stepped in it

There was an internet thread. People were overreacting to something. I didn’t stay out of it. I should have.

I just wish people would have some basic fucking respect for other human beings. As a former game developer, I got really tired of being called lazy, greedy, stupid, and evil — and getting death threats — because I wasn’t satisfying whatever whim an individual gamer had. Maybe we changed the balance of something. Maybe we expected to be paid for our work, or expected to be able to sleep sometime and not dedicate 100% of our existence to someone else’s entertainment. Maybe we prioritized one project over another one. Maybe we introduced a new feature instead of fixing a bug, or maybe we fixed a bug instead of introducing some new feature. It doesn’t matter, the response was always the same: we were evil lazy greedy scum and they hoped we’d die.

It took a surprisingly long time to go from “not all gamers are terrible” to “I play games, I’ve made games, I grew up with games, I was inspired by games but I will not call myself a ‘gamer’ anymore.”

It’s sad to see the same thing with musicians. Somebody makes a pricing decision you don’t like? Offers something as a subscription rather than a one-time purchase? Releases a piece of software for PC without Mac, Mac without PC, PC and Mac without Linux? Announces a product far in advance? Teases a product? Doesn’t build enough of them fast enough to satisfy the market? You guessed it: lazy, stupid, evil, greedy, deceptive…

It’s tiring.

But I guess I shouldn’t have bothered to speak up, because that just gets the same unreasonable assholes directing their spew in my direction. I’m apparently “smoking something” and “lack comprehension” and am “a company shill” (even if in every post I also said the subscription was a bad idea; I simply dared to call it an unwise choice rather than an intentionally devious one).

I don’t personally know anyone at that company, and I really don’t care about that particular product. But I’m a software developer myself, and I know some music gear makers who are great people. I’m also a human being and understand what compassion and understanding are, and not immediately assuming the absolute worst about people. I just thought those other musicians might also be human beings with feelings beyond just anger and distrust. Sigh.


The SSD I bought arrived a little early, and I got it installed and cloned and booting in less than an hour total. The biggest delay was probably cleaning out accumulated dust and finding the second M2 slot on my motherboard (it was behind a weird psuedo-heatsink thing).

Samsung Magician cloned my drive in less than 30 minutes, and also automatically expanded the partition without even needing to ask for it. Getting it to recognize the new drive as C: and boot from it was just a configuration in the BIOS, no need to switch the chips around. So smooth.

5 songs recorded for the next album. #5 had lots of drum stuff going on — mostly weird stuff with a bit of industrial flavor to it, and a bassline that is, dare I say, a little bit funky. It’s like I’m coming full circle in a way I never expected.

Part of that is coming from experimenting with sequencing options. Over the past few days I have tried:

  • Midinous. Only available on Steam, and that means having to run Steam while it’s in use, which I normally close while working on music. It’s a standalone MIDI sequencer where you drop points on (or off) of a grid, and connect them with paths. The length of the paths determines rhythm, and the points determine the MIDI messages (notes, CC etc.) that are sent. You can have a path that branches to multiple points simultaneously, randomly or in round-robin fashion, and insert logic gates as well. It’s pretty creative, but it also felt kind of fiddly to me and I don’t really seem myself wanting to work in that way.
  • Seqund. This is a monophonic step sequencer with separate lanes for various note parameters — gate, velocity, two pitches (and a probability-based lane to choose between them), octave and note transposition, MIDI CCs etc. Each lane can be a different length, giving it a polyrhtyhmic and somewhat modular feel (in real modular you could also clock every lane independently, although you do have the choice here to clock every other lane either from Gate or the master clock). It’s fun to work with, and well suited to plugins like Basimilus Iteritas where sequencing a few parameters opens up a whole linear drumming experience. I used the demo to record a looped section, and I expect I will buy the full version.
  • Riffer. This is a bit more like a piano roll sequencer, with some random generation abilities. Not super thrilling to me — except that there are four of them simultaneously, which can run at different clock divisions and lengths and can be transposed and muted live (as well as edited live in the plugin itself). The result can be quite nice for Berlin School polyphonic sequences. I’m thinking about picking it up too, especially if it goes on sale.
  • HY-ESG. A free Euclidean trance gate — it uses Euclidean rhythms to fire off envelope gates that are applied to the sound passing through it. This isn’t super exciting for drone parts, but using it for accents on already existing rhythmic sequences, or placed inside Bitwig Split effects it can be pretty fun. Combined with MAGC, which tries to bring the level to match what it was at some previous point in the effects chain, even more so.
  • More techniques that combine Bitwig Grid, Bitwig modulators, and hardware. Step and gate sequences, selectively muting MIDI channels, switches, the Transport module under the LFO section, the Curve modulator, etc. Clocking Eurorack gear or Minibrute 2S with gate sequences. Using drones from hardware but envelope-controlled VCAs in Bitwig Grid to minimize latency.

But it’s not all gear-driven experimentation. I’m curious about these plugins and techniques because I’m more open to playing with sequencing (and percussion/rhythmic parts) now.

I’ve been reading the final “Secret Project” book from Brandon Sanderson — and reading it with a mistaken impression of who the main character actually is in previous Cosmere history — I could have sworn the character was called by that other person’s name. There’s been no small amount of confusion as a result. Some of the character’s thoughts and actions fit with what the other one might have been like after all the time that passed, and some was just confusing. Now that the “Big Reveal For Dummies” part has happened I kind of want to start over from the beginning.

Overall, it’s a bit less YA-ish and light than the other Secret Project books, though it’s still recognizably one of them. It’s a bit more like the rest of the Cosmere: a lot of grim desperation and trauma, a shadowy organization or two, a couple of big moments of glorious triumph.

One thing about Sanderson’s stories is that as the Cosmere progresses, there is more travel (significantly more at the time of this particular novel). Increasingly to know what’s going on you have to remember events, characters and magic systems from several different worlds. I liked it when the connections were looser and there were a very few worldhoppers and we didn’t really know what was going on with them. I’m not sure how well it’ll hold up when every page has a reference I need to go check a wiki for to jog my memory.