Album Party – Out From No Where

I’ve been trying to get more consistent about putting tracks together, finding stuff I thought had been lost for various reasons, and just cleaning up my mess of files stored all over the place. I still have a bit of a mess, but it’s a bit better organized at least.

This album is all tracks done this year, and it’s been a blast just playing around with new instruments, old instruments, and overall just making more time to make music for myself.

#jamcember – Unbalanced Balance

Day 3… still at it 😀

This started as a four bar loop about two or three weeks ago on my Akai MPC Live mk2, and I just left the main loop running for like an hour and didn’t get sick of it. The drums were all on the same track and I did need to separate those out, but beyond that I had a good enough mind to keep the bass, wurli, and sitar sounds on their own tracks, so it wasn’t overwhelming to dig in and actually start making different sections of the song.

Since it did not take too much time to wrangle this together, I also took the time to bring it into the Yorgos Arabatzis Mastering 2.0 project. I had found I had mixed everything *way* too low, and wanted to see how the YA Mastering would help out. I’m pleasantly surprised with how well by default the settings were able to pull the mix up by the boot straps and get it into a bit more of a reasonable to publish grade.

#jamcember – Productive Pillow

Day 2

This track was something I had just made a two bar section… and really liked it a month or so back, but just didn’t really know where to go with it. In order to complete my track a day I figured it is completely fine to dig up old material and put it together. This is another track done entirely on the Akai MPC mk2, and this time no fun mastering. It’s mixed closer to the way I wanted it, and I didn’t feel it needed any oomph to the track, though I say that and have re-listened to it a few times and kind of question my decision. It might’ve benefited from another round of processing, but hey gotta keep moving forward.

I’m not sure I’d totally put this under a house track per se, but it’s got a fair share of those elements… so even if it isn’t tagged *quite* right, I suspect it’ll be good enough. Anyway… I suspect I’ll be pulling a fair number of unfinished tracks over this month to keep up, but it is worthwhile to dig through all those fun little ideas and snippets to see what can come of it if anything. And… since this is a month of just moving forward for me, well… if it isn’t great, my excuse is that I only had a handful of hours to pull it together while balancing life, family, work, and dropping hopefully cool beats.

#jamcember – My Peaceful Day

First track for #jamcember and trying to do a track a day.

Just a lofi track to relax to. Yeah I know it’s kind of noisy… as the lofi folks like? A lot of vinyl, tape, and other random clicks and clacks. All done on the MPC Live mk2. I’ll probably keep all of the tracks done through the MPC Live mk2 this month just to really dig into it a bit more and see if 2.9 has either weird workflow bugs I trip over or things that get me to think about working on the tracks differently inside the box.

I also ran this through the YA Mastering 2.0 that just came out. Definitely used up a lot more of the available sound space, though I think I probably needed to tame the high end a bit more. That’s totally my fault for not investigating, but it sounded okay on my headphones and off of the mk2 speakers… but playing it on a few other devices it is a bit… uhm… much on the high end. Normally I’d fix it… but I mean business for trying to do a track a day, and need to get to it.

MPC Programs – NT S950 Volume 4

Got some more S950 programs sampled, but first, here’s the link.

The big thing I learned this time around was that from the Sampler menu, if you select a mono source and set the sampling to mono… well I didn’t have to use Fission to covert the samples to mono. That saved some headaches for sure!

Overall notes for the auto sampling:
* 430 Mono samples
* Should play from C-2 to G8
* Sampled C0 to C5 in most cases, with a stride of 4
* Generally 16 samples per program
* Only one Sample Layer at velocity of 127

16 programs, which breaks down to:

  • 3 Bass Bassoon
  • 1 Cello
  • 1 Saxaphone
  • 1 String
  • 12 Synth
  • 5 Trumpet

Enjoy, and have fun with these sounds!

S950 and S1000 White Noise and Drum Break Comparison

A conversation started on MPC Forums about the MPC & S900/950 Routing Question. We got into details about how the S900/S950 worked, which then lead into S900/S950 samples sounding more full on the S1000 and later. I ended up taking a stab at sampling both white noise and a drum break on the S950 with a bandwidth of 3000 and 19200, and then playing the notes across the key group to get some samples together. Below is the project and recordings from the S950 and S1000 for your own listening.

In this project you’ll find two files that start with “Original”, these are the original white noise and drum break files that I played out from the MPC Live into the S950 to record. I recorded both two times into the S950 at both a bandwidth of 3000 and 19200. These are just saved as generic tone programs, but I’ve uploaded these as well in case you’ve got a device with a USB reader that can manage .hfe files, or if you have a way to load them onto a floppy disk. These files are below.

For all of the key groups/samples, C3 is the original sample recorded, and I tried to time stretch the content up and down from C0 to C5. However, things got a little fiddly, especially on the S1000, it didn’t want to stretch the sample down so far. I’m not terribly sure why, might be a program issue with the key group, or perhaps the S1000 cannot stretch a sample down so far. I’ll have to poke at it a bit more. If I decided to do more comparisons for a single sample, I think I will go C1 to C4 next time. The auto sampler was a stride of 4, so it’s not a one to one for every semi tone stretch, but plenty of the samples here you can straight compare.

Now, with all of that out of the way, you can listen to the samples for yourself. Either check out the exact samples, or go to Track 3 and swap between two of the programs. You can definitely hear that the S1000 does something differently with the samples that the high end is a bit more audible. I suspect that the S950 has some form of non resonant low pass filter, but it is also possible that the algorithms for converting the S950 program to an S1000 program does something fancy to anti-alias or otherwise transform the samples to 16-bit that just makes it sound a bit better. Honestly I am not sure, but clearly if you want a bit more high end from those old 12 bit samples you’ll want to try the samples out on the S1000. I have no doubt by applying the S1000 low pass filter that you could get it to sound pretty close to the S950. On the other hand, this is interesting, and I’ll have to see if there are any other experiments to follow in this space.

MPC Programs – NT S950 Volume 3

I’m back at it for another round of sampling off of my trusty Akai S950… still working like a champ. Before getting into the details, here’s the link.

Good news is that I am getting faster at sampling, but the bad news is that I made a mistake on a few of the programs and called them S95 instead of S950. This wasn’t too big of a deal since the .xpm files are text editable since they are in a human readable format, but it was a bit of a chore to rename all of the samples, edit the file to do a search and replace of S95 to S950, and then hope everything worked out okay. Still, it wasn’t so bad, and I have gotten some more samples together for your enjoyment.

One oddity that I have noticed is that based on how I have everything routed for audio, if I tap on my desk or wobble it a bit I am getting some stray audio distortion. It is something I had not noticed in the first two recording sessions, but I’ll be keeping an eye out for it. I have a sneaking suspicion that it is related to the Spice, and the Korg NuTek tubes, because they have some weird knocking effects that if you tap on the case it can cause it to ring out noise. Strange, and it is not part of the audio chain, but it’s possible I’m picking up some grounding or other noises, so it will be worth looking into at some point, but it wasn’t something I figured I’d go back and re-record everything.

This volume is less programs and samples than the previous ones, but it’s not for a lack of trying. It just so happens to be that this is the first volume with drum kits, and I had to knock out all of those pads by hand. If something sounds weird in one of the drum kits, it is probably my fault, and not the kits fault… feel free to blame me.

Overall notes for the auto sampling:
* 430 Mono samples
* Should play from C-2 to G8
* Sampled C0 to C5 in most cases, with a stride of 4
* Generally 16 samples per program
* Only one Sample Layer at velocity of 127

16 programs, which breaks down to:

  • 3 Bass
  • 2 Drum Kits
  • 1 Guitar
  • 1 Percussion
  • 2 Sax
  • 6 String
  • 1 Trombone

Enjoy, and have fun with these sounds!

A boat at sea

Just another quick painting that I did. I was testing out how well the paper would handle darker paint, and I’m still going to say with the pencil board behind the page, it is hardly relevant and doesn’t really impact my ability or distract me from writing on the next page.

I’ve come to the conclusion that controlling the amount of water you put on the page is important, but I haven’t noticed the color lifting off of the page and rubbing on older pages yet. Better I haven’t noticed water coloring on one page impacting a painting on the other side of the paper. I am positive I can make this a problem, but so far it hasn’t bothered me.

I’ll keep doing some little paintings for fun and to experiment, but I’m actually quite happy at how well the Tomo River paper is holding up to my experiments so far!

Family Dog – Abbey

Pictured above is our family dog Abbey, our very own German Shepherd. I want to say my parents got her when I was around twelve or fourteen, and this picture was taken when I was probably twenty or twenty two at my parent’s house. Abbey was our second dog, Sonya had the honor of being our first dog and was a black lab.

Abbey was a great dog, though she could be a bit of a worry wart, and was definitely over protective, but she could also get quite scared. She was a kennel pup, and sadly when we got her, her tail had been broken in three places. We’d often get asked if she was mixed because her tail tended to curl upwards a lot, where as most German Shepherd’s have much straighter tails. For this reason, I wouldn’t get a dog that came from a kennel ever again. You just don’t know what the breeder, delivery person, or the pet store may have done to the animal, and it gives too much room for everybody to point their fingers at each other.

Still, she was a good dog, and loved everyone in the family, and we loved her. Mostly I remember her wanting to be around the family, and she had a clear distrust of people who didn’t like dogs.

Memories include:

  • How excited we were when we got her as a puppy
  • Playing fetch
  • Cutting her nails and she bled walked all over the place… we didn’t make that mistake again
  • Putting a diaper on her while she was in heat before she was spayed
  • Opening a door while a friend was coming over and yelling “Kill”… it was funny at the time, but my friend’s reaction was such that I will never do that again
  • Taking Abbey to visit my grandparents, she reminded them of their dog Shep.
  • She would pee on the floor whenever a male with a beard would come visit
  • She was trying to run alongside my grandmother’s car at my parent’s house and she got hit… fortunately it was just in the muzzle, but it could have been real bad, we made sure that never happened again
  • Abbey was jealous of our cat Crystal that I was patting and opened her mouth, and Crystal grabbed onto her tongue with her paw and Abbey had no idea what to do

Here’s a couple other pictures:

Abbey in my first car… a Chevy Cavalier
Hanging out on her favorite dog bed taking it easy

MPC Samples – NT S950 Volume 2

I spent some more time last night recording off of the Akai S950… and I can tell you I continue to really dig the low end sound. Before digging in a bit, here is the link:

Similar to a few days ago, this is MPC X/Live/One formatted for the program file, but the samples are 44.1k/16-bit mono, so you can load them into most MPCs and samplers. I was definitely a bit faster at flying through the low end key group and setting it to record notes down to C0, though I still forgot to check and change C5… in about half the cases this resulted in one less sample for the program.

A few changes I made to my workflow was to name the midi track closer to the final output before going into the auto sampler. Typing everything out from memory resulted in programs and samples that weren’t matching the pattern I had put together, and I ended up just re-recording the programs last time to go faster. This time I saved some time both typing and having to re-record by having a close (barring the last number/definition of the program name) added to the sample.

I ended up recording all of these back to back, and recording did go faster, but let me tell you, moving into the trimming of the samples was brutal to do 720 start/end points and was probably close to 2 hours. I got faster at doing it, but it was painful to be hunched over the Live mk2 to do so many edits. I can say, this is making me miss the MPC X a bit for the dedicated start/end point controls, as well as the tilted screen.

Also, on a final note, I am probably not going to record any more Tom sounds for a while, there are a ton there, and frankly, I am exhausted from listening to Toms so much 😀

Overall notes for the auto sampling:
* 720 Mono samples
* Should play from C-2 to G8
* Sampled C0 to C5 in most cases, with a stride of 4
* Generally 16 samples per program
* Only one Sample Layer at velocity of 127

45 programs, which breaks down to:
2 Bass Drums
1 Choir
1 Cowbell
8 Cymbals
2 Drums
1 FX
2 Hi Hats
5 Pianos
1 Rim
1 Shaker
3 Snares
1 Tambourine
17 Toms