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Now Playing / Re: Currently listening, part 1
« Last post by chris23 on Yesterday at 08:33:35 PM »
Fictions and Poetics - Opening
Super cool work, full of interesting sounds and textures.

Yoyu - Manitoba Forest Medicine
Hypnotic and soothing.
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Last post by chris23 on Yesterday at 08:30:29 PM »
Super interesting, Seren!
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Last post by Julio Di Benedetto on Yesterday at 05:57:46 PM »
Seren....Wow, thank you for this deep look at your creative production process.  There is much to absorb but its special that you went into such detail.

As I'm entrenched in the computer Daw, its inspiring to read your work flow of classic old school studio with console, external Fx and "virtual" tape machine.   
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Last post by Seren on Yesterday at 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.
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Last post by Julio Di Benedetto on Yesterday at 07:49:27 AM »
I appreciate the words Pete and Jana!

I can noodle for hours discovering chords and patterns and it is much more enjoyable and I have a sense of real progress compared to taking lessons but I want to fully comprehend this instrument and train my hands.  I won't do it by myself, the hard academic stuff.  I recall a friend telling me when I was learning yoga off dvd's...she said it was not the best way because you need a teacher to be able to correct and touch you to show the true position of a pose, something a dvd or the internet cannot do.  She was right, so Im applying this to guitar and by being taught to sight read I will hopefully come to know the instrument intimately.

Thanks to both of you for your encouragement.
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Last post by stargazer on Yesterday at 06:39:23 AM »
Julio, you just started and all training is hard work and patience.

Some thoughts on note-reading. Notes are painted music, painted waves.
Just take a sheet of musical notes and try to follow the waves and musical symbols.
Notes are simply to store musical notation (like midi).

Yet, it is hard to translate the note-reading to an instrument, especially guitar and cello.
I was at our local music school ("day of the open door") and tried to play cello. Wow, not easy.
That's a great album. Have you checked out some of the albums by 36? They are similar in spirit, at least in my opinion. There is a certain "sound" that I associate with some of the ambient that emerged in the early Biosphere days in the UK and Europe that isn't well represented in the US. I think both of these artists capture that spirit well.

I have and I used to be a fan of 36, and this still is to some degree. His overall sound is darker and rather sad, while Telluric Waves is just deep,brooding and explorative. Thats why I dont fancy Lomax newer works as much, although his latest was getting back to that deep sound a little.

But thanks for responding.
Music Gearheads Tech Talk / Re: Ambient Guitar.
« Last post by petekelly on December 09, 2018, 01:48:37 PM »
Nothing to do with ambient guitar but something I need to share....

Had a rather humbling experience at my guitar lesson today. After about two months of attempting to play various classic rock tunes like "Sweet Home Alabama" and other tunes in A major, D & E  I told my teacher that I can't keep this up....this music is classic but its not what Im into.  I need to learn to read music. learn scales, the fretboard, etc.  My teacher is also my local Luthier who as done fine work on my bass guitars. So he opened a book he had on the music stand in front of us and turned to page one....have to say he sort of changed his demeanor from cool rock cat to strict cane in hand teacher.  ???  We plucked through very basic stuff and turned several pages forward to check something else only to see the notes printed out for a tune called Jingle Bells....tis the season.  Ok. no big deal but it is because I was struggling to sight read page one, so jingles F'ing bells was way more advanced. >:( ;D

What Im trying to illustrate is that Im a guitar novice with a well trained ear and years of experience as a musician, just not in guitar so this is just a bit of a disclaimer as I will post things here that inspire me for what I will in the near future be able to fully realize.and enjoy.


Try not to be discouraged, things take time. I recently bought an unlined fretless bass and did it up / put EMG pickups and an active pre-amp in and I still have lots to learn to get a half decent sound out of it. Some things do take years to grasp.


Oh and regarding sight reading, I'd say these days (depending on what you want to try to play) it's not crucial for ambient music. Theory, yes (/ possibly) if you want to know more about harmony.
new great review of Parallel Worlds - Tonal Paintings LP in Encyclopedia of Electronic Music website:
That's a great album. Have you checked out some of the albums by 36? They are similar in spirit, at least in my opinion. There is a certain "sound" that I associate with some of the ambient that emerged in the early Biosphere days in the UK and Europe that isn't well represented in the US. I think both of these artists capture that spirit well.

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