Smartelectronix
electronic software for the home studio's soul

Competition Tracks
annihilist : catacthonic

2m55s, 100/200 bpm, 5/4 with a few bits in 9/8 [sometimes at the same time due to time constraints, plus Scrubby seems to be in a private time sig and tempo all its own...]
I spent nearly three weeks of evenings tweaking this beast - I was surprised at the range of sounds possible given the limitations of the rules, so of course I had to try a lot of things that didn't make it into the finished piece.

Source sounds: One Ping Only was the only instrument used for its own sounds, in this case for the foundations of kick drums and bass klonks. Everything else is raw data from madshifta, dfx bufferoverride, dfx geometer, dfx scrubby, mdsp flanger, mdsp analog delay, crazy ivan. dfx transverb.

Processing: I'd have to take five pages to go through all the steps, but here's an attempt at a brief summary:

Kick drums - I started with few tight low-freq pings from one ping only, with varying degrees of white noise mixed with the sine. Ran them once through h2o+ to tighten attack, then made the series of pings [already sounding more like an 808] into loop, which I ran continuously through Cyanide 2, DFX Geometer and MJMultiband Compressor in Audio Mulch, tweaking Cyanide's filters manually for a minute or two. I went through the resulting sounds and cropped out the best hits, then reprocessed again through multiband compressor and cyanide. Repeated this several times using the output file of the previous stage as source, tweaking and editing along the way. finished with about 8 different kicks, six of which made it into the finished track. I threw a few of them through supaphaser to fatten up the stereo field a bit. [It makes me wonder why people on the forums were freaking out about the lack of drum potential - a kick drum is generally just a filtered sine wave, and using the above method I got sounds that are not far off an overdriven 808 or 909 - it's just a question of patience and attention to detail. ]

Bass klonks - Virtually identical to the above, but minus the compression and using Cyanide to emphasise the mids rather than the lows and add squelch. used Supaphaser to widen up the finished sounds and add extra overtones, plus a touch of Ambience here and there.

Snares/Hats - Raw data from Crazy Ivan [the entire data file is the HH!] and Geometer (ended up with 3 snares), clipped very short, run through h20+ for tightness, smoothed with MJMultiband Compressor, then Cyanide 2 and Supaphaser for sparkle.

Longer sustained klonks were created from the One Ping Only bass klonks and raw data from Transverb, Geometer, MDSP Flanger + Analog Delay, layered, then mashed through supaphaser, geometer, and transverb, sometimes reprocessed several times.

The melodic/droning bits pretty much played themselves, being a 3-second buzz from the Madshifta raw data [some of which sounds quite a bit like buzzy FM synthesis anyway] being fed through Cyanide 2 [manually controlling the input filter to slowly open up the high frequencies] into transverb into scrubby, which gently arpeggiated everything, and then into Ambience. Another variation of this was done without scrubby, which made a nice low drone. No additional processing was added to these, and I can't take credit for composing them because Scrubby chose the notes for me! [though I did nudge him into a minor scale]. These were chopped up into 20-30 second chunks.

All realtime Smexing (with knob twiddling) was done in Audio Mulch, editing and additional Smexing in Wavelab. The whole mess of resulting sounds (34 or so total) was then sequenced in Acid. Each sound was placed very precisely, one at a time, no copy/paste. some bits were rendered out as loops, reprocessed and reimported (like the reverse kick rolls through MJ RotoDelay, and the addition of Ambience and Bouncy on a few tracks). Structuring was the hard part - I tend to do longish tracks, so for me, three minutes is an intro! I'm doing a longer mix of this for myself (probably 8-10 mins final) with much more gradual buildup and some more breakdowns that incorporate the many sounds I discovered along the way that didn't make the final cut for the 3-minute version ( I did a lot with the Ioplong plugs that didn't mesh too well with the sounds already sequenced, so they'll end up being used elsewhere). This is actually the third track I did - the other two lacked something (though one had this crazy air-raid siren howl that came from the MDSP Flanger raw data that I totally fell in love with, but it didn't fit with this one). but even within the constraints of the contest rules the potential sounds are virtually limitless.

So. all sound sources 100% smex! I used the crappy little 3-band eq in wavelab 2 (I know... out of date) to brighten up the final rendered file (as per the contest rules). And of course I ran everything through Bram's Anechoic Room Simulator to ensure the highest fidelity.

You're doing an amazing thing offering plugs of this quality for free.


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