In a previous Microjam, I took on the “30 Minute Challenge”, a contest posed by my friend and all around awesome composer Ryan Davies, challenging creative types to see what they could composer, paint, construct or otherwise make in a half hour. I thought it was a great motivator, and although mine wasn’t as finished as I would have liked when the timer signaled my 30 minutes was up, I was pretty satisfied with how the exercise forced me to really push myself to produce something quickly.
Well, this week, I’ve got my own contest; The Random Challenge. In other words, what can you create when you’re not in control of your tools?
For my end, I used a random number generator (because I was not about to undo the perfect Jenga-like balance of the stack of board games in our closet to cannibalize their dice) to select a drum kit and four instruments from my library, first deciding which synthesizer I would use for each (I just numbered the ones I was choosing from 1-6 and let the website decide) and then which category (bass, lead, pad, etc), and finally which specific sound.
I ended up with a clubby bass, a hip-hop drum kit, some processed samples of air being blown over milk bottles, an Asian-influenced synth and, of all things, my main instrument: piano. It was tricky at first to get them to play together, but in the end I came up with this additive little track that I had a lot of fun with.
I know this technique has been around for a while now; this guy had been doing it for ages. That said, I think it’s a great exercise, so who out there is willing to give it a shot? If you’re a musician like me, use dice to pick the genre of your next track or the instruments you’ll use to write it. If you’re an artist, maybe assign the colors and materials (chalk, pastels, charcoal) of your next work randomly. If you’re a cook, why not select spices and ingredients at random, and see if you can come up with something awesome!
Here’s the track, and by all means, if you take a crack at the challenge, let me know about it in the comments, will you? Especially if you’re some kind of geneticist!