Saturday, 31 January 2009

I went google searching for some plug-ins today.

When I first started migrating my recording set-up from the VS-880 to the computer, I did a lot of work in a very early version of MetaSynth. Some of the features I used most in that program were the wave shaping and convolution effects. When I upgraded from OS 9 to OS X, my old version of MetaSynth didn’t work anymore, not even when I booted in Classic.

Now, I feel like I’m really missing the capabilities of that platform. I have plundered the freeware plugins clearinghouses again and again, looking for something that might approximate the wave shaper and easy convolution of that early version of MetaSynth and I always come up with less than I was hoping for. Going forward has pushed me backwards.

Sadly, the current version of MetaSynth is 500 bucks, and although I’m sure it’s worth every penny, I’ve never been able to easily spend that kind of money on my studio. I am very frugal when it comes to music equipment. I know that if I won the lottery or something, I’d probably spend a good amount on music stuff, but on the other hand, I really don’t feel like I need much of anything that I don’t already have. In fact, I kind of always have thrived on working with the limitations of musical equipment that’s less than state-of-the-art. Having forced limitations is actually pretty inspiring.

Today’s search for plugins again did not yield anything that works (SonicBirth’s several convolution builds tend to crash my audio editor, if not the whole computer).

While looking for one thing, however, I found something else: a very nice little freeware VST synth that has one slightly adjustable “ping” sound that’s tuned to Just Intonation. Playing around with that little synth was pretty inspiring, and I completed one new song with it.

I do sometimes feel… I dunno… claustrophobic? with the Western scale. This is part of why I don’t make a lot of music with melody. Using Just intonation is a kind of limitation too, you can’t naturally make a melody that sounds “right” to ears that grew up listening to classic rock radio stations. The difference between how limiting this makes me feel and the extent to which this new convention frees me up is blurry.

Lately, I feel inspired. Most of my inspiration is directed towards conceiving physical objects that make noise, in this case variants on gongs and chimes… and automatons that are above my technical expertise.

I also have pushed ahead with making some new music, even if my current efforts with mixing and mastering are not complete.

The sound areas I feel like exploring these days are divergent, one the one hand, I feel like making some pretty / calming music with actual tones / melody… and on the other hand I am drawn toward noisy / electro-acoustic / musique concrete stuff.

If there were, in theory, to be someone who were really interested in my music, I would have to think it’d be a frustrating interest… since I can not stay mired in one genre. A listener to my music, if there were to ever be one, would have to be accepting of each available album sounding quite different from the last.


  1. Here’s something that I came across that allows you to create alternative scales to play around with:

    I’ve also found that Antares Autotune (when properly abused) can be made to “force” music into other scales.

    Posted by CP McDill | February 1, 2009 10:35 pm
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