I’ve just released some new music!
This one has been percolating for a while. The story begins with a remix contest and a piece of left-field “indie” audio workstation software known as EnergyXT.
I’m constantly looking for different tools and techniques to help me make music. To produce music more fluidly and expressively, and to organise and build up an arrangement from a few small patterns elegantly.
One feature that I often look for is the ability to have alias patterns. Instead of pasting copies of a pattern across the arrangement, you copy aliases or clones. If you edit or tweak one of the copies, they all update. In principle I love this way of working, because I like structure – I want to start with something rough, e.g. a basic beat, then build up an arrangement with it, and then iterate on the beat to make it sound better.
There’s a related principle when working agile – always be ready to ship. Start with a basic version of a complete product that works, and then see what details need to improve.
So back to EnergyXT. It’s built to work this way, with alias patterns. Notable big name software doesn’t work like this – e.g. it’s not possible in Ableton Live or Bitwig; in Logic Pro X it’s possible but a little cumbersome.
I was looking at using it more and found on the KVR forum that someone was running a strange remix contest. The source material was a strange short excerpt of some strange samples (thanks Kejkz). The rules were that you had to use the default elements built into EnergyXT – the sampler, the synth. The prize: a license for EnergyXT!
Remix contests are great – you get some source material to work with, some kind of deadline, and maybe some constraints. I often find myself much more focused and productive in these contest situations, so I entered.
I decided to use the default drum samples and a basic synth preset from EnergyXT – I thought they sounded great! Once I had my beat + bassline, I layered on some stabs from the source samples and before long I had a track. Great when things come together quickly.
The track sat around for a while – I’d often play it out in DJ or live sets. Cut to earlier this year and I thought it was time to get it out, and that it could do with a psychedelic cut-up treatment from Sharkweek, featuring vocals from Michael Chen.
So here it is! Go listen to it everywhere!
The cover art is based on a photo of Alcatraz.