Free Music Friday: “Control Zone” Electronica Track and Video by Mark Mosher Performed on Theremin and AudioCube

Watch embedded video

One Man, One Theremin, One AudioCube :^) In this video I perform the original instrumental electronic music song "Control Zone" off of my album I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS which you can download name your price (enter $0 for FREE) on
http://markmosher.bandcamp.com/album/i-hear-your-signals. You can of course also buy my songs/albums on iTunes, Amazon MP3, LastFM, ReverbNation, Zune, and as Physical CDs.

Listener/Viewer Notes
markmosher_controlzone_teaser_01
This video is in HD and I captured the audio full fidelity right from my sound card so listen with some good headphones or on a good system and select HD for full-screen viewing. The video and audio were captured in one continuous take with no content edits.

Composer Notes
To fit the back-story of my album, I set out to compose a song that sounded a bit alien in origin. To liberate myself from my typical compositional instrument of the keyboard, I decided to compose and perform the textures and melodies using only spatial controllers. I this case I used a Moog Etherwave Theremin, and a Percussa AudioCube. Once I got going with this notion I really got using 6 dimension of spatial control to go “Hendrix” with the Theremin. The title of the song has many meanings, one of which should be obvious to Theremin fans.

Producer Notes 
I'm routing the Theremin analog signal into Ableton Live and then I convert the the signal from pitch-to-MIDI in real-time. This signal is routed to various virtual instruments hosted in Live. I then use a Percussa AudioCube in Sensor mode to add 4 additional dimensions of modulate in real-time. So 6 dimensions of spatial control. I'm changing the signal routing of the Theremin to route MIDI to different virtual instruments on the fly using the Novation Launchpad.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

Free Music Friday: "Dark Signals" Electronica Track and Video by Mark Mosher

Watch Embedded Video (I recommend watching in HD!)

 

"Dark Signals" is a song from my album I Hear Your Signals. This is an original dark electronica song with driving big beats, bit-crushed high-hats, a dash of ambient texture, and distorted synth leads. It's one of my favorite songs off the album and is becoming a crowd favorite at live shows.

In the spirit of Free Music Friday you can get this song, or the entire album over at http://markmosher.bandcamp.com name your price (enter $0 for FREE).

The song and video are Copyright 2010 Mark J. Mosher and are under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License.

Listener/Viewer Notes
markmosher_dark_signals_01

This video is in HD and I captured the audio full fidelity right from my sound card.  So I recommend you listen with some good headphones or on a good system. You can play full screen, and or stream to your home theater via Tivo, Apple TV.

The video and audio were captured in one continuous take with no content edits so you can here a few artifacts and – dare I say it – teeny mistakes here and there which I left in as it’s part of the “character” of live performance. The only editing is on the video side where I added camera movement, camera mixing and visual effects.

Composer/Producer Notes
markmosher_dark_signals_04
The song is original and was composed and produced entirely Ableton Live 8 with virtual instruments and lots of native Live effects. I either played all the notes, hand programmed the notes, or played them live.

The song is peformed in Session view. I have all the scenes laid out so I can control the arrangement on the fly in session view. I’ve mapped a foot controller plugged into my Novation Remote SL MIDI mapped to “Scene Launch” leaving my hands free to play and configure the Tenori-On function on the fly while advancing the arrangement. This also means I’m not locked in and can change the arrangement or extend scenes if I like.

It’s a little hard to see, but when I’m playing keys, I’m riding the modulation wheel to add grit. I’ve also use after touch to add distortion like effects.

The Moog Etherwave Theremin signal is converted from pitch-to-MIDI using a VSTand is driving a textural pad from a virtual synth.

At the 1:42 mark I’m playing lead using Tenori-On matrix controller sending MIDI notes to a virtual synth running in Live. I also use a different “layer” in the Tenori-On to play the nasty metalic pad sound.

markmosher_dark_signals_02

The blinking cubes are Percuss AudioCubes. Normally I use these as controllers, but in this song they are light sources which I programed and control using RGB MIDI clips from live.

I created a copy of this set for performance and then froze and flattened tracks with virtual instruments that were either not being played live or were not being modulated live. As a result, I got my set load time down to about 6 seconds and my CPU load down to around 10-20% peaking at around 25% even though I’m playing some VSTs live.

Enjoy,

Mark Mosher, Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
www.ModulateThis.com
www.MarkMosherMusic.com

Percussa AudioCube Production and Performance Notes for “I Hear Your Signals”

<a href="http://www.markmoshermusic.com&quot; markmosher_rehearsing_01 

For my original music album “I Hear Your Signals” (download the album free) I use Percussa Audiocubes as performance controllers. In this post I’ll give you all the geeky details about how the controllers were applied in the project.

AUDIOCUBES AND MIDIBRIDGE
I used 4 AudioCubes plus Percussa’s free MIDIbridge app on Windows to configure and route AudioCube signals to Ableton Live. I use the same MIDIbridge patch for every song which allows for consistent and predictable data mapping from the cubes to Ableton Live.

In general, I play a lot of the notes on you hear on the album via keyboards, Theremin and Tenori-On live. I tend to use the cubes as controllers, for scene launching, and for real-time modulation of effects and synth parameters and only use them for triggering notes from time to time.

CUBE CONFIGURATION
The AudioCubes are configured with the in the following modes:

  • Cube 1 – Sensor (the red cube at 9:00 in the picture above): This cube sends MIDI CC information back to Live. I configure each side of  cube to give me visual feedback where each cube face is set to a different color. The closer my finger or hand is to the sensor, the brighter the light. Currently, Sensor cubes need to be wired via USB.
  • Cubes 2 & 3 Receivers (white cubes in above picture): Sends MIDI notes back to Live when a signal is received from Cube 4. image I also send RGB MIDI light sequence via MIDI clips in Ableton. The cubes then become light show elements and also offer visual feedback. These cubes are also plugged in via USB so they can receive high-speed transmissions via MIDI clips.
  • Cube 4 – Transmitter (green in the picture above): This cube is wireless. Aligning the faces of this cub with the faces on cubes 2 & 3 triggers MIDI notes back to Ableton Live.

MIDIBRIDGE AND ABLETON CONFIGURATION
I then MIDI map MIDI CC data and Note information coming from cubes via Ableton Live MIDI Map mode to various functions within live.
For cube 1, CC’s are mapped to device parameters and macros. These in-turn are often routed to parameters within VSTs. For example, a cube face might modulate delay time with Ableton’s native Ping Pong Delay FX device. Or the CC might map to filter on a VST synth. Below is a snapshot of the MIDIBridge settings for Cube 1 (click to enlarge).

markmosher_audio_cube_config_cube1

For Cubes 2 & 3, notes are triggered when the face from the transmitter Cube 4 is detected. I route notes to either MIDI tracks holding Ableton instruments or VSTs and/or racks. In some cases I route MIDI notes through a dummy track back to SugarBytes Artillery II running in a send or on the master track for effects. Since effects are triggered via notes rather than CCs with Artillery II, this method allows me to control effects as well as playing notes with signals from Transmitter cubes which only send MIDI note information. In other words, by combining native Ableton effects with Artillery II, I can use any cube in the network to trigger effects.

CUBE USAGE FOR EACH SONG

1) “Arrival”

In this song I’m using AudioCubes as lighting and feedback elements in the live show. They were not used in composition or performance of the music. MIDI clips in Live are used to sequence the lights.

Read more

:I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS" Announcement, Download Links, Fun Facts, Listening tips

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After eight months of work, I'm  very excited to announce that my latest album I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS is now available as a digital download.

LISTEN/DOWNLOAD/BUY

  1. BandCamp – available “name your price”. To download for FREE click the “Buy Now” Button and enter $0. I recommend downloading the album from here as you'll get a 4-panel digital booklet containing original photos and art and liner notes.
  2. I iTunes

  3. Amazon MP3
  4. ReverbNation

FUN FACTS

  1. The album contains 8 original songs composed and produced completely in the digital realm using state-of-the-art virtual synthesizers. Even the Theremin analog signal was converted back to digital so it could be used to drive virtual instruments.
  2. The album was composed and produced entirely on a laptop using Ableton Live 8 running Windows 7.
  3. The album was composed an arranged for live performance and was created using keyboards, matrix controllers, the exotic Theremin, and unique visual and tangible controllers such as the Tenori-On and Percussa AudioCubes. So, while I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS is a “studio album”, I rehearsed and could perform all the songs live prior to recording. For many songs, I recorded lead synth elements live in one pass (after rehearsing for many weeks). This gives the album a more live/ “jam-like” feel than my previous album. It also makes these songs great for live performance.
  4. A few songs like “Control Zone” are quite experimental and the notes and modulation of synth parameters was achieved with hand and finger movement in space and I never touched a physical key or button during recording.
  5. Some songs on the album are a retelling of some of the songs on REBOOT, but from a very different point of view. For example, “When Connected” is the same “story” as  REBOOT’s “Infected” but as viewed from the opposite point of view.
  6. While the songs are copyrighted, I’m making them available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 License so you podcasters, bloggers, and hobbyists can safely use the music in your productions as long as you offer an attribution. Drop me an email if you use a track so I can check out your work.
  7. The images in the digital booklet/liner notes are all original and based on photographs taken by me and my children. I did the graphic design work.

LISTENING TIPS

  1. Both the REBOOT and I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS are albums in the sense that the songs played in sequence tell a story. If you can spare the time, spin them the albums at least once in one sitting.
  2. If you don’t have time to listen to the whole album try and eke out 5 minutes and listen to each track without skipping. These are instrumental compositions and not dance floor tracks so they have a beginning, middle and end:^).
  3. A lot of work went into the mix and there are dynamics, sounds, positioning of sounds you’ll miss on computer speakers. So listen with with some nice headphones or on a nice system with a sub-woofer.

I hope you’ve found this information more entertaining and fun than a stuffy old press release.  Drop me an email or leave comments on this post and let me know which songs you like best!

Thanks again for your support and please tell your friends about I HEAR YOUR SIGNALS.

Mark Mosher
Electronic Musician, Boulder, CO
www.MarkMosherMusic.com