January 1, 2010

Thoughts on Phase-Shifting

One of the features of conductor mode that has already proven a useful tool for varying and generating interesting beats is phase-shifting. Finding a best or simply workable phase relation between two loops in the bongo and the djembe is not unlike tuning in to a radio station; some phase relations lock into a good groove and others wobble awkwardly. The awkward ones are excusable, even useful, if they are part of a larger process, as in Reich’s music, but that’s not really the purpose here. I’m looking more for variety amid consistently interesting and funky textures. The weird moments could take listeners out of the moment–especially if they’re dancing. The challenge for me, if I’m going to phase-shift material in loops is to find material that is interesting regardless of phase relation or somehow know in advance which phase relations to avoid.

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Comments (1)

Jesse Engel

February 21st, 2010 at 12:03 am    


Hey Patrick,

Found your cite via CDM and gotta say I’m really impressed, not just with your work, but also the thought you’ve put into the more subtle aspects of man-machine interaction and its cultural/societal aspects.

My jaw also dropped when I saw the phasing capabilities you built into the Jazari cause that’s really one of my favorite tricks, and while not so difficult to implement with coding, it looked like so much fun to play with.

I’m continually surprised by how much groove can be accomplished with just one or two rhythms and some phasing, especially if you layer one of those rhythms back on top playing at halftime. There’s so much variety that different phasings can sound like different rhythms completely.

Along those lines, I’ve also been suprised by how many rhythms that I thought were different, were actually the same.

ex. ‘palito (stick rhythm)’
x.x.xx.x.x.x

and ‘krekrekite krekite’
x.x.xx.x.xx.

and a rhythm I like playing in 6/8
x.x.x.xx.x.x

also, more trivially the difference between 2-3 and 3-2 clave and the large rhythmic difference in musics based off the two.

So keep it up and great work!
Jesse

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