Today I created a SoundCloud group for AudioCookbook.org readers and contributors. I thought this would be a great way for readers to share what they are producing and perhaps feature occasional works on ACB. I have shared a handful of my tracks and experiments just to get started, but I’m ultimately looking for contributions from the ACB community at large. If you “SoundCloud” please feel free to share work that you have produced in an interesting or unique way. If you have created a Max for Live patch to process your sounds, made a particularly interesting field recording, or produced music using newly developed or experimental techniques; whatever it is, if it strays from the norm and sounds interesting we’d love to hear it!
A feature that I have been interested in adding to the GMS for quite a while is rest probabilities. Prior to adding this feature the GMS generated a sequence of notes without ever playing any rests. What’s exciting about the rest probability feature is that now you can add space into the generative phrases that the GMS creates.
Each preset can have a rest probability that ranges from zero to one-hundred. At zero notes will play continually just as it worked prior to adding the feature. At one-hundred only rests will play. Elsewhere in-between the probability of a rest occurring instead of a note is based on comparing a random number between one and one-hundred to the user adjusted setting. If the user setting is less than the randomly selected number then a note is played, otherwise the note is skipped and replaced by a rest of the same duration. I have uploaded a new Mac build for the application (beta 0.11) available for download on the GMS page.
Glyn over at ProKits has offered a few free downloads for ACB readers. ProKits is an online resource for custom-made, individual and unique sample kits in formats like Native Instruments Kontakt and Battery. Here’s a few descriptions of their sample kits from Glyn:
This instrument is a granular synthesis pad machine created in Kontakt using devious scripting to firing thousands of tiny ‘blips’ at your ears at random. The frequency of the effect can be controlled using the mod-wheel and the custom interface has additional controls for release-time, choral layer volume and distortion. The whole effect created a texture that can go from sonar-ping blippy to the Russian red army chorus to a desert wind howling in the night.
A Kontakt instrument created from the humble little wooden percussion frog. A wide selection of sounds were recorded at different velocity levels, with alternate sounds triggered in round-robin fashion, for a very expressive instrument (over 40 samples), going all the way from the frog’s natural range to a pitched-down bass thud.
The Kontakt script has knobs for tuning the sounds, and the mod-wheel brings in an impulse reverb. The reverb is based on an impulse made by my very own acoustic-space modeling program, and is not available anywhere else.
Here’s what Glyn has made freely available for AudioCookbook readers. To extract the RAR files linked below use the password “audiocookbook”.
While reviewing my set for last night’s Ostraka performance, I noticed that using filtering followed by down-sampling produced a robotic vowel like sound applied to synth bass. It’s got a nice vintage vocoder or Speak & Spell graininess to it.
Finding this effect was really an accident, because I had been using this particular effect chain on my master track in this set for a while, but hadn’t stumbled across the settings that produced this sound until last night. Placing the filter before doing the the down-sampling is the key. It does not work the other way around.
Here’s a couple of minutes to illustrate how to apply the effect. I was making real-time adjustments to the frequency of the low pass filter, and the amount of down-sampling. Toward the end I upped the reverb to give it some tail.
Speak & Spell Like Vowel Simulation
My friend and hiphop producer Cornelius Noll (aka 84 Caprice) recently offered to share a track on ACB that he produced for the Renoise Efficient Music Competition. I just got a chance to preview the track, and while I’ve been quite fond of 84 Caprice all along, he has managed to conjure something special this time. Here’s what he had to say about his process and working in Renoise.
This particular track is one that started out as an instrumental for Prof, an MC on Stophouse Records where I get most of my work done. The original draft was created in a program called Renoise which falls under the category of “tracker” or “tracking sequencer”. It quickly became an exercise of figuring out how to truly work the insides of the program it was created in for a contest conceived by Renoise and Indamixx in conjunction with CreateDigitalMusic.com. Upon initial approach it looks like this; make a bomb track and license it under Creative Commons. I won’t discuss C.C. But will rattle a bit about Renoise and the technicalities of making fight-night weight.
These days I typically use a piano to work out ideas and then graduate into software to execute them. Renoise tends to be my favorite place to land as it loads up like butter and is quick for nailing down concepts. The implied constraints of this contest, however, had hoisted a series of difficulties in my process. The first being that while I like to use VST/VSTi’s in the process, non-native sound creators or effectors were not to be used in the final version. The second concern was the size of the Renoise file as the winning entry will be used as one of the demos within the program (I haven’t had to deal with file size since I turned my 1.44meg floppies into coasters). Third concern – CPU usage. I was shooting for a great track weighing in under 5 megs. My rough track was loaded with complex VST/VSTi’s and was well over 20 megs.
The process was actually more focusing than I imagined. Imbedded capabilities include “rendering” which allows creation of samples of MIDI performance very similar to a “bounce to disk” but without leaving the program. This proved helpful with some of the trickier performance passages. It also lent itself well to taking a small sample of more simple instruments allowing for creation of patches (which I have never made the time to do in Renoise). If you look at the file itself you will find within it instruments which approach “chip-tune” file size all the while maintaining my vision for a very anthemic quality to them. I found as I rooted through the sequences and the instruments that my samples were converted at 32 bit 44.1khz; this was rectifiable within the program. I reduced resolution on lower frequency and less important pieces. These were huge in dropping file size down.
Skipping ahead a number of hours, we now have the track entirely reconfigured. No external instruments. No external effects. Less than 3.5 megs (this just blows me away). While the original track would load my laptop to as much as 40% CPU usage, the current CPU loading on my laptop does not exceed 11%.
Oh, and the track is kinda large.
Checkout 84 Caprice feat. Prof – Karma the uh oh beat (Renoise document) and listen to an MP3 of the track below. Karma the uh oh beat by 84 Caprice is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License. Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at www.stophousegroup.com.
84 Caprice feat. Prof – Karma the uh oh beat