This Week's Favorite: Midnight's Ocean and blueSky - Strymon

This Week’s Favorite: Midnight’s Ocean and blueSky

Ambient composer and guitarist Midnight’s Ocean has crafted a beautiful and entrancing piece called “World Without End” which you can stream via the link included below. The track is from Midnight’s Ocean’s full-length album Path To Novum Dimensiva.

The song is a relaxing and ethereal piece, highlighting the warmth and depth of blueSky reverb. Find out more about Midnight’s Ocean, his music, his gear, and the inspiration for the song and the full album. See the blueSky settings he used in creating “World Without End” and a picture of Midnight’s Ocean’s rig below.

Novum Dimensiva is Latin for ‘new dimension,'” Midnight’s Ocean tells us of the album’s title, “It’s a journey. A sound canvas, depicted in 16 murals, focusing on alternative tuning and music as a healing tool. All instruments used were tuned to the Factor 9 Grid built on 432. A mathematical chart where A=432Hz and the temperament is similar to ‘just temperament.’ Unlike 440Hz, 432Hz, as it turns out, is in tune with the natural mathematic geometry of the universe. While our standard ‘even temperament’ allows easy key changes, it does so at the expense of introducing dissonance.”

He continues: “Although subtle, this dissonance is easily detected by the subconscious mind. It’s effects can be agitating and disorienting. On the other hand, just temperament and similar tuning, preserves perfect harmony. Every note’s interaction with one another, produces completely stable waveforms. I spent many years researching these concepts and many hours with an oscilloscope confirming wave stability. I had come up with my own mathematical tuning system. It was close but something was missing. Then I found this article. It confirmed in great detail the direction I was already headed.”

Listen to “World Without End” below:

About recording the track he says, “I would tweak settings throughout the track. Turning down the low damp during dense passages, turning it up on wide open places for thunderous rumble. Adjusting the high damp, pre-delay and mix was crucial to allowing instruments to slowly float in and out of the sound stage.”

He continues: “A great example is on the Korg monologue lead starting at 1:55. As it fades out round 2:35, what I’m doing, among other things, is turning down the high damp, turning up the pre-delay and backing the mix towards wet. The main distorted bass sound heard throughout the entire track, was made by passing a patch on the Korg Monologue through blueSky, with maximum high damp and pre-delay, with very little low damp. This made for a very long, thin and bright reverb, that didn’t muddy up the already bass heavy sound. This ability for perfect reverb balance, in exquisite studio quality, perfectly depicts why I love Stymon reverb. I can get miles long reverb, that sings from the heavens, without the track turning into a mudslide.”

Gear used:

  • blueSky
  • Idiopan tongue drum
  • Korg Monologue
  • Korg Volca Kick
  • Korg Volca Kick NT2-A mic
  • WA12 mic pre by Warm Audio
  • BBE exciter
  • Mogami cables

Midnight’s Ocean explains his method as “very studio oriented. Compose wet, record dry. This allowed the blueSky to inspire the creative process, while preserving studio necessity. After an idea had matured, I would record without effects, then feed the takes through my effects rig and tweak whatever I wanted, as the performance progressed. On synths, MIDI allowed this process to be done in one step.”

Check out Midnight’s Ocean’s blueSky settings below:

Midnight’s Ocean was born and raised in Boston where he grew up “surrounded by artists, spending many hours of my childhood in the recording studio with friends and family.” He was exposed to a wide variety of genres, citing Prokofiev, YES, Frank Zappa, Herbie Hancock, and 80s video game music as some of his early influences. He also did studio work for local artists in the area in his teens and 20s.

He shares: “The music was always my passion…there was little time for formal schooling. I learned most of what I know on my own or from others I worked with.”

He continues: “Some years ago I was forced to move far away into the wilderness. Leaving my studio and city life behind. It was sad to say the least. Emotionally coping was difficult… that’s where Path To Novum Dimensiva came to life. It goes back to ancient roots. Lost times, when music was actually used as a scientific tool for healing. It was a humbling experience. No chaotic energy of beats. No easy key changes. I had no clue how to compose in this new realm. It was like learning to walk again.”

 

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About October
October Crifasi is musician and writer based in Los Angeles where she lives with two cats, five guitars, and a pet dragon named Scorch. She has written for Acoustic Guitar and Classical Guitar magazines and also runs a guitar program for girls in Los Angeles called Girls Guitar School. When not making or writing about music, October leads a parallel life as a comic book writer and overall nerd.

One Response

  1. Andrej Zbro says:

    How you tuned volca kick to 432? ?

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