ANTHEM COMPUTER

a GNUNiCORN album

To listen to this album, click the album cover below.

Anthem Computer is a collection of tracks that could be called a concept album if one is pretentious enough to find hidden meaning somewhere throughout. A variety of methods were used to create new and interesting timbres and sounds, as described below.

To produce some lead sounds, such as on "Roads", and every instrument of "Intermission", as well as the bass for "Closing", a cathode ray tube monitor was "recorded", and then sped up and down to produce different pitches. However, instead of recording the sound coming from the monitor, the light was recorded. In order to achieve a recording a light, a simple circuit consisting of a power source, photoresistor, and RCA jack was made and plugged into an audio interface, so that the variation in light coming from the monitor could be recorded as audio in an audio recording program. Because of the way CRT monitors work, this produced something that sounded like a sawtooth wave put through a low pass filter. For other sounds, the recorder was pointed at a lamp plugged into the standard 60Hz power supply, creating a wave form that was similar to a folded sinewave put through a low pass filter. This technique was also used extensively for the previously released track, "Ride of the Valkyries".

To create the percussion for the song "Cathode Ray Tube", an "Atari Punk Console" was sampled, and then various effects were applied to that sample. For example, many different recordings were combined, and then put through a high pass filter and an amplification envelope to create a sort of snare sound. A kick sound was produced through a downward pitch sweep on the device, sped up, and then put through a low pass filter.

Every track, besides "Office Party" and "Intermission", makes extensive use of Arturia's "Microbrute", an analog monophonic synthesizer. The tracks "Mars", "The Council", and "Revelations" use it exclusively, with "Cathode Ray Tube" and "Clouds" using non-Microbrute voices only for percussion (and vocals). In order to generate chords on this monophonic synthesizer, a separate track was recorded for each note in the chord. This method was especially useful in "Clouds", which pans each note in the chord differently, creating a very full stereo effect. Another method of polyphony was used for the tracks "30", "Summer", and "Revelations", in which a single note was recorded on the Microbrute, which was then pitched up and down for each note in a sampling program (used in the light recording method). It is easy for this program to play multiple notes at once. The Microbrute was also used to create sound effects, such as the noise at the end of "Summer", and the sirens and explosion in "Revelations".

The track "The Council" is made up entirely of a single track of a Microbrute recording, put only through delay and reverb effects. In order to achieve the illusion of polyinstrumentation, some attributes of the sound were modulated in tune with the song. The Microbrute's sequencer was in charge of all the note pitches, while an external sequencer was used to modulate the "sub" oscillator, and the filter cutoff separately. The sub oscillator added a note either one octave below or one fifth above the main note, which added a sort of bass instrument in the background. The filter (which was given a lot of resonance) was modulated with frequencies independent of the main note, creating another instrument. This also created a sort of delay effect, as the sound changed during the release phase of the amplitude envelope very abruptly. These effects combined to create the illusion of multiple instruments.

Most of the sounds in "Office Party" were created by an emulation of the "YM3812" sound card, found in Yamaha keyboards, as well as the SoundBlaster sound cards.

I hope you find this album enjoyable.