QuarkChaser Music

Electronic Music and Experimental Sound Design

About OMTS

So it is done. Over the past year I have attended and completed a three part program taught at Portland State University known as the Oregon Music Technology School.  The focus of these classes was not music theory, songwriting, or performance.  Rather, it was the science of acoustics, harmonics, how sound waves are recorded, learning about microphones, mixers, cables, compression and equalization, the history of MIDI technology and it's implementation, and working with MIDI in conjunction with recorded audio in the digital studio environment to produce music.  

If you know me, then you know that I've been working with MIDI and electronic music for some time now. I can confidently say that my skills have never been so sharp and competent. I'm grateful to have taken these classes, and I can already hear an improvement in my work. 

For the course we used a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) called Digital Performer by MOTU on Mac computers. This was the greatest challenge for me as I've become very familiar with my preferred and beloved FL Studio and there's no question that I'm a PC guy. Nevertheless, I rose to the challenge and grunted my way through to becoming able to communicate with Digital Performer, knowing that the cross-platform training could only serve to my benefit. In the end I still prefer the layout and functionality of FL, but finding the same controls and functions in a foreign environment only solidified my understanding of what my own DAW offered. Sorry MOTU, you didn't find a new customer here, but perhaps we'll face each other again someday.

So now I am a certified music producer. What does this mean?  First of all, It means that I know of which I speak when it comes to music production.  It means that I know when to use a condenser microphone vs a dynamic microphone in a studio session. It means that I can explain and utilize the concept of ADSR in my sonic vocabulary, and use equalization and compression to better fit elements together in an aural plane.  It means that my channel levels will not attempt to exceed digital zero. In short, it means that the music I create from here on out has no excuse for not sounding professional, and that I can also do this level of quality engineering work for others.

"We begin with what is possible, and move gradually toward the impossible." - Robert Fripp



About CoS #24

This began as an experiment with a drum loop and a multiband filter and waveshaping tool to get a crazy abstracted groove. Then I needed a solid kick, but one with extra punch at the accents, which I achieved with some beefy overdrive automation.

Once the rhythm was set, I wanted some kind of harmonic movement and a lush chord progression. A well chosen minor 11 chord told me everything I needed to know about how to continue on into this piece. Sometimes it takes a while to find out where I'm going, but not this time. The sound was big and bad, so I put on my best Donald Fagen suit and went for the dance.

Two synth melodies quickly took shape, the second being an addendum to the first, as if to say "Yeah, that's what I said". The bass line is simple in this tune. Just the bottom end, and lots of it. I brought in the piano for use as an Ostinato, but instead it became a little melodic movement of it's own. Quite often in my music, elements end up being different from what they were first intended to be. I embrace this, and I go with it.

On with the flurry of contoured waveforms in that drum loop, accented in places by natural drum kit voices for a sense of contrast between the two worlds. The piece continues into some theme variation and a few cool little experiments. 

This one was released sooner than I had anticipated due to a file error that rendered any further editing impossible for now. Luckily, I was pleased with the direction it had gone. The mixing was clear enough for publication. I'm proud of it.

 "Talking about music is like dancing about architecture" - Laurie Anderson


Website Underway

The QuarkChaser Music website is coming together. So far I am pleased with the direction it's taking. I've always wanted to showcase my talent for songwriting, composition, and sound design in a coherent and aesthetically pleasing way. I've written so much over the years, I'm ecstatic to have a single home for everything. Now it's a matter of "what do I put where and how?"

My wife Audra has been invaluable to me with putting this all together. My nature is to always keep writing new material and experimenting, and she's really been able to help me stop for a moment and explain what I'm doing to the world. 

That's it for now. As of this post I have a few more days left on my vacation from work, and I plan to spend it mixing and mastering a few more tunes to add to the site.