SF2 SoundFonts alive and well after xenharmonic reanimation
Of potential interest to visitors and users of Xen-Arts VSTi...
Since its public release on February 3, 2013 - in just a mere three month period - there have been 6,818 downloads of the XenFont VSTi, making it, by far, the most popular of all the Xen-Arts instruments.
Perhaps the most surprising part of seeing this level of enthusiasm, is a
preconception, that the SF2 SoundFont format was basically obsolete, and for this reason, there would likely be very little interest in a fully microtonal SF2 VSTi, however, this has proven to be entirely incorrect.
As well as the uniformly positive feedback from computer musicians and composers around the world, it has also been an honor to have the instrument featured on a variety of great music technology websites such as:
It's been thrilling to see this truly astonishing level of interest, in this, and the other Xen-Arts VSTi, and as always, if you create xenharmonic and microtonal music with these instruments, get in touch to let us know about it, as the ultimate goal of this effort is to inspire computer musicians and composers to explore the vast expressive possibilities of composing and performing with alternative intonation systems.
To all of the friendly people who have posted comments, shared music and written privately, it's been great to hear from you and learn about your interest in xenharmonic and microtonal music.
Google reminds us that today is Ella Fitzgerald's 96th birthday, and what better occasion to listen to perhaps the most memorably beautiful version of the below standard...
Ella Fitzgerald - Midnight Sun (1957)
I've long loved this tune for it's lovely harmonies and melodic chromaticism.
In today's robotic vocal Autotuned world, one can only stand in awe of the incredible artistry of masters like Ella, whose exquisite and rare virtuoso talent was embodied in stepping-up-to-the-mic as they say. Such as...
Ella Fitzgerarld - Midnight Sun - Live Cannes Festival 1958
I recall reading somewhere in the past that she also had the gift of perfect pitch and instrumentalists could actually tune to her voice.
As previously mentioned, the artist occasionally uses the Xen-Arts, Xenharmonic FMTS VSTi in his work, as is the case with the below two recent video works:
The Fear of Webs and Other Faceless Anomalies
Haunted Moon Ancient Humana
Very impressive video art. Check it out!
[For those interested in such matters, at some point, hopefully before this year is out, an update to Xen-FMTS, will become available. When completed and tested, this new iteration to version 2 will take the instrument to completely new levels of possibility for microtonal and xenharmonic sound-design and spectral-microtuning. In the meanwhile, I'm actively focused on both solo and collaborative recording projects which will also be available in upcoming months. Stay microtuned to Xen-Arts for all of these potentially exciting developments.]
This is a piece written during May 2003 (re-mastered on 4/14/2013) and is dedicated to the memory of Gianluigi Gasparetti (1958–2013), who tragically passed away this week; far too early in his quite young creative life. He was also widely known around the world as the Italian Ambient/Soundcape artist Oöphoi.
Oöphoi was among my favorite artists from any genre or style and one who has created a vast discography of some of the most beautiful and organic minimalist soundscape and drone music of anyone working in this field of artistic endeavor. Although it was never explicitly stated that he systematically worked with alternative intonation systems, even a cursory listen to his output will reveal that the music is often working with textures, drones and melodic materials that are far from the pitch-grid of the familiar Western 12-tone-equal-temperament. It is clear by inference and association that he was aware of just intonation, from both his interaction with Robert Rich (just intonation composer and co-inventor of the MIDI Tuning Standard) and that he published a widely distributed Ambient music journal called Deep Listenings, from a phrase coined by American New Music and just intonation composer Pauline Oliveros.
Although this amazing artist was taken from us far to early in his creative life, we are fortunate that he leaves us with a vast catalog of records to explore in the future; a worthy pursuit for anyone curious about one of the seminal figures in the field of drone-based minimalism of the late 20th and early 21st centuries.
This composition; a small gesture of remembrance and thanks to an artist who has been an occasional inspiration to my own work since I first learned of his amazing artistry in the early 2000s, is an excerpt from the longer version of the piece that is, in its entirety, 23:26 long, and is created using a heptatonic 23 limit just intonation microtuning.
Download the full length composition using the below links:
I've just heard the devastating news, that one of my all time favorite artists - Gianluigi Gasparetti - aka - Oöphoi - has passed away after a long period of illness.
For visitors unfamiliar with the music of Oöphoi, he was a prolific creator of many exquisitely beautiful albums and was among the towering figures in the Italian ambient/soundscape scene.
So many perfectly beautiful compositions...
He will be sorely missed for his rare sonic vision and vast contribution to the audio arts. From a personal perspective, what makes his catalog such a treasure for the future, is its ability to endure repeated listenings down through the years, and every time I return to his albums, they remain fresh to my ears and reveal ever greater depths of detail on each new hearing. As anyone can that composes music can relate to, it is extremely difficult to attain this kind of quality, but it is a thread consistently woven throughout the fabric of his vast discography.
Speechless right now and will be listening shortly to one of my favorite
albums: Hymns To A Silent Sky (2005).
Oöphoi - Fragile Beauty
This entire album is wonderful and I've always loved the long-form composition The Unbearable Sadness Of Memories...
Oöphoi - The Unbearable Sadness Of Memories (Hymns To A Silent Sky)
I have personally long regarded this as a composition of perfected beauty among many, many others by Oöphoi.
Wikipedia article and discography: Oöphoi
For what it may be worth, in celebration of the life and creative work of this wonderful artist, this past week I've returned to my private Oöphoi archive with new ears, and renewed interest, to do more Deep Listenings of the following timeless and amazingly beautiful records:
Oöphoi - Static Soundscapes - Three Lights at the End of the World (Hic Sunt Leones, 1996)
Oöphoi - The Spirals of Time (Limited Deluxe Edition - 1998)
Oöphoi - Mare Vaporum (2000)
Oöphoi - Athlit (2002)
Oöphoi - Bardo (2002)
Oöphoi - Mare Imbrium (2003)
Oöphoi - Mare Tranquilitatis (2004)
Oöphoi - The Dreaming Of Shells (2004)
Oöphoi & Tau Ceti - Archaic Oceans (2004)
Oöphoi - Hymns to a Silent Sky (2005)
Oöphoi - Awakening The Nagas (Penumbra, 2005)
Oöphoi - The Rustling Of Leaves (2005)
Oöphoi - Time Fragments Vols. 1-6 (2001-2005)
Oöphoi & Tau Ceti - Celestial Geometries (The Complete Recordings - 2006)
Oöphoi - Dreams, Parts 1-3 (2006)
Oöphoi - Arpe Di Sabbia (2007)
Oöphoi & Faryus - Forgotten Rituals (2007)
These I would have to rank as among my top favorite
records, although there are many more available to consider. Highly recommended if you have a way to obtain them.
Excellent compositions, sound-designs and engineering all around, and in particular I've been very impressed by the track created in collaboration with
Bristletone, Solid Smoke.
For visitors and musicians interested in the technical details, the music is composed within the Ableton Live DAW, the bass and lead on track 2, Asha, features the Xen-Arts Ivor VSTi, and track 3, Longer Than String, features several instances of Ivor, one of Xenharmonic-FMTS, and also prominently features the u-he ACE VSTi, while the timbres on Solid Smoke showcase the popular NI Massive VSTi.
Check out these great tracks from one of the most talented audio artists working in the field of xenharmonic and microtonal music composition.
FOR THE CREATION OF MICROTONAL AND XENHARMONIC MUSIC
XenFont is a two oscillator, hybrid SF2 SoundFont & Subtractive Synthesis VSTi that features full-controller MIDI Pitch Microtuning using the MTS (MIDI Tuning Standard) format, where any MIDI Note Number can be freely microtuned to any desired pitch across the MIDI range, enabling computer musicians and composers to explore the vast expressive possibilities of composing music with alternative intonation systems.
XenFont is a microtonal sound-designer's SF2 sample-based synthesizer, with a carefully designed ergonomic workflow for quickly creating powerful sounding and musical useful timbres. The instrument enables users to load their own SF2 SoundFont files and thereby any special timbres required of the music at hand, from classical acoustic instruments, to synthesized ones. Routing the SF2 SoundFont Oscillators through the internal synthesis functions of the VSTi, provides a way to radically transform the original sounds and create new synthesized timbres.
ZynAddSubFX | Windows VSTi | Microtuning Features Updated
For Windows and Linux based computer musicians who may be
new to exploring alternative intonation systems (aka microtuning, xenharmonics)
and composing microtonal music with virtual instruments, an important
development along the way has been, and what we may now consider to be one of
the great cult classic VSTi, ZynAddSubFX, first introduced in 2002 by visionary
developer Paul Nasca (also the developer of the amazing Paulstretch); a fully
microtonal and multitimbral virtual instrument plugin, which, in its current iteration is
comprised of three unique and powerful synthesis engines, and especially
noteworthy among them, the PadSynth, being capable of making some truly
exquisite and expressive timbres for microtonal and xenharmonic music
composition. At some point in recent years, Paul Nasca appears to have stepped
away from the ZynAddSubFX project, and current development of this open-source
microtonal synthesizer has been assumed by other programmers.
As anyone who has tried to use the Windows version of
ZynAddSubFX in their microtonal music will be aware, there have always been
problems with the microtuning functions. Going back to my own earliest work
with this instrument – if memory serves – sometime around 2005, it has never
been able to correctly save and restore the microtuning settings from within a
host DAW. The only way to save and restore the Scale settings in the earliest
versions of the plugin was by saving a scale settings file, then reloading that
manually when opening a project. In later iterations of ZynAddSubFX,
microtuning settings had to be made manually each time a DAW project was loaded
with an instance of the plugin, due to its inability to accurately save and
restore the scales settings.
I’m extremely pleased to announce, that as of today, all
this has changed, and these problems have been fixed by one of the current
programmers, VDX (aka jackoo on KVR Audio), who was kind
enough to update the microtuning code for ZynAddSubFX. Now the plugin will
faithfully save and restore the microtunings within the host applications,
which has been tested primarily in Cubase and Reaper.
It has long been my feeling that ZynAddSubFX has the most
elegant – and logical – implementation of using the Scala SCL and KBM format I’ve
seen on any microtonal VSTi that uses it, so it is a truly momentous event for
microtuning enthusiasts to have this working properly in this particular instrument.