My First Track with the Teenage Engineering OP-Z

Since the beginning of the new year I have seen a number of live performances on Instagram and YouTube in response to #Jamuary2019. The idea behind the hashtag seems to be to create a new piece of music or a new live performance/jam each day in January. A similar movement has also taken shape within the visual arts under the slightly more clunky hashtags #Creatuanuary and #Creatuanuary2019, whereby artists aim to produce a piece of work resembling a creature of some description for every day in the month of January.

While I haven’t the time to complete a new piece of music every day throughout the month my interest was certainly piqued by #Jamuary2019 as a way to get back into the swing of things and boost my productivity early on in the year; hopefully to continue in the same vein for the duration of the year to come. The piece Z019 is my first response to #Jamuary2019, and also the first piece of music I have made entirely with the OP-Z since picking one up just before Christmas.

I have somewhat taken my time in composing Z019 whilst reading through the manual and familiarising myself with the interface and functionality of the device. While there are some minor issues (the random Parameter Spark seemingly not working) that have required me to compromise on some of my creative intentions but that will hopefully be fixed in future firmware updates, by in large I have found the OP-Z to be an incredibly intuitive, engaging, and, most importantly, fun instrument to work with. My creative process is ordinarily dominated by precise sound design work and parameter modulation, and the fact that each of the synth engines offered by the OP-Z only afford a handful of parameters – but still enough to yield widely varying results due to the variety and number of synth engines from which to choose to begin with – has helped me to focus more on just making music. The myriad ways in which stochastic procedures can be implemented into the user’s workflow when creating with the OP-Z is also something that holds great appeal for me.

Following the completion of Z019, I now intend to begin working on a piece incorporating the OP-Z, Make Noise 0-COAST, and Max/MSP, which will hopefully be finished before the end of January and can act as my second response to the #Jamuary2019 movement.

A WAV file of Z019 can be downloaded here.