I’ve recently been developing a portable daw-less improv performance rig based around the OP-Z, OP-1 and various FX pedals. This is a 30 min-ish single shot take (mistakes and all!) of some music-making.

Things that may be worth noting to those keen on such things…. OP-1 is being used as the ambient noise & melody machine. I have various OP-1 tape loops and instruments set up on it. It’s running through the Chase Bliss Mood and Dark World pedals, then into the Frostwave resonator (for filtering), Boss DM-C, PN-2 and Strymon Timeline.

The OP-Z is being controlled by the FaderFox UC4 Midi controller. They work really nicely together, and it gives fader level control and 8 buttons which I map to various mute groups. The OP-Z is then going through the Elektron Analog Heat for filtering and colour and the Eventide Space pedal for big washy shimmer verbs.

You may also notice the use of the Tuner pedal. This is used to ensure that I know what key the OP-Z is in, so when I’m playing notes in the OP-1 I don’t hit anything too badly out of key!

I’m also experimenting with adding extra drums with the Pocket Operator PO32. This is sync’d via the OPZ’s oplab module.

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.

Screen Shot 2015-03-25 at 10.49.30 pm

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.