Actually, the “party” has already started. You can try and listen in on the main website, though last I checked, the server wasn't accepting any new connections.
If you're not in the mood for the party tonight (or can't sign on), hopefully they will soon post the Jukebox with samples from all the 2007 recordings.
A special treat for listeners of my podcast this Sunday! I am releasing a full-length (but lower fidelity) track from my RPM Challenge album, 2 1/2.
“Four Days” is a piece in the style of musique concrete, and fits into the overal narrative theme of the album 2 1/2. It has a really captivating and eerie quality, perhaps even a little spooky.
(and please check out the current recordings available if you like it)
Well, it's been a pretty intense few days finishing up the RPM challenge, but we made it! Finished recording on Feburary 27, did some very cursory mastering and CD artwork on Feburary 28, and today, March 1, assembled the finished goods:
The final title was indeed “2 1/2”, and the final track list was as follows:
01 Prologue – Jerry Gray (1951)
02 Fragments in Gray
03 Twista Dilemma
04 Trieste 116
05 Four Days
08 RPM Filler Track
10 Happy Machine
11 Epilogue – Count Basie (1953)
Musically, it's a fairly mixed result, some tracks were exceptional, others need a fair amount of work, which I can do at my leisure outside of the RPM challenge. But it is still a fairly good result for what was really just 2 1/2 weeks of solid work amidst the various other dramas of this past February…
At 11:30 this morning, I mailed it out from the post office in Scotts Valley, California. And with this simple act, it is done.
You can read some more detail of the last week on my rpm blog. As for me, it is time to rest.
While the RPM challenge continues to dominate life here at CatSynth, there's always time for Weekend Cat Blogging. Indeed, Luna has been helping out quite a bit in the studio the past few days:
Take a break with us from the struggles of art to visit Kate, Bustopher and Harmon who are hosting Weekend Cat Blogging 90.
weekend cat blogging
Yes, this is the second RPM post in a row, but the project has been dominating my outside-of-work life the last few days, at least the parts not taken up with eating, drinking, sleeping and playing with Luna.
Even though I didn't spend a huge amount of time this evening, I think I produced my best track to date, as I described earlier on my RPM blog:
Well, this is the first recording I have made for this project that felt truly inspired – even as I was working on it, I had the feeling “this is going to be really good.” So even if I never release the RPM album to the public as a whole, this piece will be released in some form no matter what.
It is called Trieste 116, and splices together an improvisation done with my favorite custom patch “116” on the DSI Evolver, with excerpts from a live recording of a jazz combo with pennywhistle at Cafe Trieste in San Francisco (yes, that's the famous Beatnik hangout). The Evolver patch features non-linear feedback and filtering only (i.e., no traditional oscillators), and has an unstable flute-like quality that I attempt to blend with the pennywhistle in the Cafe Trieste clips. It all works together, at least for me. Additionally, the track opens with a quiet recording of a Dixieland band, an element I wanted to use somewhere in the album as a New Orleans tribute.
The Cafe Trieste recording as well as the Dixieland band were obtained from the freesound project and released on the Creative Commons Sampling Plus 1.0 License.
Once again, a demo track is available to RPM participants (do any RPM participants read this forum?) via the Sample Engine, just look for “Amar” in the Author column. One can also get a pretty good idea by listening to the October 14, 2006 podcast, which also featured an improvisation using my Evolver patch “116.”
UPDATE: Trieste 116 is up on the front page of RPM today!
I also recommend checking out “Angie Fights Crime”, I had coincidentally looked at them yesterday, too.
I actually had a very productive day working on the RPM Challenge. I now have three “completed” tracks, one half-baked, and the prologue and epilogue tracks done. However, that is only about 12 minutes, one third of the required length (35 minutes). Here's a little from the latest RPM blog entry (and this one is relatively optimistic):
Well, it looks like I managed to finish another track for tonight, it's entitled “ghanaplasticity”, named for the demo on a hacked E-MU Morpheus that I used as the original source. I then imported the source into Emulator X2 and performed it using the keyboard to process the original in a variety of ways.
Compared to the previous tracks, this one was remarkably quick to produce, and quite a pleasure to create. It was more like a live performance. I can listen to the seemingly strange timbres and rhythms and intuitively find something to enjoy in it, much like I do in abstract visual art.
So this one feels right, while the more structured tracks feel half baked at this time, which is why things have dragged on this long. So the question becomes, do I give up on structure and composition in order to “get this thing done?”
Other RPM participants can hear the works in progress using the Sample Engine. Everyone else will have to wait until at least next podcast, which is probably this coming Sunday.
I haven't posted an update lately on my RPM challenge album. Needless to say, it hasn't been going all that well, you can read some musings/whinings on my rpm blog.
I'm hoping that getting restarted with a new more deliberate overall sketch of the album structure and energy, and a return to more experimental timbral-based tracks similar to my recent music for Dorian Grey, which is in a lot of ways the most inspired piece of done in a while. Can it save RPM? We'll have to wait and see…
Latest from my RPM 2007 blog:
I have been playing around with some of the loop-based sound sets that come with Emulator X2, including the “TwistaMania” bank – mostly just looking for some inspiration for the techno and beat-based sections of the album, but I found I really liked what I was playing. Plus, it's got that really addictive funky disco thing going. You can hear a brief sample here. This could be the kernel of a track for the album, possibly even the first full track after the intro – but it leads to what I am calling my “twista dilema.” Anyone else with Emulator X2 could easily do something similar, and more abstractly a 4/4 techno-dancy thing might sound trite in the context of my work.
UPDATE: since the original post on RPM, I heard an interesting, and quite timely, program on radio open source. Between the discussion in praise of creative appropriation, and my own sense of energy and enthusiasm for the funk disco sound, I think this track will be a part of the album – and it will be titled “Twistadilemma”, probably the second full track.
Report from the first day on the RPM challenge:
The idea that I can spend a month, or even a fraction thereof, doing nothing but working on this album is laughable at best. There will be many distractions in the coming days, just as there have been today. Nonetheless, I made a point to take some first steps this evening..
Based on the “arc” and narrative form I am defining for the album, I went in search of samples to use for the introduction and some beats to use for the first full section. The intro should be an old clip from a big band or jazz recording from the 1940s/1950s – I discovered a really good collection of public-domain big-band radio recordings on The Internet Archive, and quickly settled on my intro.
Next up is selecting some initial beats for the beat-based / techo part of the album. I selected several drum-beat samples, and imported them into Emulator X. Using the beat-analysis (aka “Twistaloop” features), I created several seven-beat loops.
The initial rhythmic section will employ a 7-beat meter and combine drum loops and Proteus patterns inside Emulator X, as well as 7-beat/14-beat Indian thekas for tabla. This will probably also be the first opportunity to use the DSI evolver in a compositional setting (as oppose to live improvisation).
That will probably be all I get done tonite, as I take some time to relax while writing this blog entry and getting some “kitty love” from Luna (she's snuggling in on my chest as I write this).
Here's the first entry from my blog documenting my participation in the RPM Challenge to conceive and record an album within the 28 days of February:
Well, it's the eve of RPM 2007. I have taken the organizers' advice and will not begin either composition or recording until tomorrow. But that doesn't mean I won't start planning in advance. I have an overall idea for the structure of the album, with the pieces fitting together as a single unit, and moving in an arc from more beat-based music to more free-form and experimental, though I haven't decided how it should end up. I am also preparing things technically for the project. Most of the work will be done on the computer using software synthesizers and sequencers – I will likely use some hardware instruments and acoustic samples as well.
The goal is to do the creative work (and hopefully much of the recording) in 2 1/2 weeks to mirror the appromixately 2 1/2 years it took to complete my last album Aquatic…
For those interested in following this effort, you can check in here and at my RPM page all throughout February.