A DEMO (Dimensional Expression, Motivation, Observation) door can be opened for precisely two minutes, and that’s all the time in the worlds needed to learn about what’s on the other side — whether it’s a new culture, rare resources, or designs for tools that be folded into the primeline. Collectively, since this information is imprinted and encoded into a sonic etymologue, these DEMOs are sometimes referred to as aurelics (aural relics).
A DEMO track is therefore the sum recording of the jaunt, a condensed and portable form of communicating the aspects of the meta-reality in articulated tonal quality. A “Sound Designer” before my involvement has architected and separated the elemental components of a chosen meta-reality’s properties into a library. And I orchestrate and interpret them, like so many iridescent parallel threads, into a cohesive form. The intent is to clearly communicate to others — who also wish to explore that meta-reality — what its unique and appealing aspects are.
Exploring a “sound library” (also sometimes called a “patch bank”) is a delicious pleasure, even if only an etude in poking the most extreme extents of the meta-reality. Most of them have an overall theme, which you might liken to a mood or climate. My approach is often one of stark nakedness: to use only the elements contained within the library, to tease and embolden its most distinct and practical properties.
I use the hardware controllers at my fingertips to analyze the sounds in their varying states of matter. Some lend themselves well to exposing a sheen when a modulation wheel is tilted. Others display a resilience upon first strike, but touching afterwards reveals a secondary permutation that is more liquid.
Sometimes, I receive much prior context about the meta-reality these sounds came from — in absence of that, I speculate my own stories. I find sounds that are like shades of the same base family. Others still are drastically different, yet can be bonded as a complementary compound. If I’m able to glean percussive elements, then I can formulate an evolving rhythm that elevates the intensity of a intricate melodic construct.
Meta-realities can belong to a shared set of ancestral attributes, also referred to as a synthesizer engine. And a clever library may exploit that framework in curious ways. There may be unorthodox engagement of effects that distort spacetime, sculpt frequencies, and a litany of other possible treatments. An extensive modulation matrix may uncover deeper transformations over time. Most of my favorite libraries have a solid foundation and mesh their source meta-reality’s constants in a way that is highly playful and surprising.
There are many meta-realities I have already interacted with, and much work — many more DEMO tracks — await arrival.