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.
This week I have been jamming with a small setup and researching how I can get the most out of it. I have also had the recorder running so the tapes are there. I have planned another two weeks ahead with more of these jam sessions. So I am consistently making music. And get my focus back on the main event, making music. Hopefully my brain can keep up with it.
Another topic that I have been working on some more is figuring out the possibilities regarding releasing the music. For me the easiest, well not exactly easy but most comfortable way is to see release it. Getting stuff out there via a few platforms so I don’t get lost and see if I can create a constant schedule in releasing my music. Let’s see how I get on at first, I can always expand later.
Visuals are increasingly important as a way of getting music out there, especially with things like Youtube which are a source of new music for lots of people. In my original plan for my album project I had come up with the idea to integrate Touchdesigner for the visual component. And the fun bit about this is you can connect it to MAX MSP. I am now figuring out how I can incorporate this into my patches and generate a nice visual to go with my music.
A very good week, but I still fall into the pitfall of loosing my focus. As everything is fun and the joy I get out of researching stuff. But I feel I return to my original idea much quicker than I used too. So that’s a win. Now all I need to do is finishing music, and find the confidence to release it.
Another week done, which was a very productive week, with a focus. Learning MAX MSP. I have always had the goal learning to really get into MAX, and finally being a bit more fluent with it. It was also a big part of my original concept for the album.
I have already built a looper with the help of some excellent YouTube video’s. More on this in these blogs, 1, 2 .
Besides the Looper I have always had the idea of controlling my Eurorack via MAX MSP, and add some other things to the Eurorack. Like Oscillators and so on and record and edit the results.
The learning curve proved to be a bit steep and didn’t yield any more direct results which I could easily incorporate into music making. Besides that I frequently got distracted by other gear and options.
This week has seen a return to the original idea and the tasks at hand needed to get there. Starting with the excellent book Step by Step which covers the topic on building sequencers with MAX Msp. I have written about this previously.
And I have done a fair bit of reading done already, but in order to get to grips with MAX more thoroughly I need to work on it every week, not just a few sessions in between other sessions. So I need to plan at least a session every week. Otherwise I need te reacquaint myself every time, which is a waste of time.
Besides the work on Max I have taken some time reading music magazines and reorganizing my sample collection.
Time really moves fast on projects like these and I still need more time than I think I need and run out of it faster. This is not always easy, but I still have fun every time I get going, which I really enjoy.
Doing a fast forward like in a cassette deck like in the old days isn’t part of this journey. How frustrating it might be, my learning curve is what it is. I can’t speed it up or make my brain any faster. However there is a remedie to it, of sorts. Just carry on and persevere.
This week has seen it’s fait share of music activity. Mostly working with the modular & done some reading as well. My workflow is getting more and more of a final shape and proces. And thanks to limiting my setup I get more results out of my sessions. Simply because I know my way around it better.
I did however notice that I can’t always bring myself to not grabbing something else, another machine or more modules. Just because it gives me that extra bit of energy, or push my levels of fun. I love discovering new things and for me that’s a large part of the fun in making music. Discovering new and uncharted waters.
So I am having a bit of trouble committing myself fully to my new and smaller setup. I get lost in my Eurorack, or when patching in MAX MSP, despite the limitations I set before starting my sessions. Just because it’s easy to get distracted and it’s just loads of fun.
So it’s hard for me to maintain a balance in having fun and doing exactly as planned. It doesn’t matter how well I plan things, I am too easily distracted.
This week has seen the absence of making music. Lot’s of other things happened and I didn’t make my planned hours on music things. Up until now I mostly was able to fill my planned hours, if not with making music it would be with reading, thinking about ideas or studying music related topics.
This week has seen an hour worth of fiddling around with my Moog. Which is ok, it also solidified the importance of creating a habit. I missed it this week. Not only missed it as a fun thing but it starts to feel as an integral part of who I am.
It’s just like anything important to you in life, you need to form habits. Creativity doesn’t come on it’s own. It’s a process, learning the equipment, learning how to implement ideas and how to manage your projects is just like any other craft. It needs hours invested.
And while I was grossly over estimating my speed of working at the beginning of this adventure and my album making project will last far beyond my initial timeline the most important thing has happend. It’s becoming a habit.
Just like my running is a habit, meditation and yoga are a habit. That didn’t happen overnight, it took time. And if it’s falling to the sideline it’s easier to get going again. Because life happens, things don’t work out as planned. That’s ok, the important bit is that you get back into the groove.
This week marks the return to making music. With a smaller setup consisting of a mono-synth, a drummachine and some effects. And Ableton Live. That’s it. The complete Eurorack system, however cool , just has too many options. I keep playing and adding stuff to a patch and don’t have enough time and energy to produce anything with the results.
I still use the eurorack, but limited the amount of modules. My choice for synth is the Moog Mother-32, a good sounding and versatile synth in itself. The effects are a Noise engineering distortion, Make Noise Morphagene & Eventide Starlab. Dor drums there is the Elektron Machinedrum. Which I am working on and still reading the manual.
The sessions with this setup give a peace of mind and focus when it comes to making choices.
The second thing this week was a homework assignment from my music coach. Working on the arrangement of a piece of music we made samples for in our previous session. And here I also struggle with choices and I have a hard time making decisions. Setting limits here also helps a lot. Coming week I will thinker some more with this song.
The week was a succes and the choice for less gear one which will benefit me going forward. I can now work on stuff with a brand new focus.
Another week flew by, and this week I didn’t do much in the way of working on the musical project that is making the album. My music hours were spent on reading manuals and listening to music. I amassed a fair backlog of music that needs listening or re-listening with focus & attention. I sometimes just listened parts of albums or didn’t really take my time for them. So this week it was all about the Elektron Digitakt & Autechre EPS 1991 -2002.
The Digitakt has long been on the wish list and I borrowed one for a while to check it out. After my Motu sound card stopped working I went on the search for a small sound card & got the idea to buy the Digitakt instead. It can also be used as a sound card after all. Very handy indeed.
I never dove into the manual as it works pretty intuitive, but after reading and diving into the Machinedrum last week I also started reading the manual for the Digitakt. And I must say, that’s not a bad idea. Especially the bit on the MIDI tracks which I never really use had some nice insights which triggered a lot of ideas for the combination with the modular & sequencing hardware samplers. I haven’t finished reading but I have months worth of ideas too explore.
I never really read any manuals before I got more or less forced into reading them and it’s simply highly recommended, you always learn something and pick up on interesting avenues for exploration.
Autechre EPS 1991 – 2002
I am a big Autechre enthusiast, and I am always trying too complete my collection. So when EPS 1991 – 2002 was released I bought it straight away. But never really listened to it as a whole. Partly because I have some of the EPS’s which are floating around my collection, somewhere. And I don’t have all of them. I have been listening to some of the EPS, but not from start to finish.
The beauty of this collection is you can listen too the development of Autechre’s music trough the years, from the more rave oriented tracks going towards the more abstract work. I really find it very nice how the music despite all the structural shapes retains it’s open and dynamic character. Every time I listen I hear different things or listen in a different way. It really helps sitting down for it and focus on listening. And not just put it on as background music. Although for me it works very well as background music while working. For people just starting out with Autechre and want a nice beginning of a collection this box is an excellent point to begin.
The real work on the album wasn’t for me this week. I did however spent my allocated time for music on music related topics. Working on technical knowledge & inspiration. This keeps the momentum going which is important.
Finally back making sounds, instead of just reading manual & books. Making sounds and noise is the fun bit really. Got a few short modular recordings in this week. Still very slow progress and my project is going to take much longer than I originally anticipated. Which I won’t let in the way of having fun. It’s about the journey after all.
In order to keep the structure and momentum going I am planning a few smaller projects along the way. Just making sure I release music while working on the bigger album project. Although I am still a bit reluctant putting stuff out there.
Every time I listen too someone else’s music I am thinking, that’s far better than my stuff. So I really need to get over this hurdle and start putting stuff out. Only things I am happy with off course , and I am not there yet. But I will.
Really missed the actual music making and really hoping I can get back into my rhythm and keep at it. Practice makes perfect after all.
As well as being back at making music, I also listened to some music. Amongst others the DJ Kicks mix by Andrea Parker, a very good mix in the outstanding series that DJ Kicks is. Released in 1998 and massively important for me in discovering unknown artists & music at the time. And the mix still holds up and sounds futuristic nowadays. Recommend listening.
In my planning I added a moment in my week for listening too an album, mix or a few EP’s for inspiration and enjoyment.
Onto a new week!
Week 7 is done, en another week with adaptions to my plan. Still some trouble with my brain damage so no music making activities this week. Mostly been reading about music theory and some manuals. Especially the book Electronic music and sound design volume one .
An absolute recommendation, It’s based around theory on the subjects sound design and Electronic music. Based around Max MSP patches to make it hands on. Every chapter starts with some theory on a subject and right after that you start working with that subject in Max and learning how to apply the concepts and theory within Max. At the start of each chapter there is an overview of the learning goals. Very handy indeed.
You can use the book to learn about specific subjects within sound design , syntheses and ways to edit sound. You don’t need to get into the Max parts to make good use of the book. The book is very convenient as a reference as well.
It’s very well written and all explanation is very clear. The book has a nice layout as well. I just started at the beginning and I am working my way through the book, learning Max MSP at the same time as learning about synthesis and sound design.
Another week without adhering too my original planning but still working on music, which is starting to become a habit , a routine. That’s very nice.
Onto next week.
Week 6, quite a different week compared to the last few weeks. My brain wasn’t cooperating and I couldn’t stand sounds. Which makes working with music pretty difficult. It’s part of having brain damage so I had to make due. And try keeping busy in other ways.
First part of the week was mostly getting some extra rest in, and after that period I mostly been trying to read manuals. Albeit slow I stil got the feeling I was working on the project. And in a way this was the case.
Hopefully I have recovered enough into next week and I can start working on my music project according to plan.