Novembeat: a Recap in Progress

Yeah, so I slipped almost immediately. Day three–what could have possibly been on my mind this November 3rd?–and four and five disappeared into the ether, never to be seen again.

ON THE SIXTH DAY, I emerged and forced myself to use an interesting combo I’d rolled up for one of my missed days.

“Caye” emerged from an interesting sound I found in the Volca Modular. Something like an Alto Clarinet almost. A far-away, longing sound, like sitting on the jetty, watching bigger ships moving in the distance. I paired that image with some found percussion and a harp loop from some Samplified pack or another, then tried desperately to get the Volca Keys to do something resembling playing nice. It’s so brassy, but I think I managed to get it somewhere near where I wanted it at the very, very end (around 4:36, as I quickly pull the filter off). It’s not a perfect tune, but it got me out of my funk a bit.


It is no surprise that I have a fondness for the Durham, NC-based acid-funk power quartet, the Mountain Goats. Recently, I’ve spent a little while tracking out some of my favorite songs on the OP-Z, and, well, this is one of them. Everything is going through the OP-Z, and I have a sizable amount of Reverb and Chorus effects on my whiny vocals. Just the way I think John would have wanted it to be if he had an OP-Z instead of a Casio back in 1996.

DAY EIGHT: THE OCHO started as a challenge on a Korg Volca Discord Server I help moderate. You’re learning all sorts of things about me today!

They picked a few synths out for me to use and I figured if I wasn’t going random with this one, I could cheat further and add in some NTS-1 effects and Midilooper assistance. This recording came at the tail end of about an hour of just noodling around between these joyous devices. I had a chord progression on the OP-Z from my next tMG cover (name that tune and I will venmo you $10!) and then I just kind of plugged things together and went for it. The A-55 preset (tee hee) on the MicroKORG is a long-time favorite: I’ve had this thing for at least a decade, and I always jump to it when I want to figure out a melody.

The routing here was fun to figure out. The Volca Drum is providing clock for the OP-Z, which is sending MIDI to the Midilooper, which is sending Track A (channel 2) to the Volca FM and Track B (channel 3) to the MicroKORG. A potential next step for this setup would be to run MIDI Thru from the Korg to the NTS-1 on channel 4, and loop some effect parameter changes from the OP-Z. That was one step too complicated for this run, but maybe next time. I will definitely pull this combo back together in the near future. Between the variety of sounds on the Drum (which I used very sparingly, in a show of remarkable restraint), the limitless FM potential of the… FM, and the timeless MicroKORG–not to mention the one-size-fits-most OP-Z–I suspect this small rig could span the gamut of electronic music without breaking a sweat.

DAY NINE, yesterday I was somewhat dreading another big setup like the above, so when I rolled up the MicroFreak, I skipped the rest of the dice and went with this.

Simple bassy patch on the MicroFreak, and maximum wubs on my shiny new Werkstatt (which is replacing the Wavestate on my roll table). The PO-33 was a bit of an afterthought, but I’m happy it had some Nicotine/Bactine to contribute. The fun discovery here was that you can set up the Werkstatt’s filter to respond to pressure on the capacitive keyboard on the MicroFreak, letting you PLAY the wubs. I am not very good at that yet, but I got it down well enough to record this quick and fun number. Again: a very interesting early discovery that shaped my path. Novembeat is all about happy accidents, and I think this one is the happiest so far.

Today marks the 1/3 mark of the challenge, and even though I’ve already skipped a couple days, I’m feeling energized and ready to keep pushing ahead. I received some killer suggestions from some other Discord pals, so today might be totally insane or simple and mundane. Maybe a mix: Insane in the Mundane. Feature image forthcoming.