Category: sonic arts

Flesh Fiddling

I recently purchased the Reaktor instrument Flesh after being impressed by the demo.

Flesh is a curious beast, it analyses the transient and spectral information of the samples you load into it and then processes them through different audio engines to produce loops, bass lines and chords.

You can load up to 12 samples at a time and can trigger them with a keyboard. You can also call up different harmony presets and sound settings from your keyboard too.

It’s a great inspiration aid, the only problem I have had with it is that you load it intending to add something to an existing piece but then you encounter an intriguing sound which you feel could be the start of the new track. So you start off a new project, tweak and then get drawn down into a new tangent. Very soon your hard drive starts to fill up with little fragments and doodles and you realise you’ve spent 5 hours in a tonal worm hole.

I think it’s recommended that you use fairly rhythmic samples to generate the best results but in my demo I wanted to demonstrate you can generate interesting results from non rhythmic sources – in this case audio clips of a guitar.


I like Flesh a lot but as the above video demonstrates I am only scratching the surface of it’s capabilities. I would recommend giving the demo a whirl. Although it is a Reaktor 6 instrument you don’t need to purchase Reaktor 6 to play it, the free Reaktor player will host it just fine.

Below is a tune I cobbled together using Flesh on an old Ultrabeat sample.


The Disquiet Junto is a weekly challenge posted from

You are given an assignment to make a piece of music within a 4 day deadline and usually with some sort of restriction or methodology applied. It’s been great over the years finding new ways of generating noise. One of the regular assignments is that the first challenge of the New Year is to record an ice cube swirling around a glass and to make something of it.


These are my submissions from over the year. Each year I’ve used the same sample but processed it in slightly different ways.

the first year I used Samplr to slow down the sample and fed it through Impaktor which led to the metallic dripping noise.

The second year Samplr was reused but WoW and iDensity were used for the other sounds.

Last year I used a numerology patch to generate an accompanying rhythm for the cube rattling.

Finally for this year I used the Reaktor ensemble Flesh to generate a beat, bass and pad accompaniment for the noise.

Interesting but obviously this guy has not heard Mike Tyson’s cover of “One Night in Bangkok”.

The Shape of Sound

More linkies to my Soundcloud. Singularity was a project set by the Disquiet Junto group to create a palindromic drone using no more than 5 samples from a selection of 20.
I took a didgeridoo sample and ran it through Paulstretch with a sliding, slowly accelerating stretch. It was mixed with copies with various internal effects applied such as pitch mixing and filtering.
On a side note Paulstretch is an amazing piece of software. I love it! It’s fascinating how slowing audio down to extreme levels produces some beautiful sounds and serendipitous sonic artefacts.
The resulting drone was overlaid with a bottle sample, raised an octave and run through a wah wah effect and a slide whistle sample lowered an octave. The project set a 5 day time limit which was a good incentive
to cobble something together without getting overly anal about tweaking and editing.

Disease Vector was a little doodle created by running a sample of a Reaktor synth through Hourglass, a granular synth. This is a interesting piece of freeware which warps your audio into crunchier new textures
(I find it a damn sight more usable than Sirenaudios Generative granular effect). The bass noises were a thumbjam bass guitar line undergoing extreme stretching and the drums came from the ims-20 iPad app.

I’ve posted a track up onto soundcloud. I was messing around with choir patches on the CMDune synth (nice cover mounted freebie from Computer Music magazine). I then started messing around with a random (ish) selection of samples from my hard drive and a field recording of a mass from Hope you enjoy…..

Music of the Mind 2

I came across this story in this month’s Wire. Masaki Batoh uses an elaborate headset that converts brain waves from various lobes of the brain to generate tones. Rather than playing the instrument you improvise by going into a meditative state. The video above shows Batoh performing by showing different images to a volunteer rigged up to his brain harp. Batoh hopes that his machine and music can be be used as therapeutic tools as well as live performances.
It seems being in a calm, trancey state produces a certain sound, but what do other emotional states sound like? In the future will we pay to see a gig of someone performing the sound of mild depression accompanied by childhood fear of wasps?

Roll The Dice – Way Out

Hakan Lidbo sets musical World Record


This might be interesting – producer Hakan Labdo is attempting to set the world record for the greatest number of producers on one track. He’s posted a couple of 125bpm loops on Soundcloud and has asked people to submit 4bar loops around them. Click on the linky for more details. Just bought a new Kaosillator Pro today so I shall be fiddling with that and hope to post a review soon. First impressions are good, especially sweet is the ability for it to sample audio from any input (the iPad works a treat) and overdub it onto your own patterns. You can also connect another Kaossilator to it and play two patches at once…joy! The only downside so far is the build quality, the case is metal and has a pleasing weight to it, but the volume and program pots seem a little cheap and delicate in comparison. Anyhoo, enough waffle, I’ll endeavour to post a full review before the end of the week.

Test Your Musicality

The BBC are hosting an experiment to test the nation’s musicality. It’s well worth giving it a spin if you’ve got 30 minutes to spare.

If you want to compare scores I scored 73% (high) for enthusiasm, no surprises there.

For musical perception I scored 48% (medium) – again, no surprises, I have tin ears 🙂

Emotional connection score was 70% (medium) – I thought I would have scored higher than this. Music tends to have a very powerful visceral and emotional effect on me, both good and bad. “Bad music”, music devoid of warmth, feeling or meaning, yer average X-factor karaoke crapola or anything by 50 cent, makes me feel nauseous, and I’m not talking metaphorically. I find obvious autotuning causes a knot in my windpipe and the same reaction as tinfoil on a filling, or eating a cake that’s still frozen in the middle.

Musical curiosity score was 90% (high) 🙂

On the tests I scored 1 out of 4 in musical grouping, 12 out of 16 for match the beat, tap to the beat 4 high, 4 medium and 1 low. Memory melody was 7 /12.

Have fun!