MATRIXSYNTH: Back To The Unknown - A Berlin School Experiment (Blofeld, Specular Tempus)

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Back To The Unknown - A Berlin School Experiment (Blofeld, Specular Tempus)

Lanthan O'Ide

"A track written by a student of mine: My computer!
Yes, I've written an experimental program that let's my pc compose it's own sequences and chord progressions, and even improvise a bit. The result is a Berlin School track, and I'm just tweaking knobs because I felt like doing so.
Anyways, I hope you enjoy this little experiment! ^^
If you'd like to jam along:
The key is C# minor, and the BPM should be 110.
About the background of this project:

You may be wondering, what's the point of teaching a machine to make music?
Is this supposed to replace human musicians?

No. Here's my point:

I've grown tired of people telling me — and themselves — that they'd love to make music, but are "just not creative enough".
Because a) it's wrong, and b) by telling themselves that they can't do it, they deny themselves the joys of creating music.
But how do I prove it's wrong?

Well, take a computer. It may be very smart, but it's objectively as creative as a potato.
So if I can teach a computer to write it's own music... Doesn't that prove that there's no such thing as "not being creative enough to make music"?
You're welcome. Now stop not believing in yourself, folks!
How everything is wired:
BeatStep Pro ⇒ (And then a miracle occurs) ⇒ Blofeld ⇒ Specular Tempus

The BSP does not actually do much, I'm just using its toggle buttons to start / stop sequences.
The Blofeld plays both the sequence and the pads, it's running in multitimbral mode.
All the audio is routed through the Specular Tempus for some reverb.
How the computer came up with this:

At first, a sequence is generated at random, with the following rules:
1. The sequence is 8 steps long.
2. Every step is set at random either to an C#4, F#4, G#4, B4 or C#5.
3. A step must not be set to the same note as the previous or next step.

Then the sequence is played two times.
Afterwards, one of the 8 steps may be chosen at random and its note be changed.
Again, rule 2 and 3 have to be followed.
Then the sequence is again played two times, is changed again, and so on.

But where does the chord progression come from?
Well, it's the same algorithm, but slightly different:
1. The sequence is 4 steps long.
2. The notes are not eighth notes as before, but last for 4 bars.

Then, these notes are given to my DIY chordizer, the 'Arclight', which uses them as root notes for full chords. And in the end, everything is sent to the Blofeld.
A goodie for those reading the description:

Maybe you think, 'wait a minute, Lanthan, you Matt Lowne imitating madman, didn't you do this before?'.
Very perceptive, dear viewer! :)
Yes, in the very first days of this channel I've indeed taught a microcontroller to do this.
But this time, I've written that code into a VST plugin, so it fits nicely in my DAW, is tempo-synced, and I can implement all sorts of parameters without having to solder!
Oh, and I can share it with others over the internet.

So yeah. You can get this experimental 'Unknown' sequencer on my website.
In case you'd like to try it for yourself! ^^
By the way, the song may be in the key of C# minor,
but the program was actually written in C++!

...ok, I'll see myself out.


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