Sabtu, 23 Januari 2010

Real-time Graphical Synthesis

RGS (Real-time Graphical Synthesis) is a sonic spectrum editor that runs on Classic Amiga computers.

RGS Synth Amiga

I's very old (1991), but the concept behind it has never been developed much further during the past twenty years so I consider it still interesting.

It allows you to paint a sonogram using specialized 'brushes' and then synthesize the corresponding audio waveform. [...] The main added features in RGS are that there are now 256 levels of amplitude to choose from and the ability to synthesize while you are drawing in nearly real time.

When I was composing and experimenting merely with an Amiga this program was a big discover for industrial sounds as it produces strange noises and drones. Spectral analysis is a powerful method for discovering underlying structures in sounds and being able to draw your own is truly stimulating. However, even writing your own name or randomly draw harmonics can result in very interesting sounds.

RGS can be run on a real or emulated Amiga and can be found here and documentation here.

As usual, I made a collection of .WAVs samples of me exploring the program:

Minggu, 10 Januari 2010

My Thoughts about pedal FXs

Since a very long time I own the pictured pedals and now plan to get a few more to eventually circuit-bend them.

BOSS Pedals

Back in the nineties, during my livesets, I used them to pimp a bit the audio output of my Amiga computer and they worked great, apart from a unbelievable background noise!

I see now a lot of interest about these old-school distortion pedals, BOSS or any other brand. This is maybe for these very strong points:

  • They are cheap and sometimes even free, as lot of people get rid of them easily

  • They are modular

  • They can be Circuit-bent

  • They are analog

  • There are many of them, of many brands and many different effects

  • They sound harsh, very good for industrial music

Plus there are many already circuit-bent units for sell on the net or E-bay.

So my opinion is that this machines will have a new life since they can be described as the analog plug-ins for the future!

Microtonic kickdrum sampled through BOSS pedal

Ok, I admit that after writing the post about pedal FXs I got a bit over-excited! So I decided to put my ones at work...

In 1998 I bought this BOSS PQ-4 Parametric Equalizer from a small shop in Denmark Street, in London. It was already quite rare and definitely expensive.

BOSS Parametric Equalizer pedal

Back in the days of liveset I used it to process my Roland TR-909.

Today that the mighty drum machine is gone in favor of an analog console I mainly use Microtonic VST to make my kickdrums, so it came quite obvious to me that I had to make a sample kit of those two together!

Sonic Charge ┬ÁTonic VST Plug-in

I've tweaked the stuff @ 100 BPM for 5 minutes, so the kit is quite huge, actually 500 .WAV files.


Sabtu, 09 Januari 2010

Making sampled noises using strange files

This is a simple technique I've been using several times when I began to make music. I first discovered it when using the Octamed Sound Studio tracker for the Commodore Amiga and later used it on modern DAWS. Actually with Wavelab it is possible to recreate it and experiment with it.

During the years I heard many other artist employing it in their music so I realized its creative potential were being a bit abused. Anyway here is how to proceed:

Choose one file from your HD bearing in mind that the size in bytes will be the final size of the sample. Better go for something between 100Kb for percussive material to 600Kb for longer synths.

Let's say we've chosen a file called aaclient.dll from the System32/ directory.

Let's rename it to aaclient.raw so we can drag it into Wavelab.

We'll be prompted to insert some sample details as RAW format don't have any. Set as follows:

Of course experiments are possible, like with less bits or changing big endian settings etc.

A sample like this should appear:

The crazy noise is served!

It will be wise to eliminate the DC Offset as it can be very shifted sometimes.

Another process could be to load big files and the chop out the most interesting parts. It is important to load variegated samples with different data inside (for example any .ZIP file will result as a continuos noise...not very useful!)

Further manipulation like time stretching or pitch bending will make the sample sounds better.

Here are a few .WAV samples I made as example.

Minggu, 03 Januari 2010

KORG MS-20 Industrial Sounds

I'm borrowing a KORG MS-20 from my friends Armageddon Project. They're focusing more and more on just digital music so they felt like I would really employ it more than them so since two years the unit is in my studio.

KORG MS-20 Samples

This machine really needs no introduction as it is one of the most wanted analog vintage synthesizers of all times!

Even if I own a full MIDI2CV interface from Kenton the main use in my studio is as a filter, wired to a send of the mixer.

Another good use for it is for sound research and sampling safaris: here is a collection of Industrial Sounds in .WAV format done with it and with further analog processing.