Tough week for music--I did do a live show, and had a bunch of stuff going on with work and home (bunch of new furniture to put together). But here--at the last minute--is a piece. My first thought was to do something abstract, with everything entirely synthesized from the ground up, and all kinds of ambitious stuff...but it didn't work out that way. I did start with an everything-synthesized drum rack, but the individual voices didn't sound quite the way I liked, so I ended up tweaking a lot, and then putting a couple other drum racks on--these used the same MPC samples, but one got bit crushed to differentiate it, and they both got high-pass EQs with Auto-Filter, with different low resonant peaks.
Initially I was working at 130bpm, but mid-week thought I'd slow things down (or possibly abandon them entirely), and started working at 67bpm. Oh, and some of these parts are in 7/4, some in 2/4, some in 4/4, and some in 3/4. Just to make it interesting. (The main bass, notably, is in 7.)
I played with some Analog, Operator, and Electric piano voices, keeping Analog for bass and handclaps, and then turning off two whole channels of Operator and the one Electric right before mixdown--things were just too crowded and unfocused. I did have fun putting some of these on with algorithmic note triggering from M4L, and it was a neat accent...but it worked much better without them.
For some x-factor, I tracked the Phosphene Audio-built fretless Street Klein (built from plywood and parts of a smashed 12-string acoustic; got it in exchange for a pedal I wasn't using), played with Ebow (and without). And just to give it a little more something, recorded that unattached Telecaster bridge pickup, waved near the computer screen. (That goes throughout in waves.)
Return channels: two convolution reverbs (one a big space, one a studio drum room), one filter delay, and one buffer shuffler (randomized separately for left and right, but not auto-randomized after that). I used a number of LFOs on different channels to manipulate the sends (by that point, I had less than a half hour to go, so I couldn't count on automation envelopes). I threw M4L Humanizer on all the MIDI channels, and at 67bpm, 80ms should have worked, but it seemed a bit sloppy, and I tightened everything up just a touch to 70ms max MIDI delay. Everything got Auto-Pan, and MIDI channels got an additional Auto-Pan to vary the levels.
Big takeaway: if something's unfocused, it might not because there aren't enough parts. There might be too many.
Title from the use of the Street Klein, and from its overall meditative feeling.
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