Volca archives
July 2016

Formication (illusory insects on the skin) is another exercise at using the new FM synth with all the others, and of finding how to manipulate the sounds it can produce. Still early days! There's a nice driving rhythm with a cute little 'stumble' halfway through the pattern and I like the stringy wash tone (as in the middle eight).
Volca FM, Keys, Bass & Sample.

Smoo (not quite smooth enough) was my first piece with all four Volcas synched together - the structure is quite simple so I could manage all the changes! The end result is a bit on the bland side but it was nice to feel that my tonal palette is expanding.
Volca FM, Keys, Bass & Sample.

Septopoid is another quick study with my new FM synth. To be honest at this point I'm just tweaking the presets and enjoying the rich tones, serious sound modelling is very much hit & miss.
Volca FM, Bass & Keys.

Afterimage was my first piece with my new FM synth, a marvellous instrument that is bafflingly complex to program. My first tone was the usual fake gamelan gong that comes with amateur twiddling of FM synthesis but I wallowed in the ringing semi-tonality and quickly came up with this.
Volca FM.

Chroma is a nice little groove with a slightly jazzy feel. It comes from the unusual modal scale (Phrygian) which just sort of came about - the basic sequence is in a plain minor pentatonic but as I added overdubs I found myself using it. There's some nice interplay between the rhythm section lines but the soloing is a bit uneven (to say the least) and the middle eight is a bit mundane. But still I like it.
Volca Keys, Bass & Sample.

Pocketsize was a cute little song that sprang up around a relentless & driving bass and sequencer pattern. I set out to keep it light & sparse and didn't go back to redo smaller playing mistakes, which made it quick & easy to put together. Lots of fun!
Volca Keys & Bass.

Irresolute was another exercise, this time in avoiding resolution & expected chord changes. It sounds unfinished but in some ways that was the objective. Despite the calculated intention it was remarkably intuitive & easy to build up.
Volca Keys, Sample & Bass.

Exosphere was an exercise in mood, repetition & lots of reverb. It was interesting to balance a feeling of openness with enough backing to provide a shifting context for the unchanging sequence.
Volca Keys & Bass.

Hunter was centred around the interlocking rhythmic patterns with the quasi-random top line giving a central thread. I was pleased with the driving feel and the way it builds. Not so pleased with the snare sound - my original idea was much more stark & thin.
Volca Keys, Bass & Sample.

Stress pill was put together quickly as after the struggle to finish off my last piece. Light, vacuous & upbeat it's just a bit of fun. And none the worse for that.
Volca Keys, Bass & Sample.

Nightshift is another of my 'syncopated sequencer with wafty backing' pieces. The basic track came quickly, the arrangement followed suit but I couldn't come up with a decent top line, eventually ending up with bouncy bleeps and fuzzy organ when I was hoping for more. Sigh! It's a bit routine but there's some nice touches in the backing. The key change for the middle eight didn't quite come together as I planned but the swells were fun.
Volca Keys, Bass & Sample.

Modulo 14 grew from a mistake - I forgot to reset the phrase length on one of the sequencers so it kept drifting out of phase with the others. Having discovered it I realised I liked the effect so I completed the track around it. A bit hurried - the bass & drums are very simplistic and the mix didn't really get to where I wanted it - but it was a beautiful sunny day outside. More of a sketch than a finished piece but there's a nice groove in there.
Volca Keys, Bass & Sample.