Music For Shuffle

Sketch #04

Fourth sketch. Not much new here – back to a bit more harmonic tension and release, and started playing with other glitchy, skippy textures like static and white noise, to use as percussive bits and bobs. Had a little go at reversing some of the rhythm lines too – I should look into this more.

Download the MP3s here (6.7mb)


Playing with scale to imply depth here made me think about zooming as a new interaction for music playback, as opposed to discrete play or skip buttons, or volume knobs or sliders. What if you just zoomed or panned around a landscape? These ideas have been explored for years, but I haven’t seen them done in a very holistic way. Anyway. Something to think about.

Randomness in tools, methods and outcomes

I’ve been looking at ways to try and introduce more moments of randomness and chance in writing this stuff, as well as playing it back. So far, I’ve been writing this music using Logic. Here’s how I structured sketch #04:

It’s a pretty simple arrangement, really: just some chords, drone, bass and rhythm. I write and record the main harmonic stuff by hand, and I’ve been using Logic’s randomizing functions to make the skittery percussion parts. You sling in a few bits and bobs, very freely, then select all, choose whether you want to affect pitch, velocity or whatever, then hit randomize. It’s a nice little feature, sadly hidden away under menus and a terrible UI, but it’s there all the same.

Each colored marker (up at the top) is placed where I want to slice each phrase into separate MP3s. After I make a few minutes’ worth of stuff, I then export each slice with different combinations of instrument muted: sometimes only rhythm; maybe just bass and drone; other times all instruments. At this point I still don’t really know how it’s going to hang together. I’ll have fifteen to twenty little MP3s, sling them into iTunes, then I can hear how it all fits. It works, but it’s a bit laborious.

I need shuffle buttons everywhere

What I really need is a shuffle button in Logic – not just in iTunes. It would play between markers in a random order, each time muting and soloing different channels. That’d be awesome. Then, I’d love a way to introduce things like random effects (reverb, delay, filters or whatever) to be applied to an instrument every time it makes a noise, or even random instruments to play. Shouldn’t be too much bother to rig this up in Max For Live. Hmm.