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Knob Twiddlers
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Posts posted by ZoeB

  1. Thanks!

    I tend to double my bassline parts, and it finally occurred to me that instead of simply playing the exact same notation twice, I should copy and paste that part's notation, then change it a bit, so it comes in on one channel before the other (except for extreme balancing purposes, the lone recording starts off centred then pans aside to make way for its double), and there's one bar where I alternate dropping the notes for some fun stereo bouncing around.  The kind of thing I'd do back in my tracking days.


    That waveform editing was my attempt at rhythmic muting, a simpler kind of gating, but it ended up easier to simply toggle the volume between zero and the regular volume... another tracking trick I used to do with sustained notes with more dynamic timbres, come to think of it.

  2. But in all seriousness. If society’s ideas of gender are oppressive, why do something so drastic just to fit into that other category? I’ve never understood it.


    This is a common misconception, so let's take this opportunity to dissect it.


    First off, we don't want to argue semantics, so let's clarify the different things we might mean by the ambiguous word "gender":


    We might mean gender orientation, our innate sense of whether we're a woman or a man or somewhere in between on that spectrum.


    Or we might mean gender presentation, the way we dress and our mannerisms, which is often similar to how other people of our own gender orientation present.  This may or may not also be different based on your sexuality.  (See, for example, butch women and femme men, but not femme women and butch men.)  And may or may not also be different anyway.  (See, for example, a straight woman with short hair who gets mistaken for gay because she's a bit gender-non-conforming.)


    Or we might mean gender roles, the stereotypes about what kinds of things we're supposed to do because of our gender orientation.


    (This isn't even getting into the concept of gender identity, as that one always felt a bit superfluous to me.  I don't "identify" as a woman.  I'm a woman.  The same way I don't "identify" as a lesbian, I'm a lesbian.)


    So, if, for instance, your gender orientation is that you're a woman, you probably (perhaps even by definition) will feel more comfortable in a hormonally female body than a male one.  If you're a man, you'll conversely likely feel more comfortable in a hormonally male body.  In other words, if you're a woman, you probably don't want hirsutism.  If you're a man, you probably don't want gynecomastia.  That's true for cis people, and it's also true for trans people.  So fixing any endocrinological issues to ensure you're comfortable in your own body is always a good idea.


    So, if you're a cis man, and you can imagine that you wouldn't like having gynecomastia, and you can feel empathy for a fellow cis man who has it, then I'd urge you to extend that empathy to a trans man who essentially has an even worse hormonal imbalance.


    So, next up we can look at gender presentation.  Say, for argument's sake, that you wear trousers instead of skirts, you don't wear make-up, and you walk with the gait of someone who assumes other people will move out of his way as needed, probably without consciously realising it.  Say that you have three or four friends who all do these things.  Maybe one has long hair, but even that's well within acceptable parameters of what men are allowed to do, according to other, less enlightened men, who feel obliged to provoke anyone who falls out of line.  Maybe one of your friends is gay and recognisably so with his mannerisms, but even then, in a way that would never get him mistaken for a woman.  All in all, it's a nice group of friends.  You go drinking together.


    Then one of your friends (it could be any of them) confides in you that he's actually a trans man.  This surprises you, as he's a perfectly normal man, starting to bald, and he's always been able to grow a better beard than you in fact.  All of a sudden you're outraged!  Why did he change his hormonal sex?  He explains it was to feel comfortable in his own body.  Fine, but why does he dress like a man?  Because he is a man.  But why does he have a beard?  Why do you have one?


    How come you're allowed to do all these things without feeling guilty that you're "upholding the gender binary", but he's not?  If you really think one of you two should feel obliged to shave his beard off on the general principle that beards are shamelessly upholding the gender binary, then shave off your own.  He likes his, he's keeping it thank you very much.


    I believe the technical term for this is a double standard.  Cis people can present how they want without question.  But if a trans person... well, exists... then it's scrutinised.  I'm a trans woman, so some people online assume I'm ultra-femme and the reason I fixed my body was in order to always wear dresses.  Anyone who's met me, on the other hand, knows I usually just wear a t-shirt and jeans, all clothes that are a good size for my feminine body but pretty neutral.  Not especially butch, but not particularly femme either.  So you can't really accuse me of changing sex just for it to be socially acceptable for me to wear jeans and a t-shirt.  Which is when people switch to the opposite tactic: telling me I'm not trying hard enough!  "But what's even the point of being a woman if you're just going to be a lesbian?"  (Tip: do not say this to anyone.  Do not ask anyone what the point of their gender or sexuality is.  Don't ask a femme lesbian what the point of her being gay is, either.)


    Yes, the kyriarchy should be disbanded.  No, me wearing lip balm isn't oppressing anyone.  If you want to demand that someone set aside their hard-won right to present as comes naturally to them for political purposes, then demand it of yourself.  No one else has to answer to you just for showing the world who they are.


    In summary, this part of your question is the false assumption: "why do something so drastic just to fit into that other category"  I'm not gay just to fit in.  I'm not a woman just to fit in.  This is who I happen to be.  It's simply how I was born.


    Bonus exercise: if you're a cis man, and you want to try picturing what it's like to be trans, picture yourself as a trans man, not a trans woman.  You'll probably find it much easier to fathom the inner workings of other men.  "Why on earth would you possibly prefer to have facial and body hair instead of breasts?" and "why would you rather be called sir instead of madam?" will likely seem more self-evident to you.


    To get to the root of the issue, simply believe trans people are who they say they are.  The science backs us up on this.

  3. My confusion is along these lines because I don’t actually totally hate everything about being a guy; I look in the mirror, see a dude face, and go “eh, why not”. But then I dressed up like a girl and cried tears of joy for an hour straight. Literally the happiest I have ever been in my entire life. But now that feeling is fading and I can’t tell if maybe I’m just gender fluid or something or if it’s just because it’s becoming harder to convince myself I’m a girl.

    Also is it normal to feel nervous about changing genders? Sometimes someone calls me she and it feels great, other times it makes me nervous, like I’m losing something. I never feel great about being a guy, and often I hate it, especially in a relationship, but a lot of the time it feels pretty okay. I want to just say I’m trans and be a girl, but it seems this isn’t entirely motivated by a desire to be a girl; maybe to avoid the embarrassment of having said that I was trans and renegging on this.


    Also I’m terrible at understanding that my feelings change. Whatever I feel right now MUST be how I feel ultimately, according to my brain. This means when I’m feeling okay dressed like a guy for a couple hours I think “HOLY SHIT I MUST NOT BE TRANS IM LYING TO MYSELF”


    I gather different people have different levels of dysphoria.  While I couldn't imagine much worse than being constantly mistaken for a guy, or having any of their dimorphic biological characteristics, I gather some women don't mind it as much.  Everyone's different.  Doctors used to think that you have to be particularly strongly dysphoric in order to be transgender, but they know better now.


    I gather that crying tears of joy after finally being able to dress like your peers is something cis people don't do...  A trans woman finally being able to present as such will find it cathartic; a cis man presenting as a woman will find it sexy at best or weird at worst, never just comfortable or right.  But I have no firsthand experience of being anyone else, of course, this is just my best model of how people work.


    It's one of the most normal things in the world to fear change.  People tend to quite often stick with something bad instead of take a risk for it to get possibly better or possibly worse, and that's before you factor in the societal pressure to fit in.


    You needn't feel rushed, though.  For me, every day spent after the wrong puberty and before the right one was a day my body spent moving in the wrong direction, getting worse.  So once I found out how to fix it, I didn't hesitate.  But I come from a very bloody minded family.  Some people need to move at a slower pace, being more cautious.  That's just as valid.  And very rarely, some people turn out to be cis after all, and revert back.  Whatever you do, you're not obligated to continue doing it if it turns out to be worse for you.  And conversely, you can carry on if it turns out to be better.  After a few weeks on the other hormones, should you choose to switch them, you should be able to tell if you feel much worse or much better, and either stop taking them or carry on accordingly.  But that's more something to consult a doctor about.  If you do try them out and end up stopping, no-one will think any less of you, who's someone worth keeping in your life.  And you don't even have to tell anyone aside from your doctor.  (The same goes for sexuality.  People should feel comfortable having had gay sex on the way to working out they're straight, or straight sex on the way to working out they're gay.  Not everyone has known exactly who they are for as long as they can remember.)


    It's also natural for dysphoria to wax and wane.  If your range is from neutrality to only one particular direction, though, that might well be a sign.  As they say, the most reliable test for whether you're trans consists of a single question: "did you look up a test to see whether you're trans?"  Cis people tend not to do that.  Be careful of the typical mind fallacy that way.  Similarly, I didn't realise I was depressed until I switched hormones and suddenly wasn't depressed anymore.  I was then able to see how the fact that previously everyone had been worried that I was suicidal wasn't, in fact, normal.  That's the thing about hindsight.  I didn't realise how bad things were until they stopped being bad.  Then, as my mother pointed out to my doctor, she "got her happy daughter back."  The one who held her head high.  So there's that.

  4. yeah that's about where i'm at. i don't dislike being male, i just want to be able to engage in certain behaviours that come naturally to me without my entire life thus then being perceived as a political statement. and i want to be able to not engage in certain other behaviours that feel weird & foreign to me without being labelled as someone who's failing at "being a man".


    To be honest, that sounds perfectly normal to me, and it's toxic masculinity that's weird.  Just do what you want and don't worry about the haters, you know?  If you're confident (or can fake it), you'll be more secure in yourself than certain men, and their problem with that is just that, their problem.


    Also, welcome to the world of being seen as anything other than a cishet white guy and your presentation and actions being scrutinised as if you're constantly making a political statement on behalf of whole groups of people.

  5. To be honest, after a decade and a half of having this conversation with cis people, it's a bit boring... why not mix things up a bit?  Why not tell me how your valuable taxpayer dollars/euros/pounds/etc shouldn't have been spent on removing my keloids?  About how you think I'm immoral for letting doctors trim them down a bit at their insistence, even though in my case they're purely an itchy annoyance, not even particularly depressing, let alone life threatening.


    You can argue that national health insurance shouldn't pay for anything other than immediately life threatening conditions if you really want to.  You can say chemotherapy patients should buy their own wigs, that women who have had mastectomies should buy their own reconstructive surgery, that men with gynecomastia and women with hirsutism should pay for fixing their own endocrinological systems.  But to me, that seems kind of heartless, especially when the people in question are from a minority group still legally discriminated against enough that they often have trouble getting housing and employement despite being qualified, leading to them being particularly poor (especially black visibly trans women, who get arrested just for standing on the street or booking into a hotel, things which I would like to note are not crimes).  But that's just me, I guess.


    As for that guy turning out to be a neo-Nazi, it shouldn't be too surprising how often someone who falls into the trap of transphobia, homophobia, sexism, or racism, then doubles down and gets caught up in all the others too, in increasingly extreme ways.


    It has not been a good two years, politically.

  6. Chim, did you just reply to something I wrote five years ago, then delete that reply?


    Regarding whether gender dysphoria is recognised by the medical community, yes, it is.  Keep up with the literature.  Talk to a specialist.  It's as uncontroversial amongst doctors and scientists as is the existence of global warming, or the benefits of vaccinations.  It's only laypeople who are still in denial.


    Regarding dysmorphia, that's a surprisingly common argument from reactionaries considering that dysmorphia and dysphoria are completely different conditions and entirely unrelated to each other.


    Now let's get back to making music!

  7. As for the Mega Drive, it's got one PCM channel and five FM channels, all monophonic.  That's it.  All digital, and no subtractive synthesis.  The Streets of Rage series' emulation of house music is very impressive.

  8. I'm pretty sure The Prodigy's demotape was made purely on a Roland W-30 sampling workstation, so like a tracker only without the interface, with a handy built-in keyboard, and not completely quantised.  Then for the first few albums, Liam Howlett got a bunch of synths and sound modules (Jupiter 8, Alpha Juno as heard on that famous Charly remix, U-220 for strings and piano, etc), but still sequenced them all on a W-30.  So similar to tracking, but less quantised, and eventually controlling other instruments over MIDI.  (On a side note, Impulse Tracker can do this too, as well as work with a controller keyboard, having full MIDI I/O, but I doubt many people actually did this, although it was kinda fun.)


    It's interesting how people can get kinda cornered into a particular setup.  Look at Fatboy Slim and his Atari ST and Akai samplers.  That's another setup quite similar to tracking, but not quite.  Also Mr. Oizo.


    A few tracker musicians went on to become working musicians, and a few working musicians have setups comparable to tracking, but aside from Drukqs (and I still suspect the Richard D. James album), I've never heard of anyone being paid for work created in a tracker itself.

  9. Like everything except the strings patch(the one starting at the very beginning,a bit cheesy for me)


    I love the drums and most of the sounds except, as fxbip mentioned, those strings.


    Top constructive criticism, cheers!  I've finally got around to updating this one, with another custom patch on the modular replacing Ableton Live's orchestral string samples.  Is

    this better?  It's certainly more consistent.  (I also replaced the spring reverb with a digital reverb, which is probably more sensible for the main mix, as a much-used send.)

  10. Do you know what happened to the rest of the interview?



    You can grab the whole thing from MixCloud, I believe.  (I can't remember where I got it from, but this has the same intro that I cropped out.)  It was only when I cropped it that I realised they kinda abruptly switched to something else what sounds like halfway through the interview, so I have no idea what happened there.  It also sounds like James says that the anecdote isn't the origin of his alias, but she doesn't notice him say that bit...  This is how rumours get started about such things.

  11. when the 4/4 kick comes in the tracks loses momentum for me, and the beats no longer have this gear-cog thing where they fit together perfectly. not sure if that makes sense to you...


    This was an absolutely fantastic piece of advice, thank you so much!  I ended up totally reworking the second half of the track so it's true to the rhythm that's already established at the start.  And while I was changing things, I added accents to everything so it's actually got a bare minimum dynamic range of expression for every part now (which meant re-patching and re-recording absolutely everything), added more chords for the second part...  And added a vocal, and a bunch of other stuff...  It's a song now.


    I'm not sure if any of you would approve of it anymore, it's kind of simultaneously more accessible now as well as a more layered hodgepodge of everything...  But I'm pretty proud of

    this one!

  12. Thanks for the recommendation!  I used to have a few of the Analogue Solutions 808 clone modules, then sold them off and got Tiptop ones instead...  (Less versatile, but smaller and neater, and they accept 5 V triggers.)  Trying to get those right has been kind of humorously difficult for me, when you consider that I hardly ever use them anyway, because making my own drum sounds from scratch is almost always more rewarding...

  13. Nice one Zoe. I've listened to your music for a while and I don't know whether this is the most recent track but you can tell you've been working hard on your craft and levelled up. 


    I like the Aphexian snare, kind of reminds me of Classics. If anything I'd like that to be more resonant and noisy but I know it's different tastes. The melodies and sound quality is also really nice, you've got some great gear there. Would love to hear you make something really dirty/nasty with that setup. 



    Thanks!  I had it lying around in Reason as a half-finished idea since last year, and last month I decided to dust it off, finish it, and record it.  So compositionally it spans a while (and is arguably a bit of a cop out, not having different sections that are distinct enough that you wouldn't want to hear them simultaneously), but the patching's all new, as is the mixing.


    I love resonant snares!  Yeah, I need to work on my snare patching.  They're amongst the hardest parts to get right for me.  I've only just started to get the hang of making cymbals using ring mod.  I'm still just combining my simple kick drum patch (up an octave) with a noise burst for my snares.  I'll have to read up more on the theory of how snares work, and see if I can make something a bit more elaborate.  (This kind of thinking is how I ended up with so many VCAs and EGs, especially when you start throwing velocity sensitivity into the mix!)


    In terms of nasty tracks, there's this oldish release, and

    this recent track (with
    bonus drum mix).

  14. Thanks! Maybe you heard the hiss subconsciously until then, and it’s what reminded you of the aerosol sample in the We Have Arrived mixes? (It’s also in At the Heart of It All, but that track’s slowed down so it’s harder to spot despite its prominence.)


    Yeah, the house beat was just something I reached for quickly while finishing the track... it’s probably a bit of a cop out... Though the remix I’m working on is now turning into more of a pop song, now I’ve added more chords... This is getting kinda messy, ha! Thanks, I’ll make more effort in future to work out what fits the track best, rather than simply reaching for a quick solution.

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