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I have a maybe broad question, about certain techniques in creating drones. Drones of specific quality, the kind you can hear in Joe Colley's work, for example.

I'm not sure if I'm allowed to post some short clips from the tracks here, so here are some titles (with links):

Joe Colley & Jason Lescalleet - Prayer*

Joe Colley - Headache (Diagnostic Testpulse For Blown PA)* - at ~8 mins

Crawl Unit - Untitled (Drone 2)*

(http://sonmarchive.es/index.php?option=com_muscol&view=album&id=1006&lang=en)

So, in a lot of Colley's tracks...

David Wells - 2.1*

(http://sonmarchive.es/index.php?option=com_muscol&view=album&id=500&lang=en)

Tatar - 072304

(http://kosmoplovci.net/music/tatar/frames/ogg/tatar_072304.ogg)

etc...

*Sorry I couldn't find the tracks anywhere else except on this site. You have to register in order to listen to them.

Anyway, quite a few people have this sound in their music...

It's that dense textured drone, but also very clean sounding (as opposed to the noisy ones I usually get from using delay or reverb) and seamless (you can barely hear any sort of repetitions from the delay, and even when you do it's very 'soft').

You can hear in the examples, some have more dynamic sound while some are more static. I think I can notice the characteristics of feedback at work in the dynamic sounding ones, and the typical delay (set at short time) in the static sounding ones.

OK, so I'm guessing it's all at least 80% based on effects. Delay, reverb, feedback... but how?

I know that some people have achieved this sound by using pure data, working on sample-based loops or instruments, but I haven't managed to do it.

I know it's not a very specific question, but if you can shed any light on this it would be awesome.

Thanks!

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I created a Max/msp patch and app that uses convolution reverb to generate drones of this sort:

https://soundcloud.com/mark-durham/resonate-drone-selection

Some seem quite similar to the sound you're aiming for perhaps? You can read more and download it here:

http://sounddesignwithmax.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/creative-convolution-part-1-resonate.html

Some of the those examples are probably too harmonic for what you're after, but it's easy to get much noisier drones out of the technique - you just use less pitched material as IR's. You can also stack up convolution reverbs in a DAW to get the same result.

  • What a coincidence, I came across your article searching for convolution reverb today and bookmarked it for later :) The patch looks interesting, I'll give it a try. Thanks! – user9427 Jun 18 '14 at 20:01

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