Grant Muller

STFUnity: GOL Sequencer Bank, Sound Design, and New Music

I’ve undertaken a new musical collaboration with a very eclectic (and eccentric) group of guys called STFUnity. The project for me started when Bill mentioned putting together a completely virtual collaboration between he, Jason Blain, and myself. The idea was that rather than the traditional setting of getting a couple musicians in a room, rehearsing some material, then playing it live, we’d instead pass around a bunch of tracks and see where each member took the material. I’d never worked in this format before, and it seemed like fun so I jumped on it.

There are no set roles in the group, with any member contributing any element to the song. Still, I feel that my capacity in the collaboration falls in the realm of sound design; I usually contribute textures and atmosphere, with the occasional laying down a percussion track or some programming. The exception being Cottonhammer, which I want to point out specifically

Cottonhammer  is special to me as its the first official outing with my homegrown tool, the GOL Sequencer Bank. I struggled to find ways to incorporate it into my existing tracks. Its too non-deterministic on its own, and the unpredictability of it does not lend itself to a song that has an existing structure (at least not in my travels). So, I changed how I used the tool and stopped trying to place too much direct control over it. Cottonhammer is the GOL Sequencer Bank working autonomously with myself playing live drums simultaneously. Cottonhammer is an attempt to interact musically with a machine.

I arranged four of the six sequencers to play a different range of notes; I didn’t want too many tracks overlapping in frequency range. The other two sequencers I outputted to some very glitchy clicks and pops to keep from having too many melodic instruments fighting for space. I find the output rather soothing despite the complete lack of control and the machine gun percussion.

    So far, there are four tracks completed with several more still in the works. I’ll post updates as the project continues, listen and let me know what you think.

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