Spectral Tablature (2013)

Spectral Tablature (2013)

Spectral Tablature is a series of collaborative installations that explore sound generated through visual processes. Sound is recorded or synthesized using common techniques then converted into images called spectral analysis. These forms are re-interpreted as a visual artifact then converted back into sound. For each pair, or “duet,” the similarities and differences in tone and texture can be heard as well as seen in the work. This series, along with two more of my installations, is currently on display for my thesis exhibition at the Northrup King Building in Minneapolis. Please read on for images and descriptions of each pair of prints along with the audio.
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Vortex by Ostraka

The true test of a new instrument is whether you can integrate it into your workflow and use it to produce satisfactory work. This I wasn’t so sure about after my first few hours of working with the Yamaha FS1R. The factory performance patches on the FS1R are all overloaded with effects and glitzed out to impress the ears of musicians from 1998. Despite the frustrating characteristics of the instrument’s patches, I had faith that the complexity of its FM architecture coupled with its formant shaping features made it something worth trying to tame. To produce Vortex I created the formant lead sound from the ground up, made a nice, wide stereo bass patch using a couple of DX voices, and adjusted a melody patch to my taste. The percussion and arpeggios were programmed and played on the DSI Tempest.

Yamaha FS1R Formant Sequencer Ra Re Ri Ro Ru


This short experiment was produced by programming a custom formant sequence into the infamous Yamaha FS1R. This is not possible to do with the unit alone, but there are some great tools that make it possible that I’ll discuss an upcoming article. A formant sequence essentially modulates the formant shaping operators on the FS1R modeled after the spectra from am audio signal. This patch repurposes a vocal track from my project Voice Lessons as the formant sequence.

Ra Re Ri Ro Ru FS1R Formant Sequence

Perihelion Dub

Here’s a piece dedicated to our planet’s recent astroid near miss and “unrelated” spectacular meteor explosion. I went back to my roots and produced some psychedelic, dub-delayed business with a little arabesque-miami-vice in the middle. Please enjoy responsibly.

Nightmarish Synth Effect

One of many things that the MKS-80 is really good for is creating synthesizer effects. Through the use of the XMOD (cross modulation) parameters strange, metallic textures can be obtained similar to FM or frequency modulation. As heard in the Synthesizer Noise Jam series , I’m discovering a variety of ways to use these techniques to create unique and fascinating effects perfect for electronic music, or scifi thriller sound tracks. Here’s a short segment from one of these experiments processed through reverb and delay.

Nightmarish Synth Effect