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EMS - Saturday

Back in Amsterdam.

Saturday at EMS was a good day: I generated some more 2d generation files, and experimented with the 3rd generation. Then organizing it all in one Nuendo setup. It's over 400 soundfiles!

For the 3rd generation I limited myself to files from the 2d generation that were processed at some stage with process nr. 4 (applying a highpass filter with the joystick) and then using mainly processes 2 (pitching up the sound extremely) and 4 again. I figured, that would push the sound into the high frequency and hopefully create some interesting different sounds. That actually worked quite well, and some of the 3rd gen files are quite long as I felt they kept developing.

The processes again, now all in a row:

  1. LiSa ch2 LPF: this is basically playing the sample twice on both speakers, but a little out of sync and with a low pass filter applied - this one turned out mainly to be interesting when applied to the axioms - repeated application doesn't give distincive enough versions.
  2. LiSa ch2 pitch+48: this is a process that plays the sample pitched up 48 semitones together with the same sample pitched down 48 semitones - the high pitched version of course is much more prominent, and works in some cases and not in others - the low pitched version only gives some rumble every now and then - all the time there is some sample length change going on so the loop is not so obvious.
  3. LiSa ch6 broken + distortion: a joystick action, scratching through the sample with extreme panning, some subtle pitch change and variable distortion - all kinda broken and cutup.
  4. LiSa ch6 filter + distortion: similar, but then with a high pass filter changed by the joysticks Y axis, and no panning.
  5. ch6 regular + distortion: my main instrument in the live set, scratching through the sample and applying extreme pitch change with the Y axis.
  6. LiSa ch5: this is a weird, but a little too obvious stuttering of the sound - I didn't use this one much.
  7. Audition pitch bender: changing the pitch of a sample over time, sometimes subtly, sometimes quite drastically - very much depending on the sound material.
  8. Audition noise reduction (keep only noise) (with 'noise' from next sample): this is kind of crossbreeding: take a snippit from the next soundfile in line, and use that to apply the noise reduction filter in Audition - but instead of getting rid of what you filter out ('noise'), keep just that - in a way this resembles vocoding.
  9. Aluminum foil: attach pieces of aluminum foil to the speakers, playback sound with lots of low frequencies, and record the playback with two microphones. This I applied mainly to the axioms that were treated with process nr.1 (the lowpass fiter).

The names of the LiSa processes refer to the midi channels they are assined to - not very interesting to know, but that's the way I memorize them.

I organized the samples by the following naming convention:

  • starting out with 27 samples, numbered 001 - 027.
  • for every applied process I added a period and the process number, f.e. 017.4.6 is part of the 2d generation, applying first process 4 and then process 6 on axiom 017.

A couple of notes:

  • I realize now that I should have started with much less axioms - max 10 would have been fine.
  • Applying process 2 twice seems to result in more interesting sound than only applying it once! Which doesn't make sense, as the process mainly duplicates the soundfiles, with one voice being pitched up 4 octaves, and one voice pitched down 4 octaves. If you apply this twice you'd think they would cancel eachother out (with 8 octaves up and 8 octaves down not being audible I'd think). Where's the catch?
  • Some axioms just don't work - and those are mainly the noisy ones: action sequences in the film with lots of traffic, crowds, rain. The more sparse ones worked much better.

The upcoming composition process: I will definitely need to cut down extremely on the soundfiles. After sequencing them in Nuendo the total length was 5 hours! This means that I'll probably skip some branches of the tree alltogether. Axioms 005 and 006 (and their descendents) for example will certainly be skipped (sorry guys...).

Furthermore I'll probably have different versions: one where I'll just edit out a couple of seconds from each soundfiles and sequence those - this is the Rigid Way - probably (hopefully) this mindless (or less 'mindfull') way of working will not result in an interesting composition.
The more sensible way will probably be more tedious: listen to different variation of the samples, filter filter filter select select select until I end up with a more manageable number of them. Then put them together in an order that makes sense.

And next to the composition (that's supposed to be approx 20 minutes) I'm thinking of compiling a CD with 60 second versions, calling it 'De geluidjesfabriek' ('The little-sound factory'), after a good friend of mine that used that term to describe my music. The idea would be that everyone of those 60sec pieces would be little compositions in themselves, as that's how I've been thinking of all the files that I generated: basically I tried to have some micro structure in them, some sense of small scale development.