Design Report 1 sample

AthenaCL generation and manipulation

Courtesy of MIT student, used with permission.

In this assignment I used athenaCL as a generative tool to obtain sound clips that I then further manipulated. AthenaCL generated beta and exponential distributions for me, affecting rhythmic pattern, amplitude, and BPM. I did not compose in athenaCL but instead experimented with different texture parameters until I found ones I liked. Because of my limited skill with the interface, I didn't save my source code that generated the sounds I used.

The composition is in ABA form and is influenced by my recent listening (the new Four Tet album, Nathan Fake, lots of dubstep). Both A sections are playing from the same original rhythmic sources. In these clips rhythm is highly varied through a long Basket Gen string, amplitude is controlled by beta and exponential distributions, and BPM is varied sinusoidally throughout the samples. In both cases the length and start positions of the clips are varied to produce a non-rhythmic sound cloud. In the first A, the rhythms are played by 505 drum sounds while in the last A the sounds come from wobbly bass sounds generated from a sawtooth wave sound with some LFO manipulations (I had it laying around in Ableton so I decided to use it). The B section is in time, beginning with percussion hits and using a consistent bass drum and a snare drum borrowed from a Tony Williams solo. A cymbal pattern in 12/8 is introduced but I feel like it could have been more prominently displayed. Everything is drenched in reverb. I used a Tascam control surface to mix sounds so the sections smoothly transition together. While the piece is too long, I enjoy how the sections overlap and the almost vintage feel that the old drum machine sounds deliver. I like producing sets of sounds that can be "performed," even if means there is no definitive version of the piece.

 Screenshot of a music software program, with multi-channel mixing, sampler, and reverb modules on screen.

Image courtesy of Ableton AG.  Used with permission.

To improve, I think I could have worked more in athenaCL to generate more diverse variations in the texture parameters. I also think more textures would make the piece have more depth and complexity. In athenaCL, I liked using distributions to affect the panning but I discovered that this quality isn't kept when importing the MIDI file into a DAW. I hope to figure out how to get this to work as it would be useful.

Design Report 1 Sample: AthenaCL Generation and Manipulation

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