I’m calling this one minute and twenty four second experiment Six Machines, simply because after applying the first round of processing and looping the phrase a vague melody in six / eight time is discernible. The first round of involved applying destructive processing in Audacity, where I was testing how well VSTs worked in the beta version. However, after applying several randomish effects, I realized that I no longer knew what I had previously applied. Sometimes this is good for creative reasons, but if you ever want to repeat what you’ve done, it’s not. In this case it’s ok. This is odd enough that I don’t mind if I never repeat it, but interesting enough to me to post.
This tiny sample of audio represents the instant that my iPod ran out of battery life while recording a performance of myself, Nils Westdal and Graham O’Brien on drums from Monday, November 17, 2008 at Cafe Barbette in Minneapolis.
Typically when a recording is interrupted due to power loss on a digital recorder, the device is unable to save the document properly so what you end up with is a corrupt file, or worse, nothing at all. In my case I ended up with a corrupt file on the iPod of about forty five minutes of our second set. After a minute or two of searching I discovered that Audacity has a file menu option called “Import Raw”. Using this option I was able to import the unreadable content into Audacity.
I was delighted to see that most of the recording was intact. However, what was was interesting to me is that at the end of the file was about a minute or more of random white noise. I fancifully imagined this as my iPod going into a dream state as the power level was no longer adequate to support the standard functionality of the device. So here’s the first 48 milliseconds of that dream state with a three dB pad to eliminate clipping.
I have been busy today working on four or five separate mixes and managed to finalize two of them, maybe. We’ll see how my ears respond after some rest. Anyway, during the last bit of work I was doing I noticed that one of the processor chains was causing insteresting random sounds whenever I pressed stop in Ableton Live. I decided to capture some of these sounds and see if they might be useful in the track.
Live has a great “resample” feature, but it was no use it this case because the only way to create the sound was by pressing stop and when you do that it stops recording. So I opened up Audacity and attempted to route the output from Live into it. After about five minutes I realized this wasn’t working and turned to the web for an answer. I quickly came across Soundflower (Cycling ’74), a “Free Inter-application Audio Routing Utility for Mac OS X”. This allowed me to route the audio to Audacity as I performed starting and stopping in Live. Here’s an edited version of the results. Warning: I normalized the render and it starts out extremely loud.