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misplaced fear, poor risk assessment


The first Republican Govenor to issue a state of emergency gets 100 points. If one declares martial law, 1,000 points.

I just can't imagine being so driven by fear and cowardice. The only thing we have to fear is a body-politic driven by fear. It's a good thing we've got that Trump clown to give us a good laugh--because if he were a serious candidate I'd be the one afraid.

EWI and Massive

NI's Massive is a different beast than FM8 and Absynth, it took me a bit to figure out what is going on, how best to use the EWI with it. So here's what I've got so far:

Step 1: Create a new MIDI profile for the EWI. Go to the options menu and switch to the MIDI tab, create a new profile and name it EWI-USB (or whatever you want). Load it.

Then switch to a performance page on whatever patch you have loaded (it doesn't matter). Massive's MIDI settings are global, not per patch, which is why the profile is important. You will need a profile for each controller you want to use.

Under two of the macro knobs. Click on the CC number and set one to 2 and one to 11. Every patch maps the macros differently, but I find #2 and #3 to be fairly reasonable for many patches.

Switch to the patch's settings, click the "Save MIDI" button down in the lower right corner, the one that you never noticed and if you did notice had no idea what it did...

As for adjusting patches. Well, tweak the envelopes (which in Massive you just have to explore where they are used. 4 is usually the amp envelope, make it more gate-like). Then, figure out where macros 2 and 3 are assigned, and if you need to move them, do so. Drag and drop the + in the macro's control to the parameter you want to modulate. Moreso than with FM8, you'll need to understand how Massive works to really craft your own patches. Fortunately, most of the ones I've tried have been fairly playable as-is.

Blow Mr. Hornman, blow!

Yes, I've been plaing with Kontakt too, I've not found much I am willing to share yet. Simply mapping volume to CC2 is cheezy and I don't like it. I've found some pointers, but I'm not keen on what I've seen so far.

EWI, FM8 and Absynth

I got and AKAI EWI USB for my birthday (a day or two early, but, what the heck, right?). As a Trombone player and synth nerd who has always wanted to learn the Oboe, this seemed like the easiest way to go. So far, I'm loving it. Very fun to play and very expressive. I've spent maybe 5 minutes in the software it comes with, another sampler. It seems nice since all the patches are pre-configured to support breath control. But I've been using Native Instruments stuff for a while now and have gotten to know my way around FM8, Reaktor and Absynth fairly well. All the patches I have in these synths are designed (unsurprisingly) for keyboards. They are 'fine' with the EWI, but not as expressive as they could be. With a few tweaks, they can be modified to work with the EWI and support full breath control.

Here is how to tweak a simple (one output operator) FM8 sound to support breath control. This is mostly for my memory, but I'm happy to share what I've learned. I assume a basic knowledge of FM synthesis and how FM8 (or any DX7 derived synth) does its thing.

First, find a sound you like, or if you are comfortable doing so, build your own patch. I took the "Soft Clarinet" sound from the FM8 Factory bank. Load the patch, but you've probably already done since you know you like the sound.

This particular sound had a pre-built arpeggiator sequence. Click the "arp" at the top and turn that nonsense off.

Switch to the "Expert tab." Make note of which are the output operators. They are the operators which connect down to the output bus. In this example, the F operator feeds the bus at 73%. E is also active, but it only modifies F and does not feed the output bus, so it can be ignored. (I'm sure someone has designed brilliant patches where the breath control doesn't change the volume, but brightness, timbre and noise, but that's well beyond this note).

FM8 expert tab

Switch from "Ops" in the section below the "Expert tab" to the output operator, F in this case.

FM8 operator tab

The first thing I do is turn up the "breath" in the "Amp Mod" section. 100% seems to work, giving full expressiveness. But I find that 80-90% often works a bit better for most sounds, saving my lungs from over-exertion.

Then I adjust the envelope, setting the attack to almost 0. A gate envelope would work, but I prefer a bit of a tail on the end. If the envelope is linked to other operators, it may be better to unlink it first since changing a mod operator's envelope will change the timbre. On a simple sound like this, no worries.

If there are multiple output operators, you may have to repeat these steps for each of them. Of course, some of the operators may not drive the main sound, but simply provide some ambience, I usually leave those alone.

I find myself adjusting the "Velocity" setting under the amplitude area. I seem to set it near 0. And I turn down "Key Scaling" and "Vel Scaling" for the envelope. Salt and pepper to taste.

Finally, save the sound with a new name using the "save as" button at the top. I add "EWI SCB" to all my sounds. Since I've got Komplete Kontrol as well, this makes it easy to find all my EWI sounds in KK.


Next I'll show how to do this in Absynth.

Find and load a patch in Absynth and switch to the "Patch" screen. I'm going to use the Oboe sound from the "Absynth Legacy" bank. This sound only uses one Osc, so it'll be easy. For sounds with multiple Oscs, you'll need to determine which ones need to be breath sensitive by disabling the Oscs and playing the sound.

absynth 1

After determining which Oscs are active and need breath control, switch to the "Perform" tab. Check to see if "Macro Control 2: CC2" is present (and probably inactive). More advanced patches will have mapped a lot of the macros and CC2 may not be present. You'll have to hijack one of the other macros.

absynth 2

Switch to the "Assignments" tab, and select CC2.

absynth 3

Add a parameter for "Oscil A Amp" (and/or B and/or C depending on the patch). I tend to leave it at 99% and the lag is fine at 10, but for sharper sounds a bit lower is good too.

absynth 4

Next, adjust the envelopes to taste.

absynth 5

Only OSC A is used in this patch so ignore B and C. Again, I make the envelopes to be gates with a tail.

absynth 6

Repeat for the other OSCs (if necessary).

Save it with a helpful name, "Oboe EWI SCB" in this case, and enjoy.

Princess Chelsea

Been loving on Princess Chelsea for a while now on Soundcloud. Hadn't thought to look to see if she had a bandcamp page. She does. On the same label as The Brunettes (*swoon*). Money spent. New record on the way. Download to tide me over...

amateur music...


Electronic dance music is, and hopefully will always (for as long as it's a thing) be, a playground filled with amateurs, hacks, and kids with more time than skill, sense, or professionalism. The same is true for Rock 'n' Roll. Never trust anyone over 30.

The best electronic dance music movements (rave, acid house, goa, trance) all started with kids "misusing" cheap gear. The 303 and 808 were toys for guitarists to practice with, never intended to be used for making music. And yet, without them dance music as we know it wouldn't exist.

God bless kids, punks, hacks and amateurs; they, not the professionals, push things forward and explore the new and exciting. Professionals play it safe, stick to the formulas, and generally suck the fun out of it all.

I'm a badass?


I'm not sure I rise to the level of badass; I just pointed out that the proposed amendment was out of order (it was also unconstitutional, but I wasn't about to drop that nugget). But I'll take the +1 to my Book of Discipline cred if they are being handed out.


It took a conversation with Stacie and praying compline in Latin for this to bubble to the surface. It'd been under there for a while.


A song I worked up last week. Jen likes it. Fraise said it was "neat." Kevin said "unexpected" and "creepy." Other Kevin agreed it was "dark."

It started as a lullaby / drone for Jen, but it kept getting darker and darker. So, not a good lullaby, but a good representation of my emotional state right now. It doesn't resolve...

depression, teaching

My depression is as bad as it has been in years; a few days it has been physically painful to get out of bed. I do. I truck on. I learned how to do it, just knuckle-down and get on with it. thankfully I've not had the normal run of suicidal ideation (a few fleeting thoughts, but nothing worrying) that used to accompany these bouts. Healing is good.

I'm pretty sure the depression is more from being deferred for ordination for another year than for Curt dying, but I have moments of sadness about Curt too. Emma's birthday was yesterday, I didn't call. I'm watching one of my people die right now, for the first time in 2 years he didn't remember me--he knew he knew me, but "Have you always been called Scot?" he said, reading my name tag. As we talked about his family, things he's told me over the years, it was clear I knew him and so he trusted me, but he didn't remember me. I don't think it will be long for him now. I've been losing about one person from my close-care each month. Some of the funerals I've done have been hard, some easy. And yet, I love pastoral care, I don't know that I'll be able to give this up if I migrate into the academy.

Miracles with babies make me happy. I both love and hate Children's Medical Center. I love that such a fantastic place exists, I hate that it needs to exist.

I've been TAing a world religions course at SMU, easiest TA gig ever. Tuesday I get to lecture on Patristic inter-religious concerns (not much to say, really, so the lecture will be on why there isn't much to say). I should be working on that lecture now.

Today I gave the first part of my lecture on "how I read the Bible" AKA Scot's radical hermeneutic which will probably get him killed one day. No stones or rotten veggies were thrown, people seemed mostly open to it. But, the first half is just me deconstructing the liberal and conservative hermeneutics of the past 300 years, so I basically pick on everyone.


One of these days I'll finish my work on forgiveness. M. and I have spoken quite a bit about it; my broad framework remains unchanged. But today I got a bit of inspiration.

When God forgives us, it is fundamentally transforming for the person being forgiven. When we forgive each other, if it is really forgiveness, it must also be transformative for the person being forgiven, not just for the person doing the forgiving as is commonly presented in contemporary thinking about forgiveness.

What is commonly called "forgiveness" in contemporary literature I call, "letting go." "Letting go" is absolutely an essential step in the process of forgiveness, one of the early ones. But what I call forgiveness is a complete restoration of right relationship, not simply an erasing of some balance sheet or a renouncing of a right to revenge.

Right relationship is a complex concept. What does a right relationship between a victim of abuse/rape and the perpetrator, if there is real repentance (a permanent change of behavior, not simply an apology)--which is a requirement for forgiveness? Right relationship in such a case may simply be no relationship.

So, what of forgiveness with someone who is dead? Can I forgive someone who died before they repented? No, I don't think so. I can let go of what they did. But given that repentance is impossible, so, it seems, is forgiveness and ultimately right relationship since death pretty much makes it impossible.

I'll continue to ponder this.

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