michael.express
04 December 2020

dreams of someplace else

A couple months back I rekindled a hobby I had a lot time ago making chiptunes with a tracker. Specifically, I started messing around with MilkyTracker, and it was a lot of fun for a while... but at some point I felt like I just couldn't express everything I wanted to. I think this mostly stems from the fact that I'm not really that into chiptunes, since there can be a lot of expressive power in that medium, but it just wasn't what I wanted. But, it was the family of systems I had the most familiarity with at the time. It was convenient.

Maybe what really got to me though was that I'd be playing out a bunch of phrases and harmonies on different instruments to see what they sound like beforehand anyway. I felt like I was losing something in the process.

So, a few weeks ago I bought Bitwig Studio, since it's one of few well-supported DAWs that run on Linux, and I'm reluctant to move away from the ecosystem. With that and some additional recording equipment, I embarked on my journey into the world of music production.

And it's seriously some of the most fun I've had in a while. It took some fiddling with JACK and my system to make it work well without any clips and without my sound just being completely broke, though. (JACK is neat software, but its user-friendliness is definitely "This is the year of the Linux Desktop" level.)

Bitwig on the other hand is so smooth. My first thought when I started up with it was "damn, paid software got really good in the last 10 years." Everything is color-coded. Waveforms gently undulate and shift as you change the frequency envelope (?). You can zip and zop all around the track and the different views just a few mouse strokes. It feels smooth and intuitive. I'm probably still in the honeymoon phase, but it just makes me giddy.

Well, that was a lot of exposition. Here's a track I made.

Michael Knyszek ยท dreams of someplace else

It's not the first one I made with Bitwig, but it's probably the one I feel the most confident about. I've been shy about my online presence for the last few years so this is an... interesting change of pace. It's a bit terrifying. But I'm going to try and have fun with it.

I've got a few other tracks in the pipeline (including a seasonal one!) that I'll probably put up in a few days.

Hope you enjoy. :)