Everything in Chime
As is typical with my musical projects, this one has evolved again. I went through the 56 samples I was working with, combined the best ones into five different (yet somewhat similar) pads, and started tracking them.
I usually like to use a MIDI keyboard, but since I was out of town when I got to the above process, I didn't have it with me. I did have an old program I like to use called ModPlug Tracker 1.09 (not the current OpenMPT, which is fine, but I like the older version better) that allows for tracking with the QWERTY keyboard (or Dvorak if you're hardcore), so no external hardware is required.
The clip below is a demo of the first piece I'm tinkering with:
Right now, it's two different chime samples blended into the key of C minor. I tried adding rock-type drums to it, but I didn't particularly appreciate how that sounded, so I muted them and focused on the pads. In addition to this, I've run the above sample through Audiobulb Ambient, which leads to a whole different project that I mentioned in my Busy Enough post from today.
As for the above sample, it's a little bit different than the other tracks I've done with ModPlug Tracker 1.09, the favorite of which is one I did from 2007 called Aerosaga, which is reminiscent of Zombi tracked through the SNES sound chip:
I'm going to keep working on things and see where they go. That's all I can do!
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In the week since my initial post, I've had time to corral the samples into 14 different tracks. The first of them is starting to come together, and it's got a mellow vibe:
I thought about extending these tracks out to the 4-6 minute range, but after running a six-minute demo of the above track, I realize that I can probably keep things in the 3-minute range. That way, I'll end up with around 45 minutes worth of material, which is plenty for an album.
It's also giving me vibes of mellower works that I've done over the years but haven't released on an album. For example, this track I did back in 2015 called "As the Sun Rises", which uses elements of just intonation:
I'm at the point where I need to keep tinkering. If you have any thoughts, suggestions, ideas, or recommendations of other artists these works remind you of, feel free to send me an e-mail at jasonvincion at disroot dot org.
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To begin, I need to take it back a little bit.
My velocity of life began to escalate a great deal at the beginning of 2017. I won't go into the particulars (that's a post in itself), but that time represented the undertaking of a lot of responsibility, and my only authentic outlet was making ambient music.
March 2020 came, and I was still going at a breakneck speed. I found myself at the beginning of a project where I made a weekly musical piece, which went for 62 weeks. Those pieces became Shattered Memories and the Links to the Past demos (which I'll eventually get to finishing up - I'm not in a suitable creative space for it yet).
Also, at this time, I started writing self-help blogs on Medium while giving my girlfriend some space to pursue her studies. After a big misunderstanding, I wasn't communicating with my parents. I watched the place I had put over six years of my professional life into as a brewer go nowhere fast.
Then COVID hit. I followed the reports about some distant virus in China that seemed strange, vague, and horrifying. Then it landed in a hospital only a few miles from where I live, and everything started shutting down.
In a way, it was a relief. It was a pause button. Unfortunately, it was a pause button at a time when I couldn't appreciate it.
I still worked for the place that was going nowhere fast (even though I had a three-month respite). My girlfriend only got two weeks off from work and had to go back amid the extreme uncertainty about COVID in early April 2020 while still going to school and stressing out about her future.
While I wasn't as stressed out as she was, I was in a time of flux and looking for the next thing. The next thing always seems to be music, even though I released Shattered Memories in June 2020 and kept cranking out video game covers in the Links to the Past demos through April 2021.
Though it may not have led to anything, I found solace in Hypermarket Encounter by t e l e p a t h テレパシー能力者 and similar slushwave works, as well as albums by 아버지 (I listen to Residue a lot for inspiration).
What eventually set me on my current musical path was sifting through old samples and field recordings and finding one from June 2019. I was at my folks' place, and I had my portable recorder with me. I liked the sound of one of my mom's wind chimes (the one from the picture above), so I recorded them. It was a windy day, and I didn't have my pop filter on my recorder, so that picked up heavily too. Here's the sample:
I don't want to get too heavily into the process of what I'm doing to turn this into something more musical - I'll go too deep into it, so maybe I'll save that for another post. I'm using the Ambient Software Module from Audiobulb, which I've used a lot since I purchased it in February 2017. Every album I've made from Times Change moving forward has featured it heavily (save for the Links to the Past demos).
I chose the sample above because it took me back to a pre-COVID time when things were simpler and didn't feel oppressive. The use of the Ambient Software Module to take the original sample and blur it in chaos is reminiscent (to me) of what has happened to life since COVID hit - lots of confusion, lots of blurriness.
I'm still sitting in the variants of this sample I've chosen to work with and trying to piece them together. Ideas on how to work with them keep coming to me. Some ideas pan out, some don't, but the work has continued for the past month. That means things are starting to come together. I'm going to keep rolling with it to see what happens.
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