that part of winter

This has been the sort of week where we went from 66 degrees to dangerously icy roads in two days. I really don’t mind another work-from-home day, especially since it didn’t come with a huge pile of snow to clear this time.

The still unnamed album is now in the mastering and figuring out the name phase. I will probably just default to the name of the first track, which also suggests some designs for the album art.

The mood of the album overall is more on the desolate side, although it’s not too unrelenting about it. There’s even a track named “Bleakest” — but it was named after an oscillator in VCV Rack that provided the heart of the drone. Though I’ve certainly had some days, I don’t really feel any more depressed than usual these last couple of months; this is just the music that came out of me. Music for the dead of winter after the festive season has passed.

A couple of things are on the way:

Fretwraps: these are like fancy hair scrunchies for the neck of an instrument, which you can slide back behind the nut or in front of it to gently mute any open strings. (Indeed some people have used scrunchies for this, but they’re not ideal.) This reduces their sympathetic vibrations when playing, without having to worry as much about muting them with your hands — especially helpful when tapping. I got the “Nik West Signature Edition” (purple and obnoxious bright green) for the Mikro, and “walnut” to match the U-bass. The U-bass has this issue a bit less, but it’s still there.

Foot controller: a used Line 6 FBV Express, which is an expression pedal and four configurable switches in a compact unit. With this I’ll be able to control stuff in Bitwig (and thus also the modular) while playing bass or synths — loopers and freezers, stepping through sequences, toggling stuff on or off, playing specific synth notes, or triggering whatever else. Volume swells and timbre shifts and whatever else I might normally do with a fader, but while my hands are busy with other things. There were a few different possibilities I could have gone for here, but this seemed the most cost-effective. It’s unlikely to save me from having to overdub to get more than a little synth with my bass on recordings, but it does expand possibilities. However, aside from this controller, I’m standing by my general resolve not to buy effects pedals, since software and modular can cover my effects needs.

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