A track from my father (you can hear it on my soundcloud page as well - it is called “Mario Manili - La pioggia”) which I used to hear him singing a lot and it has the same effect of songs I hear on the phone while waiting, that is a little bit relaxing but annoying at the same time.
I processed the track in Paulstretch and had fun with some reverb, delay and other effects in Ableton live. I probably should’ve pushed the freeze button more and make it less ambient, but that’s it I guess
I had some extra time on my hands this weekend, so I jumped on this week’s project. I started by creating a Vaporwave backing track, then jammed a lead with a sampled Fender Rhodes Mk V. I made four copies of the lead and shifted the time on each one slightly, put a Hysteresis plugin on a return track, and then threw a crazy delay on the Master.
This is real muzak, rather generated than composed, and intended to evoke the unnerving quality of all hold music.
Generated in Ableton live with Glitch and Wash pack’s Technical Glitch Kit and Dr Chaos with Pink House Blues plus Tweezy Tape effect.
This is a loop.
I slightly modified the assignment (read: I misunderstood it at first and did something different) to portray how even a more-or–less okay piece of music can be degraded and subverted by being used as aural mogadon by a call centre, especially if you’ve been listening for 40 minutes and your ears are bleeding.
Great prompt. I created a beat that reminded me of those insta-rhythms that keyboards had when I was a kid, played a harmonic organ bit over top of it, and then I did whatever I could to degrade and defile it. For the tune, I thought how polynesian hold music would be imagined by a Music on Hold writer who had never been to, read of, or even given a shit about that part of the world aside from the tropical drink recipes they could provide.
This is what it’s like to be in my head when I’m on hold with [pick a bureaucracy or corporate entity].
I’m old enough to remember the sounds of modems. Now they show up in nostalgic clickbait and the dang kids can’t identify the angular screeching. Joke’s on them, when I was your age I used to have to dial long distance to download the shareware version of Quake from a BBS.
Each tone is a superimposition of two sine waves; for example, 5 is 1336 Hz and 770 Hz. I experimented with generating my own tones, but that frankly was a pain. It worked, but given the timeline I’d rather do something more efficient. Instead, I found recordings of all the DTMF keypad frequencies. I loaded them into Kontakt along with some historical modem handshakes. Feel free to download the resulting NKI
Cockos REAPER v6.03/x64 (recording)
Blue Yeti USB Microphone
Magix SOUND FORGE Audio Studio Pro 12.6 (mastering)
Native Instruments KOMPLETE KONTROL S61 (input)
Native Instruments Kontakt 6 - DTMF (Null Confluence) - custom
Glitchmachines Fracture - II_HAARP
Native Instruments Replika - Wormhole
Cockos ExpressFX Noise Gate - Custom preset to suppress toddler in the other room
Last week I had the opportunity to record the hold music for SadCo while it was suffering from a midi-based DDoS attack.
Sick kids this week so everything was via the iPad. This was made using a combination of @junklight’s Autony and Cality apps. Cality does a lot of stuff but especially neat is it’s “cloud” section which (according to the description) is granular synthesis, but for midi notes. Here I had it sending a randomly modulated clouds of looping 1/256th notes across a couple octaves to AudioDamage’s Continua synth. Most synth apps will sound very unmusical (to me), but Continua can hang. The cloud of midi notes is what is producing a lot of the crunchy white noise.
I recorded a bunch of this, and then chopped a bit of it and re-played it back in AUM verrry slowly and sent through a bunch of compressors, filters, and limiters, including Bark Filter which has a pre-set called “Telephone” and does pretty much exactly what you expect it to.
Really enjoyed this one, super happy with the result. All softsynths in Ableton, used mostly the Singularities pack and one of the free kick samples Ableton released recently. I then whacked some Erosion and Redux on both individual tracks and the master.
The recording at the start is by husky70 on Freesound.
In listening, I wasn’t sure exactly if it was hold music, but I did really enjoy it. A nice mix of glitch, texture, rhythm and vocals. In fact if hold music was like this the world would be a better place.
I wanted the hold music to be repetitive, slightly out of sync and to include pizzicato strings, so I used three MIDI drum loops in odd time signatures (7/8, 9/8 and 12/8) and three presets from Corin Neff’s Zebra Orchestra.
I recorded the hold message and used Freakshow Industries Backmask to garble the speech by reversing alternating sections. The message repeats four times, and each time the reversals happen at different points.
Allover distortion is provided by MeldaProduction MWaveFolderMB.
Great assignment! Hold music always sound out of context and no one ever bothers to make sure it loops properly, usually the edit is very jarring and it seems the OEM music library that all systems use stopped developing somewhere in the 90’s. The idea is music, but it’s effectively just feedback noise.
I would have liked to add some voice messages to the track, but time was short and I just went with it.
I had some automation fun with a Bitcrusher, NI’s free Raum reverb and a softsynth. It evolved from sounding harsh to zen in the machine calmness.