Friday, 4 March 2011

Sound-A-Day 04.03.2011

Here's something a bit different.

Something that has always interested me is generative music, but I've never really tried to make anything like that so I thought I'd give it a bash.

What I found hardest was finding the balance of input. As in how much is the patch doing completely autonomously, and how much is from my suggestion.

I started off by building a fairly simple sample based drum machine, which I split into 3 parts. One sequencer lane for the kick, one for snare, and a third for percussion noises. Next I spent a couple hours making short snappy drum sounds with an SH101. Made about 50 in total, I also made one straight up kick drum sound, and one snare sound.

I loaded the kick and snare into their own sample modules, and the remaining samples all got loaded into one sample module. I also built a automation channel for sample selection. This meant that I could sequence a solid Kick Snare pattern and allow the percussion to wander around.

Next I made a couple of randomising LFO's which sync to the main clock. One of these was assigned to percussion sample selection, the other to percussion sample pitch.

Finally I built a comb filter and ran the entire drum mix through it. I assigned another Tempo synced LFO to control the pitch of the comb filtering. Put the output through a heavy compressor, and that's about it for the drums.

This was sounding pretty cool, but needed something more to make it a bit more musical.

I loaded up an old FM synth I built a while ago, and sent the trigger from the snare pattern into the gate of the synth. Then another random LFO to control the FM interval. Finally I built a pretty complex macro for controlling the pitch of the notes played based on a few other things going on in the patch. Ran this through the compressor too, which gave quite a nice side chain style pumping.

Lastly, I brought up the recorder box, hit record and then pressed play, this is what came out.

GENERATIVE 1 by Noisy Neighbour Sound

Pretty cool I think. Reminds me quite a bit of Autechre, although a long way from the complexities they have in their music. Some similarity for sure though. I do really like its completely emotionless mechanical quality, definitely something I couldn't have written if I had tried, but I do feel that I still could have had less involvement in the composition. Certainly going to give this another try!

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