Category Archives: music

music

silence is not the answer

I support the causes of justice and equality.   I do not support the record industry and its slactivist ‘blackout’ protest.   Coming from an industry that has a history of exploiting minorities by appropriating their culture and white washing it anyway they could, it’s laughable. I won’t be part of it, no matter how well intentioned.    

Now is not the time to stop the music.  We need artists to be creating anthems to sooth, educate and inspire.  Now is the time to play it LOUDER and with FORCE.  Right now, someone out there is writing the songs for the next revolution.   Not a single day should be silent.

A Turning Towards Chaos


Entropy
en·tro·py
/ˈentrəpē/

Noun

  1. a thermodynamic quantity representing the unavailability of a system’s thermal energy for conversion into mechanical work, often interpreted as the degree of disorder or randomness in the system.
  2. lack of order or predictability; gradual decline into disorder.

Since the universe began an estimated 14 billion years ago, it has been turning, and twisting its way from its ‘perfect’ low entropy origin and evolving ever onward towards greater and greater disorder.   One force became the 4 (known) forces of nature: Gravity, Electromagnetism, The Strong and The Weak nuclear forces. 

We thrive in this environment – Engines of entropy processing the order around us into ever greater and greater disorder, paradoxically using the laws of thermodynamics to avoid our own inevitable fall into thermal equilibrium.

As we were born, grow, age and then die, so does the universe.   Its own fate determined by the same laws of physics as we.  This should not surprise us, for we are the universe, and the universe is us.

Though while we go about generations and generations in the blink of a universal eye, the universe itself passes much more slowly.  So slowly that for most of human history it was believed to be immortal and unchanging.  Einstein himself believed it to be so, and took pains to modify his equations to make it so (one of a few cases where he was wrong).

We are precious sand compared to the universe.   Tiny and insignificant yet rare and amazing in that we could know some of its secrets.    While our knowledge is not nearly complete, we can use what we have to look ahead beyond our years, into ages long passed the time of man and the time of stars.   Into the future of black holes, proton decay and, ultimately, nothingness, where even time may cease to have a meaning.

This album is my document of this.  It was inspired by this constant turning, this winding down of the universe into greater and greater entropy.   I hope you enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Inspiration and further reading:

The Five Ages of the Universe
by Fred C. Adams and Greg Laughlin

From Eternity to Here
by Sean M. Carroll

Cycles of Time
by Roger Penrose

All Songs Written and Performed by NoiseTheorem

Album Design: ShootWithHeart (@ShootWithHeart)
Image Source: NASA / GSFC

Tales from SynthNerdia

Greetings everyone….Been a while…

First off, the pandemic has been hitting me very hard mentally. I know I’m not the only one, but creative output is difficult when you’re living day to day in survival mode. But I am trying to soldier on when I can, but not beating myself up when I can’t. Someday, this will all be in the past. I hope we all can get there safely, together.

Second (and I should have sent this earlier) I have returned to streaming performances! I am doing so via twitch and you can follow me at https://twitch.tv/noisetheorem. I did a performance a few weeks back which is archived there. It was rough, but it’s been a few years since I did one!

Also on the horizon, I will be starting a series of gear talk streams. Being in quarantine has meant doing a lot of video calls and, since my work computer is in my studio, every call starts with “WHAT THE HELL IS ALL THAT STUFF BEHIND YOU?” followed by me finding the setting to blur my background. By then, the cat is out of the bag and people what to know about it. So since I like talking about gear, I though this might be a natural progression for me. I will be doing the first one tomorrow at 2:00 PM CDT. You can find the facebook event page here https://www.facebook.com/events/567044204002668/?active_tab=about.

The final thing I want to let you know about is that I am finishing up work on my next album, to be titled “A Turning Towards Chaos”. I am very excited about this one. While the last one was largely about getting it out there so I could release my mind from those tracks, this one represents an album I’ve wanted to do for a long time. I really think it hits the balance between Ambient and Industrial that I’ve wanted to hit. It’s the most ‘NoiseTheorem’ thing I’ve finished.

In closing, I’d just like to tell everyone to stay safe, stay healthy, and we will get through this! It’s also OK not to be OK. We can make it together!

Quarantine Project – 2020:04:11

Last Saturday, I finally started streaming again. The setup was simple, with 90% of what is in the recording coming from my Akai Force and the rest being improvised by me on the Korg Wavestate.

First off, I am really amazed at the sound quality of the Akai Force. You can take an entire stereo mix off it’s main outputs, and it sounds very good. Unless I do something obviously stupid with the gain staging, the image is pretty clear, even with a little of the air reverb (which, while not as good as what my Lexicon can do, it does the job).

The play interface for the Force is also very well suited to live work. I was able to control the whole set from there. A few things were a little awkward, but that was more my learning curve in setting it up showing rather than a failing of the device. It can be highly customized for what you want to do live. The q-link knobs are particularly flexible. I’m taking a lot of notes on how to do this better next time.

And there will be a next time. I’ve already started planning how to turn this into a series and, in two weeks, I’m hoping to formally launch this as a series of live set iterations. More on that when I have more to say. For now, please enjoy the audio from the set above.

A Return to Form

Yes, this little fiend will be performing, too.

I’ve been saying I’d do this for a while, but I finally just sat down and got all the pieces working so that I could do it. Next week, I will attempt to live stream an industrial/ambient performance via Twitch (https://twitch.tv/NoiseTheorem) and subject you all to what it is I do when I’m home alone and going slowly stir crazy.

I’m still putting together exactly what I plan to do, but I’ve got the basics. I know its going to be, mainly, the Akai Force running the show with a little help from the Korg WaveState and DSI Pro 2. I also moved the Roland TR-8s over to the work area, so expect it to be involved (Playing back samples taken from the DrumBrute).

I don’t know how long I will play for, but I’m going to shoot for 30 to 40 minutes. We will see if I can actually do that after so long having been away from long form improv. I don’t expect a huge audience for this, and I think I’d be amazed if more than a handful of people appreciate it. I miss doing this sort of thing, though, so….why the fuck not do it?

Here is the facebook event link, and a link to may page..just in case:

Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/503416553870713/
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/NoiseTheorem/

EDIT: Since someone asked who refuses to use FaceBook, the broadcast is planned for Saturday, April 11 @10 p.m. CDT.

The Quarantine Project

While stuck, like everyone else, in semi-quarantine-work-from-home-bullshit, I decided to do what all good drone musicians do and prepare a live stream for you to quietly ignore. I’ve been picking the gear, collecting sounds, and just generally fucking around every chance I get (which is a lot of chances lately).

At first, the rig was going to be the WaveState, MPC One and Behringer DeepMind 12. After some discussions on social media, a lot of people said they wanted to see what the Force could do more than the One so I swapped that out. Not sure that’s the best choice for me, and maybe that says something about where I should put my focus in the future, but for now the Force will be the center piece.

After a few sessions, I decided the broadcast rig needed to be a bit more weird than the DM12 could get me, so I swapped it for the DSI Pro 2. it will also be better if both synths have their own keyboards for MIDI routing reasons. If I can figure out where to put it, having the DM12 in the rig would still be really nice in case I need some NOT super weird analog sounds in there (which is likely). Unfortunately, the Ikea shelf I made this stand table out of is only so long.

After a day playing with it, this is a scary powerful setup.

The Akai Force is an interesting beast to work with. It doesn’t have quite the same flow as the MPC despite running very similar operating systems. It does have some *very* nice conveniences the MPC doesn’t have, though (like a SELECT button that lets you select a pad to edit without also triggering it to play – essential in a live context) and those make up for it. It’s physically HUGE playing surface takes getting used to.

The Pro 2 is an obvious choice because of it’s almost modular nature. 4 oscillators, 2 filters, 4 LFO’s and a modulation step sequencer. It’s as close to a portable modular with patch memory as you can get

The WaveState is on another level from the DSI. Being so new, I still don’t fully get all that it can do, but it’s DEEP. Contrary to popular belief, it’s anything but a one-trick pony, since you can also use it as a straight S+S rompler or vector synthesizer. The pads that fall out of it are very, very good.

The last thing I need to work out with this rig is mixing. Right now, the big Mackie is on the otherside of the studio along with my Axe FX III and Lexicon Reverb. I may have to move that rack closer somehow, but I don’t know where it will fit. Maybe a small format stereo line mixer for the rack next to me is in order. I could use the Mackie 1402 and just not use the bum channels, but that’s a lot of desk space I don’t have. I will have to ponder further.

I am hoping to be set with material for a performance sometime within the next week. Once I’m set on the material, Ill setup an event on my NoiseTheorem facebook page for it (also need to figure out the platform…possibly Twitch). More details to come.

…But other than that Mrs. Lincoln…

So. I could talk about it, but I’m not going to. You’ve probaby heard enough about it and, like me, could use a little break. So lets talk about something else.

Now that I am, like many of you, living in a state-imposed social distancing exercise, I thought it would be time to get back to that internet streaming thing I did way back that was so fun and even somewhat successful. What form this will take or what service I’ll use I’m not sure yet. Twitch maybe? Everyone talks about twitch…

The first question to be answered will be the choice of tools. I’ll almost definitely be using the Korg Wavestate and recently reacquired Sequential Pro 2 . I should really pick only one of either the Akai MPC One or Force….but that’s a damn hard choice for a number of reasons (evidenced by my still having both despite their obvious overlap). The modular will be there…and the Axe FX.

For this exercise, I’m going to need some sounds. I put out a call on facebook, but didn’t get much. I might go running around the house tonight making (quiet) noises into my field recorder and go with that. Or maybe I should get back to my roots and lift every sound effect out of a classic Sci-Fi movie. So many choices.

Because they say you should involve your audience to drive engagement, here is a list of the gear I could use. Which one would you most like to hear:

  • Korg Wavestate
  • DSI Pro2
  • Korg Prophecy
  • DSI PolyEvolver
  • Akai Force
  • Akai MPC One
  • Roland TR-8s
  • Waldorf Blofeld
  • Behringer DeepMind 12

If I knew how to create a poll, I’d do that…but I don’t. So put your suggestions in the comments.