Compo Status :: Round 89 Voting :: Ended 2015-01-29 00:00:00 *CST () :: 7 Votes

Ashen Light by organic_io

Round 66
Author organic_io
Title Ashen Light
MP3 Link
Module Link sdc66_organic_io-Ashen_Light.rar
Filesize 250KB
Score 4, 3, 3, 2, 2, 2, 1, 1Total Points: 18 (8 Votes)
1st Place Vote5 Points2nd Place Vote4 Points3rd Place Vote3 Points4th Place Vote2 Points5th Place Vote1 point

Authors' Notes

"Ashen Light" was done entirely in Sunvox on my Mobilepro 900 handheld PC. This thing has really boosted my inspiration and creativity lately, because it is a very powerful software that I can take with me anywhere!

All the instruments were done with Sunvox's internal synthesis, except the drum samples.

Consider this an incomplete version, I would still like to add vocals to it before it's done.

I'm really looking forward to everyone's entries this round!


Comment by tenfour on 2012-04-30 14:29:47

Intro is nice; the filters do such a nice job of giving momentum. Also love the entrance of the drums, and actually all the drum programming thereafter. Paired well with the choppy synth. Is it just me or does sunvox have a WAY better reverb than Renoise?

The long synth notes especially in the 2nd half of the song indicate something quite big & dramatic -- I wish the synths sounded bigger though at this point - maybe octaves or more stereo separation or delay fx? Would love to hear a version with vocals - maybe that's what I feel is missing!

Maybe could use more midrange maybe with distorted guitars or pads or something?

Extra props for doing this on a handheld PC. Are your eyes OK from squinting at that tiny screen?

Comment by organic_io on 2012-04-30 14:47:38

Regarding the reverb, I'm not really sure what to say. Sunvox actually does have a Reverb module, but I usually don't use it because it uses way too much CPU resources on my Mobilepro (Only 530mhz machine) ... So I actually use the "echo" module which is just a simple echo that you can change the dry/wet and latency time on. This uses about 1-2% CPU versus 25% for the actual Reverb device. But I'm glad my use of that technique was passable enough that you thought it sounds better than Renoise reverb. :)

Yes, I have big plans for the vocals. I'm going to have Cami sing, and then I'm going to use sample offsets to glitch them, and also probably make some harmonies either with melodyne or a vocoder. And I wrote some prose for myself to speak during the intro/outro parts.

My eyes are just fine. The screen is 7 inches, so it's actually really nice. It's basically the form factor of a subnotebook, except no fancy stuff like wifi. It's a bit older of a device (2004), I got a good deal on it on ebay ($30)* and it's pretty much exactly what I needed at this point :)

* Full disclosure: the device was $30 but I've bought accessories and stuff for it (battery, power cord, mouse, memory card, etc) so the actual price I've invested is probably closer to $100. Still well worth it.

Comment by Shadowbane on 2012-04-30 14:57:52

I feel like the melody had a lot more drive than the rest in roughly the first half and it felt like the melody was trying to drag the rest along behind it. Overall I like the sound, seems a little heavy in the mids and lacking in bass maybe, but I'm not sure about this.

Comment by Knetter on 2012-04-30 15:45:25

Cool track IO! Perhaps the snare is a bit dull-ish for the overall track.

The different variations in the melo are really nice.

Do (Can) you use the VSTi's in SunVox?

Comment by organic_io on 2012-04-30 15:53:35

Sunvox doesn't currently have vst support, so the only way would be to first render to sample. It's on the developer's todo list, but my guess is it will be a long time before it's a reality.

Comment by fractaural_motif on 2012-05-01 01:05:36

Nice piece! I especially liked the rapid high pitched drum clicks about a minute into the piece, and the drums continue to be very nice. And I liked how the piece comes full circle back toward the mysterious feeling of the beginning. I haven't really played with Sunvox yet, so not familiar with its capabilities, but I liked how expressive you were with the instruments.

Comment by iddy on 2012-05-01 08:48:05

Wow! This track is oooooozing atmosphere (in a way that's much less icky than that makes it sound)..

The synth sounds are very satisfying, and the drums are energetic and interesting through the whole track. I'd agree that the snare sound itself is perhaps not quite enough to go with the grittiness of the rest of the track, something a little crunchier might balance it out.

The leads are nice and moody - I think they could use a different variation around 2.40-2.45, a few notes of the lead there seem to be filling in for the rest of the lead sequence, which otherwise works great.

From the sound of this track, it seems Sunvox is working out well for you; I hope you stick with it! Wonderful stuff.

Comment by organic_io on 2012-05-01 10:08:07

Thanks for the kind comments!

iddy: regarding the lead at 2:40-2:45, I agree.. I couldn't get that to sound how I wanted (in fact the whole part between 2:35 and 2:45)... I will work on that before the final version w/ vocals.

Comment by Chotoro on 2012-05-01 18:02:17

Simply fantastic intro.

For the drums, maybe a few more percussion samples to complement the snare?

Going further in, I like the feel of it all but want more, in particular some lower instrument to round out the high lead. Nothing like a droning pad, but it feels like there's a hole in the mid-frequencies where nothing ever really ventures :). If Cami is alto-ish (don't remember..), that might be the missing part.

Also, thumbs up for mobile Sunvox!

Comment by organic_io on 2012-05-02 06:28:43

Yeah, she's an alto. :) Adding her should definitely be the missing piece :)

Comment by JustinCredible on 2012-05-02 15:08:04


i also love the intro.
Your percussions are very cool - i really love them!
I like the progression and melody in the 2nd half alot, very creative.

Hope to hear more from you.



Comment by organic_io on 2012-05-02 15:20:00

Thanks Justin! I loved your drum samples, so it was really fun to get the percussion together. The only thing I felt missing was a ride cymbal... So I cut the attack off a crash and used that instead. It actually came out to a pretty cool effect.

Comment by juolac on 2012-05-02 15:59:45

First impact: really like the drums, then the soulful disted lead, great!
I think the bassline would have benefited from a lower octave?
And you know that I would have smeared it by some reverb and delay on the bassline ;)
I really enjoyed this one.

Comment by andyray on 2012-05-03 15:03:38

shit ! I wrote the longest comment ever.. so I got logged out... didn't remember to ctrl-c the text... Whatever. What i wrote in short is ... Like the track and in awe of your ninja tracking skills on such a rudimentary system... the track is good . especially the ambient parts and the drum programming, go figure! the lead melody is nice soundwise but meanders about a wee bit to much to feel coherent.. I guess that's got something to do with your choice of chord progression... and the staccato bass / chord is a bit too overpowering throughout the whole track.. maybe take it down a notch or mellow it out in parts with a layer of strings or something... and it's always exiting to start up your tracks cause what you've come to expect is the unexpected apart from the trademark I/O sound...

and finally.... Thank you for your passion for SDC now when Sonicade is at large...


Comment by organic_io on 2012-05-03 15:45:30

:) Thanks for the kind comments!

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the fact that I used an arabic scale? Or maybe no one noticed :) I wanted to use a non western scale but I didn't want it to be too familiar sounding (like snake charmer music or whatever).

Comment by tenfour on 2012-05-03 17:00:48

The problem with using bizarre scales in "normal-sounding" music is that it won't be perceived the way it was conceived. For example you can take any song in C major and just say it was written in F lydian. In a technical sense it's fine, but if the melody doesn't support what F lydian "means", then it will be heard as C major. A scale is more than a collection of notes; it has a purpose, a meaning in every scale degree, and for the scale to be perceived, this meaning must be the root of expression in every aspect of the song: rhythm, melody, bass line, harmonic rhythm... To me it seems that your use of this scale mostly let you experiment with minor from a different angle, which is even more innovative.

Comment by organic_io on 2012-05-04 10:43:26

10-4, I find that fascinating.... Thanks for the perspective. I still have a lot to learn about music theory.

Comment by ambtax1 on 2012-05-04 12:44:24

Nice music theory ten four. I want to do an official course someday...anyway...
Loving this dude! You have clearly spent time crafting this. You are definitely[/] improving all the time.
Your drum programming is really getting spot on too.

Comment by organic_io on 2012-05-04 12:50:43

:) Thanks man! Learning how to play drums (and thereby thinking about drums more frequently) has definitely helped me craft percussions.

Comment by chunter on 2012-05-05 17:42:10

Agreeing that you have the hang of SunVox... if SunVox will render even with the CPU taxed (in the way I often get away with in Renoise) you may want to experiment with substituting your delays and reverbs at render time. When I mentioned this technique on IRC I got some odd reactions, but it's really not as difficult as it sounds if you compare it to making chipmusic from text files in MMCK.

Comment by Airmann on 2012-05-06 18:51:23

Hey Scott :-),
Love the intro and extro. Very atmospheric and spacey cinematic. Fits perfectly to the song title. The beat and later snare drum is great, though I wouldn't flare/roll it so often. Like the progression and melody and love the acc + lead. Really well done man.

Comment by CAG on 2012-05-06 22:27:15

Yeah, that drum programming is siick. I am personally fond of the wispy pads and atmosphere as well.

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