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WeeklyBeats.com / Music / license's music / By the Numbers

By the Numbers

By license on February 9, 2020 8:00 pm

This isn't the most exciting thing I've ever done, but it's something I've wanted to do for a long time. What's that, you might ask? Well, after a year of learning, this is my first track made with basically just SuperCollider. I've been studying up on patterns and this weekend is the first time I felt like I could apply that to a half-decent WB submission.


This is a lot longer than my other stuff this year so far, but I kind of see it as a 2-minute track with a 3-minute intro and a 2.5-minute outro. If that sounds boring to you then you're probably right, and perhaps this isn't your cup of tea smile


My process was to first make a couple of synth definitions and a pretty decent list of patterns. I tried to lean on my limited knowledge of patterns to build complexity from simple components, but it's pretty basic and hardly worthy of being called algorithmic.


While recording, I ran initial patterns for each voice and then I ran statements to redefine components of the patterns as it played. I ran separate channels into Reaper via JACK. After I recorded it, I went along the timeline and trimmed out the meandering parts, bringing the length down to about half. Then I added some hardware reverb and sidechained the bass-kick, pad, and reverb to the static kick through a hardware compressor. Then I ran it all through the mixer and compressed the master bus and edited out a handful of xruns.


Don't be too alarmed by the clicks. What you're hearing is a stereo kick. Yes, that's right. It morphs into a melodic bass over time.


There are only 2 SynthDefs:
- A one-op FM drum voice. Yes, one-op, with feedback. It's actually optionally 2 ops, but the second is just for stereo doubling, hence the stereo kick.
- A one-op FM pad voice. This was based on the drum voice and I just removed the frequency envelope and simplified some things.


No samples. No PO-12 wink


If anyone cares, I'm happy to clean up the source, add a couple comments, and put it on a Github gist. Just let me know!

This submission is licensed by author under CC0 Creative Commons Zero (Public Domain)

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February 10, 2020 11:54 pm

I understood almost nothing about how it's made, but the result is really good, not boring at all, it's evolving in a really nice interesting way, for me it's like magic that such complete and long track can be done via code(there is no visual side in supercollider like in max, if I understood it correctly after googling it, isn't it?)

February 11, 2020 1:31 am
miau wrote:

I understood almost nothing about how it's made, but the result is really good, not boring at all, it's evolving in a really nice interesting way, for me it's like magic that such complete and long track can be done via code(there is no visual side in supercollider like in max, if I understood it correctly after googling it, isn't it?)

Oh no worries, people have said a couple times they appreciate when I give details on my process but I probably went a little too deep this time. You know how it is with toys & tools smile Thank you so much for listening and for your kind words!

Yes, that is exactly right about SC, it's all code. That's one of the things that drew me to it - I often feel like GUIs are a distraction and steer me in certain directions and I sometimes feel like I'm fighting them. For my taste it takes care of just the right amount of stuff and doesn't get in the way much at all.

The "pattern" part of SC is a syntax for sequencing events. If you've heard of TidalCycles, I believe that was influenced a fair amount by SC patterns. A lot of people use them for algorithmic composition, where instead of placing each event by hand, they write a program (big or REALLY tiny) that creates the sequences. This was my first stab at doing that, and it turned out to be a weird hybrid of hand-picked notes and really simple algorithmic constructs (looping, resetting, etc.). There's nothing going on under the hood that a handful of Eurorack sequencer/logic modules couldn't do. I found it pretty satisfying compared to other sequencing methods, though, and I plan to do more smile

February 11, 2020 12:19 pm

Ha i understood that this is all supercollider, wich is amazing... Sounds are real nice.

February 11, 2020 1:10 pm
theGuen wrote:

Ha i understood that this is all supercollider, wich is amazing... Sounds are real nice.


Thank you! Hopefully I'll have some more interesting sequencing next time smile

February 12, 2020 8:45 am

very groovy! I like the contrast between the soothing pad/lead lines and the weird things happening sequencewise. Lands quite near the B12/A.Twin territory... I love it.

February 13, 2020 4:35 am
Ashen Simian wrote:

very groovy! I like the contrast between the soothing pad/lead lines and the weird things happening sequencewise. Lands quite near the B12/A.Twin territory... I love it.


Thank you very much for the kind words. Those are both big influences for me so that is a huge compliment. I think Ochre's Neoretro is also in a somewhat similar direction to where I wound up going.

February 16, 2020 2:26 pm

I also didn’t understand much of the explanation, yet I still enjoyed reading the process and now learned something new.  I like how that kick morphs into the melodic bass, glad you were able to try something new this week and great result.

February 16, 2020 7:27 pm
Jason Nijjer wrote:

I also didn’t understand much of the explanation, yet I still enjoyed reading the process and now learned something new.  I like how that kick morphs into the melodic bass, glad you were able to try something new this week and great result.


Thank you very much. I used to lean on the morphing thing a lot, it's kind of a favorite pastime of mine smile

February 17, 2020 12:07 am

unreal what you've accomplished here on two synth voices and a load of manipulation. What if Elektron but code?

February 17, 2020 4:45 pm
scottux wrote:

unreal what you've accomplished here on two synth voices and a load of manipulation. What if Elektron but code?


Thank you very much! I like this idea...

February 18, 2020 7:50 pm

Great sounds. I also like bass morph and how this evolves, that main melody that comes in after the long intro is sweet.  I as well only partially followed, but I've heard about SC a bit from you before. Congrats on getting a full track done in it! Mad SC skills!

February 19, 2020 3:06 am
miraclemiles wrote:

Great sounds. I also like bass morph and how this evolves, that main melody that comes in after the long intro is sweet.  I as well only partially followed, but I've heard about SC a bit from you before. Congrats on getting a full track done in it! Mad SC skills!


Thanks man!! Yeah I think that melody deserves its own spotlight; I need to figure out something to do with it.

February 26, 2020 11:46 pm

This was a really fun tune! Good job!

February 27, 2020 4:55 am
ngineer wrote:

This was a really fun tune! Good job!


Thanks smile

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