On a dare (of sorts) from my pal Brian to take some of last year's songs out into a live setting, I ended up playing at the following show the other week:

Lifelike Family Presents: Abstracted
@ Townshend's Tea
Portland OR

Saturday
March 7, 2015

Featuring:
- Exit Signs
- Temple Maps
- Cloud City Cars

And, furthermore, I recorded it! So if you missed this rare live Exit Signs performance, you may give a listen to the whole set here:

The live debut of a selection of tracks from last year's weekly song project, highlighting one song from each season and ending with a couple of new creations.

Set list:

1. Week One
2. Week Twenty-Five
3. Week Thirty-Nine
4. Week Forty-Eight
5. Week Two (Interlude / Remix)
6. Neverending

Brian Young of losingtoday.me was also kind enough to take some moody photos of the basement event:

This past weekend saw the release of Fall Phase, the final seasonal compilation of my weekly songs. Delayed a bit by the rush of the new year overtaking every precious spare moment, but now mastered and ready for your ears... free on BandCamp, of course!

'Twas a fun yet challenging project and - while I had the occasional delusion of continuing on the weekly release schedule indefinitely - I'm now looking forward to trying some new things. A few ideas involving remixes are in the works... so stay tuned, dear listeners.

The final seasonal album - Fall Phase - is coming soon, but in the meantime let's kick our feet up and relax for a bit with a look back on this year of so, so many songs:

We did it, folks. Fifty-two straight weeks in 2014, with fifty-two free songs for your ears. The fall season tends to be quite beautiful in the northwest, and its chilly days lend plenty of time for inspiring sessions in the studio; endlessly exploring new sounds to delight the ears. I did exactly that, and pressed through until the final days recording what I think are some fairly magical creations.

Let's take a look at some stats from this year's project:

- Total number of songs: 52
- Total duration of songs: 3 hours, 33 minutes, 12 seconds
- Average song length: 4 minutes and 6 seconds
- Shortest song: Week Forty-Seven at 2 minutes, 32 seconds
- Longest song: Week Eleven at 7 minutes, 15 seconds
- Most commonly used instrument: Native Instruments Maschine Studio drum software/controller
- Most commonly used effect: ValhallaDSP Room reverb
- Most inspiring instrument: Tie between the Psychic Modulation Phonec soft synth & the Korg MS-20 mini analog synth
- Most inspiring effect: Native Instruments / Tim Exile's The Finger Reaktor-based glitch processor

Thank you so much for following along throughout the year, and I hope you enjoy the resulting 4 albums worth of music!

And that's a wrap! So much for vacations… as this project ended up not skipping a single beat, resulting in 52 solid songs in as many weeks.

Nice.

What sort of new things did I try out for our finale? Let's take a look:

A unique melodic pattern coming from the Reaktor ensemble 'Molecular Music Box' - a free sequencer that follows a clever note-generation algorithm by the same name - triggering the Air Piano instrument, with effect sends routed to the ValhallaRoom reverb and Cubase's PingPongDelay.

Continuing our algorithmic experiment, the Axon Neuron Sequencer plays another melodic passage via its FM synth engine in the key of D, with its volume slowly automating in and out throughout the piece.

The gritty analog sound of the Retrologue synth with its filter cutoff and resonance modulating up and down, and its output passed through the FreqEcho's "Bode-style frequency shifter" and analog delay effects to form a psychedelic outro.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- Donald Phillips's Molecular Music Box Reaktor ensemble
- Boscomac Air Piano Reaktor instrument
- Audio Damage Axon synth/sequencer plug-in
- Native Instruments Maschine Studio
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaUberMod effect plug-in
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaFreqEcho effect plug-in
- Sugar Bytes Looperator effect plug-in
- 99 Sounds Clap Machine plug-in

Key: D Major
BPM: 93
Time Signature: 4/4

Only one more week to go!!!!!!!!!! Not that I want this year-long challenge to be over, per se, but I have to admit a break would be… nice. But still, let's try out some new cool things this time around:

Drums from a combination of Maschine's Funksta kit, Abbey Road 70s Tight Direct kit, Dusty Circuit kit, and a custom glitch kit - layered together with yet another snare loop effected by the KTGranulator, with extreme pitch and panning automation.

My Fernandes guitar recorded direct to Cubase and processed by its VST Amp Rack using a high wattage amp, Vox-style cab, and finally the ValhallaRoom reverb.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- KTGranulator effect plug-in
- Psychic Modulation Phonec synth plug-in
- Steinberg Retrologue synth plug-in
- Native Instruments Maschine Studio
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom effect plug-in

Key: F# Major
BPM: 94
Time Signature: 4/4

You know I love spending some quality time with a new audio effect, and this week caught me off guard with a new one from Sugar Bytes - one of the coolest developers out there. Let's get to work on these new sounds:

Maschine's Mighty Bassdrums kit programmed with a simple yet dense pattern, processed by a number of different Looperator effect presets and bounced down to 8 unique loops stringed together.

The haunting 'Symptoms' arpeggiating Phonec patch modulated by its warbling Circuit melt effect, and subtle volume and ValhallaRoom reverb automation throughout the arrangement.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- Sugar Bytes Looperator effect plug-in
- Steinberg Prologue synth plug-in
- Steinberg Retrologue synth plug-in
- Native Instruments Massive synth plug-in
- Psychic Modulation Phonec synth plug-in
- Native Instruments Maschine Studio
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom effect plug-in

Key: D Major
BPM: 134
Time Signature: 4/4

Back to one of those busy weeks again, with a 100 hour film race project on my plate, wherein I score a short film over the course of a few days. But before that weekend madness kicks off, let's get this week's song put together using these new elements:

Maschine's new arpeggiator feature triggering the Monark synth's '2Pranged' preset, played in via the Maschine Studio pads to form the groove for our initial verse.

A slightly off-kilter synth melody from the Reaktor Prism 'Partial Piano' patch processed by the ValhallaRoom Large Room engine.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- Native Instruments Prism synth plug-in
- Native Instruments Monark synth plug-in
- Psychic Modulation Phonec synth plug-in
- CamelAudio Alchemy synth plug-in
- Steinberg Retrologue synth plug-in
- Native Instruments Maschine Studio
- ValhallaDSP Room & Shimmer reverb plug-ins

Key: F# minor
BPM: 62
Time Signature: 4/4

There's something about going back to a normal week after a crazy one filled with planning, stressing, and plenty of sweating. It's nice to return to the studio with a clear head. The highlights of this one were:

Drums from Maschine with swing at 8%, starting out with a nice groove that suddenly switches to a half-time beat, layered with glitch noises generated in Ableton Live with the M4L Comber and Granular-To-Go effects.

A sparkling arpeggio from Phonec's 'Submarine' preset, triggered by Cubase's Arpache 5 MIDI insert processing chords I recorded live from my controller keyboard.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- Ers LazySnake electric piano plug-in
- Psychic Modulation Phonec synth plug-in
- iZotope BreakTweaker drum plug-in
- Native Instruments Maschine Studio
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom effect plug-in

Key: D Major
BPM: 83
Time Signature: 4/4

This week saw my efforts channeled equally (and oddly) to both playing a Pinscape show and - the following day - running live sound for Showgirls: The Musical at a local theater. Very different events - and rather strange, in their own rights - but each a fine addition to my musical resume.

So what did I come up with for inspiration in these hasty studio sessions for the ever-present weekly song? Some somber reflection, by way of:

Phonec's 'Harbors' preset processed by the built-in Cubase 'DaTube' saturator effect, followed by the ValhallaRoom reverb

A layering of both regular vocals and a second copy passed through the TAL-Vocoder 2, with its internal carrier controlled by MIDI notes and the synth set to about 35% portamento.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- Boscomac Air Piano Reaktor instrument
- Psychic Modulation Phonec synth plug-in
- TAL-Vocoder 2 effect plug-in
- Steinberg Retrologue synth plug-in
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom effect plug-in

Key: G Major
BPM: 99
Time Signature: 4/4

Still going strong over halfway through this final quarter, with the holiday season nearly upon us. Let's check out the sonic weapons that really inspired me for this week's song:

Absynth's 'Apportioned Piano' preset, adjusted to taste, and processed by the excessively-lush ValhallaRoom LV246 reverb mode.

The unique BreakTweaker drum sequencer/synth as heard through The Finger's 'Echoverbs' preset, controlled by MIDI notes and mod wheel automation.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol / Absynth plug-in
- Native Instruments The Finger Reaktor effect
- iZotope BreakTweaker drum plug-in
- WretchUp iOS app
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom effect plug-in

Key: B Major
BPM: 75
Time Signature: 6/8