Chris Randall: Musician, Writer, User Interface Designer, Inventor, Photographer, Complainer. Not necessarily in that order.
 
September 12, 2016

Sound Experiments 001 - DIY Noise Box...

by Chris Randall
 
 



Just a fun little Saturday afternoon project. My only comment not covered in the video is that, like all piezo-based projects, you need an amplifier of some sort to bring it up to modular levels. I use a Circuit Abbey Axis module, but any preamp will do. The Music Thing Mikrophonie is probably the best tool for this job, and handy to have in any case.

 
September 5, 2016

Yo Dawg I Herd U Like Random, So I Randomed Ur Random: Tech Time 008

by Chris Randall
 



To do this video, I went through a bunch of the techniques I use in normal production to add indeterminism to tracks over the course of a couple days. I then sat down to edit it and realized I had over an hour of footage, and I didn't even cover most of the non-Live apps I use, nor hardware.

Randomization is a fucking broad topic.

Anyhow, I managed to knock it down to three techniques. Again, I'll raise this issue that has appeared a few times as I've done these: I'm not entirely sure what's worth filming. A lot of this shit is self-evident to me, so I'm not sure what people find interesting or not.

Anyhow, here you go: some thoughts on Randomization. Necessarily Live-centric.

 
August 24, 2016

The Weekly No. 006: Milestones...

by Chris Randall
 
 



I didn't realize it until I'd rendered and uploaded the video, but this week's quasi-philosophical meandering actually has a theme, and that theme is "milestones." In the first half, I ramble for a couple minutes about the minor yet not minor at all milestone of crossing 1,000 subs on the AI YouTube channel. I also get confetti in my ears.

In the second half, I wander around the subject of actually finishing songs. As to whether I impart any information that one could consider "useful" is open to interpretation. But whatever I'm doing, I feel like I do it with a great deal of charm, and dare I say enthusiasm?

 
August 21, 2016

Tech Time No. 007: Voltage-Controlled Cassette Deck...

by Chris Randall
 



Like the subject line says... I was curious as to how the Onde Magnétique OM-1 worked. Originally, I thought that these super cheap little decks might be powered directly from the sequencer. I went out and hit a few thrift stores and bought several and gave that a try, with success rates that varied between "not at all" and "fuckin' nope." (I believe I briefly referenced this failure in one of the other Tech Time videos.) So I just set that aside with a shrug and moved on to other things.

However, last night I was looking at the OM-1 video again, and I was like "oh. Duh. He's just throwing 0-5V at the speed pot." So I busted out the video camera and soldered a jack right to the pot, and sure as shit, works like a charm, as the video above shows.

Something I didn't mention in the video: this isn't 1V/Oct. It's more like 5V/Oct. Sequencer 1 actually shows the voltage value you're shitting out the CV outputs in linear mode, so I was able to just put a tuner on the ass end, and scroll the voltage values until it was tuned to 12TET. I got 14 semitones total out of it, which is plenty for demonstration purposes. But if you're going to attempt this, you'll need a sequencer that can output linear values in addition to 1V/Oct. Sequencer 1 is, of course, perfect for this sort of foolishness. I'm sure there are others that will work fine, but I don't feel like talking about them.

When it comes to the cassette itself, take the lowest note you want to play, and record a note a semitone below that (so you have some wiggle room) on your cassette, and you'll end up with a full octave above that note.

You can clearly hear the portamento in the note programming later in the video. This is a result of the time it takes the motor to move to the new speed. This is an electromechanical process, so it's not instantaneous. Something with inertia needs to be accelerated or decelerated, and this takes time. Hence, fixed portamento.

 
August 14, 2016

Tech Time No. 006: Fun With Contact Mics...

by Chris Randall
 



Part of the problem with having been in this business so long is that some of this stuff seems really self-evident to me. Someone in one of the Facebook groups I follow asked about this contact mic shit, and several others chimed in to say "yeah, that'd be dope!" and I happily complied. The problem is that I don't know how basic to make it.

I think I struck a happy medium here between showing the basic techniques and showing some stuff that more advanced users might find interesting. I'll let you be the judge. Let me know in the comments.
 

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