Michaelwclark.com

Just my stuff


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Plastic Bags – Fix Mix

Duh… I mixed the first one with my computer EQ boosted around the voice level (to hear an old movie). This morning I realized the error, which made “plastic bags” a bit quieter than intended. Here’s a quick fix.

I’ll leave the first one because sometimes my fixes turn out not as good as the originals. It usually takes a bit of time to find out which is best.

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Plastic Bags

goofing around with some freeware…


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Supertonic

This is just a sketch I did tonight after watching an interesting video or two about music theory and composition (below). It’s been a while since I did a full-fledged project and I didn’t feel inspired to jump right in fully. So I figured if visual artists can sketch a few lines in a notebook, why not musical ones?

A couple of Christmases ago I really got into arpeggios and exotic scales. Here’s what I came up with back then.

And here’s one I did when David Bowie was still alive. I think I was trying to get his attention… posted the link at his web site if I remember right. But back then I did it anonymously because I was afraid it was too weird. But today it sounds cool to me. So I’ve lifted the “private” setting at SoundCloud and made it public again.


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Beyond the Night

Here’s a cinematic, atmospheric one that I worked pretty hard on. It began as a slightly chaotic assemblage which slowly came together. My main learning point was how to use a sequencer for drum samples, making it sound less robotic than sequencers can sound.

The sequencer I used (Megababy) allows for manual timing changes (called “humanization” or possibly “swing” when using midi). So I spent some time on each note, trying to imagine myself as a percussionist and how he or she might actually drum. To me, the kick drum sometimes sounds like it could use a bit of editing, other times it sounds okay.

Not exactly tearing up the SoundCloud charts, it was, as I say, a great learning experience.

As to what this composition is about, just follow the link to SoundCloud if interested.


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Ursa Major, Ursa Minor (Sketch)

A quick sketch of a melody/tune that came to me after seeing the big and little dippers in the dark countryside, by Lake Ontario… I may evolve it some day.. The two musical phrases are seven notes each, just as there are seven stars in each of the constellations…

While looking at the stars I noticed that the big dipper is, of course, bigger but the little dipper is brighter.

I love looking at a clear night sky devoid of light pollution. Finding a place without light pollution (sadly) seems almost impossible these days. But this location was pretty good. Just one small spot emanating from Cobourg Ontario, a town that used to be a hot spot for wealthy Americans back in the day.

Living in Toronto one can see 2 or 3 stars on a good night! Well, maybe a few more. But it is pretty appalling. So whenever I get a chance, which isn’t too often, I take to the country and reconnect with the ancient art of the night sky.

Image – http://www.pinterest.com/pin/445152744395241383/


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Firebrand

This is a pretty old tune that I originally sang. The first recording was done in the late 1980s / early 1990s on a Fostex 4-track tape with a Yamaha mini keys keyboard, an Ibanez digital delay and a couple of foot pedals. Despite the limited tech, the end result was pretty good. (I might transfer it from tape and post it some day for interests sake).

This time around I didn’t feel like singing so just did the main melody with a synth line. And I gave it a sorta i Robot update. Digital age…

But still, I left in retro “Disco Toms” and California-style lead guitar. So it’s a bit of old and new.

All the VSTi plugins are freeware. Some were slightly modified with other paid-for VSTs that come with Reaper, which itself is a very modestly priced DAW (digital audio workstation).

Photo (cropped): www.flickr.com/photos/ihearaviolin/8103585130/


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June

So ends a pretty terrible month in the news. I started this at the beginning of the month. At some point I realized that it was mirroring the tragic headlines that dominated a good part of June.