SYN­THE­SIS

We take an in-depth look at what can be done with the chaotic and ca­cophonous noise gen­er­a­tor. Noise can­cel­la­tion? No thank you!

Computer Music - - Intro / Computer Music -

Scot Sol­ida on how too much noise can be great!

In the ear­li­est days of mod­u­lar syn­the­sis, noise was the go-to source for out-of-this­world spe­cial ef­fects. From the whoosh­ing winds of dis­tant shores to the ran­dom bursts of imag­i­nary alien ar­tillery, noise was the ob­vi­ous choice for au­ral ex­per­i­men­ta­tion.

But what do we mean by “noise”? Can’t any sound be con­sid­ered noise? Tech­ni­cally, the old folks were wrong in their assess­ment of rock ‘n’ roll, for ex­am­ple. When used in the strictest sense, noise is how we de­scribe the sound of many fre­quen­cies be­ing pro­duced at equal lev­els or in­ten­sity. Specif­i­cally, this is white noise, the form you’ll likely en­counter on a synth.

White noise is not dis­sim­i­lar to loud, bright static. As you’ll see be­low, it’s not that in­ter­est­ing – or mu­si­cal – alone. How­ever, it’s an in­te­gral part of nearly every sound made by an acous­tic or elec­tric in­stru­ment, not to men­tion the very en­vi­ron­ment that sur­rounds us. By us­ing the tools avail­able to our mod­u­lar synth, we can shape it into some­thing far more ex­cit­ing.

In fact, this month, we’ve split our walk­through into a suite of in­di­vid­ual mini­tu­to­ri­als on noise, each one de­scrib­ing how it can be twisted and molded into new and ex­cit­ing sounds, or used as a ba­sis for a pitched tim­bre. As ever, we’ll be call­ing upon Cherry Au­dio’s Volt­age Mod­u­lar Nu­cleus, so fire it up and let’s make some noise!

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