Thursday, January 22, 2009

Ring Modulation

I was running through the playground, playing with my childhood friend Chris, when that primitive male need to break things arose from deep within me. I picked up a small rock and threw it at the now pink, once red, portable classroom window. It was plexiglass; it didn't break and the rock just bounced off and pathetically hit the ground. I picked up another rock and whipped it at the portable yet again with much more force, fueled by my father's words, "you have an arm for the majors!". But with more power comes less accuracy in the minor league world of minors and the rock completely missed the window. Instead it collided with the horizontal steal beam that was the foundation of the portable. That black beam that once hit, resonated so lovely with a sound so close to a sound I held so dear, a sound I had made many thousands of times with my mouth as I played in my basement amongst the imperial army of the dark side. It was the sound of the laser blast from Han Solo's Millennium Falcon. I used to throw rocks at these beams incessantly, I realized that if you hit the beams of portables that were adjacent to another portable the sound was amplified, it echoed and actually sounded much more like the TIE Fighters' vicious laser blast. I think that this was the start, where my search for cool sounds began, the doorway to the path that eventually brought me here, to this blog, to the use of Ring Modulation (also used in many sound effects within the Star Wars movies). I usually use my Moog Ring Mod. It's pretty wild sounding, has lots of cool knobs that are fun to tweak and is really controllable, but I needed one I could program for this particular vocal part within the mid section of the song, "Wasted Time". I turned to Logics software-based Ring Modulator, it sounds different from the Moog, but has a uniqueness of its own, it's pretty bad ass. The Ring Mod can be controlled with your mouse adjusting the virtual knobs but because I wanted the effect to change and move through the vocal part to create all those oscillating bell like overtones, I programmed the filter moves. The green line you see in this little film is telling the frequency wheel what moves to do, modulating through the different frequencies of my voice as it rotates, creating these beautifully haunting sounds that cut through the track, hopefully settling in the listener's chest in an almost odd and unsettling way.


Anonymous said...

Your music has such a sense of depth and emotion to it, awesome to listen to whilst working or contemplating things.

When are you next visiting the UK? It'd be amazing to see you live.


Anonymous said...

loved this.

Colleen said...

OOoh! haunting indeed! especially in the beginning when it fades in, and also at the 00:14 - 00:16 second me goosebumps. I like the piano work you did for the vid you posted entitled the Knife. So far I like the direction "wasted time" is going.

One other thing you seem to be a "sponge" for inspiration. You are sensitive to your surroundings and able to pick up ways to use the most simple sound and make it powerful in your music. I really admire that.

Colleen said...

correction, i meant the piano music on the footage of "the creek".