Novembeat 2022 – Day 1

Two years ago, I wrote up a little blog post for Novembeat 2020 along with a little written vignette that a friend crafted for each song. Last year, I was set on putting out a coherent album of ambient music. As a result, I ended up spending a little more time on the music and video and didn’t have the energy to do write ups.

This year, I’m taking off the pressure to make an album, or at least a strong one. I may still collect all the tracks at the end and release them on Bandcamp. But, I’m not going to worry about a theme or even if the tracks are good. I’m going to make some beats, loops, jams, or whatever I can squeeze out in a given day. It will mostly be on hardware, but I will also do some software performances while out of town a couple weekends this month.

All that rambling aside, let’s talk about today’s track. The Roland MC-101 is an unsung hero among the recent grooveboxes. It doesn’t get a lot of sexy YouTube videos showing it off. At least not in the circles I follow. But, it does a lot. It’s a great sample player with a good amount of memory (about 12 minutes of audio per project). It has tons of effects (I’m a fan of Roland’s effects on this and the SP-404 mk2). And it has literally thousands of presets. With the latest firmware update, you can even create and edit your own sounds. Sure it requires a lot of menu diving. But it does a lot for such a little box.

I open this track with a drone that I created using the partial editor. There is some nice wobble to it with the analog parameter turned up and more wobble with the phonograph effect on it. The next sound that comes in is a tone made using the random tone generator. Just a minor of the drone’s root. The drum samples all come from Samplified sample sets (yay for stereo sample playback). Finally, the piano part is just a preset.

The spice/variety in the track comes from from using the scatter effects and also fading the tracks in and out, which I prefer in a lot of songs over muting/unmuting. Feels a bit more…"natural" isn’t the right word. Perhaps just less abrupt than unmuting can be.

And with that, Novembeat Day 1 is done. I hope to do all 30 days, but again, I’m trying to take the pressure off. So, I promise nothing…