January 2nd, 2011



My last day before the end of my christmas break.  It was nice to be home but tomorrow it’s back to work and January is looking like it’s going to be a crazy month.



This evening I decided to continue working with the samples from the latest MCRP.  I have been experimenting quite a bit with them lately.  I’m trying to move myself into arrangement mode.  On the last MCRP I experimented a bit too much and moved into arrangement mode much too late.  I was left with too much material to sift through and too little time to get through it all.  I’m going to try to not make that mistake this time around.



Anyways, a friend and fellow monome user Jared just recently released his new monome app called Grainslide.  I tested an early version of the app on Day 213 and he has since made adjustments and released it to the community.  It’s a simple but effective concept.  His layout design is unique to most other monome apps which I think is great.  It’s not a quick sample cutting app although you could play it that way.  It’s a layering tool really.



You have four sample banks each loaded with sounds or noises that complement each other.  You can use the on-screen interface to select portions of the audio files to loop.  Each sound file can be transposed up or down independently but all of them can also be transposed globally.  This is cool when you find a nice combo with the independent settings and then throw in some global shifting and you have the undercurrents to a song.



Finally, in the center of the monome are some sliders that add delay to each of the sounds.  This as an area he hopes to add paging functionality so that you could select between a number of effects.



The controls are one thing but the way it sounds is another.  When it transposes the audio file it also speeds it up or slows it down.  This would normally be something undesirable when your used to working in a program like Ableton where you have the ability to transpose files and still keep the rhythm on beat.   But for this app, it’s what gives the sound its unique character.  If you’ve chosen your samples wisely you will come out with beautiful harmonies.



For my experiment, I took the sample from Close Encounters that I used on Day 298 and the sample from Babel that I played with on Day 295 and messed around with them in Grainslide.  I recorded multiple takes into Ableton.  After that, for blog purposes, I simply separated each take that I recorded and dragged them to a different track so that all would play at the same time.  You’d imagine it would sound awfully muddy (and it does a little) but at times it sounds amazingly beautiful.



Finally, Jared is a kindred spirit because he is around the same age and he’s a monome user and he also has a daughter around the same age but also because he has been doing a creative thing-a-day as well.  He and I have been encouraging each other throughout the year with comments.  He had some troubles along the way, including a major server crash, that had derailed him from the daily schedule for a while, but he has recently renewed himself to do a daily thing.  He’s a much better musician than I am and also an amazing illustrator. So, please check out his blog as well.  It is at http://uprlip.com/and you can also find it on my links page.




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