Sunday, October 13, 2013

Grimes "Genesis" extended remix

I haven't done one of these in a few years but I've been really into the song Genesis by Grimes lately so I decided to do an extended granular remix of it, similar to what I'd done with Aisler's Set and Joanna Newsom a few years ago.

This song works well for looping - the melodies are all in the high register, with lots of reverb so they won't sound choppy when overlapped, and there's not a lot of bass so it doesn't sound muddy.  The drum track is clean, with the one strong kick drum that adds just the right amount of bass when it's looped.

This is the first time I've really done anything with Garage Band.  The granular looping was done in Granulab as usual.  With both of these programs I feel like I've pushed them as far as I want to go - it's too bad that in going for simplicity of the user interface you loose a lot of precision in the settings.  In Garage Band I really wanted these loops to hit exactly on the beat, but you can only get resolution on the low end of around 0.1 BPM which makes for some noticeable grinding or stuttering.  Similar in Garage Band, the resolution when automating parameters is kind of a joke - it's a linear division of the frequency spectrum in Hz, so while I can get like 100 divisions of the octave between 10khz and 20khz, on the low end, settings jump right from 20hz to like 700 hz, with nothing in between.  Good luck getting a band pass filter to zero in on one sound.

This went through a bunch of phases where there were a lot more ideas at first - there was a timestretched track with doomy  overdrive + reverb, and other rhythmic layers, all fading in and out, but I ditched all of that for a simple one track of the song looped with a little bit of pitch shifting going on.

I'm looking forward to emulating enough of Granulab in SuperCollider that I can do mixes like these with the kind of precision you need eliminate artifacts (or make the artifacts musically significant by harmonizing them with the rest of the song).  I've been getting into using the TGrains ugen alot in the Backtrace Livestream project, so this should be a pretty straightforward thing to adapt.

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