Category: MIDI

Nova Carinae

“Oxygen in the Great Carina Nebula” — Original photo by Dylan O’Donnell,; derivative work by Tobias Frei / Wikimedia Commons / CC BY 1.0. See Oxygen in the Great Carina Nebula ( for more info on the image.

Ambient, meditative electronic space music for relaxing, study, or contemplation.

Harmonically, this piece is essentially static, based on an A minor drone with occasional use of other tonalities for contrast or development. Created with a MIDI keyboard played into Logic Pro X, the instrument sounds rely on various Native Instruments plugins, including Reaktor, FM8, Kontakt Orchestral string ensemble, and Massive X.

Note: Mentions of specific software or other products do not imply endorsement. I receive no compensation for any such mentions. These are just the tools I use.

Lake of Clouds

Photo by Tom Campbell — Dahlonega, Georgia, Jan. 31, 2016

“Lake of Clouds” started as an attempt to emulate Ulrich Schnauss’s cinematic-sounding ambient electronic music, specifically “Monday Paracetamol.” But it ended up morphing into something different, which is OK since I didn’t want to be a copycat.

The track has three sections or “scenes,” linked by overlapping synth pad chord patterns and variations on recurring riffs and rhythms.

Harmonically, the piece is based mainly on shifting patterns of major and minor chords such as a 6sus2, a major 7th with 11th and 13th added, and a major 7 with sharp 11 added to give it an edge. The middle section is sort of a round based primarily on an evolving series of minor 7 and major 6 chords, never quite resolving to the tonic. The melodies were improvised (and edited) to be consonant with the underlying chords.

Notes were input with MIDI keyboards and, in some cases, the cursor in Piano Roll view or, for some of the drum beats, the Step Sequencer. A couple of parts originated with Logic’s arpeggiator or drum beat making engines and were then transposed and heavily edited.

Tools used to create the piece include Logic Pro X + associated software instruments (Alchemy, Drum Machine Designer) and several Native Instruments plugins: Reaktor, Hybrid Keys, Session Guitarist, DrumLab, Massive, Prism, Ethereal Earth, TRK-01, and Scarbee Rickenbacker Bass, plus Raum reverb and other effects.

Note: Mentions of specific software or other products do not imply endorsement. I receive no compensation for any such mentions. These are just the tools I use.

Nature Boy Project

Nature Boy Cover A couple of years ago, I spent some time learning how to use Apple Logic software.

Most of the stuff I recorded was sequenced MIDI, with some of the instrument sounds coming from standard Logic patches and others from custom Sculpture or EXS24 patches.

I also did some heavy manipulation on some of the tracks, just trying all kinds of things to get familiar with Logic.

Track info.:

  1. Phaunckah (3:37) – Pass the collards, please.
  2. Nature Boy (2:26) – I thought it would be funny to do an un-natural version of “Nature Boy.” (song copyright 1947 by Eden Ahbez)
  3. Arne Saknussemm (3:30) – Legendary explorer in Jules Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth.
  4. Mu (2:14) – The keyboard sounds like the one on Sun Ra’s tune “Mu.”
  5. Elf Percussion (2:36) – Tiny drummers.
  6. Jaunty (3:48) – Somehow this sounds jaunty.
  7. Polyester (2:00) – Pure 1970s plastic. The vocal shouts are canned in Logic software.
  8. Mandibles (1:00) – Seems like what a preying mantis’s thought processes might sound like.
  9. Creacher Dance (1:24) – Inspired by the house elf Creacher in the Harry Potter books.
  10. Mercury (0:38) – This was not played in real time.
  11. Thonk (1:28) – The bass sounds like it’s going thonk.
  12. Old Growth (3:20) – Represents an old growth forest, or a wise person who’s grown very old.
  13. Mandibles Piano (1:00) – Just for fun, the original unmangled keyboard version of “Mandibles.” No changes were made to the notes for the transmogrified final track (#8 above).

This is a screen capture from Logic showing the key mapping used as one technique for modifying “Mandibles”:

Goethe wrote that architecture is frozen music – this pattern looks something like a cityscape, so maybe this supports that idea. Or maybe it’s just a random interesting shape.