Nigel Sutcliffe – Floaty Drifty – Reader Track

1 What is the title of your track? What is your artist/band/musical identify/name?

Floaty Drifty.

2 What type of musical genre does this track fall in?

Generative Ambient

3 Tell us a bit about you recording setup. Is it all iOS or do you combine iOS with other recording technology in some way?

This track is a mixture of iOS and Ableton Live 8 Lite.

4 What was the key equipment – software and hardware – that you used to create this particular track?

Intermorphic’s NoaTikl running on an iPad2. The iPad is connected to my WiFi home network in the usual manner.
NoaTikl was set to output the MIDI data on four channels. The built in synth engine was not used.

The NoaTikl app.

The NoaTikl app.

On my PC (also connected to my home WiFi) the ‘rptMIDI’ utility was running to send the MIDI data received from the iPad to Ableton Live 8.

In Ableton Live I used Camel Audio’s Alchemy Player VST and a standard 808 kit to provide the instruments and the source input was set to the required MIDI channel.

5 How did you start to build the track? What was the first element you created and how?

The piece was completely composed in NoaTikl using the built in synth engine and patches to get an idea how it would sound.

Firstly, I created a repeating drum pattern. This was fed to the 808 kit in Ableton Live but not used in the final recording.

6 How did you build from that point? What elements came next and how were they created?

After the drum pattern, I created a fixed pattern Bass part. This was fed to an Alchemy Player VST in Ableton Live to get a deep bass evolving sound.

Then I created a Rhythmic pattern and set it to mutate its rhythm slightly as the pice progressed. This was fed to another instance of Alchemy in Ableton Live and I used a dark pad sound.

Alchemy is available in desktop and iOS versions.

Alchemy is available in desktop and iOS versions.

The last pattern was another Rhythmic pattern set to evolve with a deeper chord depth range than the previous pattern. This was fed to another instance of Alchemy in Ableton Live and I used a dark lead sound.

7 Were there particular parts/instruments that you feel are critical to the finished piece? Was there a particular iOS app (or apps) that you used to achieve this?

NoaTikl was crucial to this piece as I wanted it grow, swirl and evolve. NoaTikl, although it has a steep learning curve, is superb for this.

8 Having created the arrangement/individual tracks, how did you go about mixing and/or mastering the track to produce the finished audio file?

The arrangement and recording was all done in Ableton Live 8 Lite.

With all the input channels set to receive the MIDI data from the iPad and the patches set in the VSTs, I then started to record and set NoaTikl to play. I was then able to adjust the volume of each track as it was being recorded – fading in a particular nice sounding phrase, letting it evolve and then reducing its presence. The final rendering to an mp3 was also done in Ableton.

9 In producing this particular track, what elements of your workflow do you think were particularly effective? Equally, are their limitations (particularly with any iOS element of the workflow) that you found you had to work around?

I did this piece really as an experiment in using the technology to send MIDI data wirelessly to my PC. I was very happy with how that went. I was particularly happy with the lack of latency.

10 Tell us a little about yourself and your musical interests/background.

I am very much a newcomer to making my own music and I am still experimenting with various genres at the moment. My musical tastes are range from Blues to Ambient.

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