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Hi all, Recently I was asked to contribute some Chord Sets to the wonderful Scaler Plugin. It’s a remarkable plugin, which allows you to create harmonic material easily.

I sat down at the piano and played a bunch of chord progressions that I regularly gravitate towards, and then provided them to Davide Carbone who is one of the brains behind it.

A week or so later with Scaler’s 1.5 release, there I am, listed next to a bunch of amazing artists.

The idea of a plugin that provides you with chord progressions of various artists may seem a bit like *borrowing* someone else’s ideas. But once you get the hang of what it can offer, it’s actually not like that at all.

I’m finding that using my own presets as a starting point, and then using the variations feature allows me to discover chords that I may not have normally gone for, but adds those occasional harmonic variations that keep things interesting.

You should check it out!

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I have recently been working some material up for the Melodics App, which is an app that aims to make learning how to play finger drum pads and piano fun and engaging.

The aim of my course was to get users to understand some of the techniques used in creating cinematic-styled music.

There are six compositions you can play along with; Space Between that helps you explore the idea of less is often more, and to listen to the space between notes. Character & Theme works on the idea that a simple musical theme can be synonymous with a character in a film. Drama & Rhythm builds tension through the use of dramatic deep strings and tense percussive elements. Tension & Dissonance works with closely clustered notes to create something melancholic and tense. Deep Melody puts everything together to create a deep cinematic world, and Chords Uplifting resolves the whole course as an epic uplifting grand finale!

 

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To celebrate the release of my new EP Streamers, I’m giving away a set of Instrument Racks that are compatible with Ableton Live 10. These instruments use many of the new features and FX available in Live 10, including Echo, Drum Bus and Pedal.

Each instrument uses original audio files from each track on the EP, but they are more of a ‘re-imagining’ of the sonic landscape of each track, and are designed to be immensely playable using the pre-mapped 8 Macros, and hopefully creatively inspiring to you.

I used similar techniques for many of the instruments that I utilised in the commercial Analogue Sequences Pack that I created for School of Synthesis, which is available at Loopmasters. This technique involves using the Slice feature in Simpler in conjunction with carefully mapped Arpeggiator settings to create ‘playable’ sequences. It is particularly fun to play with using an Ableton Push controller in it’s 64 Pad drum rack mode, though can be played with any midi controller.

These are freely available to you to use as you wish, but if you find them racks inspiring consider donating a dollar. or downloading the Streamers EP via Bandcamp for a couple of dollars!

Download the instrument racks in .alp format here.

Have a listen to Streamers on Spotify  or via Bandcamp below

Streamers (2018) -Winterpark - Cover Art- LoRes

 

 

 

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As a side to my work at Ableton User Group Melbourne, I was privileged to be part of the team programming and putting on Process- A Sonic Forum: a day-long event that brought together a whole stack of musicians working in the field of music technology talking not about Industry, but about arts practice and creativity.

We had wonderful presentations and workshops put on by Darrin Verhagen, Ben Byrne, Chiara Kickdrum, Chris Vik, the Monash Country Lines Archive, Rainbow Chain, Tom Cosm, Eve Klein and Dennis DeSantis.

MESS (Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio), Found Sound, Ableton and Innovated Music were also all involved in providing a range of Musical Equipment, Synths and Gadgets for participants to play on.

Have a look at the video round-up, and watch this space for future Process events!

Over the last few months, I’ve been composing and creating sound for a really beautiful meditative puzzle game for iOS called Breath of Light.

Made by Melbourne game development company Many Monkeys, Breath of Light is the sort of puzzle game that takes time to master, there is no rushing the process, It’s a slow paced game that required immersive, meditative music.

The interface is a bit like a Zen Garden, where the player must arrange and move objects within the space to allow the flow of energy from one lotus flower to another. The game is set over 4 seasons, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Spring, each progressively more challenging as the levels evolve.

Each season has it’s own musical underscore created from a bank of loops that are designed to both work in any combination, but also evolve and develop over time with the gameplay.

It was decided very early on that User Interface (U.I.) sounds should add to the musical score. The way we made this work was to have a series of randomised tones associated with every object and movement within the game. All these sounds were composed in a way that to match the tonality of each season’s underscore, which allows every gesture within the game-play to contribute to an interactive soundtrack.

During the development of the soundtrack, I used Ableton Live to create a performable set to play these sounds to both demo these musical ideas to the guys at Many Monkeys and to test how the U.I. sounds blended with each other. I did this by creating drum racks that housed the U.I sounds and used scenes to work out the different combinations of underscore loops for each level in the game.

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Once the nuts and bolts of the game sound was finalised, I set about developing a performable live set to recorded each ‘season’ as a musical composition in it’s own right. This was done with a little extra help from the wonderful Max for Live Dub Machines audio FX ‘Magnetic‘ and ‘Diffuse‘ which added extra flow and movement.

Below are the recorded seasons of the Breath of Light soundtrack, available for free download via Bandcamp.

The QUADwrangle interactive sound sculpture project at Arts Centre Melbourne is all done and dusted (for now!)

Arts Centre Melbourne’s youth programmer Dan West arranged for this video to be made, which sum up the project’s aims and intentions pretty well.

During the second weekend session we battled a bit to get our awesome sculptural object to wired up to the two MaKeyMaKey Arduino boards. But once it was finally working, and in the Fairfax Theatre foyer space , it sprung to life and happily interacted with the general public  for five days straight!

There were four stations where people could play the sculpture, each with a sound set that corresponded to the object’s design. The fence section played bass notes, the brick section played harmony, the tiles played melody, and the diamond wall section played rhythms.

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Sound came out of four speakers than were set up in various places within the sculpture. Two up high, two down low. The bass sounds and big kick sounds all come out of the low positioned speakers, and more melodic and ‘toppy’ rhythmic sounds came out of the high positioned speakers.

Central to the sculpture making sound were two MaKeyMaKey boards that sent QWERTY key messages to Ableton Live 9. These MaKeyMaKey boards are triggered by making a connection between the boards earth, which were wired to copper plates on the sculpture, and to various other points that were wired up to black conductive paint.IMG_4282

Have a look at Flick, Ayten and Kelsey demoing it during the construction phase.

Each QWERTY key command was assigned to various ‘gestures’ within Ableton Live 9. I say gestures, because each key command triggered a number of different actions simultaneously such as triggering an audio or midi clip at the same time as triggering FX chains and movement between the four speakers.

One example of how this triggering of gestures worked is the letter “R” (see screen grab below). When the point on the sculpture triggered Capital R, this then triggered the key command gestures that were assigned in Live 9.

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“R” was set up to trigger a simple melodic riff, but if held down for long enough also triggered a ‘resonation FX chain’ that would gradually fade in to make the whole object become awash with a harmonically rich reverb sound. This was accomplished by the triggering of “dummy clips” on the Output channels, which have no audio information, but instead hold automation data. These clips were set up Gate mode, so they would only play when held down.

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These channels received audio from each of the four sound sources through their respective sends. In this way, at any time we could route any of the different sounds within the sculpture to any or all of the four speakers in any combination.

Below is the Fence Bass being routed to sends B & D, which in turn were being sent to outs 2 and 4, the speakers located near the ground.

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We also had a series of field records that acted as an underscore for the sculpture, so that the object wasn’t silently sitting there when people were not interacting with it.

This underscore slowly moved around each of the four speakers through send level automation, once again created within a dummy clip.

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This project was really super fun, and great to work with the wonderful staff at Arts Centre Melbourne, and the talented and creative young people who recorded the sounds, designed the sculpture and wired it all up to work!

Check out their various soundcloud and web links:

https://soundcloud.com/felicity-yang

https://soundcloud.com/ayten

https://soundcloud.com/jordanoba

https://soundcloud.com/donald-uren

https://soundcloud.com/niconiquo

https://soundcloud.com/connor-black-harry

http://www.khendersondesign.com/