Smooth Sunday – Last night’s work


In our last episode :), I was working on rearranging and audio file our keyboardist recorded into a basic arrangement for the band to start rehearsing. The only thing in the audio file I wanted to delete was the scratch drum track he included, but since it was on contiguous file and not a set of stems, that couldn’t be done. Here’s in lies the magic of using the MIDI file he exported from his Reason 5 project. I finally got it late last night and was able to import it into Logic for greater editing. What’s great about using a MIDI file in a DAW is that your choose from a library of software instrumentsto make an entirely different sounding song. What can be bad about that flexibility is belaboring over WHICH grand piano, bass synth, string ensemble sounds best! In any event, I finally settled on some instruments that sound smooth, and was able to bounce the MIDI files to an mp3 file with no drums that the drummer can now rehearse to.

Flexibility is good…

Catch you later…

::: oceans of rhythm :::


Chronicles of a Mix – M&Ms (10 Oct 12)


11:46 am on a Thursday and I’m breaking for lunch a little early, but eating at my desk (have a task I’m working on with a colleague and just got the ok from our supervisor on format – of cousse the task is due early this afternoon).

Those of you keeping up with my last few posts have followed the work I’m doing on getting this track completed for an upcoming (and long overdue) CD project. This has been after (I hate to admit) a long hiatus from working on the project, steadily that is. This brings me to the subject of M&Ms (no, not the world renowned candy): Motivations and Momentums. When it comes to reaching goals, I’m a task-driven guy that needs a plan to execute in order to even think about successfully reaching the goal(s). One of my favorite quotes is “Failing to plan means planning to fail, so plan the work, then work the plan.”. That’s all well and fine, but without the motivation and momentum behind that, it amounts to just a pretty phrase. M&Ms apply to many interests I have – achieving good financial health, achieving good physical fitness (exercise), achieving, most importantly, the proper spiritual walk with Jesus. What I’ve learned is that none of each of those can or will occur without staying motivated and keeping the momentum going – actions truly speak louder than words. Planning is great and truly a necessary foundation, but execution is key.

So, back to the music, right now the M&Ms are there and I’m finally realizing that movements, even though they are small, are better continuously, than no movement at all. Simple concept, yeah, but it really wasnt sinking in for a longgggggggg time. Last night’s was a continuation of working on the drum track. The entire drum track arrangement is complete with final editing of the kick drum track, now it’s time to EQ the individual drum tracks to satisfaction, then play back in the mix for proper levels, before bussing them out to the submix.

In parallel to that, I’ve just about finished editing the orchestral arrangement and have decided to substitute the legato clarinet with a full string ensemble track. I think the legato flutes will stay though. I think so more editing may have to take place to eliminate any overlapped notes, or gaps that will allow the entire orchestral arrangement to sound more realistic than it does at the moment.

Anyway, M&M’s and music (M-cubed?). I think I may get some for the studio….(candy that is….)

::: oceans of rhythm :::


Working on a new arrangement – Smooth Sunday


It’s about 8:34 pm, beat from a long day at work. It wasn’t busy, but I was up late last night working out a tune strictly from an audio file. I’m sitting in the studio tonite, about to chart out an arrangement of a song I wrote for the band I play in, Divine Intervention. We’re a contemporary gospel instrumental jazz group in the DC area that’s been together for a little over two years. Over the last year or so, we’ve talked about putting out a CD (as many always ask about that on FB or at gigs of ours). A few months ago a tune popped in my head which I immediately recorded a rough rhythm guitar track into my iPhone as I rushed out of the door for work one day.

After introducing it at a rehearsal, we’ve toyed with a few different ideas for arrangements, and sorta settled on one. One of the keyboardists took the hook and bridge, recorded a rough track into Reason 5 and brought to rehearsal. Nice percussive drum track, really nice bouncy synth bass, all under a string ensemble/pad voice that worked out the progressions. It’s from that mp3 that I’ve chopped up and rearranged into the main song, using Audacity, a really nice, very capable open source audio editor – a swiss army knife of sorts, if you will.

I hope to get the MIDI file the keyboardist exported from Reason, so I can import it into Logic for great editing and recording flexibility. Next I’ll chart it, old school, on some sheet music paper, send the rearranged mp3 out to the band, and give it a go at our next rehearsal. We’re hopeful that this is one of many original tracks for the CD. Stay tuned…

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh! aka SixStringa

Chronicles of Mix – 06 Oct 12 ::: Drums anyone?

Greetings. It’s been quite some time since I’ve posted from my blog. With all the social networking sites in full bloom, it seems that blogging is passe now (at least the behemoths like Facebook around). In any event, I’d like to take that realization and start to blog again, especially about the musically creative journeys I take. I’m going to attempt to regularly status what I’m doing along those journeys as way of keeping the motivation going, as well as maintaining some accountability by those who occasionally ask “When is such and such going to be released?”, “What’s going on with that track you were working on?, etc (plus I miss blogging – it’s that self publication thing I guess).

This series will be entitled Chronicles of a Mix. Tonight, or I should say this morning, I’ve listening back to a track that my partner, Dan, and I recorded for an upcoming CD project we’ve been working on. Though the track is not mixed, I’m thoroughly happy with the arrangement, but not with the overall sound of the track, so I’ve decided to deconstruct it, starting with each element of the drum track, to make sure the drums submix is on point. There’s a certain type of signature sound I’ve always wanted for my drums, but first that comes by learning how to process your drums (EQ, compression techniques are two major aspects of that). Listening to mixes of songs you like is another common way of achieving that. I’ve been listening to a specific song on Mint Condition’s latest CD, Music At The Speed Of Life that has drum track sounding like how I’d like mine to sound overall. Onward with the learning/listening.

It’s late….or…very early…I’m out.

::: oceans of rhythm :::