This week I made a good start in building the sequencer for my Eurorack in Max Msp, for now it’s aimed specifically at the Morphagene and what functionality I need for that. Already done a few tests and still have a lot of work to do.
That’s basically it as far as progress goes. while designing the Max patch I got to think about how music touches all of my interests. It satisfies my technological curiosity, I can think about design concepts and I can dive into musical history.
From reading manuals, via biographies and watching documentaries. Without even making any music. So when I have a good day cognitively speaking I can read and think about music, and if I have a really good day I can make music. It’s an integral part of my life, and weekly activities. There is always something to do which drives me forward in the direction of my goals.
As I touched upon last week, getting those goals in to fruition isn’t always easy and sometimes an activity doesn’t seem to contribute anything towards the goals. But if you look at it from another and wider perspective there is always something in the things you do which moves you forward, inching closer to your goals.
Bit late with this post as I closing in on the end of week 18. Well sums up the delays in my music making journey I suppose. But week 17 has been a good week of the music front. I’ve been playing around with my Eurorack synth and recording most of it. Also spent some time working on making samples out of the results.
All in all I got to spend time making sounds, which was great. On the inspiration side of things its been a good week as well. Got some design books & magazines and had a nice chat with a designer on how to set intentions for your creative path.
It’s about setting the parameters of a project, or a session to set the tone or the direction of the desired result. Which can be as random as just sitting down and making sounds, or drawing random things, and hyper detailed and focussed tasks like sculpting the perfect kick drum from scratch.
It all has it’s function. And it can be utilized to break habits, periods of creative drought or simply to regain the fun in a project. Very interesting stuff.
The move to a minimal setup continuous, spend this week with the Moog Mother-32 and the Digitakt. Haven’t recorded anything remotely resembling a song but have been learning these 2 machines a bit better. It’s really funny how my initial idea of minimal was way to big. And now this setup has defined minimal for me again.
In a related way I have started looking at the album project. Which will remain intact. But lacked a sufficient foundation in skills. Coincidently I have been setting up a project at work which needed a solid dive back into the books, mainly the theories on design. From the broader aspect of design down, via design principles down to the day to day design decisions we all need to make.
In order to get that project going I need to build a basic model of all functions in that system, in such a way that it runs from the start. So a lot of effort is going into making the framework and the proces design. The detail will fill itself in later.
This got me thinking on my own proces in making this album, It lacks the correct framework, the basic design idea & concept are there but the music making framework isn’t working yet. I can’t get ideas out of my head fast enough. Especially considering the limited time I can spent with full cognitive functions on making music.
So the focus needs to be on getting to know the tools a lot better and get it to such a level I can get ideas out very fast. So that’s going to be the goal for the next few weeks (al least).
This week has seen the continuation towards the slow return into making sound. In order to keep things simple and easy, I focussed my attention on one instrument. The Elektron Machinedrum. Which I have had for many years but never really dove into. It’s one of those machines that is a bit underrated in my opinion. Lot’s of people seem to get a bit overwhelmed with the workflow. And I must admit I had the same years ago when I bought it.
In light of my new way of doing things it felt right simply starting over with the Machinedrum from scratch. So I spent most of my time with the manual and YouTube learning the machine again. Which I must admit will stretch out in the weeks to come.
At first it’s still a bit daunting but once I got over the initial hurdle I got more into it (again). For me it’s a classic. But I need too point out I can’t use it as I did before, just going to it in periods. I need to really get stuck into this machine a little longer.
I am sure a lot will come out of the effort I am putting into the Machinedrum. If by any change you can get your hands on one, do it. It maybe a bit of a learning curve but it will pay off. It’s a very cool drummachine.
I have decided to stick it into my album setup. So it will be the main source of my drums in the project.
Learning the Machinedrum
I have a few starting points if you want to start learning the Machinedrum, first of all I need too point out the excellent Youtube series produced by Elektron when it came out, with MrDataline. Mr Dataline Machinedrum Tutorial part 1.
Just follow the whole series. Another great video on the Machinedrum is by Blush Response. Blush Response Elekron Machinedrum. Which is more on the industrial side sound wise in the video. But it gives a very good overview on the capabilities.
And just reading the manual with a nice cup of tea will get you there as well. There is also an alternative firmware which you can find here. I have not yet checked it out. But I might do that in the future.
Autechre has used the Machinedrum & Monomachine in their music and and some point shared the syses files. Information in this thread on the Elektronauts forum.
Recapping the week
All in all a nice week spent learning the Machinedrum, a bit of a mixed week in ways of progress on the album, but simply sitting with one machine and diving in has been really good. It opens up thinking creatively in another way and once you get more in-depth the ideas go further as well. Which is good for the overall project. It’s been a good week. On to the next.
Week 2 in the house, time flies when you’re having fun. And fun it is. Week 1 resulted in my project framework for what I want to achieve. For this week my goal was to start building my sample library for my tracks.
Firstly, I want to talk about time management. I don’t have a lot of quality time due to my brain damage , so I can’t be at it for hours on end or listen to a lot of sound for a long period of time. So my schedule is an hour of intense activity at a time.
Which means making actual sounds for sampling , listening to loops etc. Working with sound basically. Learning and reading is easier on my brain so I can do that more often. So it’s preparation , and then making the noise.
Things like building my Max MSP patches, Eurorack ideas and learning both Max MSP and Ableton are at the forefront at the moment. And about 2 hours of sound design and sampling.
Another thing I got to do, is make a moodboard of my influences for the album. Which is fun to do, it has also brought some new angles to the project in ways of getting it all together.
One thing I have noticed is that it’s way more fun to have a goal. I enjoy simply sitting with my gear and making sounds, this really gives it an edge. Being not solely a tool to escape but to really create is something I have never done.
Not all the planned stuff got finished this week, and maybe my initial goal is something I need more time to accomplice , but for now I just keep at it.
Last week I started listening to the new Audion album, Audion is the Techno alter ego of Matthew Dear. With his new album Alpha he has produced a good Techno album for home listening. Sounds a bit strange , but it’s true. It’s very well produced and has all sorts of cool twists in the tracks, yet maintaining a nice groove.
Even if your not into Techno as much this album can be very enjoyable.
Top tracks are Bob the builder, Sucker, Traanc and Suppa. Give this album a try or 2 , you’ll love it.
British hip hop legend Roots Manuva has a new album, Bleeds. I always liked his music a lot. Found out about his new album after reading Future music.
Today I listened to it on Spotify, which is great for checking out new stuff. But I prefer the psychical product.
The album starts with Hard bastards, excellent start with slow beats and cool feel. Crying is a haunting track which I really liked.
Other favourites are Stepping hard , Me up and One thing. Listen to this, and don’t forget his older work, which is very good as well.