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Messages - Seren

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Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: January 11, 2019, 03:10:17 AM »
That's a very nice sounding track Pete.

Julio, I like creating sounds/drones out of many things - Each sound source has it's own nature and texture that can make a real big difference to the overall sound. Some things can't be created by keyboards, or any other instrument.

The first sound on The Quiet Labyrinth is a panpipe - obviously sculpted and processed, but it is one of my favourite drones due to the shifting of textures.

I also used wineglasses for the last track of Shards (of Ashen Light and Burning Dark)

My Favourite sound is the 'silence' of a hill top where even the wind is not blowing.

Much of my music tries to recreate the movements/sounds/experiences of non human environment - I just love the slow shift from chaos into pattern and back....

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 11, 2019, 02:55:01 AM »
Steve Roach: A Deeper Silence / Darkest before Dawn.
Nick Parkin - Refract
Oophoi - I Hear the Wind Singing

I suspect shipping has been killing it for some time - I used to order lots of C Ds from abroad, but not done for a couple of years now.... >:(

Everything and Nothing / Re: Merry Christmas
« on: December 24, 2018, 03:36:27 PM »
Many blessings to everyone for solstice, yule, Christmas and new year.

That is a good way round it, will do so myself in future - thanks 8)

That's a hard thing not to do when excited and proud about something you've created. :o

Not sure best way round that - perhaps wait a little while and less posts with more links etc?? Just thinking

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: December 13, 2018, 01:45:35 AM »
I've never had a music lesson in my life on any instrument - though I have played drums in a south American folk music band, a samba band and a taiko group.

Occasionally I get to watch something someone does and think wow - play two keys an octave apart and then mirror the movements to the next keys (I think it was only on the white keys). I'm sure it has a technical name but such a simple idea.

I did find a set of keyboard notes that fitted together really nicely for me and a music teacher advised me it was an actual key, but it took her some time to work out which one.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: December 11, 2018, 12:43:05 AM »
my main interconnect is toslink / optical digital, a little old fashioned now but better than frequent a/d and d/a conversions.

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: December 10, 2018, 02:01:02 PM »
I have listen to Strands before but without reference to it being created on guitar. The soundscape , music is actually impossible for me to associate it with an instrument and I mean this in a good way.  It is amazing what you did to the guitar to create this palette of sounds.  Please if you feel to let us know the process especially as your don't use a computer where heavy manipulation of sounds with plugins etc seem more accessible for sculpting sonic creations.

Sorry it's taken a while to reply - partly life, partly I needed to listen to the Strands tracks to see what I can remember.......

I think I start from the place of 'what is a sound?' - I know the guitar can do so many things including chords etc - but I was in a band where we had no drums, so we tied up the strings to dampen the notes and used it percussively - most people never recognised the difference when listening to a tape, I suppose they were not expecting or listening for it...Like many acoustic guitarists who use the body of their guitar to provide the rhythm to the melody they are picking.

The usual part of the strings that are generally played are only part of the guitar that can be used ambiently - thinking about this whilst considering about what to write has given me a couple of new ideas I'd like to try out....
   With the strings themselves I don't know how to play chords or tunes. Often I tune it to the sound I want - which may be a major chord, or I may tune some of them to almost the same note and others to an octave or two below.
   I think one of the nicest sounds in ambient guitar is the glissando, as played by Daevid Allen etc in Gong, though I'm sure many others have done this as well. A good long screwdriver which you can caress the strings with and move the screwdriver up and down along the strings. Or you can screwdriver up by the pickups and use a guitar slide on the neck.
   With the screwdriver you can gently change the angle you are 'bowing' and this can change the notes of each string different amounts. I find starting off with a dischord, drifting through a near chord and arriving at a full chord is very nice.

Once I have sound what do I want to do with it?
I love textures and atmospheres rather than notes in themselves (though I recognise and admire how a good musician can play notes to achieve both texture and atmosphere).
   I have a Roland VS 2480 and a Korg D16 recording studios - each with its own collection of different effects, plus a TCM3000 and TC Fireworx.
   Sometimes the effects are very simple - just extended reverb on its own to give a floaty sort of sound, especially if the strings are bowed (e or string bow).
   The Fireworx is able to put together a matrix of effects - so I can put a number in line or have a couple in parallel - sliding around and through each other.
   I will route my sound, if it is a simple set up through the Korg, M3000 and Fireworx to record directly onto the VS 2480.
   Sometimes I route it through all of them, usually last being TCM3000 or Fireworx as they have the best quality, onto a minidisc player, then play that back through another set of effects onto the VS2480 (I can bounce back and forth between 2 minidisc players really mangling or subtly changing the sound each time - Sony MDS JB730 & Tascam MD350).
   Strands 3 starts with a sound that rises and morphs into the start of the rhythm. This is all achieved by the pitch shift on the sony minidisc player I have - great for shifting sounds by 4 octaves or more and everything in between. I have used this to shift similar notes and sounds in and out of each other.
   I used the TCM3000 for the delay on Strands 3 - either very near or at 100% repeat - which allowed the sound to form a beat that slowly lost its clarity - over which I would add other sounds from the guitar to shift the beat and pattern. I would play it quietly and get louder on each beat so that it appeared to come into the mix from the background.
   Sometimes I use a very tight band pass EQ to get a specific sound - perhaps not the actual note, but that rasp of the string just above that hints at it.
   The Korg also has a very easy copy and paste facility (so it I do use the computer in that sense) with which I can create drones and rhythmic sounds rather than beats and tempo.

I have to be honest and say that for most of the sounds I do not remember exactly what I did, which makes it very difficult to repeat the exact sounds. I don't mind this - I would find making copious notes as I record and play around distracting and disheartening.
   I do try to archive many of the different parts that make up a track or album and there is a couple of sounds on Strands V I really like and am hoping to explore more fully at a later date.
   Thinking all this through has also got my creativity going, something I've been trying to get in gear for a little while - but sometimes I have to take things in, whether food, nature, friends, fun etc rather than constantly sitting in the studio....

I hope this is interesting and am happy to discuss further.

Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Favorite Klaus Wiese albums?
« on: December 04, 2018, 01:10:47 AM »
I have a couple - but my favourite is Ming Noir. I can never really put it into words, it just draws me in and keeps me there....

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 03, 2018, 02:08:56 AM »
Dark Places of the Earth

Highly recommended

Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« on: November 25, 2018, 12:57:34 PM »
Jeff Pearce has recorded some beautiful ambient guitar - including some releases on Hypnos - and had a new release last year.
   Funnily enough I played Vestiges only about a week ago - very floating.

Not forgetting Fear Falls Burning - inlcuding the DVD Infinite sea of Sustain - very sustaining...

Hmmmm...videos on how to do ambient guitar.....hmmm

I will mention my own 'Strands' releases, but only in the sense that my approach to ambient guitar is to make the sounds as different and varied as possible - playing different parts of the guitar - including the body - to get source sounds that can be manipulated.....if you want to listen on bandcamp, I'm happy to discuss further.

Everything and Nothing / Re: A world full oblivion
« on: October 29, 2018, 11:22:48 AM »
I went back to visit the tree again today with a friend.

The church had some printed information on the tree:
  Not only is everything in the pictures above the same tree - but what I thought was another tree, about 15 foot away is also the same tree....ascertained through DNA testing.
  Both parts of the tree also have distinct male and female sections.
  There is a small area of yellow/gold leaves - that is described as 'the Golden Bough'.

I love this tree (though tree somehow does not do the living being justice) and if it was not in a church graveyard would be climbing it and having picnics under it....

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 16, 2018, 07:24:28 AM »
Steve Roach - The Magnificent Void
Max Corbacho - Resonant Memory of Earth
Michael Neil - Towards the Unknown Region - title track 8)

PS - if you have any visitors that play instruments that you don't or cant - just get them to record some improvisations and then, with their permission, you can start playing with that as a source.

For me it can vary…
I think exploring/changing sounds on a synth/keyboard/sampler is a good thing to do as you can discover something that can set off a whole sound/track/album (just make sure you save it if you can).
At the same time if you have something in your head, trying to carve/craft the sound to manifest it is also a good thing to do.
Sometimes being inspired by another piece of music or a sound heard in nature is also a good way to start – practicing hearing things is a very good idea.
Sometimes a sound I use in one track, usually in the background, may become the base or start for another – I used the last sound of Veils, Shadows as the first sound for The Quiet Labyrinth.
A lot of my sounds have been created from field recordings – rolling ball bearings down sheets of tin foil, rubbing a thin sheet of foam across the foam covers of microphone, opening a bottle of fizzy water, waving a large bird wing, making wine glasses drone, wind/ string/ percussion instruments to name a few possibilities.
Try playing instruments in different ways – violin bow on a guitar, tying the strings up and using it for percussion.

2 and 3.
Yep, most synths now have presets and user banks to save any tweaked sound to.
If I do use a preset as it is I like to pass it through a number of effects and changes to get a sound I like.
I have been known to pass a source sound through numerous effects, then pass the resulting track back through another set of effects (more than once). Sometimes having the same sound move through similar but not exactly the same set of effects can create a range of different soundstages – giving more depth/texture/colour – such as multiphasing a sound a couple of times.
Best to use carefully to create subtle sounds otherwise all you hear is the ‘effect’.
I have also used full wet reverb (with other effects) and then slowly wound the wet/dry mix down so that the original sound appears slowly out of the mists.

I tend to use my computer minimally – mainly for final editing of tracks – such as fade out, or for playing with effects again. I do not use a ‘computer’ computer to record at all.
I appear to have developed a studio based around toslink optical connections (minimising use of analogue/digital signal conversions)) – so I find good Minidisc recorders very valuable – my Sony has a very extreme pitch control that can make a second of real time last much, much longer (at lower frequency) – and I can listen to the results easily on portable player.
I use TC effects – TCM3000 and Fireworx. I like them very much – but tend to use certain presets and tweak them (one place where perhaps my imagination is focussed by the equipment rather than the other way round - see no 5).
I also use 2 work stations – Korg D16 and Roland VS2480. Both have their own on board effects and I often use them to record stuff and bounce back again – the Korg is very good for creating drone/loop effects through cut/paste and staggering.
I have also used EQ to separate different frequencies from a source sound and then move them apart in time.
The Korg has a stretch function that makes a sound longer but keeps the frequency the same if I want to.
I also used microphones and feedback during recording sessions to get subtle shifts on source sounds.

Hmmm, I think both can be true.
What soundscapes/ambient music do you want to create – what aspects of it are similar to musicians you enjoy and what sets it apart? Which of these aspects do you wish to focus on and which are spring boards to launch you into your own journey?
You have to make the sounds you want to make, so the advantage may not be from a big piece of equipment that makes a recognised and more ‘commercial’ sound, if that is what the big buck spending is geared towards. It may be a smallish spend on something that you know will help you create the sound you hear in your dreaming.
On the other hand if spending that money gets you something that makes you want to sit up all night and day making music then go for it.
Sometimes too much gear can inhibit creativity if it is not actively being utilised to manifest your own imagination.
My first album (this time round) was recorded using only a kids Yamaha keyboard, 2 microphones and the Korg D16. There was no ADSR on the keyboard so every note involved turning the volume knob up and down to get the slow drift on the musical parts I wanted – took a lot of concentration to keep that movement smooth…. No big gear, but it was picked up by a label as they liked it a lot.
If I was to try and do it now I would do it differently as I have more equipment, more range, more facilities, more possibilities - but it was the raw creativity, drive and passion that got it made in the first place.

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 07, 2018, 12:24:24 PM »
On Saturday I was in a Hi-Fi shop having my headphone foam earcups replaced.

I had the enormous pleasure of listening to a number of my tracks, Eivior, Steve Roach, Klaus Schulze and Vir Unis on a system costing over £40,000....

Could really swim in the sound, heard my own stuff almost as I heard it in my head when making it.

The nice thing is that the shop staff were really interested - not just in what some of the music sounded like but also ides behind what I was doing and how the sound came out of the system.

These are guys used to listening to music everyday - not things like cardboard being ripped and sonically transformed - they stood there listening intently and on occasion moving around to feel where the subwoofer was focussing the really low frequencies. Was fun to see them impressed with a 2 inch movement of the cone....

Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: October 01, 2018, 12:21:48 AM »
Vir Unis - Stand Still Like the Hummingbird 8)

Everything and Nothing / Re: A world full oblivion
« on: September 27, 2018, 11:10:14 AM »
Thanks for putting them up for me Jaja.

The camera has adjusted to the light available - given I was inside the canopy it is darker in reality than the pictures suggest...

Everything and Nothing / Re: A world full oblivion
« on: September 22, 2018, 09:20:30 AM »
Well, I went to visit the Yew tree. Was very much a first visit, a sort of introduction and saying hello.

It is an amazing tree - though not in the usual sense of hugeness. It was more a collection of micro ecologies, each deeply connected.
   The split trunk rises up out of the ground, which was covered in a deep layer of fallen yew berries - so many that when I walked out I had to scrape about an inch deep off my shoes and then hose them clean back at home.
   It is possible to walk up and through the gap between the trunks where the original tree centre appears to have turned into soil. There are numerous roots running from both sides interweaving with each other and forming rudimentary steps.
   There are the usual higher branches, many of which, yew like, are skeletal and patterned or twisted.
   There are burls both on the outside of the trunks and within the inner space that are sprouting dense short branches that look more like yew hedges.
   Some of the burls have died and the wood is a mixture of the yellow/brown and green. There are lichens growing in various places.
   In the centre of the trunks the wood is decomposing and some holes are visible through all the layers of wood. In one of the centres is a thick yew root that is clearly feeding another tree somewhere up in the crown area - impossible to tell where the old and newer begin and end.
   There are spaces where spiders webs have clearly been a long time and a profusion of thin and thick dead branches within the crown and central space.

The tree is clearly used by non-Christians, I saw a coin pushed into the dead wood in the centre and a variety of things hung up in the centre.

Here are some photos from the web - I took a few myself but I'm not on any image websites, so if anyone can assist I'll send some pictures over....

Note the root growing up through the centre of the tree.

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