I’ve been reading Brian Greene’s Until the End of Time, which sounds like it could be pretty much any fiction genre but is nonfiction. It’s gone from entropy to the formation of stars, heavier elements, the organization of molecules, life and its possible origins, consciousness, storytelling, and religion so far. A lot of it is in service of confronting not just individual mortality, not just an eventual end to our species, but to thought itself — and appreciating the wonder of the moment, whether the moment is a personal “right now” or the universal “this period when consciousness exists.” The sightseeing along the way is pretty breathtaking too.
It amused me to be reading it when the final episode of Loki Season 1, “For All Time, Always” hit. It wasn’t perfect, but was highly entertaining, more philosophically fascinating than most MCU material, and I liked the particular villain once we finally met them. It may have been the best of the three Disney+ MCU TV series so far, though I did like WandaVision quite a lot too.
And I guess it’s as good a time as any to announce that my next album is now in the mastering phase, and will be tentatively be called Pulse Code. It has a steady 49 BPM tempo throughout, never falling away to a pure drone. Why 49? It sounded good, matches my age, and as a square it’s maybe a little more interesting than 48 or 50. 😉 The rhythmic values vary though; it’s not a relentless beat every 1.232 seconds the entire time. I’m curious to see how it feels once it’s all put together.
My plan right now is, after assembling it into a continuous mix, I’ll break it apart into individual tracks again with the expectation of seamless playback. While there’s some overlap between tracks, the distinct beats make for generally clearer transitions than my last few releases. But I may also include the continuous mix in the download as well, so people can pick their poison.
Thursdays’ infrared massage bed was mostly very pleasant, with just a little “ugh why are you doing that, robot” and a bit more “you could just stay on that spot for the next ten minutes.” But the only deep tissue massage I’ve gotten from a live person was… grueling, and I’m not entirely sure it was as helpful. This actually had my back not hurting or feeling tense for several hours. By Sunday I had managed to tangle and jangle the wires in my back again, but I still feel more resilient, somehow. Anyway, I’d do it again and probably spring for the far IR sauna afterward too. Sitting in the heat isn’t a lot of fun but I have to admit, my muscles were very relaxed afterward, the last time I did it. And their setup has nice pleasant scenery and music, not just staring at the wooden walls for an hour.
Perhaps it was that, perhaps not, but Friday at work was much more tolerable than it had been. Today’s been okay too. Maybe from this point I’ll just be able to roll with it, or maybe the scope of things that people are expecting has simply slowed its expansion enough.
On the gear front, I think I’m moving on from the Verbos Harmonic Oscillator after all. It’s featured heavily in Pulse Code, but I’m feeling again like I have too many oscillators. The other superstars are all sitting on the bench fuming “put me in, coach!”
VHO has some mojo of its own, but honestly? I think I was better off with software implementations, where cleaner sines but phase modulation and waveshaping gave me more flexibility. And I only used those on occasion, so dedicating 36HP and a chunk o’budget to it is probably not my best choice.
Again, I don’t have any particular weak spots in the modular that need shoring up, so it’s a matter of fulfilling curiosity and looking for opportunities. Right now what I’m considering is Xaoc Zadar and/or Mannequins Just Friends, and Plancks 2.
Zadar is a vector-based, sort of wavetable-ish quad envelope generator. The shapes are presets, but can be warped and scaled, and a section can be designated as a sustain section. (The latter was something they argued with me about before release, because it would ruin their whole design vision, and then they realized it was a good idea after all and added it in a firmware update.) It can also repeat, like an LFO, and run at audio rate like an oscillator. And people mostly seem to love it. The one exception is people who don’t like menus, so… it remains to be seen how I’ll feel. But I should probably at least try it.
Just Friends is sort of super-Tides. 6 slope generators which can be envelopes, LFOs or oscillators, can be individually triggered/synced, and the rates are all ratios. It has a few alternate behaviors, including a polyphonic LPG-based mode, and a whole bunch of additional stuff that can be accessed via Teletype. It’s kind of surprising I’ve never tried it before. And in addition to all the modulation and audio it can do, people often use it as a harmonic oscillator 🙂 So maybe I should have chosen this all along.
Plancks is a micro version of Mutable Instruments Frames. Frames was pretty neat when I had it, but I mainly underutilized it as a mixer, attenuators and simple DC voltage knobs. I think in a smaller format, as long as I stay away from the hidden button combos for deeper configuration, it’ll be useful as an interpolating scanner/multi-way crossfader or to reshape modulation signals. And — something I didn’t really realize at the time — there is no shame in using a complex tool in simple ways when that’s what’s called for.