Punkt Explained

Punkt illustration

The process for this song was a bit different than usually. The main idea came to me as a whole with visuals for an abstract video.

When I sat down to record the idea, the specific notes weren’t very clear in my mind, but I could record the overall arc and rhythm.
I made a quick sketch for the music of the first half of the piece and video right after (using my nonexistent video skills with the nonexistent tools), all in one morning.

Only then I started thinking, what I would do with the Stick.

The Stick part that comes after the intro consists of 5 over 4, which makes every other repetition land on the up-beat. There are some low accent notes that come every 4th time.
What also makes this section special, is the hand switch in the middle.

Stick part after intro
Stick part after intro.

The other sections and refining was a more laborious process that took place during the next months and was also interrupted with the Corona action.

Here are some two handed chords the Stick is good at.

Stick chords
Stick chords.

Listen to the whole song:

Biitnik Explained

Biitnik illustration

Having just gotten a cello bow, I was eager to use it in a composition and this was the piece. I did mainly long overlaid drones with some melodical movement in one section.

Also some whammy pedal action near the end that gives the air-raid kind of a siren sound.

After the intro bowing section the Stick has a part with a bitcrusher effect that gives this geiger-countery-radioactive sound.

Stick with bitcrusher
Stick with bitcrusher

For the synth the aim was to create a part where one could just tweak the filter and resonance knobs. So I used some arpeggiated chords in the second half of the piece.

Holding just a couple of notes the arpeggiator did the rest.

Synth notes for arpeggios
Synth notes for arpeggios
Arpeggiator output
Arpeggiator output

With the Stick I play arpeggios in Felix Martin style, although in a much modest way. The last 2 bars are a variation that I only play live.

Biitnik stick arpeggios
Stick arpeggios

A video of me playing the arpeggios slow and fast.

Listen to the full piece:

Raak Explained

Raak illustration

I completed this one by Halloween and the mood of the piece is appropriately more menacing.

Using one bassline / chord progression throughout I wanted the progression to be uneven, meaning shorter version alternating with the longer one.

Raak piano intro
Chord progression in piano intro.

Then I laid some melodies over it, making sure that I don’t stay in the key with all of the notes 🙂

This is one of the melodies along with chords played in unison with piano and the Stick.

Raak unison melody 1
Unison melody 1.

The other melody, with a more piercing sound in synth and the Stick.

Raak unison melody 2
Unison melody 2.

Both of the previous melodies have variations, so they don’t appear the same way each time.

Also there’s a shortened even time signature version with modulation full tone up from the main key.

Raak modulated melody.
Modulated melody.

Listen to the full song:

Pellet Explained

Pellet illustration

The main aim of the piece was to use polyrhythms. I first got the itch to do it in a minimal form, while listening to the The Dawn of MIDI “Dysnomia” album. But one thing led to another and I was again veering towards more elaborate.

The polyrhythmic interplay between drums and and other instruments starts right after the piano intro. The kick has 5, sidestick 6 and hi-hat 3. Bass follows the kick, piano plays in sync with the hi-hat, but only every other note.

Drumkit polyrhythm
Drumkit polyrhythm

The piano intro melody consists of long even notes. It starts with chromatic ascending core and expands it going by semitone in both directions.

Later the Stick joins the piano melody in unison while keeping the 3 percussively in bass.

Pellet intro with the Stick
Pellet intro with the Stick

In the “chorus” section Stick has 4 in the bass and 3 in melody the first half and the other way around in the second half.

Here is the middle of the chorus that shows both patterns.

Chorus polyrhythm Stick part
Chorus polyrhythm Stick part

Listen to the full song:

Paratamatu Explained

paratamatu_illustration

As the name partially hints, the inspiration to make this song was to use drum-set paradiddles. The paradiddles are arranged on the drumset on different pieces of the kit as well as other instruments in different sections.

Here are a couple of variations on the drum-kit.

Drumkit_Paradiddle_1
Drumkit paradiddle 1
Drumkit_Paradiddle_2
Drumkit paradiddle 2

The Stick also plays the paradiddles extensively throughout the song. The notes are divided between the hands, at the same time allowing different fingers to play the LRLL-RLRR paradiddle.

Stick_paradiddle
Stick paradiddle

The other main feature is the intro synth line that consists of just 4 notes that are played always in the same order B D Bb Db. Because the rhytm pattern that also repeats has a different length, the beginning long note of the pattern is a different one of the 4 with each repetition until it goes back to the beginning.

I’ve highlited the first notes of the rhythm pattern with red.

4_note_synth_figure
4 note synth figure

Listen to the full song:

AlgeRNon Explained

AlgeRNon_Illustration

This one got it’s beginning impulse from playing with the Antonio Blanca’s Reaktor ensemble Nod-e. You can hear the resulting figure right from the start with a synth, later doubled with a filtered sound on the Stick.

Arranging this melody for the Stick took a while and I finally settled on the variation where I use also my right hand thumb to play a note to get that harp like flow.

AlgeRNon Stick intro
Nod-e figure arranged for the Stick.

The other defining character of the song I find is the bass part that’s also played with the Stick here. It has some percussive elements that are produced with hitting the strings with either all the fingers or the thumb.

AlgeRNon Stick Bass.
Stick bass in the “verse”.

For the synth I wanted to use somewhat unusual chord progressions that still sound harmonious and logical. In the end they didn’t come that far out.
The naming of the chords is somewhat arbitrary, where some of the notes are omitted.

This is the progression in the first half of the song.

AlgeRNon Synth Chords
Synth chords in the verse.

Listen the full song here:

Kaarleek Explained

KaarLeek_Illustration

The song began from an improvisation on the beatstep pro sequencer. Sorting through my “ideas” folder I found a drum rhythm that sounded interesting to me. Then edited it to the essential portion of it, also deciding where the the loop beginning and ending would be. It turned out to be a loop just 1/16 short of 7/8 (13/16), which makes a shifting loop if played over a steady 4/4 pulse.

The figure lands again on the strong beat after 4 repeats and on the 1 after 16 repeats.

KaarLeek main rhythmic figure
KaarLeek main rhythmic figure

I decided to base an entire composition around this rhythmic figure, adding different motifs over it and varying the instrumentation. Most of the time the figure is present in the kick drum and bass, but occasionally on the hi-hat, snare and other instruments.

In the section that might be considered the chorus, the figure is doubled by synth and the Stick with constant notes on the bass side and a more chromatic line in the melody.

Stick chorus in KaarLeek
Stick part using the figure in the chorus section

In the mid-part the Stick and synth have this crazy syncopated counterline to the main rhythm.

KaarLeek Crazy Section
Crazy counterline on the Stick and synth

You can hear the full song here:

New Album Release – projektorn 1!

You can listen and get a copy (FLAC / 320kbit MP3) from Bandcamp:

The album is a selection of songs from the period 2015-2020.

My main instrument the Chapman Stick gives the album it’s own special color.
The Stick has a big role in every track although you might not recognize it immediately, even if you’re familiar with it’s sound, as it has been processed in various ways. In addition to tapping there are also sections with a regular bow and the eBow.

Previously unreleased song Punkt (Point/Period) that is also the most recent one concludes the album.

In addition to the Chapman Stick, I’ve done all synths, electronic drums, sequencing and programming as usual.

  1. KaarLeek Kaspar TORN
  2. AlgeRNon Kaspar TORN
  3. Paratamatu Kaspar TORN
  4. Pellet Kaspar TORN
  5. Raak Kaspar TORN
  6. Biitnik Kaspar TORN
  7. Punkt Kaspar TORN

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New Website

The facelift and responsive features were long overdue, but now it’s finally done. Some of the older posts and resources from the previous design that are not added in yet will be in time.

YouTube Channel

I have a YouTube channel now. Practicing my instrument takes a big part of my day, so when I decided to start making videos, it made sense to show exactly that. So you can expect to see videos of me playing sections of my pieces and exercises.