Improvisation XXII – … in lingua mortua

Again, I’m trying to combine and contrast well-known harmonics, rhythms and sounds with stranger (and sometimes quite ugly) things. Tone can become noise or rhythmic pulse and vice versa.

Here we go:

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Track length is 28:20. No overdubs, everything is done with an A-100, recording and mixing with Ableton Live, mastering with Steinberg Cubase.

I’m starting with some chords, sounding somewhat cheesy. Three A-110 VCOs (pulse width modulated pulse waves, done with an A-143-9 ) are mixed with some blue noise from an A-118. The result is sent into an A-127 Triple Resonance VCF and then into an A-106-5 SEM VCF (highpass mode). Amplification by an A-132-3, controlled by an A-140 ADSR. The chords are “hardwired”, i.e. fixed transpositions of the VCOs, all VCOs are controlled by an A-155 Sequencer. The ADSR is triggered by the same sequencer, the sequencer trigger had tro be prolonged with an A-162 Trigger Delay.

Next thing you hear is a bass line (starting around 1:50). Three A-110 VCOs (sine wave 1 oct down, two sawtooth waves) were sent into an A-105 SSM 24 dB lowpass VCF and then into an A-131 VCA (for additional coloring), controlled by an A-140 ADSR. The bass sequence is controlled by another A-155 Sequencer (which is transposed by the first A-155 – via A-156 Quantizer) in 16-step mode, switching is done with an A-150 Dual VC Switch. This sequencer is the “clock master” of the patch. The above mentioned sequencer for the chord progression is triggered every 32 steps (via A-160 Clock Divider).

Then (around 3:35) there’s a rhythmic element. It is based on an A-117 Digital Noise Generator, sent through an A-132-1 VCA (for percussive loudness) and then into an A-188-2 Tapped BBD. The VCA is controlled by an A-142 VC Decay, triggered by an “rising / falling” trigger from the “clock master” sequencer’s clock. BBD output is then processed by an A-108 48 db lowpass VCF (to remove the BBD oscillator noise) and then by an A-136 Distortion / Waveshaper. Output is sent into an A-132-3 VCA (no modulation, just to control gain).

Another rhythmic / “sound effect” element appears around 6:10: two A-111 VCOs are sent into an A-114 Ring Modulator. The frequencies of the VCOs are controlled manually (with x- and y-voltages of an A-174-1 Joystick). After the ring modulator, we go into an A-188-1 BBD and an A-108 48 dB lowpass VCF (again to remove BBD noise). The result is sent into an A-199 Spring Reverb and then into an A-106-6 Xpander VCF. Both 3-pole lowpass and 3-pole highpass outputs are then crossfaded with an A-134-1 VC Panner. Filter crossfading and filter cutoff frequency are controlled by the joystick mentioned above. In order to keep the rhythm in sync when I use very low frequencies (i.e. some Hz only) as VCO frequency, both VCOs are softsynced to the “clock master” sequencer.

Around 13:30, another rhythmic element is introduced: white noise from an A-118 is sent through an A-101-1 Vactrol VCF and then into an A-189-1 VC Bit Modifier and an A-131 VCA. Filter (frequency, q) and Bitcruncher (bit manipulation and sampling rate) are controlled manually with an A-198 Ribbon Controller.

Somewhat later (around 16:50), the last element is introduced: a fast rhythmic sound, done with an “808-style” noise from an A-117 sent into an A-124 Wasp VCF and an A-132-3 VCA (modulated by another A-140).

Have Fun,