Yumi and the Nightmare Painter crossed some kind of threshold and I’m very much into it now. It’s got some of the hilarity and sweetness of Tress of the Emerald Sea, but with different flavors. Some pretty clever puns that ambushed me, a fun pair of magic systems based on art, and a great weirdo character (different from the now fairly familiar weirdo world-hopping narrator/artist/trickster).
TVTropes probably has a name for a character that doesn’t quite fit in — an alien or spirit or other fish-out-of-water type who knows a lot more than they let on, but isn’t very good at pretending to be a normal human, and is kind of random and goofy. They are simultaneously endearing to the reader, exasperating (although possibly also endearing) to other characters, and yet often they are also deeply alarming and disquieting. They often have a combination of childlike innocence and deep insight and the questioning of aspects of humanity and society that we take for granted.
I love those sorts of characters.
This evening after work I managed to record two more tracks for the next album. The first one was just sort of a normal process. I had a couple of looped samples of some complex modulated Euclidean rhythms already recorded from a previous session of messing around, extracted gates from one of them with an envelope follower and comparator in Bitwig Grid, used those to trigger Rings, and ring-modulated the sample against Rings. (Blah blah Rings always sounds the same blah blah snort.) Added a drone from Odessa through Beads and Koszalin to it, and then added a second layer where I used jroo Loop with modulated rate as a crude and wobbly means of detuning. Added a lead part with Akemie’s Castle through the WitchBrute, played from 0-Coast. It all flowed nicely and I was pleased.
The second one wasn’t going to be a recording… just an experiment to answer a question on a forum. But it led to a bit further tinkering, which led to a little more, and the next thing I knew I had a lovely drone going, with about seven different controls I could fruitfully tweak to vary the timbre and chord. It was Shapeshifter being phase-modulated in Mimeophon by the other Shapeshifter oscillator, with some tweaking and cross-modulation between them, feeding into Spectraphon. A touch of Raum on the result. Very rich raw material to work with. I just let it drone, modulated Shifter’s Osc1 with a random LFO from Clep Diaz, turned some knobs and zoned out. Lovely.
Before I did my Shapeshifter study, I usually kept the module in the Basic1 wavetable all the time. Afterward, I usually keep it in Harmo3 all the time. Very simple additive harmonics, going into some kind of distortion, and/or used as a carrier and/or modulator, is really fertile ground as far as I’m concerned — and it’s something I’ve been doing quite a lot of over the years. Harmonic oscillators, drawbar organs, certain FM patches, Odessa with the partials set low. Spectraphon too now. Rings, to some extent, is in this neighborhood. It’s related to my fascination with FM and wavefolding and their relationship.
Music of the spheres, I guess — simple harmonic motion. It’s all circles, sine waves, or masses and springs, pendulums, etc.