Sunday, February 28, 2010

Full Circle: More assembly tests

In this episode I have two assembly jobs that you can listen to. The process right now is to take all the solos and put them in order, change things around in the backing track, etc.

ATL Funk (fka Bass Funk 1)

Here I have solos from Jason Passmore (sax), Margie Deeb (flute), and Darren Nelsen (guitar). Darren also played some rhythm guitar parts, adding some nice spice to the proceedings. This is not really a mix, just a test to hear how parts sound together and in succession.

Listen


Crunkdafunkdafied

Here I combined my primary track with Nicole Randall Chamberlain's flute solo and my fast version (electric piano solo to come!). To make the transition, I also sped up and repeated the opening wah sound, and made versions of the main drum loop at 2x, 1.75x, 1.5x, 1.25x, and 1.13x speeds. This way we have a nice deceleration back into the original beat.

Listen

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Full Circle: First 'Possibility' edit

This is a quick update, but a longer sample. I have been stitching together various parts of various tracks. Below is what I have so far for 'Possibility.' It is a deliberately poor quality mp3, by the way.

Listen

The opening guitar theme, played by Darren Nelsen, is the part I wrote. He and Margie Deeb (flute) came up with the other solos. You can hear elements from earlier episodes, such as the brassage-flutes after the flute solo, and the breakbeatish drums after the guitar solo.

I feel that the succession of solos makes the piece too fast-paced compared to the laid-back groove it presents. Still, I don't want interest to wane...will have to think on it!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Full Circle: Slowly taking shape

This week, I mainly worked on assembling solos with the tracks. Not as much experimentation, though I have some ideas.

In the clip below, you will here the following:

0:00-0:30
80s Action - the end of Jason Pellett's solo, followed by the main theme/chorus/hook, played by Jason Passmore. I thought it might sound cool to have a sax section instead of just a solo sax, so I did some studio trickery to see how it sounded. There are 4 tracks of saxophones - 2 at pitch, 2 an octave lower. I also detuned and delayed one track from each octave to make a thicker sound. Still a little tweaking to be done but I like the idea so far.

0:30-1:00
Crunkdafunkdafied - I had changed the tempo (preserving pitch) in an earlier example, and I liked the sound - sort of acid-jazzy. Here I pitch shifted the uptempo track by a semitone and a whole tone in each direction, giving me several more chords. Some sound very obviously pitch-shifted, but I kinda like that...I improvised an electric piano solo and I think it will work. I have really bad latency issues today, so I will look into that and do another solo later.

Enjoy! - Listen

Monday, February 15, 2010

More experiments for Full Circle

Hi readers and listeners!

I have done a little more thinking and experimenting, and have some new examples for you:

Listen

In the first part, you will hear a new wave-ish beat, with some pitch-shifted and distorted flutes. This may be part of "Crunkdafunkdafied" - I'm thinking of having a double-time section in the middle. I was hoping for the drums to be more punkish, but I'm using the same samples from the current track and they aren't quite right. Of course, this is the first try...

The drums were sequenced in Primate, a little drum machine I made in Max/MSP. I pitch shifted and distorted the flutes in CoolEdit.

In the second part, you will hear me messing around with the backing track from "Octagon." I opened it in the user interface for my laptop piece Morty's Mood. Just skipping around and changing speed/direction. I think a turntablish solo would be cool for this one, I'll just need to practice and revise the interface a bit.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Codename: Full Circle continues

The last few days haven't been as productive, but I have some new clips to share.

The first track has the working title "80s Action" because it originally sounded to me like something out of an 80s Action movie - the part where the two buddies are driving around the city at night, building tension before the final shootout...

So I have sax (Jason Passmore) and trumpet (Jason Pellett) for this one. After playing Pellett's trumpet theme, it reminded me of Ennio Morricone's western music. So I took a few notes from Passmore, stretched them a ton with the Csound phase vocoder (pvoc), and made a pretty effective "string" section. Coupled with Pellett's trumpet and a church bell I nabbed from the Freesound Project, it may make a fun intro. Listen below (Yes, I am aware I will need to fix some intonation issues):

80s Action tests

The second track I was working with is called "Possibility." Here I have guitar by Darren Nelsen and flute by his wife Margie Deeb. Darren sent me versions of the theme I wrote, played with different effects. I liked this one with overdrive the best. After this is a little experiment, taking Margie's version of the theme and granulating it.

Possibility tests

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Codename: Full Circle begins

So far this week, I have been listening to my soloists' tracks and formulating ideas about how to put these pieces together. As a brief appetizer, listen to this mp3 below:

Experiments1

As I wrote in the previous post, for this project I will take existing 'beats,' add solos and other goodies and make hopefully interesting tracks. So this mp3 contains excerpts from some of the processing I've been trying out. The processes are nothing new in and of themselves, but I should have an interesting stew when all is said and done.

0:00-0:12
Working Title: You - main beat, filtered to a g-minor triad. Wide spacing, based on the harmonic series, but with a B-flat instead of B-natural. Compiled in Csound - butterbp filters, 5Hz bands.

0:15-0:30
ATL Funk - main beat convolved with a flute playing E5 (played by Nicole Chamberlain from her solo for Crunkdafunkdafied!). Done in Csound with the convolve opcode.

0:30-0:35
Crunkdafunkdafied - sped up, with pitch preserved (in CoolEdit 96!). I repeated each bar so that the harmonic motion remains at the same rate.

0:36-0:50
Possibility - I wanted a jittery, grainy effect, so I did a little script in Mikel Keuhn's nGen to make a Csound score. It reads through the beat at about half-speed. Going to play with this idea a bit more.

0:50-1:20
Possibility - In this part I used the bbcut opcode in Csound to do some breakbeat stuff with the Possibility beat. I changed the parameters and generated 3 minutes of material; here is a taste. If I use this, it probably won't be as-is. I will take bits and pieces and put them in an order I prefer. A little too random at this point.


These experiments may show up in another piece instead, or not at all. Stay tuned!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

New old project

I am excited to resurrect a project that has been dormant for nearly three years!

I was originally asked to write a flute solo with hip-hop beats as accompaniment. I came up with eight different tracks, but the project stalled as the flutist and I became busy with many other things (and both moved away from Hotlanta). This project has been in the back of my mind for a long time, and finally around September last year I came up with an idea to revamp it.

I asked several of my Atlanta-based composer-performer pals to record themes that I wrote for each track, then compose and record two variations. Most tracks have contributions from two people, and I am now starting to stitch these together.

I also decided to 'remix' the tracks a little bit - make more sections, use more than two chords (!), etc. This will hopefully make the tracks into interesting compositions, instead of just a repetitive beat with two people soloing.

I am going to post little excerpts of the pieces as they progress. To start, here is part of Nicole Randall Chamberlain's recording, synced up to a track named 'Crunkdafunkdafied.' In another event of recycling/resurrecting old pieces, this track is based on a jam I wrote for my old band Chancellor Dugan.

Listen here.