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Long Range Satellite Transmission

Rumsklang turns 3 months old today, it could've been better global circumstances to start a company but we'll manage. The corona virus is affecting the entire world right now and we're not in any way unaffected. A couple of projects and gigs have been canceled or postponed so we've decided to use this "free" time as learning time.

We recently invested in a software called Touchdeisgner, an awesome middle-ware for connectivity and a platform for loads of expression.

So while the jobs have dwindled I've (Marcus) taken the leap in learning to love Touchdesigner.

Viktor and I first got acquainted by sharing a deep passion for music and although we haven't posted a lot of music on the website but that is going to change.

Here is an ambient, binural (use headphones!) adventure from Viktor and an interpretation in Touchdesigner by me.

Enjoy and stay safe!

Long Range Satellite Transmission - Making the music

Under the past couple of weeks I have really been struggling with my creativity and productivity. All the music I created felt bland and it felt like everytime I sat down in front of my instruments I tried to copy other people's work. I didn’t really enjoy making the music because I was focusing too much on the vision and outcome. It needs to sound like “this” and when it didn’t I just ended up disappointed.

Then I started reading this book called Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. He discusses how we can control our state of consciousness to reach what he calls ‘Optimal Experience’. Something that really resonated with me was how he described happiness: “We cannot reach happiness by consciously searching for it.”

Further Mihaly discusses this concept by adding that happiness and success is not something we should pursue but rather something that happens as an outcome after being fully involved in an activity or life in general.

This made me try a new approach, instead of searching for a specific sound I just focused on being involved in the process of making music. I tried to explore the instruments and my feelings and let the sounds guide the outcome.

This soundtrack started out as an exploration of equipment. I recently bought a device from SOMA LABORATORY called Ether V2. It’s basically a kind of anti-radio which lets you listen to electromagnetic fields. The sounds coming from it are very static, noisy and kind of alien. This became the backbone of the soundtrack and propelled me into making this auditive journey through space.

To accompany this anti-radio-soundscape I created some patches with the DeepMind 12 and Lifeforms SV-1, two really nice sounding analog synths. To make it feel more like an auditive story I wanted to give the track more movement by adding volume, filter and pan automation. This is where the next key ingredient came in, the Sennheiser AMBEO Orbit. This is an amazing free plugin which lets you create binaural panning. This effectively lets you place sound in a 3D space around the listener, creating a very immersive auditive feel! If you listen closely you can actually feel how some sounds are orbiting around your head, so it’s important to listen with headphones!


Exploring the music in Touchdesigner

When I first heard the song I took my time to make sure I had a good listening environment with no distractions and good headphones. I thought about how to interpret this in Touchdesigner and fixated on the idea of a satellite in space.

I’ve recently begun learning Touchdesigner on my own and it’s a pretty steep learning curve. Touchdesigner is like the cooking pot you can toss any kind of data into and make something out of, whether it’s analog or digital data.

I wanted it to be audio reactive, so I separated the frequencies to make a low, mid and high frequency spectrum and scaled the numbers differently depending on which parameters I wanted them to control. I made a first iteration where a circle is floating on its own and its radius and scale is affected by the song with a nice smooth feedback trail.

Since there’s no drums or rhythms except for a synth that fades in and out the result is just as floaty as the song. After staring at it for a long while it reminded me of the movie Arrival, the way the aliens talk and the design of their spacecraft. I’m not sure why. It looked really nice and somber but it didn’t capture the dynamics or the journey that is the song. So i midi mapped a bunch of things and basically played along with the song and suddenly i was a VJ.


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