albums
Underway
2006 Wonday
Compilations
1993 Songs to Sleep By
1997 Songs to Sleep By 2
2002 Sunday Sampler
2002 Dad's Picks
1999 Mix 1 (sy55)
2010 Mix 2 (triton vocal)
2010 Mix 3 (triton instr.)
SY55
1991 Archives
1992 College Collection
1993 College Collage
1994 The Hermit
1997 Where's My Muse
1999 South or Southeast
Triton
2001 In the Margins
2002 Renewal
2002 Re-treat
2002 Convenience
2002 Back Up
2003 So So
2003 So On
2003 So Long
2003 Baby Steps
2003 Baby Talk
2004 Schmocial
2004 Brroom
2004 Chuckadee
2004 Disco Hike
2004 Extra Extra
2005 Coma Pill
2005 Ourboretum
2005 Jaminy
2005 Padden Drift
2005 Gorilla Love
2005 Aminals
2005 Vegibles
2006 Fruitine
2006 Dignored
2006 Miner
2006 Mouseculine
2006 Yata
2007 Zipit
2007 Sixawon
2007 Halfdosin
2007 Whatcom Home
2008 What Roses
2008 Pho Kit
2008 Composed Pile
2009 Decomposed Pie
2009 Swaddlicious
2010 Lost Train
Soft Synths
2011 Out the Margins
2011 Redebut
2011 Reprogression
2012 Working Progress
2013 Tripico
2014 Aerosol Concrete
2015 Reduced to Clear
2016 Motions
2017 The Walking Dad
  • Title: Reprogression
  • Artist: Tripecac
  • Timespan: 2011
  • Theme: attempts at musical progression
  • Length: 78:57
  • Tracks: 18
  • Lyrics: 1
  • MP3s: 18 play all locally
  • Rating: rate this album

Track List

# title lyrics time download listen started recorded rating
1 Recession - 3:28 download listen locally 2011-07-07 2011-09-16
2 Resume - 2:58 download listen locally 2011-08-01 2011-09-16
3 Tech Diff - 3:58 download listen locally 2011-08-11 2011-08-18
4 Tick Doff - 2:13 download listen locally 2011-08-12 2011-09-17
5 Headachin - 4:49 download listen locally 2011-08-23 2011-08-26
6 Slugless - 4:44 download listen locally 2011-08-26 2011-09-01
7 GME - 1:40 download listen locally 2011-08-30 2011-09-06
8 Rev - 3:44 download listen locally 2011-09-06 2011-10-18
9 Erted - 4:01 download listen locally 2011-09-09 2011-10-18
10 SuX1c - 5:03 download listen locally 2011-09-13 2011-10-18
11 Batari lyrics 4:50 download listen locally 2011-09-21 2011-10-18
12 Rerere - 5:31 download listen locally 2011-09-29 2011-10-18
13 Nework - 10:15 download listen locally 2011-10-04 2011-10-19
14 Sofrustratin - 4:11 download listen locally 2011-10-12 2011-10-19
15 SuX1ess - 3:10 download listen locally 2011-10-17 2011-11-10
16 Paper Snaked - 2:55 download listen locally 2011-10-24 2011-11-11
17 Bleep Freeze - 5:35 download listen locally 2011-10-26 2011-11-12
18 Nov - 5:52 download listen locally 2011-11-01 2011-11-12
Total 78:57 play all locally album rating:

Notes

This album continues my slow trudging up the soft synth learning curve.

Originally, I wanted it to focus on musical progression, but a slew of technical difficulties (primarily with new versions of Sonar and Kontakt) caused me to focus more on technological progression. My main struggle was to figure out how to get virtual instruments to perform smoothly and mix together nicely without having to resort to watered-down arrangements.

Some of these songs are improvised jams, others are loop based, and one was (gasp!) actually composed. You can probably guess which ones are which, and also my moods on the days I started them. Like most Tripecac albums, this one's a musical journal, an instrumental blog.

What made this album unique was my tendency to go back and fix (rearrange and remix) many of the songs days, weeks, even months after they were initially recorded. As a result of all the jumping back and forth, this album took longer than most to finish, but I do think some of the songs really benefited from the repeated doses of attention. Hopefully with the next album I won't have to do so much backtracking!

Songs

Recession

This is named after the economic crisis, which has started to have an impact on me as well. It also refers to the musical "recession" that I feel I've recently entered. The last album in particular felt a bit empty of ideas. There were a few neat songs, but overall it was mostly filler.

For this song, I decided to try to do the whole thing in Sonar X1. Within a few minutes of starting it, however, I found 2 apparent glitches or omissions, and posted them on the Cakewalk forum. My energy and enthusiasm were quickly sapped. I was so frustrated, in fact, that I didn't touch the song (or Sonar) again for the rest of the month, and instead focused on finishing all the Trex CDs.

By the start of August I had caught up on Trex and was ready to resume Tripecac again. I avoided this song and started a new one ("Resume"). Again I tried to work with Sonar X1, got frustrated with the learning curve, and reverted to Sonar 8.5.3. Within a couple days I had my momentum back, and, wanting to finish the songs in chronological order, returned to this one.

One thing I discovered on listening to recent and older Tripecac on my jogs is that although the virtual acoustic drum kits I've been using (e.g., Abbey Road 80s Drums) sound great, they are somewhat overpowering. In my favorite Tripecac songs, the drums really aren't that prominent. They're there, but they're not "in your face". However, it's hard to resist cranking up the virtual kits because they sound so great!

So for this song I decided to avoid the issue by using a virtual drum machine instead of a kit. Who wants to crank up a drum machine? Certainly not I! Problem solved.

Well, maybe. The song itself is a bit lame. There's no real writing, and in terms of groove and solos, it's not that different from what we've heard from Tripecac hundreds of times before. On the positive side, I guess that means it lives up to its title!

Note: I remixed this a day after I originally finished it, using a slightly less harsh lead clav part. In the process, I learned how to edit the wah effect within Kontakt. Kinda neat. Too bad the song isn't!

Note: I remixed it again over a month later, with the most noticeable changing being the removal of the fade out at the end.

Resume

The title refers to my efforts to resume work on Tripecac in early August, and also to the fact that due to the recession I've recently updated my resume.

For this song my focus was on getting a cohesive reverb sound. I used sends, which I've never done before in Sonar. They're clunky, but let me use a single reverb for all instruments.

I got daring and tried an acoustic drum kit. This time I tried not to let it dominate, and I was sure to add lots of other instruments to balance it out.

Unfortunately, most of the other instruments' parts clashed with each other, so I ended up deleting them. It's back to a minimalist mix, heavy on the drums. Hopefully the peppiness will counteract the sparseness.

Note: I remixed this about a month later, making mostly subtle changes and adding a solo to an empty-sounding verse. I also extended the fade at the end to make it less abrupt.

Tech Diff

I was annoyed at the technical difficulties I had in the last songs (crashing in Kontakt and Sonar) that I decided to change things around a bit and using Cakewalk's Studio Instruments plugins for all the sounds.

This limited me to drums, bass, electric pianos, and strings. I quickly decided that I hated the song. Either the instrumentation or my imagination was too limited to do anything interesting with it.

This song gave me a headache every day I tried to work on it. I got so bored with it that I finally sped it up in order to make it semi-interesting. It was only at that point that I started getting "into" it, adding solos, chord changes, and drum fills.

However, at the same time, Sonar X1c was released, so I switched to X1 for the Nth time. This time, I actually finished the song using it. However, the going was slow; I was continually irritated by both Sonar glitches and the limitations of only using the few Studio Instruments sounds.

This triggered my impatienced again, and so I ended work on the song rather abruptly.

Technical difficulties: 1, song writing: 0.

Tick Doff

The title is a play on "ticked off", which is how I feel about the technical difficulties I've been having lately. Sonar X1 has been giving me lots of glitches, and I'm still struggling to get soft synths to blend together well. It's very annoying.

For this song I wanted to "shake things up" again, by trying a bunch of different soft synths. It quickly got boring to work on this song, so I ended up letting it fade out rather than trying to finish it (and thus prolong the agony of working on it).

Note: I remixed this almost a month later to make it less drum-heavy. (So if you think it's bad now...)

Headachin

Sonar X1 has been giving me major headaches the past few days. It's slower, noisier, and less intuitive (for me) than Sonar 8.5.3. So why do I persist in learning it? I just don't know at this point. Maybe I'm hoping by learning a radicaly new interface I will expand my musical palette? We'll see...

This song started out as an attempt to create a new template for X1. I soon got carried away, and started recording. Within a few minutes it was an 8-bar loop. The next day I expanded it until a full-length "song".

I put "song" in quotes because it's not really a deliberately created body of work. It's just a bunch of noodles quantized, copied, and varied ever so slightly. If my studio were a restaurant, this would be the equivalent of frozen, pre-assembled food. A gastronomic snore-fest.

Well, at least it won't make you sick! Frozen food is safe. And so is this. Just like 90% of Tripecac.

Things I like about this song: there's energy in some of the solos, the groove is pretty solid in parts.

Things I don't like: the mix is muddy, especially during the chorus, there's no main melody, it feels painfully sluggish at times.

Slugless

This started as a very simple clav groove which extended into a long solo. When I setup the template I had already chosen the drums (Abbey Roads 60s Drums) and at first when I added them to the clav I thought they sounded wimpy and distant... But then I realized that by using those drums, I might be able to keep the track sounding live, which could possibly help me maintain the energy level.

It seemed to work. I added more parts, including disco bass, [fake] guitar, and [fake] brass, In the end, it's one long jam, with no real melodies, but lots of energy. Whether it's worth listening to as a "song" I won't know until I've distanced myself from it a bit.

The name of the song refers to the fact that since there's no melody, there really isn't a short phrase which could represent this song. Neither is there a real payload. Or sluggishness. Of course, that one's obvious.

User Comments:

  1. "I like the energy and some bits are great!" - Giovanna (2011-09-05)

GME

I started this on the day my grandmother passed away. She was 100.

Inspired by my recent study of the Lord of the Rings soundtrack, I decided to try take an intellectual, symbolic approach to the music.

The low guitar part consists of four simple 5-note patterns, starting on C, F, E, and again F. Each pattern represents a different generation.

The first pattern represents my grandma. It starts on a simple and pure church organ-friendly C, and then traces the usual happy major chord of life. It ascends some extra notes at the end, symbolizing how her religious faith augmented her life at the end, well past the usual octave.

The second pattern represents my dad. It starts on a trumpet-friendly F, at almost the opposite part of the octave. This large jump represents a radically different perspective, a significant (though somewhat predictable) departure from the previous generation. My dad has lived a very different life from his mom. However, his pattern in fact replicates her happy progression, rising at the end. This symbolizes his own faith, not in God per se, but rather in scientific endeavor and industriousness.

The third pattern represents me. I starts off very similar to my dad, just a half step away at guitar-friendly E. However, my chord is minor, and descends at the end, falling short of the octave. This represents a lack of faith and a happiness shortfall. It's a pessimistic view of my own life, and is not quite honest, but rather me donning my "dramatic" persona. It also serves as a warning to myself.

The fourth pattern represents the correction, which could be either the next generation or me again, if I am given a second chance. It follows my dad's path at F and ascends happily and successfully, though not quite as high. This seems to say that a simple shift in persoective can get happiness back on course. Again, this is more a dramatic or cautionary statement than an autobiographical one.

I know, I know, for 20 notes that sounds like an awful lot of thought. However, I was actually thinking those things as I played the notes. So it's quite sincere, if sonically simplistic.

My goal then with the melody was to adhere to the metaphor. I tried to keep it loose, because the details of life and surface interactions between generations are dynamic and shouldn't be rigidly quantized. Life needs to be organic. There has to be some room for human expression, even if they border on mistakes. Formula only gets you so far. Etc.

So the ultimate exercise and message of this song is to be thoughtful. Whether it works as a piece of entertainment, I don't know. I'm just starting to think things through, really. Up until now my life and music have been mostly winged.

I kept the song relatively short and hopefully sweet, adding only minimal drums and bass. The original version was even shorter (70 seconds) which was a little too brief, so I added a bass solo to extend it to exactly 100 seconds, which seems more appropriate.

User Comments:

  1. "It's nice you are exploring different genres. It's a beautiful song. Grammie would definitely smile if she could hear it." - Giovanna (2011-09-06)

Rev

This is a test of the West Africa instruments included in Komplete 8. One of the percussion patterns is a preset but the rest is stuff I added manually.

It was actually really easy to get something semi-interesting going quickly. However, it was hard to prevent the song as a whole from sounding monotonous. Perhaps that's because the rhythms are relentless, or perhaps I just lacked imagination during this particular test.

Anyway, I kept it short, so if it does start sounding "samey" (or "lamey"), at least it doesn't go on too long!

The title comes from several things. I was revving my engines after that last slow song. I was also reviewing the latest revision of Komplete. And finally, I got so frustrated with Sonar X1 that I reverted back to Sonar 8.5.3.

User Comments:

  1. "This song reminds me of a South American street band I heard at Pike Market in Seattle. It's a nice song. It's too melodic to sound African even if the drums are used heavily." - Giovanna (2011-10-11)

Erted

This continues the exploration of Komplete 8 started in "Rev", this time mixing West Africa sounds with standard jazz instruments (drums, organ, upright bass, and horns). The instrumentation was inspired by a jazz theory tutorial I had recently seen.

The song ended up sounding a little bit like afrobeat at times, which I like. And the energy is pretty high most of the time. However, overall it's still drum-heavy and repetitive, like the last song, and I strongly dislike the sax sound.

Oh well... 2 steps forward, 1.99 steps back!

SuX1c

The title expresses my frustration with Sonar X1c's bugs and interface glitches. To match the aggressive, technology-oriented title, I tried to make the song sound electronic and raw.

I used a drum machine and Guitar Rig 5 to get a cool drum sound. Unfortunately, I got bogged down on the rest of the instruments, trying to match synths to effects, and barely got anywhere in terms of actually building the song. After 2 days, all I had to show for it was basically an 8 bar loop. Ugh.

Sonar is not to blame in this case. Neither is Guitar Rig 5, really. It's my own lack of familiarity with synths and effects and my stubborn trial-and-error approach to finding reasonable sound/effect combinations that cost me so much time. A real synth user would have been able to find decent sounds a lot faster.

Well, I guess this means I am not a real synth user, nor do I really want to be. I do not enjoy the sound tweaking aspect of music making, perhaps because I don't listen to electronic music, or perhaps because sound tweaking requires patience and/or thought. For me, music making is most fun when it is relaxed and spontaneous, not intellectual.

Batari

The title combines Battery 3 (the soft synth I used for the clicks in the beginning) with Atari.

My goal was to create a funky retro feel, inspired by some old Rock School videos I had recently seen on YouTube. I added some cheesy disco bass to push it even further in that direction.

As a test of my recording setup, I added real electric guitar. It's slightly out of tune and, during the solo, not completely in time, but it was fun to play. And that's the point, right?

The lyrics are nonsense.

Actually, so is the music.

Lyrics to "Batari":

batari
where's the party
batari 
where's the body

batari
where's the party
batari 
where's the potty
  

Rerere

Re-progression, re-debut, re-vert, re-tro, re-this, re-that... My explorations with soft synths certainly keep one eye fixed on the past. It's as if my only measuring stick is my previous music.

Well, that needs to change. I have to start trying to match my music to the ideas in my head rather than to my old patterns, orchestrations, and expectations. I need to forge ahead, with eyes no longer looking back. And I need to do this soon.

The song title is a re-minder of my determination to push things away from the past. Since I repeat it three times (re re re), I decided give this a 6/8 feel. Actually, I didn't really decide that; it was dumb luck that the first synth arpeggio I used happened to be 6/8. But once I recognized the "3" connection I decided to embrace it, and made the rest of the song stick to that triplet pattern.

The synths-meet-acoustic-drums vibe seems kinda trancy and krautrocky, which I like. It was fun to start this song, but hard to finish. There's no real melody, just patterns.

So is this the music in my head? No. But at least it's a little different from the last few songs. And that, to me, is almost always a good thing.

User Comments:

  1. "very dark" - Giovanna (2011-10-04)

Nework

I started some new work today. Because of the additional workload, I didn't have much time to work on music. Therefore, I didn't bother preparing any ideas, and instead immediately launched into recording a 10-minute electric piano improv. It was sloppy and dumb, and the chords never changed, but I felt it was a semi-relaxing exercise after a very long day at work.

When it came time to fleshing it out, the one rule I had for this song was: no loops. Everything had to be recorded along to the other parts, with the goal of giving the song as "live" a feel as possible. My hope was that this would inspire some imaginitive solos.

It kinda worked, resulting in some nice bits here and there, but unfortunately, the editing and mixing of such a long (and inevitably sloppy) jam ended up being very time consuming. And enthusiam consuming.

By the time I was finally finished "fixing" it, several more long days had passed, and I felt completely drained. Of course, the new work could have had something to do with that as well!

Sofrustratin

The title continues the "Where's My Muse" reference started in "Headachin". It expresses my ongoing frustration with the software I've been using to make these songs.

The music tries to be the opposite of the previous song ("Nework"), so it's loopy, electronic, and obviously melodic. Going for contrast here. Not quality. Contrast.

One of the drum machine loops started off as a standard preset. I then tweaked its pattern a little bit by editing the instrument, a first for me with Kontakt.

Educational value aside, though, this song stinks. It sounds like a cheesy 80s dance mix "Hall of the Mountain King". It might almost get your toe tapping during some of the breaks, but ultimately it's disposable experimental filler.

SuX1ess

I was trying Sonar X1 again, for the first time in months. What prompted it was someone's mention of a color scheme mod called "Dark Side", which I installed, hoping it would make the Sonar X1 experience visually encouraging, even if the interface glitches continued to whittle away at my productivity and morale.

This test song's title refered to my hope that I would either find more success with X1, or, even if I continue to dislike it, that I would at least feel, thanks to the mod, that it sucks a little less than it did last time I tried it.

Well, the experiment showed that I was right.

About Sonar X1 sucking.

Yep, you guessed it: I hated Sonar X1 just as much this time around, despite the slightly clearer color scheme. The glitches, interruptions, and confusion were just too distracting to allow me to enjoy or have patience with the song creation process.

As a result, the only thing this test music accomplishes it to accurately express my frustration at the whole Sonar X1 experience: clunky, messy, pretentious, unbalanced, inept, and grating. Just like the name of the song. This is not reprogression. This is redigression.

Fortunately, the song is pretty short.

As will be my reunion with Sonar X1.

Paper Snaked

The title continues the "Where's My Muse" reference. The music reverts back to Sonar 8.5.3. Feel like you're going in circles? So do I.

The music is slow and improv-based rather than loop based. It started with the long organ solo. Unlike Nework, this progression has two chords instead of one. I added a few more instruments, but then got distracted by some pops and clicks.

After a little investigation, I realized that Studio Drummer was the culprit; it was using a huge amount of CPU. Other people on the Internet have been reporting similar problems. So I'm not alone in my software-related frustrations. That doesn't reduce my frustration, however.

The technical difficulties quickly killed my enthusiasm for the song. The next day, instead of extending it any further (which would expose me to more pops and clicks while recording), I decided to simply clean up what I had so far and end it. Quickly.

I know, I know, I could have tried fiddling with audio latency, or freezing synths, or trying a number of things to reduce the load that Studio Drummer was putting on the system. However, I just didn't feel like it.

So here you go. Yet another issue of technological frustration.

Bleep Freeze

For this song I was supposed to test Sonar's freeze functionality for the first time, in hopes of finding an easy way to reduce some of the high CPU usage that's been plaguing my Kontakt 5 efforts.

But then I forgot.

Actually, I found that I didn't need to freeze anything, because I chose a much simpler drum kit, which significantly reduced the CPU usage. Looks like Studio Drummer was indeed the culprit.

So, freeze? Bleep freeze! I can reduce my CPU usage in another way!

The music is peppy. A bit over the top in parts. The EP solo in particular is all over the place. And the crash cymbals - wayyy too messy. There are some nice moments however. It needs cleanup, but I ran out of time. Oh well. At least you get glimpses of the energy I felt when I started it, and that energy is a rare thing these days!

Nov

I started this on the first day of November. Hence the name.

I was sick the day I started it. Hence the lame.

It's basically yet another repetitive, trancy EP solo with no chord changes. The left hand doesn't get any simpler. Actually, there's a shift from 6/8 to 4/4 and back, but that's nothing special. Been there, done that. A million times before. As Trex.

I then painstakingly edited the sloppy solo, taking hours to fix up a 6 minute improv. Sad.

Next I added layers of other instruments. Predictably. The whole thing smacks of uninspired inertia.

So we end the album back where we started: yearning for progress, but not finding any clear paths to it. We've circled around the house and are back at the door, knocking, still trying to get in. I feel like Gandalf stumped at the gate to Moria. Minus the wisdom. And the accompanying Pippin to save the day.

User Comments:

  1. "mmh, good at bits but relentlessly repetitive." - Giovanna (2011-11-08)