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Even that I don't understand half of the stuff he's doing, this is was actually really enjoyable to watch/listen. Most of the time it's just about some guy making one sound and then stacking all pre-made stuff on the top of that and for half of the episode he's just moving pattern clips around in his DAW of choice.wolf89 wrote:She doesn't use the nice desk. It's just laptop and MIDI controller
Also on the subject of the best of those videos...
addison grooves mixdown chain
here's the post he goes into a little detail https://www.facebook.com/addisongroove/ ... =1&theater
Scottish producer Graeme Clark has been putting his spin on house, disco and more since the late 1990s.
After adopting the Revenge name mid-way through the next decade, his profile continued to rise through releases on Mule Musiq, Jiscomusic and Z, before eventually launching his own label, Roar Groove. He's also well known as a studio bod, mastering for other artists such as Mark E, and he uses his full arsenal of gear to full effect here.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
Up this week, Jon Phonics. Brought up in London but based in Glasgow, Phonics' Astral Black label has housed excellent releases by DJ Milktray, Jaisu and more over the last couple of years, and most recently dropped The Anthems, a collaborative mixtape with Milktray as Milkmakerz. Like most of Phonics' music, his Against the Clock is based around chopping samples on the MPC - with snares for days
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
Download James Holden's Group Humanizer Max for Live Patch
Seasoned electronic producer and Border Community head James Holden has taken it upon himself to give Ableton users a new way to infuse their tracks with the subtleties of human timing, offering his Group Humanizer plug-in as a free download. The Max for Live patch is said to be based on research from Harvard scientists (specifically that of Harvard scientist Holger Hennig), which helps the Group Humanizer "automatically shapes the timing of your audio and MIDI channels, injecting the organic push-pull feel you can only get from human performance."
In a post on Ableton's website, Holden explains further: "The Harvard scientists focussed on one aspect of musical performance—the fine (millisecond level) details of timing when two people play together. What they found was that the timing of each individual note is dependent on every single note that both players had already played—a minor timing hiccup near the start of a piece will continue to affect every single note after it, up to the last notes. And when you play a duet every note your partner plays affects your playing, and every note you play affects your partner: a two directional information transfer is happening."
And so, Holden has developed a Max for Live patch to allow elements in one's production to emulate the kind of minute inconsistencies unique to human timing. Best yet, the UK producer has offered his creation for free, making the Group Humanizer plug-in available to download here. Furthermore, those interested in learning more about Holden's approach to developing the patch and how he has incorporated it into his live performances, can read his full post for Ableton's site here.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
For the past several years, the name Egyptrixx (a.k.a. David Psutka) has been closely associated with the Night Slugs camp (after all, the UK label did provide a home for his first two albums, 'Bible Eyes' and 'A/B Til Infinity'), but the Toronto producer has always operated on something of an island. Although he certainly shared some aesthetic traits with his Night Slugs brethren, Psutka's constructions always stood just a bit apart from those of the tightly knit (and largely London-based) crew, and presented a hybridized style that married the sonic palette of grime to a highly architectural brand of techno. He's continued with that vision on his third album, 'Transfer of Energy [Feelings of Power],' which drops next week via Psutka's newly launched Halocline Trance imprint. Between the new LP and his growing production workload with other artists, we know that Psutka has spent a lot of time in the studio as of late, so we asked him to share a few of the techniques that he's picked up along the way.
Over the last few years, I've been working quite a bit as a studio producer with other artists, and I think the essence of the work is preparation and troubleshooting—having clear ideas and quickly dealing with problems as they come up, so work is fluid and artists feel good about their performances. Working on my own stuff isn't much different. Here are some strategies I use when working on records.
Refine ideas outside of the studio.
There is some silent work to be done on any record—decisions about concept, atmosphere, sequencing, lyrics, production/engineering techniques, etc.—and I like to do as much of it outside of the studio as possible so I have a clear understanding of the project and can work quickly without much second-guessing. Also, I find it basically impossible to come up with good ideas while staring at a computer screen; it's such a paralysis device. I prefer airplanes, subways, bars, libraries, whatever… I'll usually sketch out most of a track before I start any kind of recording.
Studios are totally fun places, but they're full of things that can dilute or distract your original idea: cool gear, interesting people, technical problems, drugs/booze, etc. It's good to do as much work as possible on a song before you start recording and arranging. The ideas will probably drift a little (or a lot), but I think it's good to understand your intention before you start.
Parameters are an artist's best friend.
Cheap, intuitive computer programs like Ableton and Logic are awesome and totally positive for music—anyone who tries to tell you otherwise is probably an asshole. However, the biggest challenge when working with DAWs, VSTs, and sample packs is to not get distracted. There is basically an infinite number of options at every juncture, and scrolling endlessly through sample pack folders is a total nightmare. I like to figure out a sound palette before starting on a record. If you have access, working with hardware is another good way to narrow your options and focus your process.
I also think it's important to make decisions about general atmosphere and basic production techniques in advance so that when you get tired or frustrated, you can refer back and keep things rolling forward.
Any song or record is essentially a series of forks in the road; there are dozens, hundreds, thousands of small decisions to be made, and as a songwriter or producer, you're constantly having to decide "left or right." It can be exhausting. Fatigue is an absolute killer in the studio and once it sets in and your ears get tired, the day is done. Minimizing and managing fatigue is totally crucial. I like a rigid schedule with lots of breaks and I try to step out of the studio before I get loopy. If I stay fresh, I'll work longer and get more done over the course of a day. Take breaks; go do emails, read something, go outside, eat, whatever. Make sure you're purposeful and have energy when working—don't overdose on work. Four to five hours of good, productive studio time is better than 12 hours of drudgery.
It's an especially important thing to keep in mind in 2015 because most artists—even rich, famous ones—do some amount of self-production or mixing. This means having to listen to your tracks more and potentially getting sick of them. Know when to walk away and get the hell out of the studio!
Write with the wrong instrument.
If you have access to instruments and are stuck on a part—or if you're just looking for a fun writing trick—try writing with the wrong instrument. Play a synth line on a guitar, a vocal melody on a piano, a percussion bit on a bass guitar, whatever. There's nothing revelatory here, it's just a silly little trick that can sometimes be useful and produce an interesting result.
When working with vocalists, I like to throw problematic vocal lines into MIDI piano roll and tweak them there—I've definitely gotten out of a few jams with this one.
Also, I think I saw Machinedrum mention once that he taps his parts out on a table while he's writing—I think this is clever and basically the same idea. Understand the parts independently of the gear or instrument (or your relative ability to play them).
Embrace non-musical ideas.
There is a lot of value in non-musical ideas. I spend a lot of time trolling non-musical arenas like movies, industrial design, and obsolete architecture for things I can lift and bring back to music. This process has basically become the mission statement for the Egyptrixx project and definitely comes in handy with others. The ideas might relate to texture, arrangement, concept, structure… whatever really. It's a nice way to generate new ideas and can clarify your understanding of your material.
For example, I've always loved Donald Judd's compositional decision to use crude, industrial materials—concrete and steel—in his work as some kind of celebration or acknowledgement of America's ascension though industrialization. He made high art with massive slabs of low, ugly material. I love this idea and have tried—with debatable success—to bring it into a few songs.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
"For many artists, nothing inspires more existential terror than actually making art," begins the foreword to Making Music—74 Creative Strategies For Electronic Music Producers. "The fear that we're not good enough or that we don't know enough results in untold numbers of creative crises and potential masterpieces that never get realized." Across 350 pages, the veteran composer and electronic producer Dennis DeSantis suggests practical ways of dealing with this fear. The book is broken into three main sections—Problems Of Beginning, Problems Of Progressing and Problems Of Finishing—and in each offers simple steps to combat familiar studio issues, from staring at an empty project screen to finishing a failed track. Here we present the first chapter of each of those sections, beginning with a problem that should be familiar to anyone who has ever made music.
Problems of beginning / Three ways to start
You're staring into the void of a new empty project in your DAW, and you have absolutely no idea how to begin.
The blank slate might be the most intimidating place in a creative environment. Once we're in a flow, ideas tend to spawn additional ideas. But before we have anything, all options are available, so choosing seems impossible. One Part at a Time [which appear later in the book] is certainly a way to move forward, but which one part comes first? When you have nothing, even choosing one part can feel like an impossible hurdle.
The simple-sounding answer is "It doesn't matter how you start; just do!" This might work well as a sports slogan, but it's perhaps too glib and dismissive to be really practical for creative work, in which the number of things to potentially "just do" are limitless and the path forward is not at all obvious. Here are three practical suggestions for how to begin from nothing.
1. Start with the foundation. In most genres, we can think of the "bottom" of the music as being the low-pitched or purely rhythmic instruments, such as the bass and drums. On top of these are added instruments that are progressively higher in pitch. By starting with the bottom, we provide both a conceptual and musical foundation for everything else. The drums often provide the essential time- keeping elements, while the bass often provides the notes that define and anchor the chord progression. If you're working in more experimental genres that don't use these conventional instruments, it's still likely that some elements can be considered foundational— perhaps a droning layer or something that approaches a repetitive rhythm.
2. Start with what you hear. Many musicians never (or rarely) get spontaneous musical ideas—all of their music comes from active work. If you happen to be lucky enough to hear original musical ideas in your head, then you should absolutely use them as the basis for your own work. For example, maybe you have a melodic idea that you've been humming, or a rhythm that you've tapped out on the table. Just because these ideas came to you outside of your active music-making context doesn't mean you should discard them. On the contrary, these accidental ideas are sometimes the most interesting ones you can have.
3. Start with what you know. If you play a "real" physical instrument, try using it to generate your ideas. Even if you're writing purely electronic music and have no plans to use instrument recordings in your work, your natural physical connection to your instrument may help you come up with more interesting and organic musical ideas than you can get from just working with a mouse and a MIDI controller. For example, guitarists tend to voice chords and approach harmony in a different way from keyboardists. But because keyboards are the de facto control surface for entering music into a DAW, many guitarists might never think to use their guitars in an electronic music context. Drummers rarely play the kind of beats that are used in many types of electronic music, but sitting behind a real drum kit might stimulate creative ideas that would feel alien on a pad controller. The trick with this approach is being able to accurately translate the acoustic idea to the electronic medium, but that's a good problem to have; much better than having no ideas at all.
Problems of progressing / Breadth before depth
Whenever you start making progress on a track, you suddenly become overwhelmed by the desire to get some particular aspect completely perfect. For example, maybe you're preoccupied with getting the sound of your kick drum just right. Lots of time can be spent in this phase, and it often becomes frustrating, sapping your will to continue working on the track as a whole.
Since you know that you'll eventually have to refine every aspect anyway, can there be a downside to doing at least some of that refinement as you go?
Especially in the early and middle stages of your work on a track, when the ideas themselves may not exist yet, it can be detrimental to go into too much depth in any one particular area. Yes, you'll need to do detail work eventually. But the idea-generation phase is vital and very, very fragile. By definition, it's messy and doesn't hold up well when confronted with outside pressures. Idea generation requires experimentation, risk-taking, unbounded thinking, etc. Detail work, on the other hand, is an entirely different kind of working process and requires an entirely different mindset. Detail work requires narrow, focused thinking. It's often more about applying known processes than it is about exploring radical new directions.
When you're in idea-generation mode, it can be useful to work broadly—getting ideas out of your head and into the sequencer as quickly as possible—before working deeply on a single part. This way of working can be valuable for a number of reasons:
‒ It helps you to learn how to listen for potential rather than for perfection. During broad idea generation, parts might sound bad for a variety of reasons. Maybe you have a terrible mix balance, or the wrong sounds, or even some wrong notes. But you've drawn inspiration from music that has none of these problems—finished, mastered tracks have a professional sheen that's miles ahead of where your particular track is right now. This can be discouraging, because even though we know that we can add polish at the end, we want to hear it right now. If your music doesn't compare to your inspiration at this moment, how can you be sure that you're going in the right direction? The key here is to practice learning to listen past the imperfections: Instead of thinking "this bass line isn't powerful enough," think "this bass line can be powerful enough after some sound design work and mixing. But how are the notes?" By hearing past the immediate lack of impact, you become a better judge of whether or not a particular part (or the whole track) is going in the right direction.
‒ Creative time is short, and you have to move fast. As mentioned above, the idea-generation phase is fragile. It's the one part of the music creation process that you can't "force" to happen. This means that when it actually is happening, you need to squeeze out every idea that you can, working as quickly as possible and generating as much material as possible before your mind moves out of this phase. Once you've captured the ideas, the work of actually refining them can sometimes require much less truly creative energy.
This suggestion runs directly counter to the chapter called One Part at a Time. The reality is that there is no one way to work; different types of creative blocks may be solved in fundamentally different, and even opposing, ways.
Problems of finishing / Arranging as a subtractive process
You have more than enough ideas to make up a finished song but don't know how
to actually put the arrangement together. Even the process of arranging sounds like an intimidating commitment. How can you even begin, let alone finish? In the context of music creation in a DAW, the arrangement refers to the layout of the parts of your song along a timeline. You may have assembled a rich pool of material, but the actual act of putting that material in some kind of order that unfolds over time is what will eventually turn that material into a finished song.
Getting from "pile of stuff" to "song" is a difficult process, both conceptually and technically. The most common way people approach creating an arrangement is the most obvious one: Gradually fill the empty arrangement with various combinations of the material you've made, moving from left (the beginning) to right (the end). In this workflow, the arrangement timeline is analogous to a blank canvas to which you apply paint until a finished painting appears from what was originally empty, white space.
This process works, of course. But facing emptiness can be scary. Even though you've already put in a considerable amount of time preparing the materials that you plan to use, you now face something that might feel like a reset to zero. Beginnings are hard, and a blank canvas (or empty timeline) can be a difficult mental bridge to cross.
If you're finding that you're stuck at the arranging stage, here's one process that might help: Start by immediately filling your entire arrangement with material, on every track. Spend as little time as possible thinking about this step; the goal right now isn't to try to create a good arrangement. You just want to start with something rather than nothing. It's OK that you don't know how long the song will eventually be. Just fill up an average song's worth of time (or even more) in whatever way is the fastest for your particular DAW—either by copy/pasting blocks of clips over and over again, via a "duplicate" command, or (in some DAWs) by dragging the right edge of clips to extend them.
Perhaps you've already given some thought to how your material will be divided. Maybe you've named certain clips things like "Verse" and "Chorus" so that you can better organize them when arranging. Don't worry about any of that for now. In fact, don't even try to use all of the material you have. Just grab a pile of ideas from each track, and fill the empty space. This process should take no more than about 20 seconds. If you're spending more time than this, it probably means you're trying to make creative decisions. For example, maybe you're thinking "I already know that this chunk of ideas will go before this chunk of ideas, so to save time later, I'll just lay them out in that order now." Resist the temptation to organize anything in this phase, and simply move as fast as possible.
As an example, here's a six-minute arrangement timeline, filled as quickly as possible.
Now that you've filled the timeline, the process of actually making your arrangement into music becomes one of subtraction rather than addition. If the traditional arranging workflow is analogous to painting, the subtractive workflow is analogous to sculpting. You're beginning with a solid block of raw material and then gradually chipping away at it, creating space where there used to be stuff, rather than filling space that used to be empty.
This can be a much more productive way to work for a number of reasons. For example, it's often easier to hear when something is bad than it is to imagine something good. If a particular combination of ideas doesn't make musical sense, you can generally feel this right away, and the steps to fix it may be obvious: Maybe an element is simply too loud, or the bass line clashes with the harmony. Also, because you're listening back to an actual flow of sound over time, you'll probably have an intuitive sense of when a song section has been going on for too long—your own taste will tell you that it's time for a change.
If you're working in a genre in which textural density tends to increase and decrease as the song progresses, you may already have your "thickest" sections of material finished at this point. You may find that you're actually able to work backwards from the end of the song towards the beginning, removing more and more elements as you go back in time.
Bonus tip: Most DAWs provide a way to insert or delete chunks of empty time in the middle of an arrangement. When using this subtractive process, these tools can be extremely helpful. For example, you may have finished editing work on what you originally thought would be two adjacent sections of material but then realized that something else should come in between, or that the first section needs to be twice as long. Inserting time in the middle automatically shifts everything after this point to the right, which is much faster and safer than trying to cut and paste many tracks' worth of material manually. Likewise, maybe you've realized that a section you've been editing is too long. If your DAW has it, use the delete time command to remove the excess material, which will cause everything to the right to automatically shift to the left to fill in the gap.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
One of the most common problems I face when making music is getting stuck on an idea. The dreaded 8-bar loop syndrome!
As you probably very well know, this eventually leads to total frustration and loss of perspective. It becomes very tempting to abandon the project entirely and just start something new. Indeed I have done that countless times.
I wanted to share with you some solutions that I personally apply in these situations.
The Ideal Situation
Ideally, in the creative phases of making music, I strive to work guided by intuition as much as possible.
Intuition can be described as the ability to acquire knowledge without inference or the use of reason.
To make music without thinking. It’s those times when ideas just seem to flow out of nowhere and things just click without even really trying.
When that happens, it’s beautiful.
Now, you can and should strive to create the right conditions for intuition to flourish as much as possible. But that is a different topic altogether.
Let’s face it – sometimes you’re in a rut no matter what. Let’s get you out of there.
Why Do We Get Stuck
First of all let’s think, why do we get stuck on a project?
Well, there are several scientific theories of creative process that could help in explaining this. In practice though, I see it like this:
We don’t always have the optimal conditions for intuition to thrive. It also takes years and years of practice to cultivate the power of intuition – some people are simply better at it than others.
Finally, we are stuck with our own little ways, habits and expectations anyway. That is simply how we are. Otherwise we would not be able to function as human beings.
These things are OK and perfectly normal! So cut yourself some slack.
The good news is intuition is not all there is to making progress in the creative phase of a music project.
Where intuition ends, you rely on methods and perseverance.
Here are a few things I apply in these situations. There are many different ways to approach this and I would be curious to hear about yours – but this is how I’ve been looking at it.
1. Drop all expectations
Unless you’re doing client work where you really need to come up with something very specific… You should just forget about whatever you were trying to do.
Give yourself the permission to stray, to try something different and go with the flow.
Often your worst enemy is your own expectations.
2. Try a new technique
In order to get out of your normal patterns (which are obviously not getting you out of the rut), you must force your mind to work in a different way.
The best way to do this is to try something completely new. Try a technique you’ve never tried before, or at least one you haven’t used in a while.
Youtube is your friend when looking up new techniques! Find something and try it out on the track you’re working on.
This way you won’t be able resort to existing patterns of thought and action. You’re forced to create something new.
An added bonus is that you’re learning and expanding your horizons.
It often just takes a little nudge to give you that new angle and bang – you’re back up and running.
3. Go random
Random is your friend. Try some random shit. Be clever with that.
Use randomizers (you can set up some pretty cool generators and things of that sort in Live).
Use the shotgun method and then pick out the best bits and refine them.
Do whatever you can in order to come up with unexpected results.
Best things often come from the unknown.
This is something I used to do a lot. These days my work tends to be fairly minimal to begin with in terms of different elements and sounds going on, but there is still a place for this method.
Especially in the moments when I feel like I’ve lost perspective, I try to cut down do the essentials and find the focus of the musical idea in there.
That then gives me a direction to build on.
5. Steal an idea
Yup – go listen to some other music and grab an idea you like. It does not have to be obvious. Use it as a base of experimentation. Change things up and go from there.
Maybe it’s a rhythm pattern you like. Maybe it’s the way the structure of the track is constructed. Perhaps an unusual reverb that you could try.
It’s OK – wether you admit it or not, nothing in art is truly original in the end. Being creative is about discovering new combinations. Everyone is influenced by something.
6. Flip it upside down
Choose one aspect of the track and try the complete opposite approach with it.
For me this often means changing up the drums completely. I’ve salvaged countless of tracks with this technique.
7. Apply a proven formula
Do something blatantly obvious. It’s only a starting point. The only purpose of this is to get you unstuck.
As you keep working on it, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to inject originality back into it.
8. Don’t be a perfectionist
For f*s sake stop messing about with little nuances when you should be focusing on the big picture!
You want to know what I really think about a lot of people’s so called “perfectionism”? Here it is:
Calling yourself perfectionist is a great way of masking your fear of putting yourself out there in the real world.
We are vulnerable. It takes guts. It helps when you understand that nothing is ever truly perfect or finished in this world.
No matter how good or close to perfect you think something is, there are always loads of people who are going to think differently anyway.
So don’t let that stop you.
Man (or woman) up, get it done and move on to the next thing!
9. Take some time off
This should be your last resort. But sometimes it’s the best thing to do.
Taking some time off is best when you’ve truly lost perspective on something that you’ve invested a lot of time and effort on.
You don’t feel like flipping it upside down or changing things up too much in that situation.
Let it rest for a bit. Just let it be. Don’t listen to it at all for a couple of weeks. Work on something else.
Then come back to it fresh.
When you do come back to it, make sure you’re feeling fresh too both physically and mentally. That has an enormous impact on your ability to think creatively.
While we are on the topic, here are a couple of books you might want to check out.
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield
The War of Art (audiobook)
Steal Like an Artist: 10 Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative by Austin Kleon
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
This tutorial describes a technique that's been in use for almost a hundred years, and shows how we can use it to shape non linear processes such as distortion, saturation or compression.
He's basically adding 2 EQs that cancel each other out, and adding a nonlinear processor like a distortion or compressor between them. I don't quite understand why you'd use it, but I'll try it out at some point to see what I can get out of it.
edit- if you cut and then boost, the cut frequency isn't affected as much by the subsequent effect. Using a drum break as an example, with compression, if you cut the band where the kick hits, the compressor is triggered by the rest of the beat but the kick is accentuated when you boost it with the second EQ and vice versa if you boost and then cut, so I think this could be very useful.
zoronery frees the realness
BIG UP YOSELF HAN SORO
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