Monday, June 6, 2011

Oriface Rx

When I perform live, I generally have an Ableton file for every song I'm going to play. My sets are also usually seamless, so to keep the music rolling while I open a new Ableton file, I mix in segue music (using an iPod) to fill the gaps. My seques mainly consist of ambient material, so I don't have to manually sync Ableton to a rhythm, and sometimes I add vocal samples on top of these scapes to make them more interesting. I got in the habit of making these scapes fade in and out, because sometimes I would leave them on accidentally, and they would shut off abruptly during the song. This should be a huge clue that I have no idea what I'm doing.

Back in 2005, I was creating several handfuls of ideas using a lot of Reaktor's "grain modules" such as Grainstates and It's Gonna Grain, as well as other sample manglers that I downloaded from Reaktor's official user library. The user library is a pretty awesome place if you're a registered user of Reaktor. Some of these guys that submit ensembles (synths, sample manglers, sequencers, etc.) are making some really crazy shit, and sometimes these ensembles take some getting used to in order to make some cool sounds, but I find it totally worth it. My music isn't all that, but at least I can say it doesn't sound like a bunch of presets from a Roland keyboard! Due to Reaktor's intimidation factor, a lot of producers don't use it, but there's some interesting stuff being done with it, and I believe it's capabilities are pretty much limitless.

Oriface Rx is one those tracks from 2005. I believe I was writing this material for a new 302 Acid album, but sadly that never materialized. It's pretty experimental sounding, and I guess at the time I didn't see it fit as a segue for my live shows. Now it makes a little more sense to me. I am really thinking about implementing this in Terramecha somehow, as well as some other segues from those sessions. The posted mix is kinda lo-fi and cruddy, most likely a result of the Reaktor ensembles they were running though, but I'm going to see if I can clean it up a bit and modernize the mix. One thing that is not very prevalent on Terramecha is sample manipulation, so this piece might add some more diversity.

Enjoy! And don't give me feedback. I hate feedback.
Orifce Rx by Gel-Sol

Yer Pal,

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Terramecha Part XI - Expo

Robots have appeared on the surface of the planet Terramecha to retrieve the wreckage of the fallen spaceship. On the outside, Terramecha is a rocky wasteland, with no evidence of life. Inside Terramecha is a totally different matter. In today's song analysis, I am going over Expo, which explores the vast world inside Terramecha, a sort of audible "fly-through" of the robot world.

The live version below is a very early version, most likely the second or third time it was played. I'm not even sure where this was played, but I'm assuming it was at the Collins Pub, where Kevin Hoole and myself kept a residency for about a year. I like digging up these old recordings because I don't remember half the things I played, since the songs usually evolve over the years. For the most part Expo is intact, but parts like the seemingly-random bassline and those techno stabs I have no memory of playing. I don't even think those parts exist in the more current Ableton files I work with, so I would have to dig for older versions to retrieve those parts. I have actually done some recent work to Expo, so the piece is now a bit more refined, and has considerably more percussion parts. I would also argue that it's more "tribal" too, which is the overall vibe of side C/Rust.

I initially saw Expo as opening up the Rust half of the album, an exposition of a planet inhabited by robots of of all shapes and sizes, but eventually felt that Retrieval was a better option for opening Rust, with the salvage mission taking place on the surface. Following the robots back underground (with spaceship in tow), Expo is basically a fly-through observation of Terramecha, a sort of futuristic, underground cityscape, with robots hard at work building, computing and doing whatever it is that robots do (It's really not that important, since I couldn't possibly convey that musically). If there's one thing I'd like to convey, it's that Terramecha is huge and over-populated. As far as the "plot" goes, the robot inhabitants are working on a plan to colonize another planet, for Terramecha has become too crowded and resources are dwindling. Perhaps by examining the spaceship, they can find new ways to safely and efficiently colonize another world?

Expo is another song from the early batch of Terramecha creations. Reaktor was used extensively to create most of the parts, but which ensembles, I have no idea. Limelite was definitely used for some of the beats, and generally remains my drum machine of choice when beginning songs. As I mentioned before, I have been working on Expo recently, and have been implementing Native Instruments Kontakt in conjunction with midi generators and Ableton midi effects to create new beats and percussion parts. There's also some use of a great old VST plug-in called Supatrigga, which mangles loops by randomly chopping up sections, and messing with things such as pitch and direction. I mainly apply it to a sort of gnarly bass pad, but the results are quite cool.

Ok, I'm out! Enjoy Expo, and feel free to leave me some feedback!

Terramecha: Expo - live 042906 by Gel-Sol

Yer Pal,