Jun 162017

Exciting news this week for Eurorack modular-synthesists and alternative-intonation enthusiasts from the visionary engineers of the Ornament & Crime Eurorack synth module, Tim Churches, Patrick Dowling and mxmxmx, which now, with their 1.3.0 firmware update, includes some very impressive microtuning features:

  • Predefined microtonal scales. See the full list at: http://ornament-and-cri.me/predefined_scales/
  • Support for user-defined microtonal scales with up to 16 arbitrary notes per octave (and can thus be subsets of scales with far more than 16 notes per octave).
  • Support for non-octaval scales/microtunings, specifically the Wendy Carlos alpha, beta and gamma microtonal tunings, and the tritaval microtonal tuning, including support for Bohlen-Pierce scales as well as several other tritaval scales.
  • A closed-loop “auto-tune” system which can automatically derive compensation curves for specific VCOs connected to specific pitch CV outputs of O&C, which can dramatically improve the pitch tracking performance of many VCOs, which is an important consideration when working with microtonal tunings and scales.

More Information:

ornament & crime

Explore the impressive and seemingly infinite possibilities for timbre, rhythm and music creation with o_C at the below video and music pages on the ornament & crime site:

o_C video

o_C tracks

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 Posted by at 11:11 pm
Jun 142017

Below is an excellent 2014 TEDx talk from trans-culturalist musician, Ross Daly, on the topic of modal music.

For what it may be worth, I personally regard the collective effort of Western microtonality and xenharmonic music, as well as the general ongoing practice and research into alternative intonation systems (just intonation, temperaments, non-octave microtunings, etc.) to be a living manifestation of these sensibilities.

Ross Daly


 Posted by at 12:23 am
Jun 092017

I have long loved the joyous music of the great Malian singer, Oumou Sangaré, and had been wondering when she would release another record.

Above is a new video featuring the song Kamelemba from her album, Mogoya (2017). As usual, a class act, and for those inclined to explore the exquisite auditory sensations of alternative intonations, there’s plenty to relish here, as well as on her amazing back catalog.

Oumou Sangaré – Mogoya (2017)

Out on Format

Oumou Sangare – Seya (2009)

 Posted by at 7:14 am
Feb 052017

Recently got to see last year’s, The Girl On The Train (2016), a dark psychological crime thriller (starring Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans and Allison Janneyand) and was completely swept away by the great score by Danny Elfman.

I’m always keen to listen deeply for the microtones and nuances of pitch that are often a feature of his film scores, as in for example, A Simple Plan (1998), and in this new one, microtonal inflections are expertly and tastefully woven into the fabric of the film, deepening the sense of drama (and dread) of the story line.

Gorgeous orchestral, string and synth composition throughout; the intonational template – to these ears – featuring a foundation of ED2-12 with some microtonal-tuned parts (it would be interesting to know more about the specifics of the microtuning used in this film). The synth and sampling sound-design is amazing and I really appreciated the tasteful and compositional use of saturation in some of the timbres and textures.

Being one that always relishes the end credit music in films, it’s worth mentioning that here the music is truly spectacular and is also where even more microtonal textures unfold that encapsulate the emotion of all that came before. As the end credits roll by, one will notice that Elfman is also credited with playing synthesizer, which, as explained in the LA Times feature linked below, are clearly among the sound sources for the microtones featured throughout the film. Really impeccable work.

The Girl On The Train (2016) | Danny Elfman | OST On YouTube:


The Girl on the Train (2016)

LA Times feature with Danny Elfman about the score:

Danny Elfman on scoring ‘The Girl on the Train’: The darker it gets, the happier I get

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 Posted by at 2:28 pm