Music & Technology: “Rain Machine”

Our final project for MAT200B, Music & Technology, required us to produce a ‘multi-track recording’. The style of our piece was very open-ended, emphasis was placed on technical criteria such as recording quality, and complexity of the final result.

This class has focused mostly on ‘Electronic Music’ which is defined as music that uses non-traditional source elements, structure and rhythm but not necessarily anything ‘electronica’ sounding.

The professor, Curtis Roads, is an experienced practitioner of Electronic music so I set out to make an Acousmatic piece that would allow me to explore the possibilities of non-traditional music.

For my project proposal in September I did not have a clear idea of the stylistic content of my piece so I decided to lay out technical elements instead. I committed to produce my piece in 4-channel Quadtraphonic sound since our classroom supports it.

Most of the source material for my piece was recorded using my laptop and a ‘broken’ Shure SM57 microphone that was given to me by the music department. I recorded one of the rare rain-storms here in Santa Barbara as well as some violin played by a friend.

I used Sony Acid Pro to assemble my piece and export it in Dolby-Digital compressed surround-sound format. All-told the piece uses 24 audio ‘tracks’ which are cut up and distributed throughout the timeline.

I played the piece back in Quad sound using an external sound card with four direct-analog outputs.

A 2-channel  stereo mixdown of the piece is available in MP3 format (10MB)  here. The full 4-channel Dolby Digital AC-3 file (18MB) is available here. The AC-3 file can usually be played using DVD playback software.

posted on Friday, December 12th, 2008 by Pehr in MAT Projects