I finally had some time alone with my AE Modular over the last two days, so I created a number of ambiences and sequences and then set about doing something with all of them... "Beyond Pluto" was the result. As a small disclaimer, the lead sounds are from other sources, mainly as I haven't spent enough time seeking those out in the modular yet.
Some of the sequences were created outside of the modular, using either an Arturia BeatStep Pro or Transition (a generative VST sequencer plugin) - in these cases, the SEQ16 and the TRIQ164 were used to add modulation colour to the sequences. However, all of the sequencer sounds are coming out of the modular, and I do also use long-form sequences for the ambiences, all of which are generated within the modular. Everything is passed through my pedal farm to add further colour and recorded live to Reaper.
(Edit: Apologies if you couldn't find this earlier. I noticed an error that I just had to correct, the album is there now)
It's available as a Name your Price download (i.e. free, if you want) and I've included a continuous mix as a bonus. I will write more about the process as I experiment more, at the moment I'm just enjoying the sounds that emerge and trying to do something interesting with them. The lovely fat analogue sounds of the AE Modular do work well for what I want.
Apologies for those of you who were quick off the mark, I spotted an error that I had to put right, so I had to take the album down for a few minutes. The album is now up and running, so buckle up and take that trip.
My thanks to all of you who visited Bandcamp and I hope that you found something to enjoy in the 47+ minutes. Whilst I'm quite a quick music-maker, the AE Modular definitely gave me some inspiration, which made the process even quicker.
mobius, you asked about the live/prepared balance and that's a good question for this piece as it was a bit of both for a change.
Buckle up if this stuff interests you... ditch out now, if it doesn't.
Usually, it's pretty much all improvised and recorded live; however, for "Beyond Pluto" I wanted to create some specific sequences and ambiences using the modular, to show it off a bit. This meant that I had to record several live improvisations and then stitch them together in Reaper in quite large chunks.
So, to make the answer more clear, I set up an interesting patch, with plenty of points that I can adjust in real time. I then work out what the live tweaks will do to the sound (separately and in combination) and then I fire various sequences of different step lengths (this is Berlin School, after all) in from my BeatStep Pro. At that point, I hit record and manipulate the sequence notes and sound in real time. If I have some other live parts ready to fly, I do like to record and tweak everything in real time to get that real sense of interaction.
Having prepared as many of these recorded-live set pieces as possible, I then prepare some of the other sections that I can hear in my head - again, I set them up and record hem live, with as much tweaking as possible. This usually requires the KeyStep.
Finally, for this long piece, I gather everything together and see how they flow and not necessarily anywhere near the order in which I recorded them. If I hear the need for linkage pieces I creat those based on what I have to move from and to.
This process comes out of the live playing that I used to do as part of the band Kubusschnitt, and before that as a guitarist in a Blues Band for several years. I like the interaction and the speed of moving on from something quickly, rather than agonising for way too long.
Everything I record has the effects recorded live also, that way I can manipulate those as well. Luckily, I have quite a few pedals breeding in my pedal farm. I like to set up a specific effects patch (i.e. pedal setup), rather than having everything connected all of the time. This also allows me to set up parallel routings that I wouldn't be able to do normally.
Finally, everything in the live setup goes to a small mixer with a stereo feed to Reaper. It's so much fun to have real things to affect rather than just software. I do use VSTs (for example, there's no way I could afford or house a real Mellotron) and they have their place.
Hopefully that was useful and not too much information.
I've been a victim of my own success (!!!)... Bandcamp allows 200 free downloads per month, which up until now hasn't been an issue. However, over the last week, I've used up all but four of my download allowance, which has to last until nearly the end of January. Once they're gone, I have the option of paying for the privilege of allowing free downloads, or I have to charge. As I do this for fun, I will put a nominal charge on the downloads - this does have the advantage that you can add it to your Bandcamp account. Some of you have bought the albums and I thank you very much, although it was never my intention to use this forum for marketing, only to share my sounds for free.
I will flush out my two Soundcloud accounts (currently both full up) and start to use those for more experimental/AE Modular specific items. That has better "free" capacity.
So, the bottom line is that where I have said items are free, they won't be for long, I'm afraid. So, if you would like to download some albums, you will have to be quick. As there are 12 there, and only four free downloads left, they won't last long. The last one "Beyond Pluto" has the most AE Modular on it, followed by "Ice on Mars".
[Copying to both threads]
Update: Those four disappeared almost immediately and then I had to lower the auto-pricing down from £7 to something far more reasonable.
Last Edit: Dec 27, 2018 22:01:57 GMT by spacedog: Added update
Thanks spacedog , that's great information! I love the Berlin School sound and it's great to hear some more details on your general process. I am still getting to know my single row and am hoping to do some experimenting with multitracking/layering different voices in the near future, as getting more than a couple interesting and cohesive voices going with my current setup is a bit of a challenge.
Edit: congrats on the increased activity/downloads - well deserved!
Thanks, careck, much appreciated. I hope that I can help you to relive your youth Sit back and enjoy the Extended Mission Mix - that's a 50-minute trip out into those Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs)
I was able to spend some time relaxing and getting to know the AE Modular over the holiday, so there is plenty of it buried in the various layers of that album. For my birthday tomorrow, I will be adding a Bastl Kastle as an interesting extra source and I will also be ordering a few more modules in the next couple of weeks... as well as an extra case to put them in.
I hope to clear out my Soundcloud pages and use those specifically for "AE Modular moments" and maybe even some attempts at our excellent new Patch Challenges.