An Update

“Writing regularly is even harder than pressing ‘record’!” -John Noble

John Noble is right, it’s really hard. He’s referring to a conversation we had a the last LA Trash_Audio meet where we discussed the technique of ‘just record everything.’ During that conversation I admitted to John that I only record about half of my patches and immediately saw the error of my ways. See, I have this quirk relating to things I record: enjoy while I’m doing it, hate it when I play it back, and the older the recording the more it grows on me. Actually, if the file is old enough that I don’t even remember recording it then it seems magical and great. In fact, the modular has contributed quite a bit to this quirk. I generally don’t make patch notes and there are no presets so the recording is the only evidence. I like that. So, I’ve recorded everything ever since.

I use Ableton Live and the modular is always in sync to the tempo of Live. When I want to ‘finish’ something I can then sort through the files and look for tasty bits to edit together. That’s the process in a nutshell. Other times I just decide that the whole take is done enough and post it.

I’ve compiled the ‘sketches’ or ‘improvs’ from the first part of 2012 together for this post. The 4ms PEG and the Dopfer A-199 Spring Reverb figure heavily. Here it is:

I wanted to make a track for the Analog Industries vinyl compilation. I only got to work on it on two occasions. The first pass was nine minutes long I think. It needed to be under three so I used a day off right before the deadline to just pound it into submission. I got the time down to what I wanted but it seemed rushed. The finished track suffers from a lack of silence. It was not chosen to be a part of the compilation so I have posted it to soundcloud.

The inspiration for the track is the soundtrack to an imaginary exhibit or a disney style ‘dark ride.’ One of my first exposures to electronic music was the echoey plinks of a ride at Six Flags in St. Louis called ‘The Time Tunnel.’ It was just a cheap repurpose of ‘Injun Joe’s Cave.’ You get into a boat in a fake river that goes through a cave. The first room contained some vaguely animatronic rubber dinosaurs. The little connecting tunnels between the rooms had wonderful late 70’s Moog flavored space music. I think I rode the thing like 10 times, the line was short, the AC made it super cold, and I liked the plinks and groans.

Last weekend’s project ended up a bit better. I recorded it on a Saturday morning and edited it down the next day. Reminds me of the old Planet of the Apes soundtrack. I have a list of titles that are all variations of the same thing but they all seem too long. ‘Crossing Single File,’ ‘Single File Numbers Hidden,’ or ‘Across the Dune Sea.’ They’re all references to a line of dialog from Star Wars. The track came about while I was digesting the information that Ralph McQuarrie had passed.

Well, that’s the update. I just got a Flight of Harmony Choices joystick module and Valhalla ÜberMod so I’ll probably be making some drones next. Thanks for reading and listening.

Author: Bendu

Bendu is Ben Vance, an electronic musician living in Los Angeles California.

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