Tips for turning found sounds into something musical?

So, I started this challenge on another forum where you have to make a track out of sampling stuff inside your house/apartment. Any kind of processing and FX (computer and/or hardware) are allowed, but the source sounds must originate from stuff you mic’d yourself, inside your home.

My take on the challenge is sampling a washing machine, and using the Octatrack (plus my 2 FX units) to turn the samples into a techno track. I can easily see how to get percussive sounds and ambient textures, but how would I get melodic content?

Any tips?

Would the comb filter be useful for this? I’ve been using it just for vocodering vocals so far, and I got no idea how it actually works, I just turn knobs until I like what I’m hearing.

I could of course use a computer to determine the pitch of the sample, and tune it to C, and then play it like any other melodic sample, but I sort of wanted to challenge myself and do everything on the OT.

Any help would be appreciated!

If you have a sample of something playing C you can just use your ears :wink: You just don’t include that sample in the final track.

You can get some really interesting sounds by zooming into the sample and looping, essentially making your own single cycle waveforms.

1 Like

I got a nifty field recorder, that i take in the garden from time to time…
just grab a big stick… and hit everything you see… record that…

the end resulsts, i chop and process in renoise… basicly because it comes with bigger toolkit then the octatrack to process and tune… once its tuned and processed.
it ends up in the octatrack or the machinedrum… or the monomachine as a single cycle.
just to processs it even more… and turn a collection of sounds into a bunch of songs.

Have a field-day… go to a car-junkyard… (still on my list) …

I use this plugin called photosounder spiral… which is an excellent tool to tune your samples… (got mine free with a computermusic magazine) …

Seek out Neil Baldwin’s Octatrack science lab submission in which he made a melodic track out of a noise sample using the OT’s comb filter.

This. :astonished:

You could record “singing glasses” for melodies. Or if you got a cat you can take awesome samples. For (cat)example:
Or put some light metallic thingies in your dishwasher next time you have to wash the dishes.
Or talking/singing into a running fan.
Nice competition btw!

RTRG (set to INF) and RLEN (start real short and slowly open it up until you hear something you like) are your friends for tones.

Playing with those params and the freeze delay and then resampling the results can keep you entertained for hours

1 Like

Is it not cheating calling for an answer here?!?

Comb filter, flanger and chorus are all very capable of melodic results, when set up properly. With some clever scene setting, you can even play melodies by switching through scenes to which different settings for the FX are locked.

Furthermore, the filter is fully resonant, so it can also be used for pitched sounds.

All in all, you can produce anything on the OT, with literally anything as the source material. Give it a try and let us hear the results :slight_smile:
Cheers !

1 Like

Try playing with massive amounts of feedback with the delay effect and then messing with the time parameter. The comb filter will also give you similar results when you crank up the feedback/mix parameters. The thing is, these will all sound very “Octatracky” after a while.
The most interesting sounds, in my opinion, come from the sample editor. Turn loop on and squeeze the start and end points on any sample until it’s tuned to your taste. Then, scroll through different start/end points until you find a sound to your liking. You can get pretty “wavetabley” using this method combined with the two effects slots. Party with LFOs modulating the start parameter and whatever else, and you will have a ball. I find it quite handy to have a keyboard triggering the sample in chromatic mode in this case.
I use “found sounds” all the time and have sculpted very unique and even “classic” sounds from atypical sources.
You literally could queef into a microphone and make a Top 40 hit using only the Octatrack.

I’ve listened to a lot of your material since joining Elektronauts about a year ago. You have a good ear, for sure. Aside from what I mentioned above, I think you would benefit from just trusting your ear and not getting too caught up in the technicalities of the OT. Run wild with your found sounds, and don’t worry too much about being exactly in key. I mean, adjust those Pitch and Rate parameters to make your sounds fit, but don’t let those decimal points throw you off. Embrace the weirdness. It could be jazz after all…

1 Like

Here’s the first draft. No tuning software was used (would have made life MUCH easier if I did), it was all done on the OT by ear.

Very cool !!

cool track