• (no)poem creative limitations: Modular/Looper/Max/Beatstep Meets Octatrack/Blofeld/Lemur
  • Announcing My New Soundscape Podcast - Sonic Encounters
  • Mindmap - What's New in Ableton Live 9.2
  • Modulate This! Interview with Gary Numan

Intro to Working with Graphical Scores in Experimental Music

No-poem_score

I had never used graphical scores for experimental music till this year. Darwin Gross, turned me on to new ways of thinking about them. I used them in a release earlier this year, and we will be using in them in tours with (no)poem.

I'm really digging the concept and results so I thought I'd share my use cases and first impressions of using graphical scores in experimental music.

LITERAL

I worked with graphical scores for the release and performance of MaroonedThis score was literal and had one interpretation - and like a traditional score - existed to help me remember what to do when. 

 This was especially critical when performing this piece live as I used no automation at all. All hand performed :^) I made the score using Mindmeister and used its presentation featured to advance the score simply by touching the screen. In the photo below, you can see my iPad to the left on a Gig Easy Mount (the only mount I would trust my iPad to BTW made by my friend and Boulder Synthesizer Meetup member and presenter Darren Kramer).

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 Below is a screen shot of score zoomed out. The score is  included in the digital booklet for Marooned when you download the album from Bandcamp.

  Marooned-score

INTERPRETIVE 

For the upcoming (no)poem tour this weekend, we're utilizing graphical scores created by Darwin - but this time we are using the scores in a more abstract way than I did with Marooned.

Here is the idea.

Our work is completely improvised, but are supported by the use of postcard-sized graphical scores. This gives us the ability to create structured improvisations while remaining open to react to our surroundings and to each others' work. We do not use laptop computers or keyboards during our performance, forcing us to use alternative controlling devices to produce the work.

The graphic at the top of this post is an example of this score. Our tour posters use a second score as background. BTW - if you click the posters to see invites for these show

Nopoem-2015-aug-1-lincoln

Nopoem-2015-aug-2-des-moines

Here is one way we'll be using these scores. 

Names and shapes are used to determine structure and timbre.

NO COMPUTERS - KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE SCORE

If you read my previous post  "(no)poem creative limitations: Modular/Looper/Max/Beatstep Meets Octatrack/Blofeld/Lemuryou'll know that we made the decision not to use laptops on this tour. One reason is we need to be able to both see the score, plus see each other's body language and performance. You can't see the score if you are staring at the computer screen man. 

BENEFIT - KEEPING YOU FROM FALLING BACK ON "GO TO" PATCHES AND CHOPS

I've found there are a lot of benefits to using graphics scores. For me, one of the biggest is it changes what I do when changing gears during collaborative sessions and performances.

You know, there are always those moments where you feel it's time to move on in a piece, or something your collaborators are doing means you need to change what you are playing. Sometimes in those gaps, you can feel a sense of slight panic as your reaching into your bag of tricks to tee up your next line of play - or tweak a patch.

This can lead to you falling back on some "go to" patches or chops rather than doing something fresh that fits the vibe. The score overlays a mental structure and acts as an abstract guide that will influence you to go where you might have never gone before - and with less stress. The bottom line is better creative results.

CLOSING THOUGHTS

There are many possibilities and many more benefits to this concept than I've mentioned. Feel free to leave a comment with notes on how you are using scores. You might want to give this wiki article a look if you want to start digging into this more https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Graphic_notation.


Intro to Creating and Loading Custom Wavetables into Waldorf Blofeld Synthesizer

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EVEN MORE UNIQUE SONIC POSSIBILITIES THROUGH USER WAVETABLES

In preparing for the (no)poem Experimental Ambient mini-tour to Lincoln and Des Moines this weekend with Darwin Grosse, I wanted "up my game" on the Waldorf Blofeld side. This meant not only using original presets from INIT, but also custom wavetables as sources from some of my custom presets. You can upload your own wavetables in both the keyboard and the desktop edition WITHOUT having to use License SL on desktop edition.

38 USER WAVETABLES FOR OSC1 & OSC2

The blofeld has 38 slots for user wavetables. You select them as oscillator shape sources for Oscillators 1 & 2 by dialing in shapes 80-118. Note, the blofeld has 64 waves per wavetable. 

 WALDORF BLOFELD WAVETABLE CREATOR APP

A popular and free app for drawing each wave within a wavetable is Kotró László Lehel's Waldorf Blofeld Wavetable Creator. He also makes the free and popular Waldorf Blofeld editor. These apps run on windows but members on the Blofeld Facebook forum indicate the apps run fine under Wine (https://www.winehq.org). 

This app has some other great features like morphing between waves. For example, you could draw the first and last wave in the table, then let the app morph all the waves in between. It has basic basic import of .wav for resynthesis as well.

The app lets you then save in a format that you can upload to your blofeld. More on this later in the post.

AUDIOTERM APP

I just started using a pretty great freeware general purpose editor app called Audioterm by Mathias Gurk. It has a super groovy retro interface and green waveform display reminiscent of the Fairlight. It's not Blofeld specific, but does a great job of resynthesizing audio from various formats and has the option to save into the format Blofeld is looking for. Audioterm is on Facebook here, and you can download the app from a dropbox. Here is a KVR Thread on the app.

2015-07-29_13-10-13

It's a little tricky getting around inside the retro interface, but once you learn it, it's a snap. This video will help, although note you can skip the step at the 1:00 mark as the app now supports saving natively to Blofeld format.

 Tip: To save in Blofeld format

  1. Select "F_TYPE" 5 which is Blofeld.
  2. Select the file
  3. Enter a name and press "RET" (return key)
  4. Enter Blofled Device ID (0 is the default)
  5. Enter the user slot you want to load the wavetable into betweeen 80-118.
  6. Press "RET"

  2015-07-29_13-18-46

I'm just scratching the surface, but man this app is packed with cool features.

2015-07-29_22-07-27

OTHER APPS

There are other apps out there but these should get you going. 

LOADING CUSTOM WAVETABLES INTO THE BLOFELD

Waldorf implemented a SYSEX format for loadingn wavetables. You'll note that in both the apps I mentioned above you have to specify the slot when you save the file in .SYX format. In other words, the slot number is embedded into the file. You can transmit the file to the Blofeld with your MIDI Sysex app. On Windows I use MIDI OX.

SWEEPING THROUGH THE TABLE

A last tip for those who haven't experimented with wavetable synthesis on Blfoeld. Like with factory wavetables, user wavetables can be used as sources for OSC 1 & 2.  Parameter "Pulswidth" to set the starting point or manually sweep the table. 0 = first wave in the wavetable. 64 = middle, 127=last wave. You can automate this by specifying PWM source then adjust the amount of modulation with PWM amount. You can also set this up in the modulation matrix. An example would be to use an LFO or perhaps the Modulation Wheel to sweep through the table.

MORE ON THE INTERWEBS...

Fequent FB contributor Øystein Olsen reminded me of  Wolfgang Hieb's awesome site http://synth.stromeko.net/Downloads.html which also has some .zip files containing  wavetables that you can load into the user slots. If you know of others, please leave a comment :^)


(no)poem creative limitations: Modular/Looper/Max/Beatstep Meets Octatrack/Blofeld/Lemur

Darwin and mark

CREATIVE LIMITATIONS

In my last post, I mentioned the formation of a collaboration with Darwin Grosse called  (no)poem. When we where putting this project together a few months back we started by defining a set of creative limitations which would inform the art for our first mini-tour through Lincoln and to Des Moines.  

We created this set of limitations:

  1. Desktop only
  2. No keys
  3. No laptops
  4. No synced clocks
  5. No sampling of each other's output

RIGS

For Darwin, this meant a modular-centered rig:

For me this meant an Octatrack-centered rig:

  • Electron Octatrack
  • Waldorf Blofeld Desktop with custom presets from init, custom wavetables, and custom samples as oscillator sources via License SL
  • Instrumentality for Blofeld are via a custom Lemur patch on iPad (USB Midi with Camera Kit) and Octatrack (MIDI)

DIFFERENT WORKLOW = DIFFERENT CREATIVE RESULTS

Different rigs and different workflows yield different results of course. A hardware focus means our eyes are free to focus on graphical scores (more on this in a future post) and paying attention to each other's body language. No keyboards means we have to use knobs, buttons sliders, cables, visual feedback from hardware, and in my case, physics and multi-touch through the Lemur interfaces. Again, this changes the creative result - especially when playing tonal passages without being restricted by a 12-tone keyboard interface.

TRANSCENDING TECH TO SERVE THE ART

If you've been following along here on Modulate This! you know I've gone deep with both the Octatack and the Blofeld for many years now so this upcoming tour is the culmination of a lot of work to create expressive workflows around these instruments. 

UPCOMING POSTS

Stay tuned for more detailed posts on how I'm using Octatrack (see dedicated category), Blofeld (see dedicated category), and Lemur. I'll also do some posts on working with grphical scores and free-running clocks.

Lastly, tune into to Darwin's new blog All Things Modular to learn more about his rig and artistic process.


Introducing (no)poem - A New Collaboration with Darwin Grosse + Heartland 2015 Tour

Nopoem-fb-banner-v2

Things have been a little quite over here at Modulate This! HQ because I've been super busy working with my my good friend Darwin Grosse to form a new duo called (no)poemStay tuned for some upcoming behind-the-scenes posts where I'll share some insights into how we put the duo together as well as some notes on the tech and artistic elements of the our upcoming tour. For now here is a little background on the project.

For those who don't know Darwin, he is director of education and customer services for Cycling ’74 (Max). He is the  creator and host of the art+music+technologypodcast. Darwin also launched a brand new blog called All Things Modular.

We're striking out from Boulder on a mini-tour of the Heartland.


Sonic Encounters Episode 004 Features Brand New Piece - "A Day In The Life Of A Krell Technician"

Cover-a-day-in-the-life-of-a-krell-technician

This next soundscape in Episode 004 is a 20 minute long soundscape. One thing I love about the podcast format is I can present these longer form works that you can listen to as you go about your day. If you need to pause the show, you can pick up where you left off.

So thanks to all of you who subscribed to the podcast in iTunes. If you haven't subscribed click here to Subscribe now on iTunes so you never miss an episode. Please leave a rating or review if you are enjoying the podcast. If you use a different podcatcher, paste this RSS link.

On to Episode 004...

Episode 004 A Day In The Life Of A Krell Technician

A Brand New 20 Minute Original Soundscape


To learn more about this episode visit the Soundscape Journal Page here.

Episode-004-show-notes

 

Subscribe-itunes



Thanks for listening,

Mark Mosher
www.SonicEncounters.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com


Announcing My New Soundscape Podcast - Sonic Encounters

It's been quite a while since I've posted on Modulate This! - but I've been working on a major project that I'm happy to announce today. 

image from http://s3.amazonaws.com/hires.aviary.com/k/mr6i2hifk4wxt1dp/15061316/4138646d-a20c-47b5-8cd8-a9d0ca859e83.png

For years and years I've wanted to launch a podcast featuring my original works. I'm excited to announce the day has come and I've launched Sonic Encounters: Soundscapse from the Sounds Around Us. Through the podcast I'll be bringing you original compositions and improvisations.

Subscribe now on iTunes so you never miss an episode. Also, it would help me out if you leave a positive rating and review of the site while you are there :^)

If you use a different podcatcher, paste this RSS link .

Companion Web Site with Soundscape Journal Gallery

Sonic Encounters is much more than a podcast though. It has dedicated web site with soundscape journals - http://sonicencounters.com

Episode 4 Coming Soon...

I have a brand new 20 minute piece teed up for Episode 4 which will be launching in a few days.

Tell Your Friends

If you enjoy Sonic Encounters, use the links below to tell you friends.

Mark Mosher

www.SonicEncounters.com

www.MarkMosherMusic.com


My New Cinematic Electronic Soundscape Marooned Now Available

Marooned Cover 600 - Mark Mosher

Marooned is Now Available

A Bandcamp exclusive with high-quality download in MP3, FLAC... includes digital booklet PDF containing 16 pages of liner notes, photos, and graphical score.

I'm super excited to announce my new album Marooned is now available. This soundscape is in the same universe and is a prequel to my alien invasion concept album series Reboot, I Hear Your Signals, and Fear Cannot Save Us. Unlike the first three albums which contained shorter composed and often groove-based songs, this album contains a single long-form recording combining electronic tonalities and abstract expressionist music. See detailed description below. Watch for future posts on the making of Marooned.

You can listen to and buy the album at https://markmosher.bandcamp.com/album/marooned.



Enjoy and please tell your friends. 

About Marooned

Marooned is an original cinematic electronic soundscape. I think of it as a score for a film yet to be made. An Earth ship crashes on a massive moon and the only hope for the crew's survival is making it across a harsh landscape to an alien outpost for a first, and uninvited, encounter.

This work is an example of live sonic storytelling and was recorded in one pass (with no prerecorded sequences, overdubs, or edits) after weeks of improvising and rehearsal.

Instrumentation: 90% Nord Lead 4 Synthesizer (performance instrument with all original signature sounds), 5% Octatrack (performance sampler for original field recordings/samples and on-the-fly sequencing), and 5% Tenori-On (performance instrument and on-the-fly sequencing). 


1 DESCENT
0:00 Approach
0:59 System Failure
1:30 Crash, Ejection, Blackout

2 ON THE SURFACE
2:08 Regaining Consciousness
4:14 Being Scanned

3 OUTPOST IN SIGHT
5:06 The Traverse

4 ENTER THE OUTPOST
7:10 Point of No Return
8:04 Solving the Airlock Puzzle
8:53 Moving Through the Darkness
9:30 The Trap

5 CAPTURED
10:47 March to Chamber

6 INSIDE OUR HEADS
15:00 Extracting Secrets of Man and Machines

7 DREAMING OF HOME
18:22 Extracting our Dreams

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Credits

Written, performed, programmed, and produced by Mark Mosher

Cover photo and design, liner notes, and graphical score by Mark Mosher

Music inspired by Louis and Bebe Barron

Artistic process inspired by Joan Miro, Clyfford Still, and Darwin Grosse

(c)(p) 2015 Mark J. Mosher (BMI) - CC-BY-NC 

https://markmosher.bandcamp.com/album/marooned