Noise Annoys

I’ve been spending time tied down by my sequencer this weekend in the vain hope of being able to actually create a breakbeat of some sort that’s not uniformly shite. This is mainly in response to this post by Alex Buga describing the new Maschine by Native Instruments. Ever since Guitar Rig 2 allowed me to plug my guitar into my mac without any latency problems, I’ve been a big fan of NI, not least because Guitar Rig has meant I can throw away the 20 or so odd bits of guitar paraphenalia I’ve had cluttering up the front room and replace them with one nifty foot control. It even makes my guitar sound good.

Anyway, Maschine is a really cool looking ‘groove production studio’, which means it handles samples, sequencing and a bunch of other stuff, but I figured before I simply splashed out, a decision based solely on the ‘new and shiney’ qualities Maschine possesses, I really should actually try creating some beats or sequences using the stuff I already have. If only so I know that Maschine will make it all better later.

So I smash out some distorted concrete guitar noise and spend a bit of time getting to know Logic by putting a nice bassline on it. The bassline being inspired by John Carpenter’s music for Assault on Precinct 13, which aside from being a great ’70s movie (think crazed ASBO gang attack police station, no survivors) is featured on the back of the 7-inch sleeve of Killing Joke’s excellent Pssyche single. However the bassline isn’t quite right, so I have to mash it up with a certain amount (a lot) of Bitcrushing.

The result –‘John Carpenter Noise’

But that wasn’t really doing much on a sequencing level. So I started playing around on the built in Ultrabeat drum/sampler sequencer that’s built into Logic. The great thing here is that it comes with a whole load of rhythms and kits built in and a nifty little sequencer that’s really simple to use. And I’m playing around with this and I discover that you can drag the sequences from Ultrabeat on to ANY other midi controlled instrument. So a pattern that was originally for a hip hop kit can be dragged onto a saxophone instrument and the saxophone plays that pattern. This is great not just because the Ultrabeat sequencer is easier to manipulate than the normal Logic one, but because the rhythm patterns don’t bear any resemblance to melodies. And the most bizarre thing is that they actually end up sounding really neat, kind of like early 808 State.

I’m calling the result – ‘After Cubik by 808 State’

Now after an entire weekend of sequencing, I still don’t think I can entirely justify the £600 plus for Maschine quite yet. But a few more weeks and I may just have to get one….

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