Song 13 - March 28 - April 4, 2011

"The Lathe Of Heaven, Parts 1 & 2"

(Right-click or ctrl-click to download the song, or just click the link to play it.)

"The Lathe Of Heaven" Song 13 - Part 1- MP3 File

"The Lathe Of Heaven" Song 13 - Part 2- MP3 File

"LatheOfHeaven2.mp3" Part 1:

Length: 4:33

Track count: 14 Tracks

Part 2:

Length: 2:24

Track count: 11 Tracks

Instrumentation: Wood lathe, dishwasher, cracking egg, Peak Pro, SFX Machine Pro plugin, Ableton Live

Friday, April 1st - April Fools! I was working on a completely different song all week, along with sound effects for a big client job - but in the middle of all that I got captivated by this sample of a wood lathe, idly trying different experiments with it, and also taking other resonant droney sounds and playing around with them in my spare time. Then I became totally obsessed with resonant drones. And then today while I was driving around I got the idea of layering pulses that vibrate at different frequencies to create huge epic polyrhythms.

So I was going to use an additive synthesizer and get all geeky about math and frequency ratios to build the drones, but then I ran this wood lathe sample I was working on through a granular synthesizer plug-in in SFX Machine Pro (my favorite effects plugin) that pulsed the sound at different controllable rates, and that was exactly the sound I'd wanted. I created 4 drones that "beat" at different but complementary rates.

I also took a drone I made from a recording of my dishwasher, and used Live to tune 4 copies of it to 4 different pitches that make a chord when I layer them all together. This is still an area of geekitude that I will mine again - plus I still want to do a more epic polyrhythm - but I love the way these things sound. And I haven't done a purely electro/experimental turn for a while, so this has become this week's song.

Today I created 14 tracks in Live. I laid in the pulsing drones and added some other sounds I made - a pulse swoop that I made during an effects frenzy - I have no idea how - and a cracking egg I recorded at breakfast that I stretched out until it stutters. So, I have the basic tracks here. I may see if I can play something over them, or I may just let them be.

I'm calling this "The Lathe Of Heaven," after my favorite Ursula K. LeGuin book. And there are two parts now. I wanted to do something different with it, and that begged another version. Also, Part 1 is 4:33 - a tribute to John Cage!

I will still be working for the rest of this week, collecting drones and starting on some white noise generators for next week. But no daily diary until I start the next song!

Peak Pro, with the SFX Machine Pro plugin.

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