Categories
Music Sketches

Across The Empty Sky

Here is a little unfinished electronica experiment sketch that I built inspired by Patricia Taxxon’s Theory of Pop Harmony. I really enjoy her ideas and I highly recommend giving her video a look if you’re interested in a fresh take on the Four Chord Piece. She does a great job of balancing education and entertainment, and I had her final song, Our Axis, stuck in my head for days afterward!

Who needs more than 4 chords anyway?

I would definitely call this more of a sketch, and I would love to develop it a bit more someday. As always, I used LMMS to create this, which I highly recommend for anyone dabbling in creating electronic music.

Thanks for listening!

Categories
April Ducks Art Series

April Ducks 17-19

If you can believe it, we’ve only got two more April Ducks posts (this piece included) left! I’ve been making a good deal of art lately, but it’s mainly been in my bullet journal (I try to keep it cute so that I will keep using it!). Is any of that art something you’d be interested in seeing? Let me know!

Without further ado, here are the April Ducks from the 17th to the 19th!

I do really enjoy the little cheeseburgers.

I’ve been preparing for my PhD program as well, which starts next month. It’s been really exciting to uncover all of the skills I will need to develop in order to get this project off the ground.

I feel like this fella really needs a name.

While a large portion of my time has been spent on education and work, I do still hope that I manage to keep this blog full of silly side projects.

I think someone got a little duck potion in their coffee!

I guess we’ll have to see!

Thanks for visiting!

Categories
General Blather

The News!

Well, I think the cat’s already out of the bag, but just in case we’re not in constant contact, here’s the news I mentioned in passing.. I just received my official offer this morning for a PhD program at the University of Huddersfield! I’ll be starting next month, in mid-September.

I’ll be studying music through an evolutionary lens, specifically focusing in on the role that selection plays in music evolution. This is a very interdisciplinary project that will involve some creative computing, so there should be a lot to share! If you are interested in learning more about my program (or if you’d like to read my proposal, which always has the possibility of being a fine example of the best-laid-plans proverb), let me know!

More art and music are coming to this space, of course. But I thought this news needed its own post!

Thanks for being here and celebrating with me!

Categories
Music

Five Minute Monster

Hey there! Today I’ve decided to show off a goofy way that my electronic composition and production students and I use up any additional time at the end of our lessons.

One of my Friday students had 6 minutes at the end of his lesson, and we took 30 of those seconds to decide that we should see how much of a piece we could write in the remaining time. We each chose an instrument in ZynAddSubFX (one of my favourite synths, it comes included in LMMS). The instrument he chose was strongly emanating 80’s sci fi energy, so I picked a complement and we got to work.

The file is actually called “ICantBelieveWeWroteThisIn5Minutes.mp3”

He chose the direction for the ostinatos and the secondary underpinning, and I plunked the notes into the piano rolls. There were a total of 4 patterns, and since we had 20 seconds before the end of our lesson, we opted to plunk the aforementioned underpinnings in at random.
It’s not likely to win any awards, but what a delightful little piece to come out of this little arbitrarily limited project.

(shared with permission of my student, who has now requested that we end many more lessons like this.)

Just in case you’re one of my small handful of avid readers (thank you thank you thank you!), I’m taking July off from posting; everything is fine, I’ve just got a few projects I need to focus on for the time being. Expect my next update to be on Monday, the 2nd of August!

Thanks for listening!

Categories
April Ducks Art Series

April ducks 14-16

Gosh friends, I have been SO busy! A good number of the projects I’ve been up to have been so long-term that I seem to have very little to share of my recent work. Lucky for us, I have a few ducks in the *wings*.

I’m sorry. Anyway, here they are.

Funnily enough, I was busy when I made this duck as well, so it was both hastily made and hastily presented.

Also, I celebrated my 10-year wedding anniversary this last week. I’ve been feeling very positive and lucky lately.

I feel like Swamp Duck is an untapped market in the monster movie genre.

The last of this set might be my favourite. Isn’t she sweet?

Downright magical!

Thanks for visiting, and for your patience while I fill space with latent ducks!

Categories
Music Music For Video Games That Don't Exist

Ordinary World

Hey! How was your week? Mine was quite exciting; I got a bit of news that I can’t wait to share with you! Things are still in the works, so I’m keeping it hush-hush, but if you simply can’t wait another moment, feel free to drop me a line and ask!

Here’s a piece I wrote this last week for The Game That Doesn’t Exist. It was designed to be a Pastoral piece that plays at the beginning of the game, the tutorial level where everything is gentle and peaceful, and nothing can reasonably hurt you in a way that matters. It’s Arcadia, Joseph Campbell’s Ordinary World, Palette Town, The Kokiri Forest, the sleepy little be-flowered village from whence our hero hails.

Long ago, in a far away land, there lived a young girl and her trusty canine companion.

I wrote this one (as I often do) using the free digital audio workstation LMMS and a fantastic (and free!) set of soundfonts provided by the St James Orchestra, which you can find on Zanderjaz. My biggest inspirations were Toby Fox (he is fantastic at creating a feeling!), Yasunori Nishiki, and the immortal Nobuo Uematsu.

Thanks so much for listening!

Categories
April Ducks Art Series

April Ducks 11-13

Did you miss them? Wait – don’t answer that. In the month of April, I challenged myself to draw as many ducks as I could. I ended up drawing a total of 22, and this is part of the slow duck rollout. I’m not sure when I’ll be out of ducks, but if it helps, we’ve now crossed the halfway point.

Even though they’re goofy, and not terribly well-crafted, they still make me happy.

Geo-duck, because I didn’t want to draw that unpleasant mollusc.

Sometimes artists put a lot of pressure on ourselves to make marketable work. When you make a living off of your creations, it can feel like an act of defiance to create something for the sole purpose of entertainment. And while of course I am just as much a fan of money as the next duck enthusiast, making these ducks felt.. important somehow.

“IT HAPPENED AGAIN! PSYYYAIYAAAI!”

I’ve been working on a few projects lately that have been important.. Learning challenging songs outside of my comfort zone for students, fulfilling commissions, completing a proposal for a PhD program that I may or may not be accepted into..

Flying! Get it? Because ducks have wings, why would he be flying a plane? Silly duck!

It makes me happy that I have the privilege to dedicate a little time to creating something silly for myself, something that I know has no possibility for failure.

Thanks so much for visiting!

Categories
Collaborations Music

Chuir Iad Mise Dh’eilean Leam Fhìn

With the pandemic being in full swing for over a year now, my Gaelic Choir hasn’t been meeting in person. But we’ve all been doing our best! We’ve been meeting via zoom to learn pieces, so that when we are able to meet in person again, we’ll have things to sing.

When lockdown first started here, I arranged a traditional Gàidhlig piece for 3 voices (SSA) that my dear friends and fellow choir mates, Naomi and Shay, were kind enough to lend me their voices to record!

We recorded our parts separately on audacity, but it seemed to work pretty well! I’ll let you read the translation while you listen if you like!

I’m the top voice, Naomi is the middle part, and Shay is the lowest part.

________________________________

They sent me to an island alone
An island of the sea, far from land

William likes our Anne
Ruairidh likes the cattle maid

They sent me to an island alone
An island of the sea, far from land

Allan likes the brown-haired woman
Ruairidh likes the cattle fold

They sent me to an island alone
An island of the sea, far from land

far, far, far from land

________________________________

This was a really fun arrangement to make, and it was fun to hear our voices together, even if we weren’t actually together. I’m hoping to write another arrangement soon, and maybe the three of us can even sing in person soon enough.

And don’t worry, more ducks are coming.

Thanks for listening!

Categories
April Ducks Art Series

April Ducks 7-10

Gosh, we sure are getting a lot of these ducks out of the way. Sort of. Now, I should give you a disclaimer: these are probably the worst ducks I’ve drawn in the series. It’s a shame that they’re all clumped together like this, but the other option was to present them non-chronologically, and I don’t think I could handle that.

Now that you’ve been warned, enjoy!

Long. It’s a duck that’s long. He’s got a long neck. He’s a long necked duck.

I feel like there were more creative ways that I could have handled these prompts, but hey. It was a busy week.

This next one I drew using my mouse, and I fear as though my mousepad may have interfered with the line quality. But I’ll let you be the judge…

Cat. Drawn with a mouse. GET IT?

Reminds me of when I’d go into office supply shops and draw silly animals on MSPaint. Did any of you do that?

I’d like to take this time to reiterate: I did not make these prompts!

By the time I had finished this last… piece… I had a smidge more time, and had worked out a relatively navigable system.

A fair warning, the final duck in this series is.. a bit peculiar, and perhaps a bit inappropriate for those with sensitive stomachs. I had to have lost you by this point, though! The final prompt in this set was “Duck With Arms”, and I think I may have budgeted all my creativity for this one.

You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

They’re so happy about it, though!

I know I promised 4 ducks in this post, but I believe I have proven that there are 5.

Because I’m one odd duck.

Thanks for visiting! Quack quack!

Categories
Music

Spectra

By now I figure you’re probably ready for a wee break from all the ducks, so here is the first piece I recorded using my Arturia Keylab 49 essential, named after her (her, being my keyboard, Spectra).

Short, I know, but I’m pretty happy with it!

I absolutely love this keyboard (even though I have a lot to learn on it), and even though it’s currently still a little easier to plunk notes in by hand on the piano roll, I know that won’t always be the case if I keep working with her.

The percussion is made entirely using Andrew Huang’s Canada Sample Pack, specifically the sounds of a toque, syrup cans, and jingling loonies and toonies. Thanks, Andrew Huang! *high five*

Thanks so much for listening. And for the anatidaephiliacs out there, just know they’re returning next week.

Thanks so much for listening, and for visiting. I’m glad you’re here. 🙂