I composed another demo track for Arturia, this time for the launch of their upgraded Pigments synth. I used sounds from the Expressive Explorations sound pack, which was designed especially to be used with MPE* controllers.
From Arturia’s site:
Dynamically responsive spectral sound (MPE)
From rich, evolving ambiences to augmented synths and organic textures, Expressive Explorations offers an MPE-enabled library of emotive sounds – designed to evolve as you play and deliver a diverse tonal range.
After I’d written it, it was rather exciting to be asked if they could make a video of the arrangement – showing how I’d assembled the sounds, the different timbres and styles, and the way I’d built interest and intrigue into the piece. It was quite thrilling to see it analysed and explained in such depth.
I really enjoyed hearing the analysis – I’d written the track quite intuitively by trying out various presets and layering the melodies and harmonies as I went so it was a treat to hear it analysed so eloquently. In reality, in my head, it was mostly, “Ooh, this sounds nice, let’s layer it,” and, “Ah, that’s a nice variation in the sound when I twiddle this particular effects knob”. And so on until there’s a piece of music forming.
Pulling the track together was quite quick as the presets were all very playable and it was hard to choose which I should use and which I should leave for another day after which I spent a little more time rearranging the structure and the mix.
I worked with Arturia to ensure we focused on the MPE effects on some of the sounds to demonstrate their versatility. In practice, since I don’t have an MPE controller (yet!) this involved layering various controller messages in sync to give the impression that the simple and intuitive interface of a typical MPE controller was varying multiple parameters (eg custom FX, vibrato, brightness etc). You might hear these subtle variations at the start on the plucked Koto-like instrument and at both the start and end in the solo flute.
Aeon of Ascension
*MPE stands for MIDI Polyphonic Expression, a kind of controller that allows a more tactile and complex performance whilst recording. Here’s an example of such a controller.