Category Archives: 2010

Analog Variations

[play]Analog Variations (2010)

A piece created using an analog synthesiser and using analog
re-processing of recorded materials. The same sounds appear again and
again, each further prepared with analog methods. I wanted to get
back to my roots and do something that used a computer only as a tape
recorder and not as a compositional tool. It’s easier and more
rewarding to get organic sounds out of fiddling knobs than it is
fiddling number generators.


Silicon Valley By Rail

[play]Silicon Valley by Rail (2010)

I was home last year for my uncle’s funeral. I don’t have a car or even a drivers license any more, so I rode a lot of trains, especially around the the South Bay Area. Silicon Valley’s trains are diesel, with real bells on them. They sound like something out of time, like our rail infrastructure is from the past even as our gadgets are pushing us into the future.

I recorded the trains and bells with a Xoom recorder. Then, I analysed the spectrum of the bells and used dissonance curves to construct a tuning for FM tones modelled on the bells. I used those tones to construct a drone and then mixed in some processed versions of the train sounds. There’s also a bit of binaural beating in this piece, making it a safe, legal high.

In the process of making this piece, I released a SuperCollider Quark called TuningLib, which has in it a DissonanceCurve class, useful for computing tunings based on timbre.


Live at NOISE=NOISE #19

[play]Live at NOISE=NOISE #19 (29 April 2010)

There’s a series of Noise concerts in the London area called NOISE=NOISE, curated by Ryan Jordan. They’re usually pretty awesome. This was the second one I’ve played in. It was organised about two days before the event, so I threw together my set at the last minute.

In the first part of it, I’m playing my MOTM synthesizer and live sampling that in my SimpleSample SuperCollider patch, controlled by a wireless gamepad. However, one channel seemed to be out on the PA and it seemed like a lot of my SC stuff wasn’t making it out to the PA either. At some point, the joystick gave up the ghost completely, so it switched to being all modular synth.

Some of the frequencies really resonated the hell out of the space. For best results, listen with speakers rather than headphones and turn it up loud.