Groove, Metastability and Randomness

[audio:http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-TestPercussionGroove.mp3|titles=test percussion groove|artists=chaircrusher] http://www.cornwarning.com/chaircrusher/Chaircrusher-TestPercussionGroove.mp3

bazille
This is a recording of two loops playing in Ableton Live. One is a percussion drum rack, the second is the U-He Bazille instrument run through several effects.
This loop plays the same notes, but will never actually play the same one bar sounds twice, for two interlocking reasons.

First, both instruments go through a gate effect, which is adjusted so that the threshold is at the point of metastability, meaning that it spends most of it’s time on the cusp of closing and cutting off the sound.

Second, the Bazille patch uses random LFOs to modulate the levels of two oscillators as they modulate each other. On top of that, each of the two random LFOs is modulating the rate of the other, and the cutoff of a low pass filter through which the resulting signal passes. This accounts for the filtered noise sounds continually changing sound.

In addition, the two MIDI clips driving the sounds are modified by two different groove timings.

So the loop never repeats, and yet it also stays the same. The variety of the loop has musical value — in the same way (but not equal to) a human drummer adds vitality and interest to a repeated drum pattern with micro-variations of timing and dynamics. And the repetition of the loop has musical value, in the way a groove can entrain the listener’s mind.

It’s the wisdom of Heraclitus embodied: “No man ever steps in the same river twice.” It’s the same and not the same. Though I’m neither as wise as Heraclitus nor as musically talented as a significant percentage of humanity.

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