OT Science Lab - 1 Year Study - 1 - Childhood Revisited

When I first started this challenge I tried sampling video game stuff. Sounds from Pokemon RBY, MGS alert sounds, that kind of stuff. Then I realized that I had rewatched Lost recently (a show I grew up watching from 5th grade to 11th grade, every episode as it aired) and that it had a great original soundtrack. Once I started playing the music from the final episode I felt a wave of nostalgia and decided to just only use Lost sounds–no more Pokemon!

So here you are. Harp and piano resampled, pitched etc. The “song” that’s playing and giving me a kick is Mama Cass–Play Your Own Kind of Music which is what Desmond listens to when his character is revealed in the hatch. There is also the hatch beeping sound incorporated as a sort of backbeat.

All recorded directly into a DAW, with various mutes/pattern changes done live.

This is my very first track finished entirely with an OT, so it’s a cool milestone. Looking forward to starting a new one next month. Cheers!


Really cool! Quite an epic feel and nice use of space :heart_eyes:


I really like that, quite different from the usual…
Nice work!

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Dude - LOST is my favorite show ever. This is a really great tune - nice work! Fifth grade to 11th? Man, that makes me feel old! I discovered lost about midway through the 3rd season, but by that point, I was 28 or 29. At any rate, top work, you’re really taking off with the Octatrack.


Hell yeah! I recently rewatched it for the first time since it aired, and I thought I’d only watch a few episodes just to kind of remember what the show was like, but then me and my roommates all got hooked. The writing is so good. Now I’m halfway through The Stand by Stephen King because apparently it was the biggest inspiration for the show. The Stand is good, no doubt, but Lost is really special.


I don’t have any reference point to compare this to the original material as I never watched Lost although I was certainly aware of it happening - think I was only person at my work who wasn’t watching it feverishly… and thanks for the crushing reminder of my advancing years!!!

In all seriousness though, it’s a really nice effort and I like the melodic and harmonic components evolve. A real sense of song rather than jam if that makes sense.


Thank you. Yes, I don’t really know how to record just a “jam”, I’m always thinking about structure and where a piece goes…


Here’s my first take on the challenge! This is also the first time I actually try to produce a full song with an OT. I wrote the notes while I was working and decided to post them here without editing. I also felt like explaining how I ended up using the sample.


Sample source: https://youtu.be/Fj1FWWO7qtw

When I was five or six I got my first electronic device: Zelda Game & Watch by Nintendo. I remember playing it for hours and hours on the backseat of our car. I remember playing it when I first met my new friends at the school yard, where we moved when I was seven.

Mastering the game was all about rhythm and sound. When you learned the rhythmic movement patterns of the skeletons, goblins, ghosts and the dragon, it was easy to press the buttons in the right order and beat the game. Level by level the tempo of the game got faster and the more opponents you had on screen, the more complex its polyrhythmic bleeps got.

I’m fairly new to Octatrack. So far I have only experimented with it for fun, but my aim is to bring it more to the studio and live performances and eventually replace my laptop on stage.

Restricting myself to the clean and minimalist beeps of this ancient electronic game device feels like a great challenge to learn more about Octatrack’s sound design possibilites.


I sampled the game sounds from Youtube directly into Octatrack. First I created two pads. With the first flex machine I used Comb Filter and Dark Reverb and with the other one I experimented with the LFO, Filter, and again Comb Filter and Dark Reverb on Neighbor Machine. Comb Filter feels almost like a synth.

So far my Octatrack navigation is super slow and coming from Ableton I don’t feel yet totally comfortable with the step sequencer, but somehow I managed to create a hypnotic, slowly evolving, flute-like loop.

So far I have used three flex machines and three neighbour tracks. The third flex machine is a rhythm track I created from a looped short buzz, then pitched down and using the filter I created a pretty good dry bass drum. On the second FX slot I used Plate Reverb to add some space and drum resonance to the thump.


I created an arpeggio with a Static Machine on track number 7. The sample is a short buzz with Filter, Delay in the FX slots.

At this point I got really bored with the track, so I decided to create a fade out scene and recorded it on my computer. After recording I realized I forgot to play the last pattern, but decided that this is a good beginning and next time I’ll do better!


I learned a lot about the sound sculpting and Filter and Comb Filter in this experiment. I didn’t pay too much attention to the FX order and ran quickly into some problems. Mixing with Octatrack seems pretty difficult, unless you pay attention to it constantly. But at the same time I noticed I was listening to the sounds much more closely. During the second session my workflow was already getting faster, so I guess after a while the machine will feel fast and simple. In a way Octatrack reminds me of an old typewriter. Maybe it’s because of the satisfying click the buttons have. :slight_smile:

I might have another try on the same challenge later, either with Zelda or some other source material…


@GirTheRobot, your track is so cool, I love it! Lost was also one of my favorite shows and I think your track captures some of that magic and mystique of the series. I like how you shift the harmony by bringing in the string pad around 1:24, it reminds me of the turns and twists of the series. Nothing is as it seems first.


Nice track and nice write up of the process :thup:

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Hats off to both entries! Loved the tunes and appreciate the detailed notes!


You gotta get your mixing cap on!

When I’m making patches on my Octatrack I’m constantly thinking “this thing is too loud, this thing is too wet, this thing is too dry” and always making little adjustments. Remember, a lot of mixing is literally just volume levels and panning…It’s crazy what turning something down just a few dB will do.


I’m just spoiled by Ableton where you can see all levels even when you’re not paying attention and throw another EQ wherever it is needed… :grin: Working with OT is great mixing practice!


Yes! Use your ears! Also I’m finding more and more that if you do everything right, EQ is almost unnecessary. If you have the arrangement right and the source sounds are good recordings, the most you should have to do is cut out some honk or use a hpf…My mixes have been sounding better the less EQ I’ve been using–go figure.


It really is easy to eq one’s way into a bad mix :slight_smile:

same for me with compression :sunglasses: and i agree, i tend to mix more and more in my OT ( which i just got 4 months ago ). At first i was hesitant, but this last month i just went for it and i’m pretty surprised by the results. After all these years watching a SCREEN, it make sense coming back to my ears :wink:


Yes this is exactly what I like about the Octatrack. I try to close my eyes at least once per Octatrack session, e.g. while adjusting an FX or LFO.


I learned mixing using my ears, but lately I have (to my surprise) enjoyed using iZotope Insight/Relay a lot, especially when refining my mixes. I guess it’s because some years ago I was learning tuning handpans and most of my time I was watching spectrograms while constantly listening to the sound my hammers were making. Mixing music and tuning instruments are very similar things.

I get the “mix with ears” idea, but I have to say that spectrograms are definitely not useless! This might be against the common idea of what OT is or should be, but I wish it had a better Mixer view with meters and perhaps even a spectrogram! I’m sure it would make producing full tracks with this machine even faster and easier.

The real challenge with my first lab exercise was that my source material was just a few raw bleeps from an electronic game. So basically I had to carve all the sounds from very limited range of material (which is why I ended up using so many neighbour machines). In fact, most of what you hear on this track is just the OT effects! :smiley:

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Excellent track and I especially enjoyed reading about the process. I always find it really fascinating reading about how other musicians write and the decisions they make. An aspect of your track I enjoy is how the original lofi character of the source material gradually becomes more apparent from the initial lush opening. I’m a big fan of using lo-fi digital sounds such as these in contemporary or less nostalgic ways - not that I have anything against the more obvious chip tune style lofi bleeps but I just like hearing those textures being pushed in new directions.


Sample Source 1: https://youtu.be/gXUcwprvldc
Sample Source 2: https://youtu.be/6gb5eF3tL50

After a long trip down memory lane via Youtube I settled on sampling the first Diablo game. I always loved the music in town–pretty but with a sense of desolation and unease.

I initially thought I would do a sort of Four Set style loop and glitch remix but found I wanted to keep it atmospheric, and that’s where OT’s Comb Filter works wonders. The harmonics from the acoustic guitar in the sampled track made for a violin-ish sound. I set the pitch on Scene A to A4 and Scene B to C3 and noodled about, leaning on my lousy violin technique from around the time I was playing this game!

With a little bit of slicing and playing around with Rate I found some loop points and with filter and delay I added some extra phrasing. For the sporadic percussion, I couldn’t find the original game’s sound effects but I did find Diablo II’s sounds and from what I can recall they are mostly the same. Maybe that’s cheating but I figured the committee would forgive me :slight_smile:

I used arranger to switch patterns and scenes; in the first section I’m playing the Filter’s Depth via the crossfader and then switching to playing Comb Filter’s pitch. I also did a little bit of live muting to break up the percussive elements.

Not using samples from external sources that much, I thought this was a very useful exercise! I have to say I like exploring samples in the OT much more than in Ableton, it feels much more interactive. This is also the first time recording myself playing the OT “live”-- or at least partially live. On to the next challenge!