Today I’ve got some fixing/tidying on my plate. As I’m sure many of you are aware, it can be a bit of a stumble when you come back to something you haven’t worked on in a while. Today is a fine example of that, here is a ‘patch’ controlling one of the more complicated (at least behind the scenes) puzzles in the game.
It works not unlike a hybrid of a visual editing tool for logic/scripting AND a modular synth, as logic and signal-path are often one and the same in the world of FRACTOSC (kinda nuts huh?). Anyway, it took a while to re-wrap my head around this thing (despite the fact that it’s one of the better organized patches in the game).
A little twist on our m.i.a. monday music posts today, showcasing some really cool documentaries about electronic music history, instruments and tools.
First up is a short and awesome audio documentary by Nate Harrison that I had seen quite a few years ago. It takes a really awesome look at what might be one of the most ubiquitous samples to not only be used in electronic music, but define several entire genres. This documentary which investigates the Amen Break inspired me to produce a series of projects during my undergrad which explored semiotic systems and how they pertain to visual and auditory language, thanks Nate!
It was while re-watching the above doc over the holidays that I discovered Nate Harrison’s awesome doc on the Roland 303. The 303 was hugely influential on electronic music, again trends (to this day), and defining genres (ACID, yay!)
Another doc I stumbled onto over the holidays was The Shape of Things That Hum, a gear-centric program that spans quite a few iconic tools and instruments including the Fairlight Synth, the akai MPC sampler(s), the iconic Roland 808, and Yamaha DX7 among others. It’s also packed with interviews from the era(s), shedding light and strong opinions about these iconic bits of gear. It’s not in the same league as Harrison’s documentaries, but definitely cool.
Any other programs/documentaries that have picqued your curiosity over the years?
Hope everyone managed to a nice break over the holidays. Ours was very busy and non-FRACTian but we’re getting back into the swing of things over here. Some interesting updates coming soon so keep checking in. In the meantime here’s a quick timelapse showing some of the development of the assets seen in the teaser trailer
We’ve been working really hard on nailing down the musical mechanics of the core in-game puzzles for quite a while, while simultaneously evolving the tools to control our sound/synth engine (well, Henk has :). We’re at a point where a lot of the tech and mechanics are far enough along that we can start looking at another musical aspect of the game; reactive systems.
I’ll go into more detail shortly (I wanted to post a video so you guys could see what’s making this sound) – hopefully later this week. Here’s a short snippet in the meantime – we are all super excited at the potential of this stuff, and are really happy to be getting it in the world!
Everyone has to contribute aboard the Phosfiend Frigate, babies included!
Two quick little clips of our daughter Zoe at around 4 and 5 months old playing with one of her favourite new toys, a midi controller hooked up to some big noisy VST synths. She’s basically claimed the midi controller as her own, and it now spends more time among her toys then in my office! FM8 is a definite preference, but the simple Analog vst in Ableton gets her going too. She gave DIVA and Cyclop a whirl as well, but she’s not quite sure on them yet :)
I’ll see if I can get her designing patches by age 5.
Another Synthspiration post this week (looks like the other one disappeared somehow) looking at a synth I’ve had for a long time. I’ve had plenty of modest gear come and go, but my Yamaha CS-15 has been with me for roughly a decade. It’s a really cool and kind of quirky synth that has helped me better understand subtractive synthesis but still has a enough interesting features to surprise me again and again.
Being monophonic and with only two oscillators it might seem pretty limiting, but the groovy Yamaha engineers that designed this thing in 70’s included a lot of really interesting routing options for a standalone synth. Coupled with a pair of pretty unique sounding multimode filters and two very flexible ADSR envelopes, this little synth can churn out some fun sounds.
Not only has this synth been a major source of inspiration (for narrative, UI and sound design) but it also makes quite a few cameos in FRACTOSC as well:
The Yamaha CS series synths have been used by a lot of well known Electronic musicians from Vangelis (the epic CS-80) to Aphex Twin (the ‘baby’ CS-5). In fact, it was Aphex Twin’s CS-5 that after being sold at a Vemia auction was borrowed by Solvent, an awesome Canadian electronic musician and true synth nut. He even produced an entire EP with that very Yamaha CS-5 (the little brother to my CS-15). Check it out, it’s amazing:
A great interview with Aliceffekt/Devine Lu Linvega/David about his (very inspiring) process, his inspirations and even a little bit about FRACT. Check it out on Unlimited Hyperbole or give it a listen right here:
We’ve been using a lot of placeholder information design, iconography and UI design in the game – and today Quynh and I finally had time to start moving towards a cohesive structure for how these things are going to look and work. We want to reference real-world synth tools, but keep it fresh and distinct in the FRACT universe/lore. Here’s an early peek.