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.
A quick SDS today with a pair of recordings that double as both sound and game design. It’s awesomely satisfying that tweaking parameters that dictate player flow/narrative progression are so intrinsically connected to sound design. It really is a two way street in terms of development too, with musical goals affecting design and vice versa.
The Pad Synth is going through more changes as we develop a clear plan for voices and polyphony. I was taking a look at how these sounds evolve in the space:
And another puzzle design tweak, tuning puzzle difficulty (with the global tempo down at around 20bpm) – producing some super downtempo fun (reminds me a bit of Freescha)
This week’s music Monday is from this decade, and what a wonderful track (and album) it is. It’s no secret that Disney’s Tron is a big influence on FRACT, and I Play Video Games Better Than Anybody by Mogi Grumbles is just one track from an entire album inspired by that film as well! What Mogi Grumbles has done here is write an entire re-score to the original 1982 film, and the album really needs to be listened to in it’s entirety. The whole album is universally awesome, with a thick, gritty electro feel and some solid hiphop aspects in there as well. I had a lot of trouble picking just one track, but I Play Video Games Better Than Anybody really showcases the wall-of-electro-sound that Mogi does so well.
Howdy all – this weekend we’re pretty busy putting a build together for this year’s IGF submission, so here’s a quick SDS. This clip is a test of some of the ambient sounds in game – woohoo, keepin’ it creepy. What do you guys think?
In keeping with the trend of sharing older and older pieces of electronic music, today’s post focusses on Lixiviation, a track from the 70’s by the awesome Synthesist Suzanne Ciani. I only discovered her epic work this past year (thanks Travis & Doug) in a recently released collection of her work including some really cool commercial work (for Atari, Coke, Discover and more) alongside some really stunning personal compositions. Lixiviation, with it’s delightful arpeggios and vast spaces really jives with the feel of FRACT. Also worth checking out is a later track on this release, Second Breath. Next week, something new, promise!
Also, check out this amazing sequence with Suzanne on one of my favorite childhood shows 3-2-1 Contact:
We’ve been focusing a lot on sound in the world lately, but these changes affect the studio too (which until recently has been collecting a bit of dust). All last week we were kicking the tires in there and plugging in a lot of the good new stuff.
My Old-School Non-Diegetic Synth Shaping Tools
Plugging in the synths (minus modulation controls), and checking sequencing and tempo control – seems to work
With the modulation controls it’s easy to make a mess of the synths, and equally easy to fix them: