Friday, April 8, 2011

The Secret Word Is Artichoke

Another Saturday went by without a 2DC round, but the night was not devoid of creativity from members the community. ThaSauce staff were preoccupied with a livestream deep-frying event involving pancake batter, toasted bread, a bacon weave and many layers of cheese. Ramaniscence, starla and Fusion2004 were the prominent figures in the video stream, while Dyne joined the chat at the livestream page. On more than one occasion the broadcast suffered from connection issues, prompting Fusion2004 to ask viewers to type out "artichoke" to verify whether the show was still streaming.

Sunday marked the start of a new ORC round, this time featuring a source tune written by Gario. He deservedly got first place over my own entry in ORC139, and I was quite delighted to hear what he had submitted for the new round, ORC140. By Gario's own admission, his composition "Sweet Contemplation" is an old file of his that contains occasional issues with note cutoffs. The tune on the whole sounds quite sweeping and grand to me, especially for a MIDI. At least two regulars of Compo:ThaSauce expressed interest in remixing the material, to the point where one dared the other to do so.

On Monday I had the chance to mingle with musicians and music fans alike at a real-life venue. The Niagara Bar in Manhattan was host to a chip music show that night, and there I met up with friends and extolled the virtues of SolidComposer. One of the observations I stumbled upon during a conversation was how comparable a compo is to an open mic event. There is no pressure regarding the quality of the musicians' output in both cases, and many people take the opportunity to try out new material and get feedback on their technique. Both provide an eager audience, which is something I actively seek out when I work on music.

Tuesday was yet again a JHCompo night, and that round turned out to be JHC's largest attendance yet. Unfortunately the submission stage that night was accidentally set to end five minutes earlier than usual, catching me off guard when I was finishing my track. I hastily reopened the stage partway into the first song of the listening party, and this caused minor site bugs to reverberate for the entrants. My own entry started off as a riff I hummed to myself, quickly recorded as a voice memo so as to not forget it whilst I gathered participants for the compo round.

On Wednesday I discovered that my Sonic the Hedgehog arrangement "Finality" had reached the judges panel at OC ReMix. This marks the first time a track of mine had made it that far. "Finality" was collaboration between myself and Cyril the Wolf for my conceptual remix album Hedgehog Hysteria. Prior to this, I had created the song as a solo effort for a JHCompo round, though JHC was known by another name at the time. Cyril graciously provided vocals for my lyrics, and in doing so made slight revisions in the vocal melody and harmony. I still believe his contribution is what makes the song vastly improved over my original compo demo.

"Artichoke" came up as a subject again as I jokingly suggested it as a theme for Thursday's OHC. Prior to the start of that night's round, starla quickly weighed the possibility of an image of a hotdog being a theme before settling on "The Deep Blue Ocean". For my entry I used a synth VST that had recently been released, Tyrell Nexus 6. The virtual instrument had been mentioned in an IRC chat earlier that morning, sparking my interest. To reflect the sea-related theme I applied delay to the melody and reverb to the rhythm chords, as well as an additional filter on the master track to gradually muffle the sound before fading out. One listener had an interesting interpretation of the end of my track: "whale is going under the water again". Now that I think about it, I can almost see the fin slipping into the ocean myself.

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