The home of the ambient electronic musical group Ramp since 2006.

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Back in the Studio

Well, I went back into the studio for the first time in millenia. I opened some old files and recorded a bit of audio that I needed to record so that I wouldn’t lose it if I re-patched the modular. (Yes, that’s actually a sentence — basically it just means I did some necessary tidying up.) Then I hit play on the last several things I worked on and wound up in a dark cloud of, “I hate myself, everything I touch turns to shit.”

So… I decided to take a different tack and I spent a little while teaching myself to use this one sequencing program that I like but almost never use called Nodal to drive my Access Virus TI2 Desktop synth in “multi mode” (where you load up a bunch of different patches on channels).

This is all pretty basic “use your synth” stuff, but the “TI” in the synth’s name stands for “Total Integration”. What that means is that there’s a software suite that you can load which makes the whole thing act like an app on your computer. That’s almost the only way I’ve ever interfaced with the Virus. One of my long-term goals is to get more comfortable working with it offline (i.e. without the computer). Eventually I want to build a little compositional environment that’s totally computer-independent, centered around the Sequentix Cirklon sequencer (which I don’t own yet and will have to save up for for a long time). So I want to start learning to use this stuff offline more.

Nodal *is* software running on my computer, but it interacts with synthesizers in this fairly basic way, sending MIDI data. It doesn’t do plugin hosting or any of that jazz.

Anyway, I got it working, and that was fun. And I feel like I accomplished something. So there’s that. Actually writing a complete song in Nodal rather than just using it to noodle out little bits of pieces would be a bit of an interesting experiment, but I might give it a go.

I wasn’t able to get the audio streaming over the Virus’ USB port playing out through my computer speakers, so for now I’m just using my headphones plugged into its headphone jack. For the new studio setup I’ll presumably need to get a mixer and grab its analog audio outputs.

So, no music written (unless you count my little test loop, which I’m actually quite enjoying listening to, but likely won’t be used for anything), but some things done. I suppose it’s better than nothing for the first day back.

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