Sunday, June 26, 2011

One Synth Challenge - MacJams

My first and still favorite music posting site is MacJams. Since 2004 I have been posting songs there that I put together in Garageband or Logic. The site is mostly very welcoming and has a mix of amateurs, semi-pros and pros contributing songs. I fall solely into the amateur status.

Recently they posted a challenge to use an open-source synthesizer to make a song using only the one plugin. I wasn't familiar with it but TAL is a pretty nice freeware synthesizer.

The hard part of using only the one tool for me was in putting together the drum track. Normally I use sampled drums or drum loops. Here I had to create one track per drum - bass, toms, snare, high hat etc.

There were some really cool submissions in the electronica vein and even a tango! You can see the submissions from all folks here. Since most of my genres were covered, I went with jazz and tried to put together a keyboard heavy jazz funkish piece. I was hoping to use Thumbjam as a MIDI controller but was disappointed to find that it suffered some real latency issues and worse still was dropping a few notes. This might have been on the iPad side of things but I resorted to using my Akai MPK-mini keyboard instead. I did cheat and I transposed the keyboard for G-Minor so I could play on white keys.

I was reasonably pleased with the results and it was pretty cool having the limits imposed. I think it actually took less time since I wasn't searching for that perfect sound or effect.

Anyway, my own piece is here:

TAL in the saddle

Apologies for the title but I took this over TALoneous Monk. I have posted other songs with single synths such as the iMS-20 on the iPad or NanoStudio's Eden but this was pretty fun.

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