A short bit about workflow…

Here is something I made earlier…

Words after the jump…

So i’m currently working towards a useful workflow.

The idea is that I start with a concept manifested in sound, image and/or text.  I refine and sort the elements and then run them through a live process with the end result being then further refined in post production.

In this case I am using shortwave samples and focusing on specific textural qualities that imply vocalisation without specifically featuring any (intelligble at least.)

These samples are being refined with CDP (which i’m slowly learning) and Metasynth.

Samples are then augmented and transformed through a process of structured improvisation involving the Nord Modulars.   I improvise within boundaries set by the Muzoracle and in this case i’m using Ableton Live with Loomer Shift 2 and Augustus Loop to build up the soundscape.  The “rhythm” in the recording was generated by processing my voice into a percussive loop with Turnado.  Shortwave samples are trigged in Nuance which works as a more readily editable, yet still low-overhead alternative to Ableton’s Simpler Sampler.  In this example I’m playing the Nords and Shortwave samples using a Launchpad set in a Diatonic mode using J74 ISOController software.  This is a nicely expressive way of playing but with the current setup it tends towards drone or chaos.  I also used this approach in an improvised concert last Friday – video of which might make it online eventually.   I think sometime in the future I may find a way to program the Launchpad to do my bidding a little more exclusively.

This material is recorded into 6 x 96k 32bit stereo onto the Macbook Air’s SSD.  From there I transfer the files to the more powerful (but somewhat slower) Windows 8 i7 laptop to do a multitrack mix.  Any other processing required can occur around this time but I’m trying to keep the tracks live while editing them into coherency.

As a workflow it offers a decent amount of flexibility but the recording process is still dysfunctional for a few reasons.

1) Ableton links MIDI record enabling with Audio enabling

2) Routing MIDI to one of the Synth channels requires Record enabled

3) Recording all the Audio tracks requires Record enabled also

4) Setting the Nord channels as External Instrument is helpful but also completely useless in this case as it only records MIDI not Audio

5) Changing any of the Record enabling on the Launchpad resets all the others – which makes it pretty useless for real-time control – you need to CTRL Click the record enables to not mess with the other ones.

If this functionality can be reworked it could be useful but at the moment it is disappointing having to fight with it.

A positive is that the SSD will allow me to record the 6 tracks, essential for maintaining the spontaneity while allowing refinement.

I’m currently waiting for James from Numerology to look into a bug that is stopping me using it as a controller – namely a strange feedback issue with the auxilliary sends.  It has a better record function more geared towards what i’m trying to do.

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2 thoughts on “A short bit about workflow…

  1. So many technologies you speak of! Every post lately has been an adventure in concepts. I like hearing your theories/ideas regarding composition and performance. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Is it clear i’m trying to develop some theories? Or at least attempt an explanation for process that is not widely documented? My primary influences come from the predominantly post-industrial-ambient crowd like Coil, Hafler Trio, Zoviet France while my tertiary influences are more Trevor Wishart, Barry Truax etc. In all cases the work is an amalgamation of sonic material with ritual or cultural materials and most involve some form of transduction or transformation. So in essence i’m digging deep into what it is that inspires me to create. Very important I believe though not exactly good for “productivity” or “marketability”… yet!

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