Commute Challenge

Hi all,
First topic, as I’m new here, so hope I’m following the rules.
So I purchased a second hand OP1 end of January and been loving it so far. Since a few weeks I’m commuting again and I thought it would be fun to spend the time on making tracks on the OP1.
I was wondering if some people here would like to join a challenge where the idea is to post a track which you made while commuting.
I checked out the battle category and those are awesome! This is more like a laid-back version without too much competition; just finishing something in a limited time-span is the idea.
My plan was to post an update on the tracks I made a few times a week for as long as I feel that this challenge is fun.
For those of us who are in a home office situation; I guess you could make it work by setting a timer or so?

So who is in?

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Didn’t say i was in but your post inspired me to do a little jam on the Train from Upstate NY to Penn Station…

Totally open to more limits/prompts…



Hi psound,
Thanks for your reply. I like your commute jam! It’s noisy in a good way in the sense that it has nice harmonic progressions.
I’m interested in what your process was; was this one commute or multiple? What did you start with?

Here is my upload. I know this took me several commutes and I think I started out with the bass. After a week I took some time in the evening to record and transform the vocals in ableton. Further processing of the album record in ableton with compressor, reverb and some EQ. Although it would have been nice if I had done some more EQing and mixing of the individual OP-1 tracks I think.

Am working on a song now for which I take more time. My commute is pretty short so only like 15 minutes to finish a piece. I like the time constraint though (I’ve become a pro in packing my OP-1 up real quick so as not to miss my stop…)


Sure! Dig the Radiohead “Kid A” kind of aesthetic here…really liked the gritty nature of the high end sounds, was that OP-1 by itself or alternate side effects of the Ableton vocal transformations?

While i had stumbled on the DSynth patch that had a LFO sweeping the lower left “2” “M” control that i tweaked and found that having the o-oo and Trig settings in the Arpeggio sequencer and playing 4 notes made some notes sustain longer than others in an interesting way about a couple weeks ago, i came up with & sequenced the chords, drums, and played the bass live into a loop then added lead live while recording to the album all in a little less than the 2 hours i was on the train!

the drums are SK-1 samples being warped by the “hidden” filter effect modulated by the random LFO; Endless sequencer started by key-press to transpose the slowed down “cymbal” hit and bass drum to be “in-key” with the root of the chord each time it changed. Bass was made by loading a patch with the hidden filter then pressing Shift-1 (change engine) to Sampler and picking the “punchsub” preset but then having the Element LFO set to Envelope and modulating the filter cutoff. Lead was a sample of the Moog MG-1 “poly” section (basically a square wave) played live again through…the hidden filter…can you tell i love that effect? (To me it seems more musical than Nitro and the Drive control can add some nice grit.) - all through the Spring reverb in the master section with a bit of EQ boost on lows and highs, Drive 16, Release 150. The only thing i did on the computer was normalize the Album file.

Keep at it! What was your workflow like (in the OP-1, to and from Ableton, what effects, etc)?


Hi psound74
Sorry it took me a while to come back to your post. Thanks for sharing your process. Makes me really want to put the hidden filter on my device.

So I took a screenshot of my ableton session because I couldn’t remember too much of how I processed it. The vocals are all done in ableton; recorded with mic into it and processed with vocoder, compressor, filter. The first track is the album track from the OP-1 which I EQed a little and put a compressor on.

So for this week my goal is to work on shorter pieces; just one groove but make it more elaborate. My commutes are pretty short so the challenge is to stay in the same groove over multiple days. Will post something when its finished!

Oh yeah, I remember the high pitched instrument on the OP1 was manipulated with the tremelo LFO set to very high frequency and depth on the volume. Can’t remember which synth module it was…

Any feedback is always welcome :wink:

Looking forward to another entry of yours, psound74, or who know who else will join us.


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Hey there @rocksoul !
Thanks for sharing your process, i appreciate it!

i used my last trip home train ride to be the 85% basis of my 10yOP1 teenageengineering battle entry…


Wow that’s a very wide sound you created psound! Good job!
I like how your different instruments take over from each other to create a feeling of forward momentum.
As for me my commutes have mainly focused on trying out some tricks from the trick-thread in this forum and experimenting with some engines. Not very result-based I’m afraid…

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Thank you for the compliment! As for “results”…Keep at it! i tend to throw everything (tricks, sounds, musical ideas) into my tunes, so judicious and meticulous stereo (often hard) panning, effects, play mode (poly, legato, unison) and arrangement of parts (trying to leave room in one part for another!) are all necessary!

You can always post little WIP (work in progress) demos as you go and pull them down later if you officially “finish” them…sometimes the process is useful to document!

Keep on commute composing!

Hi psound (and all the others tuning in),

Thanks for the little push to continue composing/recording. This week I recorded two tracks onto the album; forced myself to finish it while commuting, but also incorporating the tricks I’m trying out while doing so.

So the first (commute2town) was mainly trying to make an evolving composition by copy pasting one loop and then selectively muting some parts by just lifting them out of the loop. While recording to album I played a synth patched I created by sampling a simple sine-wave; distorting it using shift orange in sample and then adding the compression from the crank-LFO - orange. On M1 I used a hard EQ leaving out highs and lows I think.

The other one I was inspired by your comment of leaving room for other sounds; I’m usually not very good at that. So I started out with some chord stabs, then added the bass with endless on 1/32 notes I think. I then added a sample from a billy talent song which has this very nice gritty guitar sound. I wanted to try out a different endless setting for the drums toward the end so I put it on 1/8T and with the white controller went for the 0-0 setting, which gives kinda a 6-8th feel.
When I was ready to record to album I decided to start the Intro by reverse play, starting from the gritty guitar sound to the beginning of my loop. The recording turned out to be a little longer cause I wanted to try out the following; start a pattern arpeggio on drums, so I could scratch the tape (with loop in and out close to each other) while there was still some drums playing in the background. Then by accident I ended up on a bit of tape which had this nice lo-fi vibe to it and added a synth chord to round it of (switching synth engine while holding the chord to get the sudden change of sound).

Huh, while writing this I am confronted by how much is happening really when you improvise on the Op-1. Great fun!

Oh and while commuting I also noticed my shoes have the same color-theme as the OP-1, so I decided to add a picture of them to the playlist :stuck_out_tongue:

Keep me updated on your OP-1 commute adventures! Great fun to read and listen to.


Nice work! i have to get more into the live “mixing” aspect of the OP-1 more (muting, the M1/M2 keys, etc) as i usually am more “through composing”

Like your second Co - Mut3 piece a lot, atonal, spastic, some gnarly sounds!

Just came back from Upstate home to Brooklyn for some site work; trip up and back 4.5 hours and just got a little over a minute. MG-1 sync sample for the lead, TR-707 clock signal square wave sample for the left-panned Pad, “CIRCUIT BEND” drum kit through the “Phone” FX. OP-1 synth engines: FM right-panned pad, Voltage and DSynth overlapping left-panned sweep basses. Was practicing leaving room for different parts (sometimes better than others) and a more “Romantic” set of chords.

Keep up the good work @rocksoul! Anyone else out there want to join in?


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Making a point to bring OP-1 with me when i don’t have to bring too many tools to work…latest commute composition (this was a few days to/from work!)


Love it psound! It’s awesome how the background is very dense and intense, and then the melody is light and simple. Nice balance!

So I’m wondering, how much do you use the internal synths compared to the sampling of synth/drums? I find that your sampled sounds come out real beautifully and was wondering on your take on it. When/for what would you use internal synths?

I recently decided to do most of my commutes by bike as a training for a biking holiday. Haven’t managed to find a way to combine biking and OP-1ning…

Just before that I tried some things with sampling my voice and than modifying it while commuting (I’m not so badass to sing in the train). The singing and lyrics were than loosely based on the vocal chops:

All the best,

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Nice work! Like the lyrics and the little background vocal chops!

In this latest one, the subway chime, one pad sound (arpeggio in right channel), high string lead at the end, and the TR-808 and TR-909 drums were samples, all other sounds (including the 2 synth leads and the “piano” lead) are the internal synths! (FM, Pulse, Iter, DNA, and String)

i tend to use the internal synths maybe 60-70% versus samples for pitch sounds and near 100% samples for drums & percussion, the Drum Sampler is pretty flexible!

Keep up the good work and enjoy your biking holiday (probably best not to combine OP-1 and biking!)


My Battle 075 entry was composed and performed on NJ Transit and NYCT Subway commutes (except for the melodic treble leads and the manual fade in/out captured to album live as a continuous take (after much trial and error on the trains, this final live take of the melodies to album was done on my home office desk.)

#OP-1 #battle75 #battle075 #spiritofradio #onthetrain #onthego #COVID19creativity


New commute tune…new Univox MiniKorg provided all the samples except the drums, where i finally used the DBox (tweaked “Applefly”) for the entire tune. Did some lift-drop from tape to Sampler engine resampling to get the hidden filter on the arps to also have some Delay FX.



Nice work again psound! I wonder how you managed to do the panning effect on the arps; did you record it to 2 different tracks or did you manually tweak the pan knob while recording?
And Im also curious what the story is behind your univox minikorg.

i panned tracks 3 and 4 hard left and right, respectively. Bb major 7 chord (first chord) on eight, Eb major 7 chord on left. Since i used the hidden filter and the Element LFO to control the cutoff frequency, it sounded a little dry…so i lifted each chord one at a time into the Sampler synth, added Delay FX, then triggered the sample live to the tape. At the very end, since the arpeggios didn’t take up the whole bar, i played the sample up an octave (2x speed) but recorded on the opposite channel:
Bb slow 1/2 half of measure - Trk 4 / R
Bb fast - 2nd half of measure - Trk 3 / L
Eb slow - 1/2 half of measure - Trk 3 / L
Eb fast - 2nd half of measure - Trk 4 / R

Univox was a lucky find; on Saturday i missed my train Upstate from NYC; my wife sent me a map of music stores in MidTown and said “dare i suggest” Rogue Music. Looked at their website and saw a bunch of vintage things (including a Jupiter 6 for $7,000! i told myself “i will not touch the Jupiter 6, i will not touch the Jupiter 6…”)

Had a lot of fun demoing the Univox! Music store guy was like “sounds good, like you’ve got some FX going” - i didn’t ! Had recently watched “Documentary” by OMD and was fascinated how they used octave switches and “repeat” function on 700S (mini Korg K2 follow up from 1974) Seemed like a steal relative to other prices i saw on eBay/Reverb…one thing i didn’t know when i bought it is that Korg just did a reissue in May of this year of the 700S (new one is 700FS)…will either make resale value soar or crash…it sounds so full, makes the OP-1 waves sound terribly thin!!!

What i do know is that my wife will probably not want me to go in a music store unattended!


Hi all,
Here’s my commute-composed “house” track…Univox Korg was the source of most of the samples except the bell lead, Pianet T background chords, and Pulse arco “strings”…


Hey psound,
Super vibing tune! I love the atmosphere. Nice steady bass line and whats really killing it is the glitchy synth sound you panned to the hard right; how did you make that sound?! Sounds like there was some telephone involved.

So I’ve been building on a longer session; I limited myself by imposing the rule that I need to fill the full 6 minutes with only 3 instrument sounds; 1 synth sample that does the chord (with tremolo acting as fake ducking-compression), 1 drum kit and 1 bass sound (I used phase). This took me about 2 weeks of commuting, completing one sketch at a time.
After that I decided I liked it enough to try some vocals on it and see where that brings me. So I had a session of about 2 times 2 hours putting all the vocals in by singing directly into the Op-1’s microphone. Processed 4 of the 7 sketches with, punch, 1 with spring, 1 with telephone and kept 1 dry.
So here it is; 8 sketches, makes it a little long so sorry for the long listen.

Thanks for your kind words! i did play the bassline live on a train (TBH a few takes of the main loop and then lifted/dropped that 2x). Spent a lot of time with gain staging too since i wanted to do the final fade live to album.

The arp: my own original sample from the MiniKorg was a 8’ sawtooth with filter “envelope” on but the secret was sampling a note, pausing, then the octave up. OP-1 Transposed up +2 oct. Then used the “hidden” OP-1 filter FX cutoff swept by OP-1 LFO. Arp sequencer set to the -… mode and held spread Fm9 chord and occasionally Abm9 in the turnaround at the end of the phrase…no Telephone though!

Great work on your sketches! It’s funny, i misread your comment about how long they were, i first misunderstood that you did 8x 6min sketches, so when i was listening and heard the variety in one 6 minute block i was excited for the other 7!

i know that i approach the OP-1 tape a little preciously, always worried i’ll tape over something good…how did you make all the sketches flow so well from one to the next, did you have to do a bunch of retakes, go straight through with the pad/bass/drums, did you stagger sketches (pad for first sketch on 1, pad for second on 2, etc.) tracks, or ?

Keep on keepin’ on,