economies of scale

Pretty sure it was the XBox controller firmware — it hasn’t crashed since I updated that. Whew.


I had a theme in mind for the next album project but I think that’s already been hijacked by another. I’d rather follow the actual inspiration than attempt to plan my inspiration, so that’s fine.

The first recording had this drone loop, and I arbitrarily set a couple of intervals to transpose it… and then later I wanted to match a part to those tunings and found a lucky near-match in 18EDO, so I went with that. I found it was kind of a neat scale to work with and to play on the Seaboard, so I wanted to explore it more and see where I could take that.

So the second track had a part sequenced on 0-Ctrl and quantized to 18EDO by Teletype, as well as another part played on the Seaboard — though I kind of twisted it by frequency-shifting the entire 1KHz-6KHz range and it sounds a bit like inharmonic FM.

After playing a bit with Scale Workshop and the Xenharmonic Wiki page on 18EDO, I had myself a set of Scala files I can use with Aalto (which doesn’t respect the Bitwig Micro-Pitch tunings). I wound up accidentally coming up with a self-playing patch using an 18EDO enneatonic (9-note) scale, which is almost a complete song in itself — I’m thinking of adding a little improvisation on the bass, with a very small selection of notes…

The chromatic 12TET scale has a half step between each note; the usual scale modes alternate in different ways between whole and half steps. 18TET on the other hand consists of third-step intervals. What they have in common is the hexatonic whole-tone scale: C, D, E, F#, G# A#.

But that ennatonic 18EDO scale has intervals either in 4/3 steps or 1/3 steps, and it only shares C, E and G# in common with a 12TET chromatic scale. (An augmented triad, very melodramatic/mysterious…) So if I want to play the bass to fit this scale, that’s what I’ll have to stick to.

There can also be some fun in having clashing scales and tuning systems though, so we’ll see what actually happens.

I could also do this on the fretless bass uke and try to work out where those third-step intervals are rather than using the marked fret locations… that might be a little advanced for me yet though.


So that’s a lot of words about the tuning system, but how about the timbre and overall feel? I’ve found myself accidentally taking some inspiration from the book I’ve just finished, Stephen Baxter’s Proxima. Which I think was a flawed story in several ways, which I don’t want to stay up all night laying out. But it also had some cool stuff going on, some pretty creative alien life, and that sort of mysterious landscape thing is working in my subconscious.

I also just watched the Annihilation movie this evening. It diverges quite a lot from the book (which I do not want to spoil for anyone here, whether you have or haven’t seen the movie) and the weirdness it gets into is completely different from the book’s weirdness, and there’s an obvious guy-in-a-suit special effect that looks more like a cheaply produced early 90s music video than the rest of the psychedelic spectacles we’re treated to, so one might say, it was flawed too. But also tense, and entertaining, and also dealing with mysterious landscape stuff. So that might end up feeding into the same pool of inspiration, we’ll see.

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