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For the 24th Disquiet Junto. The instructions were as follows:
This week's project is about "functional music." You will make four individual sounds that serve as alerts for digital communications. They will be in these categories:
1. email arrival
2. incoming phone call
3. new IM received
4. calendar event alert
The goal is that the four alerts will work together as a suite — that is, that they will complement each other, yet be distinct and recognizable from each other.
I went fairly literal with this. I knew as soon as I read Marc's email that I wanted a vocal effect. I recorded my eleven-year-old daughter repeating the words that Marc wrote. I'm afraid I might have disappointed her with the amount of processing that went into the final file.
The process chain was thus: As I wrote, I recorded Elliot's voice with a Zoom H4N. That was sampled into a Teenage Engineering OP-1 and pitched down a few steps. This was then played into a Korg Kaoss KP3 and recorded into Wave Editor using a variety of effects. It wasn't until I started running these effects through Sonic Charge's Bitspeek plug-in that it worked for me. The beeps are the Ableton synth Operator, played with a Launchpad.
If I were creating actual alerts for an actual phone, like as a commission, I would have gone a very different direction. But I wanted to have fun with this one and kind of create the evil anti-Siri. Part of the reason for this is that I just recently re-wired my audio gear and it's such a breeze now to use effects and run in and out of the Mac at will. Originally the beeps were recorded using a VCO on my modular synth but it sounded, well, too analog. Operator is cold and clean.
I'll post these on dancerobotdance.com quite soon as individual WAV and MP3 files that can be plugged into your smart phone of choice. Stay tuned.