Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Elements: Week 3 Day 6

Focus: Review Transitions and BAP

Due to my upcoming schedule, I won't be able to continue Elements for about half a week.  Also, the BAP portion of this workout takes 5 min per animal movement, plus 5 min. of free play before closing with the cooldown routine - that's 20 min. of extra training time I just didn't have today.

Bear To Bear - This was harder than expected.  The shoulders fatigued quickly, but I was also noticing fatigue in both sides of the core (abs and low back).  Because of the high level of effort, I was unable to really focus on keeping the butt up on the air as high as possible.

Frogger To Monkey #1 - This was quite a bit easier.

Frogger To Frogger - I've got some kind of hangup with the foot that is supposed to be pulled back getting a bit stuck on the floor, even after loading the hand.  I just might be overthinking this movement.

Finished with a bit of Plow To Kneel transition, before practicing the prescribed cooldown routine.  I added the Tripod Bridge since I just haven't practiced it in a while.

Tricky shoulder was feeling a bit loose but got better after the session.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Elements: Week 3 Day 5

Bear BAP - How is the comfort level in A-Frame?  What are the angles of the shoulders, the lumbar, and the legs (knees)?  Can the butt be kept in the air during the bear?

Monkey BAP - Comfort level in squat?  When initially loading the hands - before and after the hop?

Frogger BAP - Assess Floating Table Top - Are we maintaining the push down the arms?  Are the hips tucked in?  How slowly can we go from this position into the squat?

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Elements: Week 3 Day 5

Focus: High Frogger and Backwards Frogger

High Frogger - Raised hips as high as possible out of the Floating Table.  That is about as high as I was able to get but it is a start

Backwards Frogger-  Had to place my hands slightly in front of my feet instead of between them.  Maybe it is because of the length of my arms.

Overall not a bad first session with these two new moves.

I guess I should push harder on the push sections.  I did one session of Frogger, and 2 each of Bear and Monkey.

For extra credit I got into the Plow and worked on transitioning out of it into being on my knees, on both sides.  Managed to get onto my knees, transitioning over the left shoulder - I'd had trouble there because of tightness and probably fear due to the old shoulder injury being on that side.

What happened to Week 3, Day 3? That session focused on the Monkey 180.  I did it but I'm starting to slip in logging my Elements sessions.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Octatrack: Comb Filter Tips


From darenager, offering some insight into how he created the sounds in Distant Drums:

It can be nice to use it for harmonies, set the feedback toward either near fully positive or negative, works nice on vocals giving an almost robot/vocoder feel, but also fun on hihats, pads, bass, erm everything. Oh and use an LFO on the pitch or tune to introduce a small amount of vibrato sounds nice too.

I don’t remember how many tracks on the tune in the video I used the comb filter but it was at least 3 IIRC, the sounds on each track were all made from that same scream sample by using very short looped sections, heavy use of filter for things like BD and bass line, hi hats, comb filter to provide body for the melodic sounds and also the kind of tubey/phasey bit via LFO.

(in reference to his album:

Edit - ha, just remembered I used to have track 6 of this album as my ringtone. (From about 17 seconds in) 

Edit 2 - Track 3 - Play 4 Ca$h also uses the comb filter quite extensively.

From Jon9:

A technique I use with the Comb Filter is to add harmonic content to beating oscillators and/or tonal shading stops when creating drones using the Octatrack as an effects processor. To add further movement to the Comb Filter harmonic tone send the Feedback as a LFO Destination to oscillate between hard negative or hard positive values. The LFO Depth determines how much Feedback oscillation and the LFO Speed determines how fast the Feedback oscillates. Tonal shading is multiple oscillators set at different intervals. Generally 8va or 8vb octave stops (32' 16' 8' 4' 2' 1').
I've had good results putting the comb filter on sounds that need more low end. Roll the freq way down low and you can get some nice beefing up type of FX. 

 Octatrack Tip Video on the Comb Filter

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Elements: Week 3, Day 1

Focus: Bent Arm Bear

The bent-arm version is more demanding, not that I expected it to to be easy.  I took plenty of breaks during the prescribed 10-min. training period.  The most notable area of improvement is to focus more on keeping the butt in the air.  Seems like a reliable indicator of whether I'm keeping the butt high enough in any of the Bear variations, is whether I'm maintaining a stretch in the hamstrings.  If I lose the stretching sensation, I've compromised my form.

For the Push section, I chose to practice one animal movement for each of the 5 1-min. sessions  I did the standard Bear once, and the Monkey and Frogger twice each.

Monday, March 12, 2018

SOMA Lyra-8 Organismic Synthesizer: Sound exploration notes

The Lyra-8 is a synthesizer that I bought after watching this video.  I'm in a band in which I'm frequently asked to create the kind of sounds featured in the video.  I also felt I could use those sounds in my own music.

The manual has a bit of instruction on usage of the synth.  In addition, the SOMA website has image files showing settings to try.  My comments/notes on these settings;

SHHHH - Makes me think of water; particularly a river or the seashore.  Pitch knob can make it sound more like wind blowing.  Sharp knob can be used to simulate a wave crashing upon a beach or perhaps a cliff.

Harsh Noise - Like the "SHHHH" setting, the sound seems primarily set up by turning both Mod knobs in the Mod Delay section all the way up.  The Mod knobs on the 56 and 78 voices produce a variety of noise flavors.  The Mod knobs on the lower voices also change the noise but not as dramatically.  With Hold turned all the way down on all voices, the delay can still self-oscillate.  Had to turn down both Mod knobs, and the FB knob to get it to stop.  I think it's the Self/LFO switch

LFOnia - Fun rhythmic experimentation, but not suitable for the band, as my job in the band is provide soundscapes and noise, not supply rhythm.

Jimi - Good learning "patch" for practicing using the Mod knobs in the Voice section for pitch bends, as well as playing the touch sensors.  Higher voices might be useful for "souls screaming in hell" type sounds.  Nice technique is to touch the lower sensor first - this produces an upward pitch bend.  Sensors are more sensitive at higher voice Mod settings.  Great for animal sounds and stuff like that.

Fast Attack - Might actually be even better for "the screaming damned" type sounds, especially when run through a big reverb patch on the Eventide H9.

Eno - Nice ambient drone.  Won't work well for the band because the well-defined pitches could conflict with the guitar, but worth exploring for solo stuff.

Elements: Week 2, Day 6

I was going to do this workout last Saturday, but I had too many other things to do, and I was feeling some lingering soreness in the shoulders, upper back, etc.  Thus, I did the Day 6 workout today instead.

Focus: Transitions

Most of the transitions were ok for me.  The ones I need to work on:

Frogger To Frogger - I don't recall seeing this one in the initial version of Elements.  It's just pulling a leg back to turn, instead of moving a leg forward.  The tricky part for me is the placement of the hand that is needed for support.

180 Monkey - This transition was in the original Elements, but I seem to have forgotten how to do it properly. 

Shoulder is feeling much better, and the calf flexibility is improved.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Elements: Week 2, Day 5

Day 4 was active recovery day, on which I practiced the Elements warmups, did some cando bar work and zhan zhuang, then some stretches.

My right knee as well as the left knee was starting to feel the effects of being a bit overzealous with the GMB foot health routine.  It's important that any sideways motion of the ankle is not accompanied by sideways motion of the knee, which is easy enough to do when seated, but more difficult when I'm putting weight on the foot.  The lack of an arch in my flat feet is probably contributing to instep soreness, plus I have turf toe from jamming the big toe on the mat in dojos, but adding knee pain to my feet pain is not an answer either.  I will cut any weightbearing foot exercise that involves lateral motion of the ankle

Push focus: Monkey

Practice of the 3 animals was ok. 

Push section was ok as well, though by that point, my wrists were fatigued.  We're instructed to maintain a strong push throughout the Frogger, but it's particularly important for my questionable shoulder.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Elements: Week 2 Day 3

Day 2 of course was an active recovery day.

Push focus: Monkey

I did the 3 5-min. sessions (one per animal) without a break between sessions, since breaks are allowed within each session anyway.  Decent conditioning workout for me, as I hardly do any endurance training these days - biking to work time has been all but eliminated by a combination of injuries (the bruised calf a couple of months ago), needing time to clean the house for visitors, practicing Taijiquan stuff, etc.

I got through the Push Monkey portion of the workout - easy enough to do a 1-min. round when the movement is done as slowly as possible.  Really trying to work on keeping the lower body airborne as long as possible.

Finished up with just a couple of reps of the Quadruped Twist to Roll to Plow from GMB's BJJ Mobility Routine. This is just a move I want to practice every now and then, because a lack of mobility is causing trouble in the "roll to plow" movement.  Then finished with the prescribed cooldowns.

Monday, March 05, 2018

Elements Week 2, Day 1

Push Day: Bear

This is the first Push day of the program.  Apparently, it's practice of the 3 animal movements, followed by a "push" session in which the animal of the day is practiced for X number of rounds, finishing with stretches specific for that animal.

Bear - Seemed ok during the first couple of minutes the regular practice portion of the workout, but as fatigue began to accumulate, keeping my butt as high as possible got harder - or I would simply forget about it for a few seconds here and there.  One sign that I've got my butt as high as possible, at my current level, is a stretch on the hamstrings.  Once that stretch is lost, I know the butt is not at the height that it should be.

Monkey - Focused on rocking back into the full deep squat before initiating the next movement.  I noticed I had a tendency to rush through the squat, instead of resetting into the squat, then rocking forward onto my toes to load the hands and arms.

Frogger - Too tired at this point to really concentrate on my form in the Floating Table Top, but did reasonably ok.

Push Bear - Was able to do full 1-min. rounds without stopping, but the butt wasn't as high as it could have been.

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Elements: Week 1 Day 5

Focus: Review/practice all three animal movements.

Bear - A little better than last time, as far as keeping the butt in the air.  As with the animals, taking it slow gives me a better opportunity to observe where I'm at with this movement and refine.  One effect of keeping the butt in the air is the legs are getting less bent, adding a slight stretch to the hamstrings.  I had previously achieved hamstring stretches while moving backwards in the Bear, but with stricter observation of butt height, the hammies get stretched in the forward direction too.

Monkey - Pretty much same as yesterday.

Frogger - Pretty much same as couple of days ago.

Cooldown - Got my heels onto the ground more easily in the A-Frame stretch.  Exciting progress, as unlocking the calves is a good milestone on my quests to unlock the hamstrings and improve the strength and mobility of my feet.

Elements: Week 1 Day 4

Focus: Monkey

Squat - Tried to deliberately introduce an arch into my feet to relieve the instep soreness.  I found that it was more effective to just put more weight toward the balls of the feet rather than the heels.  Made lifting the chest a bit more of a challenge.

Monkey - All the BAP positions seemed to feel ok.  Just have to be careful when moving to the left, because of the left shoulder.  Focused on trying to swing the feet over as slowly as possible.