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Messages - ffcal

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21
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: February 06, 2014, 01:36:53 PM »
Today's listening;
Johann Johannsson - Fordlandia. New discovery for me on spotify. Utterly beautiful music. In fact I am gobsmacked at the beauty of this. Hints of Baroque, beautiful haunting melodies, gorgeous.


My favorite of his is "IBM 401, A User's Manual," which has an interesting backstory.

Have been listening to Esem's latest, an EP called "Aquanaut."  A nice one and I'm glad to see him back.  The release is at esem.bandcamp.com.

Forrest

22
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« on: February 03, 2014, 10:02:11 PM »
Thanks Tomas.

Indeed I came here for professional advice, not parenting, sorry it had to be said.

Pretty dumb thing for you to say when you came here for advice.  It had to be said.

Forrest

23
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« on: January 31, 2014, 10:57:04 PM »
But all of this stuff is really secondary to what you really need, inspiration. The tools won't be any good unless you have something to say.

I agree.  I would think it would be easier logistically and economically to start with a more basic setup and makes additions to it incrementally.  Otherwise, it may not always be clear what each component can add to the mix and in what order in the chain.  Of course, it helps greatly to have some music training to begin with and know some basics about synthesis, too.  The less prior training you have, the harder it might be for you to carry out what you are hearing in your head.

Forrest

I want to start differently. When I started in digital arts, I was always frustrated because I didn't had the money and I couldn't afford the tech tools I wanted. It would be easier to start with the right tools and just be creative instead of fighting with faulty hardware...

I never wanted to try to mimic something that was in my head, I prefer to be surprised and be like a driver, I use that method in other areas and honestly I prefer it that way.

There's no "right" way to create ambient music, so there's nothing wrong with starting big, if that works for you.  If by "right tools" you mean to include synthesizers and other tone generators, there are plenty of potential "right" choices.  But I would resist the temptation to discard your old "tools" for sake of acquiring new ones if you haven't exhausted the possibilities of what you already have.

By referring to what you hear on your head, I didn't mean to suggest that you should try to hear the piece in your head first.  I haven't worked that way in a long time.  I am referring more the tendency to assume that music training doesn't matter in creating ambient.  It really does matter in most cases. At a minimum, it should help you in structuring your pieces and in identifying different relationships within a piece.

Forrest

24
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Help me finishing my ambient setup :)
« on: January 30, 2014, 03:14:45 PM »
But all of this stuff is really secondary to what you really need, inspiration. The tools won't be any good unless you have something to say.

I agree.  I would think it would be easier logistically and economically to start with a more basic setup and makes additions to it incrementally.  Otherwise, it may not always be clear what each component can add to the mix and in what order in the chain.  Of course, it helps greatly to have some music training to begin with and know some basics about synthesis, too.  The less prior training you have, the harder it might be for you to carry out what you are hearing in your head.

Forrest

25
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 28, 2014, 08:07:23 PM »
Quote
Been on a Rush revisit these last few days...

I haven't followed them throughout their career, but I was a big fan of their early work. Lifeson's solo work on 'Hemispheres' (in particular) was totally unique.

I saw them during their "Permanent Waves" tour way back in 1980.  I remember being really impressed with Neil Peart's drumming--a perpetual motion machine.

Forrest

26
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Grammys/Kraftwerk
« on: January 28, 2014, 01:01:16 AM »
Nice to see Kraftwerk get their due.

The anonymous Daft Punk outfits reminded me of the Residents and their giant eyeballs.

Forrest

27
Art and Literature, Movies and TV / Re: Serafini's Codex Seraphinianus
« on: January 25, 2014, 12:33:26 PM »
I finally got the book, and it's as wonderful as I had hoped it would be.  Larger than earlier editions and with more drawings, too.  There's a nice explanation in a back booklet about Serafini's inspiration for creating it and how he was a struggling architect at the time.

Forrest

28
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 24, 2014, 11:40:00 PM »
Forrest: Good points. But, given that fans can be discriminating with respect to what they choose to buy, I assume everything balances out in the end.

Hi Chris,

Well, yes and no.  Listeners can learn to be more discriminating once they've been burned, but I think both artist and label have an obligation not to flood the market with subpar material just because they can.  It can have a slowly corrosive effect on the genre as a whole, and people could come to view the music as largely disposible.

Forrest

29
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Mixing tips.
« on: January 24, 2014, 08:01:03 PM »
I think some compression can be okay in ambient music. I've tried it recently to get one of my really low drones under control and it worked for that. I wouldn't apply it to a whole mix though.

That's true.  Subtle compression can help keep a low drone under control, and I think it also can help with lead instruments like guitar or violin, too.

Forrest

30
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: January 24, 2014, 07:58:32 PM »
Margins - Fragile Existence
This is a late 2013 collaborative project between Dan Crossley (Facture/Fluid Audio) and Craig Tattersall (The Boats). Once again, this is an amazing product from Facture in which the packaging/art is as central to the release as the music. The music itself is decent, but not remarkable. It largely combines field recordings and tape loops to create a fractured but ambient atmosphere. The Crossley nature prints that accompany the release are absolutely beautiful, however, and are worth checking out on the Fluid Audio site regardless of how you feel about Tattersall.

Sound samples: http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2013/12/no-re-press-07-2/
Images samples: http://www.fluid-radio.co.uk/2013/12/fragile-existence/


This does give me a little pause.  Maybe Tattersall should be a little more discriminating in what he chooses to release?  These luxury packages are nice, but when the music falls a little short, you can feel a little burned.  I liked Light Folds, though I'll admit that there are a few parts I haven't heard yet out of the 10 hours or so on that release.

I liked the Orla Wren/Aaron Martin/Isnaj Dui "The Blizzard That Birthed Her" release, though the packaging seemed kind of elaborate for what was essentially an extended remix CD.

Forrest

31
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Mixing tips.
« on: January 24, 2014, 05:20:10 PM »
Hi Julio,

Like Tomas, I had a tough time getting past that Disney channel music.  At least the embarrassment was tempered by my listening through phones.  I got through the first video and most of the third.  The mixing tips on the third video were almost too subjective for me.  I could hear what balance issue he was raising about the guitar and the lead vocal, but couldn't hear the differences he was attempting to point out with the other instrument combinations.  The whole mix also sounded too compressed to me.  At least for me, mixing for ambient differs quite a bit from what he was doing.  I prefer a more open approach to the overall soundscape.  That scape might eventually build to a sound wall or a crescendo, but the mix ebbs and flows and is rarely a static thing for me.  Because of that, I prefer not to have my instruments "sit in the mix" as they might in a pop song.

The videos are good food for thought, though!  My first reaction to those lava lamps in the background was, "stoner alert!"

Forrest

32
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Constance Demby
« on: January 14, 2014, 08:16:53 AM »
Constance with her Space Bass ...

http://www.constancedemby.com/instruments.html


Cool.  It looks like a large scale version of Robert Rutman's steel cello:

Bob Rutman Steel Cello


Forrest

33
Forum Member Projects News and Promotion / Re: Relaxed Machinery News
« on: January 13, 2014, 12:18:03 PM »
Sounds like you have a really nice line-up teed up, John.  Congratulations.  I've been enjoying Zero Ohms' 369 release on rM recently.

Forrest

34
Finally on "Calibration", an entire track was taken from the previously released album "Perfume" by Klaus Wiese.

Oh geez.  That's really disappointing to read.  :(

This is very disappointing to hear.  I like what I've heard of his more recent releases.  I remember that on an early album ("In Search of Sanity," I think) he used an extended sample from one of Steve Roach's early 90s albums without getting clearance first.

Forrest

35
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Buchla Music Easel Ships
« on: December 21, 2013, 05:01:25 PM »
I'm not an expert on the Buchla stuff, but from my understanding the Electronic Music Box was Don's 200 system while it was being sold through CBS. This box we are talking about here was the portable performance version call the Music Easel, basically his version of the Mini Moog. I think its based on three different 200 modules.


Thanks, that's explains it.  Good to see that Subotnick is still active.  His "Touch," "Silver Apples of the Moon," "4 Butterflies" and "Until Spring" releases were favorites of mine in the 70s.  I also remember seeing a metallic Buchla synth prototype at the Exploratorium when I went to see an Eno installation there in the early 90s.

In googling suitcase synthesizers on Google, I came across this interesting page of DIY analog synths from Brazil:

www.recosynth.com

The "Phonedrone" synth, which uses a telephone dial from a rotary phone, looks especially fun:

http://www.recosynth.com/?p=297

Forrest

36
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: The Buchla Music Easel Ships
« on: December 19, 2013, 05:39:42 PM »
Wow.  Almost looks more to me like a Serge than a Buchla.  I interviewed Morton Subotnick in the 70s and the Buchla he was using then looked more metallic and darker than this (though I remember him being credited on his albums as playing an Electronic Music Box, so I'm now confused).

Forrest

37
I skipped around a bit, but one thing I noticed is that you tend to favor drones that occupy most of the soundspace.  I would try to dial some of those drones back into the mix so that other voices can poke out a little more clearly.  The high end seems a bit harsh in places.  Was most of this recorded as a realtime improv?  I would also vary the effects settings for each sound you introduce (eg, don't pan all of the echoed sounds from left to right), so that each one sits in a different part of the mix.  Some of the fatter drones seem a little preset-ish; I would try to dial down the LFO-wooshing, but that's just my stylistic preference.

Good luck.

Forrest

38
Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« on: December 12, 2013, 09:49:34 PM »
Hakobune - Nebulous Sequences ( a nice one released this fall on Voxxov that some may have overlooked--a double manufactured CD, too)
Aube - Metal De Metal (placed this one for the first time in a while after hearing that the man behind Aube, Akifumi Nakajima, had passed away a few months ago; textural and unique--using only sounds made from metal.  Aube was one of the pioneers of the industrial scene.)

Forrest

39
Other Ambient (and related) Music / Re: Vangelis
« on: December 12, 2013, 03:57:17 PM »
Im still trying to figure out what all the hieroglyphic type symbols refer to.....a musical language of some sort.

Or maybe a language for varying parameters within a given program??  Or maybe touch pads that activate events in varying degrees, like a Buchla touchpad??

Forrest

40
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: effects - old and new
« on: December 10, 2013, 11:02:59 AM »
One possibility opened up by all this processing power we have now is the use of complex multi-effects configurations built by the user. You can build all kinds of crazy sound processing machinery using systems designed for this purpose like Max or Pure Data, or systems designed to be synthesizers with audio input options, such as Reaktor or the Nord Modular.

It's nice to see more options in this area, though I could see how difficult it would be to troubleshoot an increasingly configuration like this, especially in a live setting.


Something I've enjoyed doing from time to time for experimental purposes is wiring up a crazy, complex signal chain all through my studio, creating feedback loops along the lines of the things I've seen Eno set up. You have to include compressors or limiters in the loop so the setup doesn't just feedback on itself into an ever-increasing racket. Often this just creates a hum, or a throbbing oscillation, but sometimes it can be useful.

I've done this, too.  I started with the two open reel "Frippertronics" delay approach very early on.  It was fun to do, but the real work came in having to decide on playback what small portion of it might be salvageable.  Sounds generated from internal mixer/effects-related feedback is interesting, too, but your noise floor can ramp up pretty quickly.  One of pioneers in the mixer feedback area was David Myers, who went by the name Arcane Device.  I thought he created some great industrial soundscapes with just a mixer, an occasional effect  and feedback.

Forrest

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