Dopaminimum - my own creation

This piece is the result of months of work, I performed it live for an audience yesterday as part of my singing exam where I sang two classical pieces with piano accompaniment before this piece. It made quite an impact and I’m really proud if it, got compliments from the jury too! You won’t get the live experience of me doing the acting and even breaking a chair during the final angry bit but I can share a recording.

Everything you hear is recorded by me or was build in to Sonic Pi, only exception being one synth sound from my old Yamaha SY85 and the digital alarm sound I got from FreeSound. I used the :sound_out_stereo fx to get individual tracks from Sonic Pi into Ardour for further processing and mixing.

Composed using the whole tone scale, you might recognize some themes from “Voiles” by Debussy in the first part.

I have lots of code but for most of it you need the samples as well, if you hear anything you like in particular I’ll upload the samples to my Freesound account and make them CC-0.

This is the code for the relaxing hospital bit at the end:

# de sound of de psychiatrie

live_loop :noise do
  with_fx :bpf, centre: 70, centre_slide: 2, res: 0.9999, res_slide: 2 do |bpf|
    use_synth :noise
    play :bb3, sustain: 19.999, amp: 2
    sleep 2
    control bpf, centre: :bb3 + 2 * rrand_i(1,12), res: 0.995
    sleep 1

with_fx :lpf, cutoff: 34 do
  live_loop :bass, sync: :noise do
    use_synth :sine
    play :bb1 + rrand(-0.4,0.4), sustain: 7, decay: 3, attack: 2, pan: rrand(-0.3,0.3), amp: 0.15
    sleep 3

with_fx :reverb, room: 0.9, damp: 0.1 do
  with_fx :echo, decay: 5 do
    live_loop :tietiet, sync: :noise do
      use_synth :sine
      2.times do
        play :bb5, amp: 0.05, pan: rrand(-1,1)
        sleep 0.25
      sleep rrand_i(7,11)

The song is about my struggle with burn out and depression, it starts with the first symptoms where I’m unable to sleep at night and takes you trough the story up to my admission to the hospital.

The Lyrics:

Geen slaap voor mij, geen rust voor mij (3x)

Gedachten als een vloedgolf slaan verwoestend in het rond
Beelden dromen stormen wanen draaien tollend door mij heen
Lichten steken priemen blindend woorden waaiend uit het donker
Schaduwstemmen wanhoop slepend klauwen grijpend naar de ochtend
Wetend dat zelfs deze geen verlichting brengen kan

Alweer een dag

Alweer een dag, alweer die trein
Zal het ooit de laatste zijn?
Misschien vandaag, ik waag het er op
Ik vraag het lot, munt of kop?
Spring ik er onder of stap ik er op?

Alweer een dag

Het is half negen de zombies komen
Vroeger hadden zij nog dromen
Nu staan zij slechts nog paraat
Voor het kapitalistisch apparaat
Ze doen hun werk, naar behoren
Heel methodisch van voor af aan
Zittend in een glazen toren
Waar de tijd lijkt stil te staan
Ik kan het niet meer aan!

( Chronische stress, burn-out, zelfmoord, slaapstoornis, medicatie, ... )

Wat is de waarde, van een man, die niets kan?
Als je vecht, met jezelf, wie wint er dan?
Niet in staat nog iets te voelen,
gevangen woede doet mij beven.
Mijn nagels krassen paden voor mijn tranen droog als zout
Gedachten vallen weg, roodwit flitsend door mijn hoofd
op zoek naar iets om nog te voelen vind ik pijn die mij bevrijdt!

Deze pil kan je groter maken
deze maakt je net heel klein
Van dit medicijn draait je hoofd heel fijn
en dit hier doet net heel veel pijn!

Lyrics translated to English (sorry I’m not that good at English songwriting):

No sleep for me, no rest for me (3x)

Toughts like a tidal wave causing devastation all around
Images dreams storms delusions spinning wildly trough me
Lights stabbing piercing blinding, words whistling from the darkness
Shadowvoices despair clinging grasping reaching for the morning
Knowing even this can not bring enlightenment

Yet another day

Yet another day, yet another train
Will it ever be the final one?
Maybe today, I'll take my chances
I'll ask fate, head or tails?
Do I throw myself under it or do I get on?

Yet another day

It's half past eight, the zombies arrive
They used to have dreams
No they only work
for the capitalist machine
They do their work, to satisfaction
very methodically, step by step
Sitting in a tower made of glass
Where time seems to stand still
I can't take it anymore!

( Chronical stress, burn out, suicide, sleep disorder, medication, ... 

What's the worth of a man, that can't do anything?
When you're fighting yourself, who wins?
Not able anymore to feel
Trapped anger causes me to tremble
My fingernails scratch paths for my tears, dry as salt
Thoughts are failing, red white flashes in my head
looking for something to feel I find pain that sets me free

This pill can make you bigger
But this pill makes you very small
This medicin makes your head spin in a delightfull way
and this one causes great pain

Wow! This is perhaps the most moving and amazing piece I have ever heard produced with Sonic Pi. Thank you so much for sharing it. The sense of your pain and anguish is starkly conveyed. I hope that the more relaxing bit at the end is an indication of a better place now for you.

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Thank you for your kind words. I’ve never done something this personal before. Reading your comment I felt really good. I’m in a much better place now and have people that support me through this, I’m confident I’ll be fine, thanks.

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