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Working in Cecilia

Updated: May 13, 2021

I did this piece with a recording I took of the springs on my new mic arm, and put into a module on Cecelia. Slowly, I’ve started to find Cecilia more and more intuitive. I’ve really been trying to learn everything I can about the particle module. It feels so incredibly versatile and (not to sound like a little child) is able to make some incredibly cool sounds. I think next I’ll experiment with feeding voices through it, and also perhaps trying to make sfx for Chain of Being. Making the sounds of an imagined object to place in a “real” space would be a challenge for sure, but one I’d gladly attempt!

Initially, Cecelia feels very intimidating. It’s not laid out like a typical DAW and feels more like a solo plugin than anything else. There are a lot of different functions and it overall comes off as quite… janky.

However, once you start to play around, you find that there is almost infinite variety in the sounds you can make. I have taken to trying my best to learn one function at a time, and right now I am trying to learn every single thing I can do with the “particle” function. I find that it mangles and glitches in such a fantastically satisfying way. Everything you can make (from drones to one-off sfx) feels so unique and so totally different from the source sound with quite simple and easy to make adjustments to the UI. I’ve found myself sitting at my computer for hours getting lost in making tiny, intuitive adjustments to fine tune the sound to get the effect I want exactly.

I will say, the Cecelia isn’t perfect. Sometimes it can crash when given relatively simple automation to carry out, the playback isn’t amazing, and there’s no option to scrub through and it’s very slow to try and play from the middle of your sound. I use a midi keyboard and make adjustments with the nobs on there, my k7 is assigned to the gain (which is very helpful as sometimes you can get unpredictable spikes in amplitude), but if I go into the post-production tab, any adjustments I make with my k7 nob will only come into affect when I switch back to the input/output tab, which is very frustrating. Especially when it works the other way, as you can change effects with a midi control while not on the post-production tab.

Overall, though, I feel that Cecelia is my new favourite tool for ear bending weirdness. It’s so incredibly powerful, and I can’t help but feel that I’ve only just scratched the surface. The obvious choice is for soundscapes, you can create some super varied and interesting atmospheres with basically any sound source. The more interesting but also more difficult option is sound effects, taking a normal sound and stretching its essence out to keep it going for longer without ruining the 'soul' of a sound in the more mundane sense, in the more abstract realms the options are varied...

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