It’s been a while since I’ve posted about music, but I’ve been busy making a lot of it. Right on the heels of finishing up this year’s Christmas album, I decided to stay on the music-making path and make some more. The music I’ve been coming up with has a very clear experimental electronic flavor, although I guess to some extent most of my stuff could be called “experimental.”

Either way, so far I’ve got 11 tracks almost ready to go. I’m hoping to “release” (post to the internet) the album before the end of the year. Most of the tracks were created with “found” sounds I recorded (like the sound of a construction site jackhammer or the escalator at J.C. Penny. Most of the tracks are also pretty weird, even for me. I’ve been primarily working on these tracks while commuting to and from downtown, so in some ways this album won’t be a “studio” album, it will be a Metra commuter train album.

A few weeks ago my lovely wife Claire told me about a Korg Monotron song contest. Yes, this is the same wife that regularly suggests I go fishing on weekends; i.e. a great wife. I thought it was cool, but didn’t really think about entering.

Last night for some reason I went back to the contest site, read the rules, and listened to some of the winners from the Japanese competition. I expected to hear some completely amazing stuff, and although there was some very nice monotron playing there, it really didn’t seem like many people were taking full advantage of all the sounds the monotron can make, especially when paired with a capable workstation like Ableton Live. I also checked out the prizes page, and when I saw the 24-karat gold-plated monotribe and silver-plated monotrons, I knew I had to enter.

Gold plated Monotribe

Reading the competition rules, I realized I already had a piece of music composed entirely of monotron, that also happened to be shorter than the 2 minute maximum entry length. Sweet! It was a track I made almost a year ago after I got my monotron for Christmas- I popped it into Live, did some quick remixing, and quickly posted it to YouTube.

Then I sat on the couch, opened my laptop, and began playing my monotron into Ableton Live. After a few short hours, I had a 2 minute piece of pure monotron music. Although it may sound otherwise, every single sound in the track was created using the monotron, through extensive editing, repitching, and some other secrets. It’s amazing how voice-like the monotron can sound with some nice reverb (toward the end of the track). I’m pretty happy with how it turned out!

I will definitely add that to the track listing on the upcoming album. Although it would super amazing to win something for playing around with my monotron, I don’t really know what my chances are, or even what the judges are looking for. I just did my thing, and they can take it or leave it. Either way it was a fun little evening project, and another addition to the new album.

Entries are due by January 1, and they’ll announce the winners (1st, 2nd, and 3rd places I think) on January 6. If you happen to have a monotron, you should enter too! I know for a fact at least one person is getting a monotron for Christmas (I’m talking to you Dan Kramer), and a monotron piece would be worth major extra credit in my class… Just sayin’….

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