DDO (Digital Day Off) #2

Greetings readers…

12:17am. Happy Monday, for those in the EST zone. For those who read my post below, I decided I was due for another digital day off. One reason I took it is that I’ve been recalling how it was growing up in the days pre-Internet: What was occupying my time, what my focus was, what good (and bad habits) I had, etc. While I can’t speak for any of my readers (or anyone else for that matter), doing this (albeit being annually so far), kinda makes me step backwards and look at not only my reliance on the info highway, but what I spend time doing on it. The good thing is I always get some fresh perspective and illumination. Now that the DDO is done, the benefit should now come in the manifesting of realizations had today…we shall see (I do mean “we”, with respect to those whom regularly interact with me on a regular basis and frequency).

So, what did I do with my DDO? I was one of the musicians who ministered with our church adult choir for two services today, so I was out of the house at 6:30 am. When all was done, I got home about 3pm. My wife sings on the adult choir and the kids saved a seat for me so I can sit with them during the first service. They all left afterwards, so I saw them when I got home.

By 4, I decided to take a nap…which extended into about 3.5 hours… and yes it was good (needless to say, I am not tired now…ughh)! Afterwards I had an hour long telecon with my biz partner about the future of our production company, AfterSix Productions, and our LONG AWAITED OVER DUE CD. After that, prepped clothing and lunch for work, bugged everyone here and there…then my son and I got some overdue racing done:

We had a lot of fun, wife stopped by the speedway and watched for a little while. 🙂

Pretty relaxing latter half of the day. Now it’s checking email, FB, Twitter, getting the to-do list ready for the work day…all while sipping on some ice cold Sobe in studio, listening to Beat Blender on somafm.com:

In summary, this DDO reminded me that my habitual necessity (so I think) to have to be on the net on a daily basis…is not as necessary as I think…My desire is to make it at least a weekly thing.

Hope you have a great day….

::: oceans of rhythm :::


Sample library elements – A creative approach in production

Greetings producers, sound designers, “beatmakers”, musicians. Hope your day is going well. Last night I took some time to again categorize samples from sample CDs I get from the magazines Future Music and Computer Music. Some of you have read my previous blogpost on how I organize my sample library by genre, loops (bpm), instrument, etc…on two external drives – one connected to my studio computer and the other 750GB portable drive I pack with my Macbook for mobile production.

During last night’s session, I was auditioning some soul and funk drum loops and hits. The loops folder included the full mix loop, the individual drum loop (with/without kick and snare) and a folder of individual hits. As I listened to each loop, I decided whether it would be something I’d be prone to want to use for a future track or just leave on the DVD. While all the loops were excellently recorded, I thought back my days of programming drum machines I owned for the drum and percussion tracks I needed. This was, of course, before the advent of samplers. Though I could take the individual hits and load them into my DAW’s (Logic Pro’s EXS24 or Ultrabeat) sampler and map them across the keyboard *OR* load them into my MPC, I wondered if using loops AS IS, was just the lazy man’s approach to music production. While I’m not here to debate whether it is or not (nor would I even spend the energy to do so), I thought that because of how I had to take a beat in my head and translate it to the drum machine of choice at the time. Of course, the drum machine was dependent upon the quality of the PCM samples (or whatever format it used), so drum hit flexibility was no where near along the lines of samplers – and – in the minimal sense, assigning individual drum samples across your keyboard is pretty much the same thing, there is something, to me, about taking a loop and using it as is. Easy, yes…I’ve done it a few times, but is it really lazy?

Over the weekend I spotted the latest Computer Music magazine. This one’s title is “The Ultimate Sample Collection”, complete with 7.3 GB of samples from the well respected vendor, Time and Space – 2109 samples in all. The mag is jam packed with articles, tutorials on sampling – especially using Logic Pro in the examples, which is pretty cool. Oddly enough, as I read an article on Jon Carter and Alex Blanco (Loopmasters Block Party Essentials sample DVD), an interesting sidebar captured my attention. Here’s the quote:

“Like a lot of producers in the business, we know that there are a lot of great collections out there nowadays, with some great sounds and vibes. We also know that theres a way to employ samples from these packs in your tracks and imbue them with youyr own unique groove. There’s no reason not to, as long as you’re creative with them as you would be with samples that you make by yourself. The other good thing about using somebody elses samples is that you can find inspiration and add variation to tyour tracks by going for a different style to usual. By picking a sample collection that isn’t necessarily designed for the genre you’re working in (tech-house for a hip-hoptrack or jazz breaks for a techno production, for example), you will find uyourself entering fresh territory, and with a sonic palette that you probably wouldn’t have found just by going through your all-too-familiar collection. The key is never to just drop a loop in (unelss it’s a remix, you’re in a hurry, you’re on a flat fee and it fits perfectly!) – always try to make it your own in some way.”
Interestingly enough I was thinking how I can employ samples from the really popular genre of dubstep into the house, soul/RnB, instrumental jazzy hip hop, and chillout/downtempo tracks I like to write and produce. I like the substance of the quote above – it always reminds me that in the plethora of samples and construction kits available (free and otherwise), use creativity and variation employing them. Not to say, you wont come up with a smash hit like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” (drum loop taken straight from Apple’s Garageband/Logic loops library and slowed down a little), if you use a straight loop, but …u follow me.

Thanks for the read…

::: oceans of rhythm :::


The Sunday Soundtrack – 07 Aug 11 – featuring Clara Hill

Greetings listeners. Welcome to another edition of The Sunday Soundtrack! It’s been about a nine month hiatus…whew…long time coming, but it’s good to be back once again. It’s been a hot summer this year…all the more better to bring you some CHILLED tracks to offset the heat. This edition of the Sunday Soundtrack features one of the smoothest female vocalists I have ever heard…the inimitable Clara Hill.

From her last.fm page:

Clara started to discover the power of voice in the eighties, when she was singing alongside some tunes by Madonna. At a certain point it was clear to her that she wanted to join and front a band. Aged seventeen, she founded the acid jazz combo Superjuice, together with her friend Funès. In the early nineties, at the height of acid jazz, the band toured through Berlin clubs, gathering a high-profile reputation. During these years, Clara made her first steps in live music. During one of her shows, she met DJ Alex Barck from Jazzanova, who was spinning records as a support DJ. In 1998 he introduced her to the producers of Extended Spirit (2/6 of Jazzanova): Stefan Leisering and Axel Reinemer, that produced a few tracks with Clara. Relaxed and easy, a friendship started with Stefan Leisering and Clara Hill. With him, the song “No Use”

Clara’s thick, lush, harmonies go so very well with the wide chordal arrangements that Jazzanova and other similar artists she’s work with that I have to describe her music by taking the first letter of her first name, and combining it with her full last name: CHill!

Without further adieu, I bring you the playlist:
1. Still Here – Aural Float
2. Reel Life (Evolution II) – The Cinematic Orchestra/Man With a Movie Camera
3. Reprise – Clara Hill/Best Of 3
4. Maybe Now – Clara Hill/Restless Times
5. Crush – Chevalier
6. I’m Here – Clara Hill/Restless Times
7. Flawless – Clara Hill/Restless Times
8. Under The Radar – Two Little Satellites
9. No Use – Jazzanova Feat. Clara Hill/In Between
10. Dub In Ya Mind (Blue Water Mix – Afterlife/Simplicity Two Thousand (Disc 1)

I hope you’ve enjoyed the tracks as much as I do. Big shout out to my podcast massive for the ID drops in the podcast. Thanks for the encouraging words regarding the return of the podcast. An equally important shout to my regular and new listeners, as well. I appreciate you checking it out.

Clara Hill on last.fm

Official Website

Enjoy the day, night, afternoon, morning, or whenever you are listening to this podcast. For those of you on Twitter, feel free to follow The Sunday Soundtrack there.

::: oceans of rhythm :::