja's forum to continue their conversations about music and it led into developing projects like the seven-minute mixes and chain remixes.

It'll be interesting to see whether moving hundreds of producers onto a forum like llllllll.co will spur the development of new creative projects. Change can be a good thing, right?

Cutting the rug

Hadn't had a jam on the bass for a while, so I recorded drums and improvised a bassline to go on top.

Then added a bunch of glitchy effects, particularly Audio Damage's Replicant.


Brian Crabtree's project for the Disquiet​ Junto in April was called 'layered sameness' and it's a good description.

In this video I've layered the takes recorded with my four-string guitar for the Junto this week.

Disquiet Junto 0242 Share Yer Knowledge

The title of this week's Junto project, "Share Yer Knowledge," comes from a great thread (excuse me, "channel") on the Junto Slack. The idea this week is to make (and annotate) a track that provides an example of a trick/skill/tip you want to share about a piece of musical software or hardware.

Last year I watched the Morphine documentary again and listened to their albums. I could hear Mark Sandman used a variety of tunings on his bass guitar and started experimenting. After trying a few keys I settled in D, in part because the guitar I wanted to use wouldn't take a bass A-string.

This year I've used this four-string guitar on an increasing number of tracks From the first Junto of 2016 to the Naviar Haiku track recorded yesterday.

Many tracks have practically written themselves and this one picks up where the last piece left off, as it uses a chord I stumbled upon at the end of the latter track.

The guitar is tuned DDAE. Last month I saw a commercial four-string guitar and noticed some similarities. That one was a Merlin model by Seagull guitars but was tuned DADD, with a unison high D.

Mine uses a D-string from a bass and then one from a guitar, which puts them an octave apart before the A- and G-string both come from a guitar -- the latter is tuned down to E, although at first I used F#.

In the opening of this track I pick through the open strings, as well as harmonics. It's mostly the kind of D chord you'd get from a tuned-down guitar and I think D is a great key.

The tempo speeds up throughout and there's delay feedback at the end, created adjusting the repeat rate as well as the intensity.

The four-note chords I can form seem to suit the deep pitch but I have been thinking recently about adding more strings. Just can't figure out what yet.

The Epiphone 335 guitar has really been improved with this tuning. It's a lovely sounding guitar but the intonation wasn't good for chords using regular guitar tuning, particularly the B-string.

I've more than half a dozen guitars with varying tunings but this has been my go-to instrument in recent months. For example, this track recorded earlier this month worked out very well, as well as this rockier one.

Naviarhaiku 137 - Meteor shower

The Perseid meteor shower prompted the Naviar haiku this week and, while it isn't visible in the Southern Hemisphere, I've seen others.

A memorable experience was when I first moved to the country earlier this century and was living in Wagga.

I awoke at 3am to see the forecast meteors and drove north, where the best views where supposed to be found. Must've got most of the way to Temora before I spotted a road that seemed dark and facing in the direction I wanted.

I recall lying on the bonnet of my Honda Accord, feeling the warmth of the engine and looking up to see a dazzling display of multi-coloured streaks across the sky. It amazed me to see the white, yellow, orange, blue and green dashes.

For this track I've used the four-string guitar that's inspired a number of recent tunes, as well as my five-string bass. It's a simple chord progression with higher tapped notes to convey the sense of light streaking across the sky.

Specific Ocean

This track began with a view to responding to Naviar Records' Renku project, which I think is meant to involve a collaboration.

I'd suggested to my partner that we record a tune and she wrote some lyrics for this chord progression I'd been jamming on.

In the end though, we didn't record her vocals and I guess I've moved onto another chord progression -- which maybe I'll record later this week.

Disquiet Junto 0241 Foreground Effect

The Junto instruction this week speaks of flipping hierarchies, particularly between background and foreground.

There are different ways to get this effect and here I've mostly used reverb.

My piece takes three of the parts from last week's Junto and shifts their positions in the mix, particularly between the background and the foreground.

There are also resonators in places, which end up creating a kind of space-less drone.

I like that this track returns to drone a piece that was recording emerging from drone. This week I also produced this crisp instrumental version.

There's also a weighting that I shift with the AM Radio preset on Lumonix effect mentioned on lines last week. It's on the bass, the guitar and the drums.

Then Valhalla Shimmer adds that pad-like swell.

Naviarhaiku135 - The loneliest sound

The haiku shared by Naviar Records this week posed an idea of the loneliest sound.

Do you know what sounds lonely? The mix of a song with most of the bright parts missing.

The track above uses all of the stringed instruments from the last Junto piece except the guitar but only one bass and drum track each and no vocals.

The video below also has three vocal takes and additional drum and guitar parts.

Door_slam_2.wav is a triumph

Sponsored posts in my Facebook feed like this amuse me waaay more than they should.

"Pro Tools 'guru'"!

Blindfolded audio tour

Today I experimented with an idea to develop a blindfolded audio tour for Pioneer Park Museum.

Disquiet Junto 0240 Emerging from a Drone

The Junto this week described a song emerging from a drone. I feel I've skimped on the drone and could've stretched it out further, however.

I'd been jamming in the key of G when the Junto instructions arrived and I couldn't escape it, although I switched to my 'Nashville' tuned guitar.

There I recorded four minutes playing a G minor chord first -- which I thought would play the drone but that ended up being the fretless bass.

The idea to record vocals was impromptu but I had the foresight to use a decent mic rather than the camera. Then I recorded two takes on my four-string guitar.

There are four drum takes layered up and they're mostly in time. Mostly. The two bass parts were recorded last and in each the strap fell off the bass, so it drops out in places.

Before I started recording today I'd logged into llllllll.co and added a few free VSTs in the thread. I used Rough Rider (Pro though) on the drums and Frohmage on the one part too.

Reverb is Audio Damage's Eos and Valhalla's Shimmer. The delay is an Ohmboyz reverse preset on the four-string, same as I used last week.

Recorded and mixed quickly, then mastered with Ozone 7.

Screenshot of Ableton Live shows the four drum takes and two bass takes.

Disquiet Junto 0239 Code Requiem

The Disquiet Junto this week sought to capture the announced retirement of Soundcloud's Groups function.

This requiem was recorded with a four-string guitar after the weekend was spent trying to find the right notes.

On Monday morning I was able to record one take of a progression that had taken shape the night before. Knew I was onto something when I noticed liquid appearing in my partner's eyes while I strummed a chord progression.

When I added Ohmboyz delay it seemed to be a good effect with the reverse preset for the recording and one that hides a bum note, I think.