sketchbook: tunestorm 04

There was another Tunestorm challenge earlier this month, and in the finest tradition of such things, I threw together an entry at the last minute. The challenge this time was to make a piece using a sample taken from a spinning hard drive, which sounded just like a sine wave that slowly dropped in pitch.

You could use other sounds, too, but I chose not to — I loaded a chunk of the original sound in to a sampler (Specimen), ran it through some distortion effects, then through PHASEX, where I tweaked away on the filter in real-time using my Korg nanoKONTROL, and finally through some spatial effects. The result was some throbbing, unsettling ambient art-wankery that I call “pulse”.

mp3 | vorbis | flac | 2:50

new track: phase transition

It’s been about six weeks since I posted my little SooperLooper jam, and here it is in its final form, or at least what became of it. This was a difficult one to pull together — I initially just polished my sketch version of it, but that didn’t give me the results I was after, so I ended up ditching that effort and re-arranging it from scratch, finally getting an inspiration for the central progression and ending last week. Once I had that idea, it didn’t take long on the weekend to flesh it out.

This is another Seq24/Hydrogen/Ardour recording, with Blofeld synths, though I also created my own drum sounds (mostly on the Blofeld again) for this one. I also used PHASEX as the synth for the lead arpeggio — it’s a simple patch, but I really liked how it sounded, so it stayed in the final version.

EDIT: Turns out that the download links were broken! I’ve fixed them now, so if you had trouble downloading, please try again now.

mp3 | ogg | flac | 5 minutes 4 seconds

sketchbook: phasex shenaningans

This one comes right from the Where The Hell Were You Last Month department — playing around with PHASEX, one of the more feature-packed and better-sounding softsynths for Linux. PHASEX’s interface is a little confusing at first because it has some interesting and unique features, but at its core it’s essentially an analog modeling synth.

One very cool feature that I only just discovered, though, is the support for audio input. Lots of hardware synths have audio inputs, which you can use to run external audio through the synth’s filters and effects, and that’s exactly what the inputs in PHASEX do, too. There’s even an envelope follower, so it can trigger its filter envelope based on the level of the incoming signal. It’s exactly the kind of thing that might have been brilliantly handy when I was making that sample-based Tunestorm piece!

This, then, is a cello sound from Qsynth running through PHASEX — I’ve used the filters with a bit of resonance added (shifting the cutoff on the fly with the mod wheel), and a square wave for amplitude modulation to gate the sound.

mp3 | vorbis | 60 seconds