Disquiet Junto Project 0463: Making the Gradient

I’ve been thinking of writing a “Space Invaders” clone as a programming exercise. I was thinking this could come in handy as a soundtrack. I started with the original “Space Invaders” theme. To this, I added an Insect Beat Repeat effect in Ableton Live. Over the course of the track, the Chance parameter of the Insect effect increases from 0% to 100%. That is the gradient part of the track.

Then I added a reggae beat and Conet Project recording like I always do.


Credits

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Disquiet0463
Accomplishing the Ramp
• Key: B major BPM:76 Time signature: 4/4 DAW: Reaper
• Instruments: Bass, Drums, Synths
• Plug-ins: Captain plugins, NI analog dreams, CM Bass engine
• The concept was to create a gradient of sound by starting with a certain number of tracks and then removing a section of each track over time thus reducing the amount of sound over time.

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I often find the Junto projects challenging as I tend to generate work intuitively, with the conceptual framework developing as part of the process. This time out I went back to intuition anyway - rather than planning a piece that worked as or explored the idea of a gradient, I imagined myself as an energy lost between the “steps” of a digital gradient, then improvised a short piece from the way that felt. This stemmed from my first experience working in digital video instead of film lonnnnng ago: I could not use a technique that I had in film, where text appeared to change from dark to light as a grey background faded from SLIGHTLY darker to SLIGHT lighter than the text. 8 bit video did not allow for enough resolution to do this without visible “stepping” of the grey values over time unless noise was introduced - but the noise ruined the feel of it. For some reason this was emotionally upsetting. In this piece, I’m playing from an imagined trap (like a town you don’t want to live in but can’t leave perhaps) between those values that can be represented in a digital gradient.

EDIT - forgot people like to know about the tech/process here. This one was super simple/boring: made three performance patches for zebraHZ that felt right for this idea, recorded each in its own track in one take played via weighted keyboard, Touche and an expression pedal, SplineEQ on the master track annnnnd export export from Reaper.

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This is really lovely - and so is the thoughtful description on soundcloud.
Also inspires me to work with the lap steel I have sitting in a corner of the studio.

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Here’s my entry. I prepared to record this and got pulled into a wonderful day with the family that included prepping dough for a pie crust (pie will be made tomorrow), dinner, a Zoom call with my brothers and their kids, and some movies. After the kids went to bed, I came back to my rack that was all patched up and am publishing my first take. Loving the weekly prompt and how this inspires some confidence in an approach for me. Looking forward to listening to the other entries soon! Details on my track below, which are from my track description.

For “Making the Gradient” I began with a sample in Morphagene that had a slow logarithmic envelope from Maths modulating Morph–just enough to make it interesting. I brought in a saw wave from Furthrrr Generator’s Modulator a little too strong at first to mark a change in texture. Got it under control with a saw wave LFO and this marked my transition. Slowly, a deep waveform from Furthrrr’s Carrier final output comes in. It is also being modulated by the same slow logarithmic envelope from Maths, courtesy of an Adventure Audio Mult.

Final out was run through my effects skiff, which got a little changeup. It is now Polymoon>Siren>Big Sky and I like the space that Siren brings.

The inital transition was a little sloppy, but I’m pleased with how this turned out.

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@vgmrmojo
i love the lushness of the synths on your track, and the beat kept a nice spastic edge(reminded me of that chicago juke/footwork style… almost wanted it to break completely into double-time 808 kicks… but it’s good you kept it real: honoring the gradient, so i could stay focused on each and every moment better)… all the while a beautifully warm and dreamy feel… nice one!

@yonpinnacle
your track had this purity of sound and structure to me that makes me sit in awe: that natural ebb and flow, but each surge of energy is uniquely different(accented somehow), and from start to finish, carries that perfectly sculpted wave, the onrush feels powerful yet makes me feel a surreal kind of weightlessness too… verrry tastefully done :ok_hand: :wine_glass:

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The image of a gradient connected for me straight away to a slow, menacing descent into a deep hole, abyss, or something like it. Recorded some sounds from the MF in Ableton and drew automation lines that took different groups of parameters (set as macros) and let them go from one point at the start to another, all the way across the entire length, as indicators of proceeding inevitability.

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At first, I had no idea, nor time (we are about to buy a horse…). But today I got an idea. A gradient can be even horizontal (probably most common in nature). And it can be a double gradient. Don’t know what it’s called. My little picture describes one. I use LP-filter for the “bottom gradient” and a HP-filter for the “top gradient”. As I’m trying to put sounds to a horizontal gradient there is no confusion with the concept of fade. I checked if my idea worked with a frequency analysis. I worked! Yes! Se my picture as a graphic score.

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By whatsoever reason I instantly saw gradients as LFOs. So this is mainly a generative modular patch with 12 LFOs involved, 8 of them via Instruō øchd, which is in itself some kind of low frequency declining device. Singular sound source is a gradient-ish metallic sample in the granular sampler QU-bit Nebulae. Some traditional fx were applied. I recut the resulting session into different pieces and playback rates and made transitions from slow to original, maybe because it did not feel gradientic enough…

I like that it gives the impression of chaos, on the one hand, but on the other hand the repetition of some gradients can somehow be guessed.

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hallo hallo! the first thought that came to my mind when thinking of gradient, for this project’s purpose, was vector synthesis.

the second thought was tripping with random color cycling in Fractint as a kid, but that’s hardly relevant :slight_smile:

now, there’s quite a few choices out there for vector synthesis, but I decided to go with the Arturia iProphet, an iPad emulation of the first, and somewhat ill-fated, synth making use of this technology: the Sequential Circuits Prophet VS.

all the sounds in this track are from the iProphet app. even within the limits of a mobile app emulation, I believe especially those super long evolving pads capture the concept of gradient pretty well.

musically speaking, there isn’t much interesting to say about the track, a simple improvisation around 3 notes. that kind of rotating sound around 1:30-1:40 is me frantically spinning the joystick around :slight_smile:

for the lead part, I used a very nice feature of the app, that lets you select exactly the bend range. so I set a 3 semitones range, and just played C-F-G, bending up C and G to obtain a full C minor pentatonic. alas, when I keep my hand on the pitch wheel, I find it extremely hard to not overdo it. which I regretfully did, in a few places.

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For those who love jazz.Released in 1986, reprinted in 2017

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Thank you for the flattering comments! I dug your track as well. Makes me want to use a few stand alone tools in MSP that I used to lean on heavily for sequencing and looping.

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Dust that thing off! I like how expressive it can be in ambient mode.

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This project is right up my alley as I normal do a lot of slow moving textured droney type sounds. I contemplated trying to do something different as a challenge, but I decided not to fight it and just went with my normal way of working, layered a couple complementary drones together, moving from one to the other with a bit of extra texture to blend it together. I was thinking of clouds and sunset and a feeling of loneliness.

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This is a gradient between two different sound files made of sine sweeps in Max, one low rumbly varying tone cluster, and one high noisy varying tone cluster, which have been simply granulated using GRM Tools’ wonderful Shuffling plug-in in Pro Tools, along with some other timbral modifications. The rate and size of fragments vary as they mesh and overlap and transform from one to the other in an audio halftone gradient effect.

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https://soundcloud.com/ohm-research/oprit-disquiet0463

Some random ramp wave lfo modulation.

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Mesmerizing lights. Layered filters.

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I used naturally-occurring gradients on this, obtained by driving two vertically-spaced 1um platinum resistance temperature sensors through air with my car, recorded on a Tascam DR-680. After looping these signals for awhile I started to hear some patterns at the edges of what I’d tend to write off as chaos. At the end I added a few seconds of pressure spectra (a wind storm recorded with my cellphone’s built-in microphones), for contrast.

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Five triangle wave LFOs mixed together modulating a sine wave (self-oscillating ladder filter) then recorded to Ableton where they were affected by four plugins all with wet/dry mix automated with ramps or triangles. The four plugins were Unfiltered Audio Byome acting as a pulsing quantizer, Glitchmachines’ Fracture and Hysteriesis, and Puremagnetik’s Fathoms.

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A weird track today. Thinking of gradients, I came up with something that doesn’t belong somewhere specific, but still creates a space of its own and then I thought about sample quantizing and bit crushing. The track loops through different versions of a single theme. It was made with Pigments and UVI’s DSX and Drum designer.

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