“Stone Tape” on Bandcamp

I’ve just released the first “official” Makrotulpa release.  Five movements in one mix over 24 minutes.

The synthesis is predominantly Nord Modular G1 Rack and MicroModular, patched live and recorded to six separate 96k 32bit stereo tracks.  I’m also using Metasynth to morph some of the recorded files into shortwave sounds sourced from WebSDR.  Finally there is a rhythm in track four that came from a Doepfer Dark Energy II.  Tracks were mixed and mastered in Adobe Audition at 96/32, then downsampled to 48/24 for uploading to Bandcamp.

Here is where frustration sets in…

Network errors are going to happen and error messages are useful when they help point to what the problem is.  But Bandcamp surely can’t expect much more than murderous rage when I have to repeatedly wait over an hour for my file to upload only to receive this error.

what do you want from me

Yes in all lowercase like they have no craps to give.  The most useful information on their FAQ suggests:

“If you’re already on a direct connection, and you’re seeing consistent upload failures, upload a tiny test file. If that works, then the issue is your connection and we suggest trying a different one, if possible.”

and

“If your upload completes but you see “upload error” next to the track title, chances are good there’s an issue with the encoding of your file. Your best bet is to re-export the file from the original master, but this time in a different format (.wav, .aiff, or .flac).”

So i’m directly connect via ethernet to the router which is connected to the closest point in the house to the outside line?  A smaller file worked fine.  Why is all this important? Have I warped to the late 90s or something? Why can’t you just give me a useful error message… like for example “file encoding issue”.   I reduced the quality of the upload to 44/16 to no avail and ended up re-encoding from the master and reducing the headroom to -0.6dB.  Still no deal.  In the end I reloaded the master file in DSP Quattro to convert to 48/24 waveform.  Then sent it from my MacAir via WIFI, rather than my MacMini via ethernet.  Not sure which was the kicker?!   I’ve uploaded to Bandcamp before without these issues and I prefer it for putting my weird squibblings out for consideration in the market, however Soundcloud is far more user friendly in my experience.

Another frustrating eye-opener is how buggy and annoying Adobe Audition can be.  I’ve been using it on Windows 8 and OSX Mountain Lion. On Win8 it has very glitchy playback with only a handful of plugins, even with an i7 processor 16gb machine.  With the Melda plugins that I use quite heavily, the GUIs disappear if you try to reopen them.  On Mac it crashes if you try to reopen any AU or VST plugin.  It fails to reload the crashed session properly and it eats huge amounts of RAM and then refuses to give it back.  I’m now also suspicious that it is creating files that are for some reason not recognised by Bandcamp.

memory hog

The $14.95 per month Adobe Creative Cloud deal is certainly a nicer price to pay for these tools, and the thought was that I would use Premiere, Photoshop and After Effects as well.  So far i’ve used Premiere for some basic videos and I don’t mind it but don’t see myself doing anything with it that I couldn’t do with Final Cut.  Photoshop is definately useful but I can do most of the same things with Photoline (can’t understand why Adobe don’t sue these guys but it’s basically an awesome unbloated photoshop that runs off a usb stick!) Given that the money I make from using these products is limited and predominantly through education I wonder if that value is starting to seep away.  Nice Noise Reduction plugin aside, there is little making me want to stick with this bloated crashy Audition.  Might go back to Reaper & DSP Quattro.

stone tape cover

This is a transitional release as these elements came together over the last few months while I was looking for the workflow that I feel I have now found.  It is something of a Frankenstein patchwork as opposed to the smooth organic flow i’m working towards.  I’m still helping Jim debug the issue with Numerology Aux buzzing but it seems like for now the NativeKontrol LPC setup for Launchpad and Ableton 9 is the clear winner for playability and diversity.  It’s very deep and highly controllable once you spend some time learning what all the modes and buttons do.  It also doesn’t channel your output down a particular path as with the Numerology approach which is more focused on sequences and is definately better at that specific thing.   LPC works with Ableton’s clip metaphor allowing equally efficient and diverse control of samples or midi, sequences or longform drones.

This video I shared recently demonstrates the workflow quite nicely.  I’m actually working on the first movement from Stone Tape here.

The main difference is that i’m working towards using sequences and delays rather than relying on the tape loop emulation of Augustus Loop.

Below is an alternate mix of the final movement, “Celestia”.  It’s part of a greater set documenting the work from initial experiments to this release.  Please don’t hesitate to comment and share the link love.

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