SIGHUP's drones for beginners

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shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:35 am

Well I posted this in this thread, replying to a question on creating drones. But since I seem to have killed the momentum of the thread with this, I figured it would be fun to sink in the Cafe, too! Hope it proves useful for somebody.

There's some more commentary in the original post if you're so inclined, but I'll just include the step-through bit here.

An approach to creating a drone:
  • Start with any sound you have lying about with enough goods to work with. When working with computers for drones, one of the mainstays is the loop. So just think of any audio material you have as an oscillator, and then use some kind of loop player/sampler to turn it into a droning sound. I'll start with a bit I recorded from a dying toy Casio keyboard. Clip 1.
  • Use a preferred processor to develop some interest in the relatively simple material you started with. Here, I'm using a granular loop player (the Bubbleblower contraption in Audiomulch, which often aids in the creation of vaguely string-like timbres). Clip 2.
  • Try to find an optimal starting pitch. It can be anything, mostly this an intuitive stage, deciding where you wish the track to reside physically. Here I've dropped the pitch of the found sound down an octave. Clip 3.
  • Create a variation of the sound to fill another frequency band, I've chosen bass. Develop a further rhythm that will contrast the first voice. Clip 4.
  • Play both sounds together and see what you get. Adjust anything that doesn't sound right. For instance one frequency might get swamped out by another. Clip 5.
  • Create a third voice variation on the original sound, but affect it in a way that it is only partially related but characteristically different. I've processed the sound with a phase vocoder, chorus, distortion, and stereo delay. Try to fill a different frequency band with the sound. I've bounced up an octave, but it doesn't have to be there. Think of it in terms of a standard quartet, the orchestration all fills complementary but separate sonic space. Clip 6.
  • Then mix and compose. I'll keep it fairly simple by mostly only working with fades. I'll later mix the higher register voice into filter/delay multieffect. This will vary the rhythm and timbre of the sound, works by giving the listener a transformational focal point. I've not mastered/EQ'ed anything. I actually like how heavy the bass got, so crank it up when you listen. There's a weird little ping in there, not sure where it came from exactly. Final mix.
The final thing isn't perfect, but it isn't bad for a half-hour's work. I listened again this morning on my way in to work, there are some things I changed to make it more complete, but I still think it serves as a good intro.

Cheers,
Steve

Sicklecell666
Banned
6127 posts since 1 Apr, 2004 from Et in Arcadia Ego

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:44 am

Yay, now I can finally learn me some new stuff!

Robert W
KVRist
46 posts since 26 May, 2005 from Berkshire, UK

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:49 am

Thanks for giving an insight into your approach.

This forum has got me interested in these kind of things, so I may give it a go some time.
None

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 7:52 am

Robert W wrote:This forum has got me interested in these kind of things, so I may give it a go some time.
:party:

That's good news. Be sure to let us hear if you do.

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 11:20 am

Sicklecell666 wrote:Yay, now I can finally learn me some new stuff!
As long as you haven't given up after listening to Annihilist.

mystahr
KVRAF
7550 posts since 9 Nov, 2003 from Netherlands

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 11:36 am

Let the world drone 8)

Sicklecell666
Banned
6127 posts since 1 Apr, 2004 from Et in Arcadia Ego

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 11:45 am

shamann wrote:
Sicklecell666 wrote:Yay, now I can finally learn me some new stuff!
As long as you haven't given up after listening to Annihilist.
Oh, yeah..I forgot I gave up..

:dog:

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:01 pm

mystahr wrote:Let the world drone 8)
Yes.

This just reminded me of some of Kyle Gann's essays. It's amazing how much flack even the more accomplished drone works get, like those of Phill Niblock's. Hopefully folk will be be more accustomed to the sounds if a whole fleet of dronemakers start popping up everywhere.

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 12:02 pm

Sicklecell666 wrote:Oh, yeah..I forgot I gave up..

:dog:
Old age memory lapses, the saviour of great music. :hihi:

tetraplan
KVRAF
3964 posts since 31 Aug, 2003 from In a foreign town, in a foreign land

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 2:51 pm

shamann wrote:Hopefully folk will be be more accustomed to the sounds if a whole fleet of dronemakers start popping up everywhere.
Whole fleets of dronemakers used to inspire fear.

Image

Groet, Erik
Pop music delenda est.
Image

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Wed Aug 24, 2005 4:38 pm

They still do, don't they?

Image

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Thu Aug 25, 2005 8:21 pm

Drones!

(I'll bump once, just in case this little exercise proves useful to anyone.)

experimental.crow
KVRAF
5583 posts since 9 Mar, 2003 from The Druid Hills

Post Thu Aug 25, 2005 8:56 pm

excellent tips ...
always interested in process , as well as product ...
Image

Klemperer
KVRAF
3003 posts since 24 Nov, 2003 from Heidelberg&Hamburg

Post Fri Aug 26, 2005 1:26 am

just found this. Most excellent ideas, thanks for sharing :D.

shamann
KVRAF
12245 posts since 18 Aug, 2003

Post Fri Aug 26, 2005 7:19 am

Thanks guys. Hope it gives you some fodder to work with. I've never heard anything drone-like out of you, Georg (hint, hint).

And norm, I'd love to hear some of the ways you approach drones, maybe some tips to post in the original thread?

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