Digital Art | Jewelry | Music | Painting | Sculpture
computer music frustration

Mike Coble's computer music is ambient music, but it retains an edge drawn from experimental computer music software. The songs are composed using Granular Synthesis techniques, Digital Multitrack Mixing, Phase Vocoding, FM Synthesis, and composed using software like Csound, a sound development environment coming out of thy MIT media labs under the direction of Barry Vercoe, and the Computer Music Center at Columbia University directed by Brad Garton (where I studied).

The Fall
An early computer music composition in my experimentation with ambient music. This piece is a collection of movements that tumble into each other in a free fall of sonic expressions. The first movement sounds like a wind tunnel, or a rocket booting off, and it meets a falling synthesized timbre. This gives way to a Phil Glass-like Max patch that uses a percussive sounding Rhodes Organ sound, and finally leads into some more Phase Vocoded voice that sounds like a whale mating ritual (well as if I knew what that sounded like). Parts of this song were created with Csound
The Fall, mp3 [5.2 MB]
I used the pluck instrument from Csound for this computer music piece, which is an implementation of the Karplus-Strong algorithm. A very long echo was applied to one part, and some unmodified pluck sounds as well.
Moonquake, mp3 [5.1 MB]
Grancoder in 3 movements
Grancoder in 3 Movements is composed entirely in Csound and uses Phase Vocoding and Granular Synthesis. It is a little over 10 minutes long, and attempts to sonically describe scientific theories about the way early life on earth evolved; first quiet space that was infused with carbon and heat, then a transformation from the cosmic soup to single celled organisms, and finally the birth and movement of multi-celled organisms.
The first movement lasts 2 and a half minutes. Phase Vocoding and echo filters with Csound (over a complex soundfile) created Movement 1. Granular Synthesis, where the granules move at a 16:1 ratio through the input sound, generated the second movement. There are about 350 granules per second, which smooths out the general timbre, and the output is comb filtered to remove some of the resonances from the granular synthesis. Csound's Vocoder generated the final movement, and one could imagine small organisms swimming about a rich and fertile sea in this movement.
Grancoder in 3 movements. mp3 [13.8 MB]
Roof Dream
This computer music piece is about dreaming. It's about waking up in the middle of a dream and knowing that I'm still dreaming. The song is patches of lush guitar played backwards, and accompanied by story telling. My voice is doubled an octave lower with a technique called Phase vocoding. The technique is kind of like speaking into a fan and recording what comes out on the other side...only different. Csound was used to randomly select different guitar soundfiles.
Roof Dream. mp3 [3.1 MB]
Strange Wind
A short MIDI piece composed using general MIDI from a Korg tone generator, this piece is reminiscent of a war movie soundtrack.
Strange Wind, mp3 [1.9 MB]
A granular resynthesis of the "Roof Dream" computer music piece. Granular synthesis is chopping a soundfile into millions of little bits and then reassembling them in a different order, so it creates a totally different sound. The ringing timbres can be most easily identified as snippets of the lush guitar coming from "Roof Dream," that are morphed when resynthesizing with Csound.
Monolith, mp3 [6.3 MB]
Rug Rat
Rug Rat is a fast moving ambient computer music piece scored with Csound. Composed in a traditional style, it has a theme and variations, a transition section, and then a return to the theme. In stereo the timbres wash in from the left and exit towards the right. In real audio, the monophonic sounds roll in from the middle and then stay in the middle:)
Rug rat, mp3 [5.2 MB]
Guitar Never Learned
This is the only piece that is really NOT a computer music and does not use Csound. For the most part, it is a heavy dose of an ART effects processor played through a Guild S-60D electric guitar. Lots of echoes and free form madness make it akin in timbre to a Grateful Dead mid-show space jam.
Guitar Never Learned. mp3 [3 MB]
Wave Romp
A short MIDI piece composed using general MIDI from a Korg tone generator, this piece is reminiscent early 80s rock-n-roll
Wave Romp, mp3 [3.8 MB]