Category Archives: 2016

Shorts #39: Something Happy

[play]Shorts #39: Something Happy (2016)

Commissioned and titled by sevenhelz in honour of Deathboy.

This piece is influenced by the Vaporwave genre and movement and was written in SuperCollider. The melody is based on a markov chain of common melodic gestures. The instrument is based on the ‘Epic Sax’ code by Rukano. The bassline is adapted from the help file on Patterns. The plucking instrument’s durations is quarter divisions of random durations used by the melody, which is what gives it it’s slightly odd character.


Shorts #38: distant scritches

[play]Shorts #38: distant scritches (2016)

Commissioned and titled by sevenhelz in honour of Deathboy.

This piece was written in SuperCollider. All of the sounds are generated using the Gendyn4 UGen, which is based on descriptions of stochastic synthesis published by Iannis Xenakis in Formalised Music. This means that the timbre is generated by probabilities. The ‘pitches’ and sound controls are also controlled by random numbers, repeated in a structured pattern.

The sounds change to become more resonant over the course of the piece. The addition of reverb is what primarily gives the piece its character.


Dick Pic Hymnen

[play] Dick Pic Hymnen (2016)

This piece was commissioned by [NSFW]

When commissioned, I appealed on twitter for people to send me dick pics. Specifically, encrypted dick picks, to highlight that various national governments are spying on our sexts. In return, I was sent two unecrpyted images and one encrypted one. The unlocked images were of a tin of spotted dick, and a rooster (known to the English as a ‘cock’). The encrypted image was of the sender’s ‘friend, Richard.’

I took these files and played them as if they were wav files. Compressed and encrypted files sound like white noise, so I took the two unencrypted images and converted them to raw image formats. I then converted those to raw audio and used them as samples.

The pitches and rhythms in the piece are taken from a hymn that was popular in American Catholic churches when I was a child.

The images in the video are (obviously) not the images in the audio, as those were of unknown copyright status. The video images come from and


The Dream of the 80’s

[play] The Dream of the 80’s (2016)

This is a Vaporwave study.

I’ve recently learned about this genre, which was invented by teenagers doing deconstructive remixes of 80’s and early 90’s commercial culture ephemera. They take audio and video samples of brick and mortar consumer culture and cultural nostalgia to create criticism of pre-online capitalism, as far as I understand it.

I stumbled onto this genre shortly after finishing my Christmas album and realised that that it was very close to what I was already doing. I also had the much more disconcerting twin realisation that early 90’s muzak was a formative musical influence, due to how much I was subject to it during an impressionable age.

For this study, I took the advert for the Cupertino Inn and cut out all of the (extremely awkward) narration and was left only with the very muzak-y background. Because my editing was abrupt cuts, which did not adjust for beat matching, I decided to use granular-style techniques for cutting the audio, but with extremely oversized ‘grains’. I put this over a looped, half speed playback of the cut audio.

For the video, I used ffmpeg to spit out 12 frames a second as jpegs. I then used a python script to glitch every frame and reassembled the video. I editted them together in openshot, which, due to my inexperience, played the video at 12.5 fps, so I looped the closing image.

I picked this advert because I have a relationship with this hotel and because I thought it was extremely odd that they made an advert in 2010 that so completely and unintentionally embraced 80’s nostalgia and human misery. The Cupertino Inn is under new management in the last two years and has updated it’s vibe and furnishings. It is now a nice hotel. You should stay there, not only because I have a financial interest in you doing so.


Auld Lag Sine

[play] Auld Lag Sine (2016)

If you enjoyed this piece of music, please consider donating to the Hackney Night Shelter. This shelter takes no government funding and thus is able to provide shelter to people ineligible for government benefits, including refugees and asylum seekers who do not have the correct status to receive taxpayer funded aid. It is one of few secular organisations in this funding situation. This is especially helpful for asylum seekers that feel uncomfortable with religious organisation (especially those fleeing religiously-motivated violence, such as members of minority religions or LGBT people).

My friend Dan, who volunteers with the Night Shelter suggested last night that I do a version of Auld Lang Syne. Our attempts to sing it at a party were, as always, somewhat shambolic. For this version, I thought of the puns before I started working on the music, but this is an attempt to create the idea of drunken, sentimental sine waves toasting the new year.

Each voice is three sine waves, all up to an 8th tone out of tune, which have some portamento from one note to the next. The target pitch in the slide gets closer to the correct pitch as each note goes on. The highest sine wave pauses between notes, but the lower ones carry on. The piece starts with some short bursts of Markov chains as the voices try to agree on the notes and where they are in the song. Eventually, they go through the whole song, each varying tempo as they go, falling behind or catching up with the others. Finally, they all end together.

This track is part of a larger project, ’12 days of Crimbo’, which solicits funds for homeless and/or LGBT charities.