Archive for March, 2008


Something kind of small…more to come

I have some stuff to post, been kinda hectic lately. Here’s two new MP3’s to enjoy.

StandAlone Album 1(poss) DEMO

StandAlone Album 1(poss) DEMO2


don’t stop the rock

(screen shot’s and more MP3’s to come)


I think that this blogging and working at the same time is kind of successful, it’s useful to me.

Last Friday I started playing around with the tracks made by the dice, I only did two and then just skived off for the day so I figured give it another go.

I have been listening to the musicians El Fog, Last Days and Jasper TX since I got into the office and when I listen to their album’s I totally feel something, you know that thing… But part of me wonders if it can work totally because in some way I listen to the point of ignoring the music… hmmm?


Pro Tools is up and running.

Basically what I did on Fri was take all they tracks made via the dice and imported them in and played with the auto-write feature bringing the sound in and out… trying to minimise the artefact left by the filters and the issues it brought forth. So here is a screenshot of what the last thing I did, plus the MP3…, am curious if what I have been listening how much that kind of music will shape what I work on today?

Before Starting.  This is what it looked like on Fri Afternoon


mBox is fucked, have to restart…hold on.


Back in black….basically I have taken Track 1 and changed the EQ a bit so that the space echo isn’t so spacey. Am bringing in the Guitar track as it is-no filters etc. going to see what happens.

Knob Twiddling More Knob Twiddles.


I totally blew the fade in…, I wanted the sound to come in subtly-almost to creep up on the listener. Instead it comes in loud as fuck and abrupt. No worries I can fix it but when I am working with the volume knobs even if no one is there it’s almost as if it’s a performance and there is a need to get it right.

I am starting to rethink the idea of chance in respect to the dice. I think there are some elements that are totally worthwhile, the freeing up, being forced to make different and new choices I wouldn’t normally. But I also hate the way a lot of the filters sound. There is a processed element and I can’t get beyond that sound, it’s almost as if it’s the only thing I hear.

It probably has a lot to do with my earlier listening. Someone like Jasper TX has a sparse minimal quality to his music, same with El Fog-it’s totally subtle and weaves in a weaves out. The sound kind of dances, but the sounds I am making today have a sort of ugliness to them, and I am not sure it works. Can ugly sounds aid in the generation of the ineffable? What constitutes an ugly sound? Are these sounds really ugly or is it just that for me that they don’t work?

Back in a flash-still bouncing to disk and I have to bounce to the loo.

Filters brought in….same boring set up, though.


After some thinking it’s time to wipe the slate clean. I have 10 tracks to work with and elements from the dice tracks can be used-legos legos legos. I am feeling a bit petulant though about the sounds(pissed it’s not happening today, but am determined to work through it).

Back to basics….guitar track. Think about the simplicity of Alexander Tucker, perhaps part of the problem thus far has been too much crap. Crap in crap out.

Clean Slate.  Back to Basics


Listening to the track as it is to re-familiarise my self with the material. It’s spindly sounding, without much backbone… very polite and refrained. Clocks in at just over 4:30 as well, so there is plenty to work with. It’s almost as if the guitar tones themselves are without direction and personality, timid. I think beefing up the guitar a bit and making it a stronger sound with enable me to then build off of from there.


Basically what I did, was take the guitar track and change the pitch to a lower almost bassy sound. Totally obvious way to beef it up, I know. So there are 6 tracks where the guitar is quite low, and then I added one where it comes in very low but steady at its present pitch. It comes in wrong-to abrupt. But I am happier with this direction. The sound is cleaner-less processed sounding, and it’s getting slinkier, looser, not so electronic and formal.

Getting there…

Low Guitar 1 (DEMO)


Going to try to play with the volume a bit and see what can happen before any filter action. Am curious how far I can push the sound without any tricks (reverb, delay etc.) I am in no way against those but I need to know if I can make it happen.




Back at it


Just playing with the volume and panning between right and left was really successful. I spiked the sound a bit so this one is the best, but am going to do it again and see what I get. This particular composition is not really super sexy if you know what I mean but it’s not poor either. It allows the sound build upon itself without rolling over.

Low Guitar Screen Shot

Low Guitar 2(DEMO)


Fading from ear to ear-it’s simple but really kind of interesting as a way to move the sound. Creates a circular space within my head. I don’t really work with circles and loops in this way, usually I would try and make them fit into square boxes but this has a lot of space to be interesting. It’s not so much about the way the sounds sound but what the sound is doing, how it’s making me feel. Good or bad I am starting to be able to ignore it-not ignore it per say but fall into it. The lowering of the pitch gives it A. more of low-end physical tangential quality, but B. also creates more of a sexy dirty scuzzy sound. That’s good last week I was talking about how I wanted to make a sexy record, something that oozed all over the place, this is more like that kind of sound. Dirty, whiskey covered, full of cigarettes and still going.

Dirty Sexy Sounds


A lot of what I like to listen to, is either small groups of people working together or one person and their lappie. It’s hard to create a collaborative dynamic whilst working alone, some would probably say impossible. Fair enough, but simple things like the fading from ear to ear and the playing with the sound allow me to play one track off of the other, giving it an almost performative response. I like that response, I like the changing of something because something is happening in time, and I like the evanescent creation of momentary context. The thing is when you are writing to disc, or creating something in real time, who is the performance for? Myself? The listener? Is it performance, and what then does that mean, performance?

The ending however still leaves a lot to be desired, but if this was to go into the 2/4/6/8 model then the end is no longer important, right? (Have to ask)

Low Guitar Screen Shot 3

Low Guitar 3(DEMO)


So I have been bouncing to disk all the tracks I have worked on today as 16 bit, and I’m working on converting them to MP3’s. I have to go now though to AM’s concert.


So I am back…( I know exciting, yawn). And I am going to post what I have.


Dice Blogs

12 March 2008

Wed: 12:11pm-6:10pm
Thurs: 9:45 am-12:08pm

The Rules

Live blogging….2nd try

So I tried this a few weeks ago and it seemed moderately successful. In the post I am referring to, I worked on sound and blogged whilst the sound was bouncing to disk.

I also mentioned in that post that due to the tutorial with AM I was trying new things, so for this sound work I will be playing a bit of dice man. Because I only bought one set of dice I can do this either of two ways. Roll once, and then roll one die by itself or every other roll is two rolls. I think option B…. easier for you easier for me.
(All images and MP3’s will be below the post.)


Blank staring and gum chewing, I sort of wonder how the hell I get away with this sort of stuff – but here we go…opening Pro Tools and importing the guitar track…. As well I will be taking a screen shot after every roll of the dice as well as bouncing to disk so there is a record. This entry is going to be so chock-full o’ goodness…. I sense wet trousers.

1st Screen shot.


First roll is 11, so I insert EQ on the first track…. I am bouncing the sound to disk and it’s just one track so it’s hard to hear or imagine rather how this experiment might turn out. It’s probably more interesting to think of the nature of composition rather than the fact that I changed the EQ. Composition for me is about placement and timing and the dice makes it about chance. Does chance become intuitive? However, will dice compositions be more accessible and possibly more ineffable because it’s less about me and more about the randomness (mathematical randomness) of dice rolling? Thoughts to keep coming back to through out the day.

2nd Screen shot



This time it’s two rolls of the dice and each roll was 9 =18. An 18 means raise the volume on any one track…. as I have only one track I am going to insert another starting a half a block behind the first and raise the volume a few decibels. Basically I added the second track coming in at 30 secs and I just ramped up the volume, not tremendously but enough to make a difference. It still sounds a bit polite and timid, but it’s getting dirtier. If you were to ask me right now, I just want to make a filthy sexy record that oozes all over itself within the concepts that I have. The 2/4/6/8 working towards rolling over…(I’ll explain more in the next post) But in a way dirty sex doesn’t exactly work for my Room 1 installation record, but it can for the stand alone one…

3rd Screen Shot



I just rolled a 9 which means two blocks backwards…at the moment though it’s impossible because I don’t have enough sound samples yet to manoeuvre in that way…I am opting to roll one die to change the situation. I rolled a 1 which brings us to 10-Random must do with eyes closed. Ok, so I will place the new track from 0:00, here goes…. The filter I chose is called audio2control which can be found within modulation. It’s kind of random and hard to control and I am not sure I can deal with it, but it’s not up to me- it’s up to the dice. Basically it cuts into the sound as it is and drops this crap interference sound on top of it. It may work later let’s see. (4.png). Of course as you add layers you add depth to the sound, and this where I went a bit wrong before whilst I was working at my parents house in Jan, I was afraid of depth with the same sample…it’s good though. Richer timbre etc. But the audio2control filter sucks.

4th Screen Shot



This one’s a double roll…First roll was 6, second was 7 = 13, therefore I must insert some sort of crazy pluggo filter. Okay so on Track 3, the track I just worked on above I will add a second pluggo filter. (png6) When I first started bouncing this to disk I was fucking around on the interwebs. Looking at my music blogs and listening. I like what this filter has added. It’s helps to lessen the audio2control which will hopefully get removed if I roll the dice right. But the electronic bent brings forth something that fleshes out the sound in ways it wasn’t before. It’s still a guitar but it dirtier in some way….

Screen Shot 5



That Audio2 filter goes off even when nothing is being played…. ugh. Okay 1 roll this time. Another 9 so we roll one die and get a 6 bringing us to 15. The rule for 15 is to insert randomizer…and I am choosing to do it to track 2. (png7) You can set the randomizer yourself or choose a preset…I chose alien terrain. I think the filters are interesting but potentially distracting because then it becomes about the filter and the software. I need to think about this. It’s definitely different that than other tracks-but way more processed. You can get away with the sound and the built in aesthetics if the choices are made consciously, but by chance? It feels a bit hopscotch and random-which it is, duh. But no clear voice yet throughout the work.

Screen Shot 6



Lunchtime. Plus I need to think about what I have done so far….


Okay back in black…. Dudes really quick: The RZA is coming, the RZA is coming. So good. So this is a two roll, the first roll is a 9, the second roll is a 7=16. Rule 16 means move 1 track, half a block back. So that will have to be track two. Now all tracks start at 0:00. The sounds is a bit muddy and hard to distinguish…. but not poor. Seriously though that Audio2control filter is killing me. But I can’t remove it until I roll a 17. I like the depth to the sound, the processed-ness of the samples isn’t the best, it sounds to Pro Tools, but it’s worthwhile knowing what you don’t want vs. what you want.

Screen Shot 7



Okay…1 roll this time and the number is: 4. Fade in placement…. Since I only have three tracks at the moment I am going to go with track 1. Right when you fade in you also fade out… whateves…. I may call and audible on the next one and just roll one die to see how many tracks I should add…let’s have a listen to this with track one having fades in and out. The thing is, it’s basically the same thing with gentle fade in transitions. Fades have a definite connotation and unconsciously form the listener’s frame of reference. Still muddy and processed sounding. Three tracks doesn’t exactly make for dynamic listening. The next roll is officially outside the rules but needed to add more tracks to make this experience more useful.

Screen Shot 8



Rolling for tracks…. one die- and we get six tracks to add, all starting at 0:00 to keep it clean. I think it’s going to get more exciting now. This brings our total tracks up to 9 for those who forgot.


This is a two roll. First roll is 3; second roll is 10=13, once again insert a crazy pluggo filter…I am going to go with track 7. It’s called pluggo sync and I am not sure if even does anything. Something to do with the BPM. When I bypass I can’t even hear the difference. So let’s choose something else- Space echo. Dude this one is almost comical in it’s effect. This could almost just pass as an exercise in learning filters. But let’s hear it amongst the others…I like it by itself though…. This is the first bounce to disk with all 9 tracks. It’s a bit chaotic but far more exciting than the other stuff, although my feeling is that the effects are waaaay over the top. The echo does provide some nice space however within the music. Reverb though. I have to be careful with my use of reverb. The ending is by far the most interesting bit…. it had an intimacy and it’s working within the 2/4/6/8. Something to consider. Have to roll a 14 to get rid of the audio2 thing.

Screen Shot 9



One roll, this time only one die to try and get the lower numbers. Got a 2. Move one-track 2 blocks ahead/ Track six it is. Okay so that means that track six comes in at the 1-minute mark. For the most part the beginning comments remain the same. Although the space echo on track 7 whilst being a bit formulaic has interesting aspects. It will be about trying to trigger and find those aspects…. So I am listening but I am also cleaning out my text message box on my phone…. Over all I still feel the same. The beginning has bits and pieces that can be useful as long as I am aware as to how and why I chose to go with so much processed sound. The end is far more interesting.

Screen Shot 10



Roll 1 die again, and the number is 6, I get to move one track either way and I am going with track 3 to give a little space within the composition between processed and non processed sounds, so I move track 3 5 blocks ahead and it now comes in on 2:30. I am also going above the dice and remove the audio2 thing. It doesn’t fit and there is plenty of evidence already collected as to why. So lets do it. I may have gotten this one a bit wrong it could be the pluggo fuzz, we’ll see. So far in the beginning it still sounds a bit kitsch because of the space echo but there is a bit more space-the sound has more of a swirling effect. Ok the annoying sound is still there going to have to investigate that more and possibly bring back the Audio2. I am finding this to sound more similar to the sounds I create when I am composing not using the dice. So that is good, at times chance will intersect with intuition. Because I moved track three ahead in time this is the longest one we have done so far at just over 7 minutes. Nice when track three comes in…. it’s better, less intense. You are able to hear things with a bit more clarity. It sits better coming in later. The electronic sort of spark like sounds, gel much better with the ghostly echoes. The mood is more interesting. The monotonous guitar is starting to kill it but we are getting somewhere then with the use of filtration. Maybe the sound is getting sexier…. maybe I have no idea what sexy sounds like.

Screen Shot 11



Another 1 die roll, 6 again. I moved track 1, which has the EQ and the fades in and out, back to 2:30 as well. But there is that sound again so I took pluggofuzz off as well but that doesn’t seam to be changing anything. Hmmm added squirrelparade. Let’s just see… It seems to be coming from tracks 3 and 7 due to their effects…have to do some googling. It definitely has more space, which owes more to track placement than anything else. Reverb of course helps but it gives it a slight tinge of processed space rather than real space. The sounds have more dynamic. But I almost feel as if it’s two things on top of each other. The guitars then the spacey electronic sounds. They aren’t integrated yet. The squirrelparade effect provides a squiggle to the sound. It almost as if it’s a bad connection and the sound can’t come through clearly. It’s useful but also contextual with mobiles. Is that the right thing to bring in? But yeah the integration of the sounds both clearer and cleaner and the effected ones is not yet at the place where it makes sense yet.

Screen Shot 12

Screen Shot 13



Back to rolling both dice but only one time. First roll is a three, meaning I have to place a track directly underneath another track. Basically already done so I am going to roll again and add the two rolls together, so I got 5 which when you add it with 3 gives you 8. Reduce one track by half…. Track 9, instead of just cutting it I am going to reduce it using Time Compression Expansion, so 4:42 becomes 2:21. Within 2 seconds a whooshing reverby sound comes in which is interesting and the detuning of the guitar sound from slowing it down adds a low timbre which has been missing thus far. Still lacking in a certain dynamic and that annoying sound is still there. I am wondering what has to go the pure sounds or the effected ones? Can there be a balance and is the balance about taste or something else?

Screen Shot 14



Am taking a carpel tunnel/RSI break.


Okay back at it after a furious clean up of my desk and stuff. Also listened to a little The The to refresh my ears and now it’s on.

So two dice, rolled twice. Roll 1 is a 6, roll 2 is a 2=8, which means that another reduction of time by .5. I liked what I did with the track nine so I am going to do the same thing to track 7, which has the space-time echo filter. Any change to time changes the pitch etc, so I am consciously changing more than one element but with a very little control over how I change it simply by adding or subtracting time. So 4:42 becomes, 2:21. It’s hard to hear the exact nature of how the pitch has changed, but this much can be said so far; simpler and less processed has more potential for metaphor than overly processed material. I am a dipshit as well. I had track 7 on mute. Rebouncing, but that does say something, I liked it better without the lack space echo. And it is track 7 that has been producing the annoying sound. I will utilise aspects of the echo but not over a whole track. Like the previous 10 Tracks/10 Guitars I think the most interesting bits are when the sounds are rolling over each other…creating a circle where the issues of time are no longer a factor. That is something I haven’t consciously dealt with yet, but with the 2/4/6/8 approach questions of time have been pre determined.

Screen Shot 15



I rolled a six which means 5 blocks either way-track five will get moved 3 blocks whilst track 2, both forward. I have to say with the changing of the placement it places the digital effects tracks in better placement with the guitars. There is more play between the sounds, and the guitar sounds are doing more interesting things as well. Perhaps it’s the constant listening but I am beginning to slip into the sound much more as whole, instead of trying to listen to it as individual tracks. I think this owes as much to time spent listening as to the changes made. The squirrelparade effect is also no longer sitting on top of the sounds and seems to have integrated itself more seamlessly.

Screen Shot 16



Two rolls, first was a 12, second was an 8= 20 which means lowering the volume on any track. I am going with track 8. This brings forth the space echo and the odd pitch that slowing down a sample gives you. It’s not about the sounds I have chosen and rather more about the sample. It’s too much now- not seamless or integrated although nearly 2 minutes in it does begin to get more depth. There is a creepy undertone reminiscent of horror movies that is sort of interesting, it’s sinister.

Screen Shot 16


Am thinking I am losing my edge a bit. So for today I am going to have a bit of a break. Save what I have done and burn it to my iPod so I can listen in some different contexts.

Total tracks produced by the dice: 15


Long awaited updates….

I said I was going to post my 10 rules for 10 guitars things about 15 days ago…..

Rules for 10 Tracks/10 Guitars

1. 1 Block Behind
2. 2 Blocks Ahead
3. Directly Underneath
4. Fade in Placement
5. Fade out placement
6. 5 blocks either way
7. Lengthen time .5
8. Reduce time by .5
9. 2 Blocks back
10. 10 Random/ must do with eyes closed
11. Insert (EQ)
12. Insert (Reverb)
13. Insert (some sort of crazy pluggo filter)
14. Must lengthen by doubling existing length
15. Insert (Randomizer)
16. .5 block back
17. Take away on any even track by flipping a coin
18. Place the same two samples next to each other
19. Raise volume on any one track
20. Lower volume on any one track

Sorry. I have been here and there mostly doing admin for the research and then I was in Munich for my friend Tom Kotik’s opening. I saw a lot of good stuff-Angela Bulloch at the Kunstbau being the highlight and I had a lot of good thoughts about my work and my research. Bulloch is using sound and light boxes and creating environments although not necessarily immersive ones. Aspects of her practice are probably conducive to explore in relation to my own. Her sound is digitally processed and tends to be related to a film or particular score.

Whilst my practice is not concerned with sound in the same way, the way that Bulloch’s show was installed really made me pause, and I spent quite a bit of time with her work. There are thoughts I need to work on but I will write more before the end of the week.

As for right now, I really don’t care….I kind of hate the PhD and my research at the moment and I feel like a petulant child. I really just want to have a long endless tantrum and then go home and sit on the couch and stare at the wall for three hours. I know it’s a marathon but even people who run marathons somewhere within the 26.2 (whatever it is) miles lose a little interest and think that, all that running is ridiculous.

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