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abstractnoise reel-to-reel demos

This week I’ve been playing with our recently acquired Revox B77 1/4″ recorder. It’s a stereo half-track model, and I use it at 7ips. Currently I’m not sure what actual tape I’m recording to, as it’s a 20ish-minute offcut from a reel that was found to be blank at the end of a transcription job. The two tracks presented here represent two very different production methods now open to me. 

“Changes Afoot” was sent track-by-track to tape, from DAW, and back again, to produce a digitally mixed master. A couple of those tracks were recorded particularly “hot” to bring out more tape character. No noise reduction was used at all. Signal-to-noise on any single tape recording in this setup was was found to be around 60dB.

“Innocence 2010” started as a digital stereo pre-master that I was never fully happy with, which was sent to tape via a skunkworks noise reduction system I’m working on behind the scenes; the system is not yet complete, but has enough processing built to give a useful 10dB gain in signal-to-noise ratio without any significant audible artefacts, as borne out by the 69-70dB signal-to-noise ratio found in this setup even after peak-limiting.

I suspect the signal-to-noise ratio is limited by noisy pre-amps on my DAW setup; I’ll need to swap to a different audio interface to confirm. That’s something to play with another day. Overall I’m VERY impressed with the overall sound quality this kit is able to deliver, and the range of analogue “colours” it can provide. I’m really looking forward to finishing the skunkworks noise reduction project; I have my eyes set on somewhere near 24dB noise reduction once it’s fully up and running. But it’s good to prove that I can both encode and decode on-the-fly!

Watch this space!

“Exit to Street Only” – A new album for a new year

On New Year’s Eve 2014, another childhood ambition got ticked off the list; Namely to publish an album for public sale – Huzzah! So I’ve taken the liberty of embedding it here and adding some details below:

This album is an electronica set made on and inspired by the sights, sounds and smells of London’s public transport systems.

I’ve been dabbling with music as a hobby for many years, and I’ve long been frustrated by the commute taking time away from home-life that I’d prefer to use for other things, music included. And then along came Nanostudio on the iPhone, and I quickly found myself able to use the commute time to actually *make* music.

I’m immensely proud to have gotten “Exit to street only” this far from my train seat – well actually, about two and a half years of commutes, some seated but many not.  Composing and sometimes recording on my iPhone and then my iPad has been an incredible learning and growing experience.  Yes, some recording and mixing of some vocal lines was done at home, as was the mixing and mastering, and during that latter process some sounds were replaced using Sunrizer on my iPad.

Like what you hear? It’s only £5 on Bandcamp, following the “Buy” link in the embed link above, or going to the album page here.

My music, since moving to London

Innocence 2010

Innocence was originally a piece I composed for a friend in the summer of 1999.  The original felt very immature and simplistic, so I decided to try to re-write the tune just over 10 years later, picking the main themes and developing on them in ways that reflect ten years more life and experience (musically or not) that have passed since writing the original.

IH2M – “It happened to me”

Written with Easter as a theme – Jesus’ death and subsequent resurrection are clearly important to any Christian.  I came to Christ as a cynical skeptic.  In many ways I still am, but this reflects an answer to my “conversion” prayer that basically was something like this:

God, I’m not yet a believer.  Seeing is believing.  I want to see what you went through.  Show me it’s real.

I then spent a while being shown, in a vision, exactly what Thomas saw and felt when he saw Jesus after His crucifixion.  He was able to put his hands in Jesus’ side, and to feel the nail-marks in his hands.  I saw this before I’d even read of the biblical account of this story.  From this I immediately had the name “Thomas” to look up in the bible, which took me to John 20, 24-29:

24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus[a]), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”

29 Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

I’m still a skeptic of all things.  But like Thomas I want to believe.  So I wrote this to help anyone else identifying with this plight/mindset, as a way of saying “it happened to me”.  I didn’t want to believe.  Yet when confronted with real truth in whatever format, I did want to believe.  And both sides of the story added up.

My music from a previous life…

New music: Innocence 2010

I spent much of this weekend re-writing an old tune of mine from some ten years ago – perhaps more.  Yes, the song was originally written for a girl (I thought I was *so* romantic!), and that relationship never came to anything.  While I was working on this new version, I was thinking about what I would tell my ten-years-younger self, given the opportunity?  Would I actively help him make sense of everything he’s seeing, thinking and feeling?  Would I just listen?  Or would I perhaps just say the simple words “it gets better”?

Innocence 2010 by Abstractnoise (MP3)

Innocence 2010 by Abstractnoise (HQ AIFF)

In taking on the re-write, my main aim was to attempt to get to know a combination of music software on my mac,  so the whole thing was produced in Reaper (a nice MIDI/Audio sequencer), FreeAlpha (making most of the sounds heard in the track) and SampleTank 2.5 (which provides the 808-a-like snare and hats, and the mellotron which I absolutely adore!).

For those who remember it, I hope I’ve added to the story without losing too much of the slightly childish, simplistic feel  of the original.  Ten years is a lot of life and musical experience…

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