I thought it might be interesting to take a closer look at how something like this comes together. If you haven't already seen it, here is the video.
The great thing about the app is that there are a variety of well thought out sliders that make it simple to tweak and experiment. A lot of us have a bad FM aftertaste because we remember the Yamaha DX-7 and it's spiteful user interface. High marks to Alessandro Petrolati for making FM fun. The idea for the app, and Csound programming, is credited to Eugenio Giordani. Search apeSoft at the app store and you will find Stria, iDensity and iPulsaret. The other apps offer tweakable granular synthesis fun and like Stria always yield interesting results. Keep your eyes peeled for their upcoming VCS3 app!
I recorded some sounds that I made with the app and set about looking for sounds to compliment the first track. I went to my Kontakt instrument, Panoramic Wave Generator (see the product page above for details). I use the PWG quite a bit because all of the basic samples are ones that I made and I find that if you experiment with outboard effects and tuning you can come up with some wild soundscape material.
After editing the resulting recordings together I realized that I had the basis for a rather unsettling track. But it needed something else. One of my favorite ways to make sounds is to start with recordings of things that I find happening in my daily life, and then to warp them in to new sounds. The human voice is capable of so much nuance and subtle tonal shading! Recordings of people talking can be processed by changing speed, pitch, reversing, and applying effects. I have been asked how I made the sound of these tormented souls and now it can be revealed. It began as a 40 second recording of a baby crying.
To make the video performance I wanted the piece to have a definite ending place. Sometimes when I perform for a video I get too lost in the moment and noodle around too long. So for this video I recorded the Stria/PWG track to an Akai cassette recorder and some moaning/howling sounds to the Pioneer reel to reel. Both tape decks were bussed to outboard effects units. I made a random, growling bass sound on the EMW200 mini synth that was feed in to a Strymon tape delay pedal. And then, for the final element, I made three loops of moaning and howling and loaded them in to the Roland Sp-404sx sampler. The 404, EMW200 and Akai cassette deck are part of my ongoing experiments to build a performance system. The Command Center is not at all portable. Since found sounds are so important to what I have been doing, the sampler looks to be the best way to bring these sounds out of the studio.
During the performance I used the onboard effects on the sampler and then ran the output of the 404 through a Korg KP Quad. I like the Quad because you can chain 4 effects, turn them off and on, and adjust them in real time. I spent a great deal of time adjusting effect settings, making notes of where I wanted to play the sampler and which effects to use, syncing the tape machines, and so forth. I wrote a "score" that was posted off camera on a clipboard with clock to keep The end result it a product of how I felt the day it was recorded. By the end of the day I was down, sick and miserable, with a bug that I had gotten from the same baby that provided the crying that was used in this piece.