Category : Producers BlogDED_HERE
Microtonal music can bring a whole new meaning to your music. When you start exploring Microtonal music you are exploring the edge of what is possible. This article will look deep into making Microtonal music in Ableton Live. But to start lets look at what Tunning and Temperament is.
TUNING AND HOW IT DIFFERS FROM TEMPERAMENT
There is a difference between that pitch reference, that concert tuning, and temperament or scale you build from that pitch reference. When we are talking about tuning there are 2 things we need to keep in mind and understand how they are separate, but interrelated.
Most music and DAWS are set to the reference pitch at A=440hz. All this means is that the first note, that all others are built from, is at 440. There are many different ways to calculate what the frequency of the next note is. This is when you get into tuning schemes, and temperament. (more…)
An amazing part about being human is our aptitude for willpower, intelligence, and consciousness. It lets us take abstract ideas, like music, and create such wonder. Sometimes we get lost in our own self importance, our ego. One of the first things you’re going to have to learn as a Mixing engineer is to get over yourself. It’s no longer about how good that guitar solo was, or how fantastic that synth bass is. You have to look at it objectively.
Something that helps us reach that objective is referenced. The way the ear and mind works is it adjust over time. We also get this thing called ear fatigue. If we listen to the same thing over and over, it has a different impact than when we first put it on. Over time we don’t want it so bright because we perceive it differently.
Because of this we must always understand our references and out reference points. (more…)
When you first get the push you can plug it in and start rocking out. It’s so easy to use the Note Mode to play new melodies in a chosen scale. I found that after playing with it for a while I sometimes wonder how to make different type of chords. Or when you are jamming with someone it’s important to be able to communicate which notes you are playing.
Because of this I made a worksheet to visually show off the note positions on the push as well as chord shapes. Below is the image I created to help in learning the In Key Mode on Push.
You can download this image and print it off for use in the studio. I have found this as an awesome tool to show off note positions to my students. One of the most useful things I found is to know that the blue key is the root note, and then memories the note positions from there. Once you get that down you can easily know what chord, or note you are playing in the scale.
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Today I saw his newest device that brings new functionality to Ableton Push. The PS-8 is a new Step Sequencer for Push.
8-step analog-style sequencer for the Ableton Push inspired by analog sequencers such as the Korg SQ-10 and Moog 960 Sequential Controller.
PS-8 is great for live performance and improvisation.
The main difference between PS-8 and other Push sequencers is that it uses the Push encoders to change the pitch / velocity of the eight steps and rows of pads to control other parameters such as gate length, shuffle amount and direction.
Here is a video walk through of the PS-8.
I absolutely love the functionality this new device brings to live performance. Thanks a lot Icaro for continuing to rock new innovation To learn more you can also go to http://www.spektroaudio.com/
The other day I was contacted by Ableton to teach a class at Lewis and Clark College in Portland. It was an intermediate class, so I wanted to bring something that could really level up there sound with Ableton Live. I put together a live set with stems and showed off a bunch of mixing techniques.
I wanted to share the Live Set I created and a few pointers on Mixing. Here is an before and after version. Notice how the vocals go more to the front and center and the drums have more power to them.
Here is the Live Set:
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The way I set up this live set is I put a bunch of effects on all the different tracks. I then mapped all of them to the “0” (zero) key. That way you can A/B test it. Just hit the 0 key and check out the difference. You can then go through and see what I did.
If you want to look deeper into mixing techniques I suggest you check out my Mix Down Toolset. It has a huge collection of tools to level up the mix.
Here are some more articles that also look deeper in the techniques used in the example.
If you have downloaded the example and found your own tweaks, feel free to share in the comments below.
Last week I had the pleasure of recording with Mr. Moo in Portland. We were playing around with some new beats for some upcoming tracks. Along the way we decided to get a little freaky with our sound design. Milo, aka Mr. Moo, had this great ideas of recording a trash can to get some tom sounds.
He busted out the metal can and we went to work. We recorded the rim, with cloth other it, different types of hits, and more. The sounds that came out of it were unique and totally fantastic.
I took these sounds and made a Drum Rack out of them for easy future use. I wanted to share this gem from the studio with you for free.
To download the file join the Subaqueous Site.
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If you create music using this Drum Rack post a link below.
am happy to announce the new album, Tides of Twilight, was just released! Tides of Twilight is a deep journey that moves from soft caressing waves to undulating currents. The album takes the listener on an immersive journey through their own mythos.
Album now released world wide on Kalya Scintilla’s record label MERKABA MUSIC!
Stream and Download it here: https://subaqueous.bandcamp.com/album/tides-of-twilight
The album is also a part of an online epic. The album was created hand in hand with a story that moves the listener on a tale of strife and renewal. You can read the full story, experience the art, and stream the whole album here: http://tidesoftwilight.com/
Artwork below from the Tale of Tides of Twilight.
MORE INFO ON THE ALBUM:
Here are some links to what people are saying about the album:
The first thought I had as the bass in “Insistent Shades” entered was that this might be a lost Pink Floydtrack from the Meddle sessions. Then the dub infused beats dropped, and the complex modulation routings took me away from the stale office I was sitting in to a sunny and joyous place. – Frank Heiss from Lost in Sound
The album opens up with ‘Insistent Shades’ featuring Kalpatura Tree it switches between psy-dub and world music creating a wonderful dream-like ambience. ‘Depth of Field’ leans more towards IDM but retains the soothing ambience and eastern instruments… Reviewed by Woodzee
One of the most daunting tasks as a music producer can be starting a blank project. Your mind starts asking what genre… what bpm… what style… what synth… where do I start? In this article I am going to describe my basic writing process and what I found works for me. It will be step by step. This is a guideline. There are no rules, but I find myself using this logical progression a lot in the studio.
#1 START WITH THE VIBE
The first thing you are going to want to do is get in touch with the feeling of what you want to create. Check out this article on the Creative Mode to learn more about “getting in the mood”.
For this process I suggest just playing around. Just rock out with an idea. It could mean you play the guitar, keyboard, step sequencer, or whatever. Just make music with a sense of play for a little while as the vibe begins to emerge. Once you have this the rest can begin to fall into place.
I’d like to add that this is a give and take process through out writing music. I begin to feel out the vibe and idea of the track, but I am also fluid and move where it wants to go. Sometimes ½ way though the track I make this totally awesome synth section that feels more like acid house then glitch hop (what I was going for). I just follow that route. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. The key is to come up with ideas and just play.
#2 GROUND ZERO
At this point I will start to build my track. I generally start in 1 of 2 places. If I am creating a more harmonically driven track (like ambient of downtempo) I will start with texture. I have used the Morphonic Textures as a great place to build lush textures. From this place I will start to hear different harmonies and melodies. It’s like starting off a canvas with a random texture and seeing what shapes can be found in it, like cloud watching.
If I am making a more rhythmic based track I will start with the beat. It will be the cornerstone of everything else, so I will start with it’s structure. Sometimes I just grab some prefab look. If I like the groove I will remake it by listening to the parts and writing a new midi / audio sample based looping. It’s important to create your own loop as quickly as possible so you don’t build the track around any other drum loop and when you build one later it just doesn’t fit.
#3 BUILDING THE INSTRUMENTS
Now that we have the foundation , either textural or rhythmic, we can start to build the other instruments involved. 80% of the time I start with the presets. It’s just really easy to throw in my favorite synth and play with a few sounds. I see which one inspires me. Maybe this rhodes is awesome, but needs a little saturation or attack. I then edit the preset and tweak it to my liking.
Usually I change it by ½ to ⅓ of what the original sound was. Just minor tweaks here and there to make it unique and fit what I want. It’s important to understand the basics of synthesis so you know what is happening and how to affect it in unique ways.
Once and a while I will start with a blank instrument, like operator. If I know exactly the sounds I am looking for, or it’s easy to make, I will just dial it in. A good example of this is sub bass. I know I can use a sine wave, or a triangle wave with a few tweaks here and there.
In building instruments remember you don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just because you’re a musician doesn’t mean you have to build all the instruments from scratch. Do you think every band leader should know how to build a drum kit, guitar, bass, and cowbell? Granted if you do develop the skills of synthesis and sound design you will have a stronger control over the sound and can start doing the crazy synthesis shit.
#4 WORKING YOUR WAY UP
Now that we have a foundation, and starting to build out our instruments we now just work our way up the track. This image is a great example of the stems to build a track. Granted this is a rhythmic based track. If it were more ambient and textural I would just add a layer at the bottom.
This is also a very basic formula to look at with songwriting. If you start with the drums, then the bass has a groove to play off of. That helps support the groove in the guitar part and so on. If you started by recording your lead and vocal then later added drums you might notice there cadence was off. That is why this is a simple and logical progression for writing tracks. Not a rule, just one formula.
#5 BUILDING THE COMPOSITION
Now the parts are being built you are ready to start expanding the composition. I wrote an article showing off some tips and tricks with writing your composition. With the composition you are just expanding out the ideas you already created. Maybe you add an intro, break, new part B, or whatever the track wants to turn into.
KEEP ON KEEP’IN ON
That is a look into my process of building a track. The key is to cover that blank canvas as quickly as you can with the basic elements and let the evolution move you forward. Don’t get stuck in your head worrying about what the track should sound like. Let the track move you as much as you create the movement.
If you are an Ableton Live user, you might also want to check out this article on Fast and Furious Songwriting. It looks at some techniques in Live that can keep you moving in the creative process. This article and much more can be found in my one on one classes. If you want an in depth look at the creative process and techniques on speeding up your music production, then check out the Private Online Course, Fast and Furious Songwriting to get the music flowing.
2 months ago I joined up with Mycelium Music for a remix competition for Numatik, an amazing up and coming artist. I helped support with some prizes and help with the event. Today the winner was announced.
The winner of the contest was Charlie Bartlett, aka False Identity
I asked Charlie about his music and here is what he said:
I’ve been playing instruments and into music since I was about 5, both my parents are musicians, early influences were pink Floyd, the doors, and led zep. I discovered electronic music through Ott and Shulman when I was about 17-18 and instantly fell in love and had to learn how to make music like that and so about 6 years on now it’s working out pretty well and still learning loads of sweet new things and tricks
I also asked him about his process with this particular remix. He had some awesome words to share:
As for the remix, its the 3rd one I’ve done. I only started giving them a go earlier this year and it was sooo much fun. Loads of awesome sounds to chop up, warp, mangle and recreate as well as all totally usable in their original form. Basically, started off just throwing a few of the stems in, seeing which bits I wanted to use and arranging them with a simple beat and bassline. From there was just a matter of playing around with extra sounds, different beats, etc til I had the whole tune. The double speed dnbish bit at the end was intended from the start really, had been wanting to do that for ages! And finally, it took me about 2-3 weeks to write (as I work a full time job) maybe 60-70 hours actually writing and mixing.