“Left Coast Flow” (Thai-Roc Instrumental Mix) Pt. 1

Ok.. hope everyone’s well. Some of you may remember seeing some posts about a P5 Audio West Coast Detox beat contest I entered last month. I follow them on Twitter and check out the free samples they always post for their contests. While I’d download some packs along the way, I happened to like this particular one, and thought I’d give it a shot. For those who haven’t heard, my entry is here.

Fast forward. Another Soundcloud member, Thai-Roc is definitely feelin’ it and has asked for a longer version….has some MC that wants to have at…some vocoder stuff, etc. The full mix is done, nothing really special about it, and I’m about to send it. Click the player below. Pt 2 of this post will have his final production on it.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

Sample credit: “California Love” – 2Pac/Dr. Dre

Left Coast Flow (Thai Roc Instrumental

Hardware vs Software: Tools of musical composition

Hey crew…

Hope all is well. It’s been a minute since I posted a blog, but I’m back. Been pretty busy between various music projects, work, fam, life, etc. This post is sorta related to the last few as its on the subject of how we, as musicians, compose music and the tools we use. Two days ago I happened to be reading an article on world renowned electronica musician, Tom Jenkinson aka Squarepusher in Future Music Magazine #235. He has a new release entitled “Squarepusher presents: Shobaleader One”. I’ve featured a track or two of his on my podcast The Sunday Soundtrack.

Being a solo artist until this new release, he’s greatly relied on hardware to produce his tracks. He’s relied on the Yamaha QY700 up to now to handle all his sequencing. Even with the employment of actual musicians for this release, he’s still using it for that task.

The interview is actually pretty good. In it he talks about his use of samples (or lack thereof) in his compositions. He said the following:

“With a modern sequencing package, I get four pages of snares, a hundred kick drums and a giant screen. That’s my idea of hell”

That, ironically, reminded me of a thought I had just a day prior… about a hip-hop producer I connected with on Twitter that graciously shared with me a slew of drum kits and samples. One file alone contain 1600 snares….1600! I thought to myself…”How would I ever be able to audition all of those snares in a somewhat timely fashion to find “the right one” for a tune?”. Ever since getting Logic Studio and an MPC shortly after that, I’ve been collecting samples and loops on the net (from the vast majority of free ones offered) for quite a bit of time how. So far to the tune of about 5GB alone. This doesn’t include the sample CDs that come with my monthly purchase of Future Music Magazine, and occassionally Computer Music and Music Tech.

I’m in a moment of time where I am seriously enjoying using Logic Studio as my DAW of choice, but at the same time, there’s something about pressing buttons, turning knobs, and seeing the glow of LED and LCD screens in the studio, that makes it all part of composing music (not to mention picking up one of my guitars or my bass guitar as starting points).

The hottest composition tool that, in my mind, is a mix hybrid of hardware and software is NI’s Maschine. I won’t even begin to get into this right now, but it is what’s on point right now. Tons of videps all over the net, big time artists using it. Many have made the jump from the MPC to this unit.

That being said, I think Squarepusher shares the following mindset with many artists who have been composing music in the digital age. He sums it up quite nicely:

“My advice to anyone who’s reading this would be: Don’t worry about what I’ve got. Don’t worry about what anyone else has got. Take whatever’s in your studio and make music. The most important thing is that you keep the free flow of ideas. Keep pushing your imagination. If you can only afford two bits of gear…fine! Use them, push them as far as they’ll go”.

Am I an advocate of the above quote? Yes, definitely… but at the same time, I am hardly against buying new gear at all. While I had enough hardware in my studio to make music without a Mac, I found that using a computer easily made the process and workflow MUCH easier and quicker.

I often key my eyes on everything coming out that’s new, but with Logic Studio and a rack full of synths, a MPC, and an MC-808, I find myself hard pressed to purchase anything new. What I am beginning to find exciting (again) is to breath life into some of my older modules (even the stock sounds) and combining them with Logic to come up with tracks that are….”Fresh”! 😉

Thanks for the read… now go make music. Peace.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

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The Chamorrita Sessions – AfterSix Productions

Crew….

Good afternoon. Hope all is well with you this holiday season. Had a recording session last night in The Lab to lay vocals for a track I wrote called Chamorrita. The origin of this track goes back to a summer I spent on the island of Guam, on business travel. Guam, although in the South Pacific, is a US Territory, and is, in many ways, very commercialized. The team I was with put in very long hours during the week, and like many of us do here, hit the mall at times for a little shopping etc. I noticed one afternoon that the mall there is no different than the mall here on the mainland, especially with guys checkin’ out girls and vice versa. As I noticed this similarity, the idea came to me about the song. It’s typical, a guy checkin; out this female in the mall, and she knows he’s doin’ it. They island natives are called “chamorros”, which is where I got the name “Chamorrita” from.

I basically fleshed it out on my laptop when I got back to the hotel that afternoon, presented the instrumental to Dan for a listen and he came up with a melody and lyrics, and that’s how the track was born. Here’s a few outtakes (we gotta have fun during the session) and two snippets from the track.

Paranoid? Yeah ok:

Candlewax, ummm…

Beatboxin’…uh no.

Chamorrita- the intro

The guitar solo (in work)

We’ve got one or two more sessions before it’s ready for mixdown…Stay tuned, stay safe.

Peace,
F!

PlayPlay

Sample Library Organization – Making Workflow Efficient

Greetings…

Thanks for stopping by. Some of you may have read a three part series I did recently on Sampling and Music Compostion. Over the last two days (Thanksgiving morning and evening, and this evening), I decided to gather up all the downloaded sample libraries, construction kits and various samples spread out over two Macs to add and categorize them onto a 250 GB portable HD I use for music production. While there are many software apps (Redmatica, etc) out there to do just this, I needed a solution that would work best for the way I intend to work. One solution I thought (and still do think) will work great is using iTunes to categorize samples. It has smart folder capability and search and can be used across Windows and Mac. While multiple playlists can be set up, I’d have have the app installed on my computers (which it is) as well as the external drive. I decided I wanted to be app independent.

I read and viewed a very good video by my man St. Joe over at Sounds and Gear entitled Organizing your samples and sound libraries for better workflow. I like his thought process, but since I am not primarily a sample based musician, I really don’t care about the manufacturer connection to the samples I use (unless of course they really suck, which none I have come across do), instead, it’s more important to me that I choose my samples by sound category, genre and bpm (if they are loops). So I set out to categorize them in that fashion. While I prefer to program my drum tracks from scratch, I do find loops useful for quick and dirty tunes or for something fast I may need for a client. I most likely would use an audio drum loop for something backing, though there are a few songs I’ve used straight loops for. In any event, being able to choose loops of any sort by bpm first is easiest for me because the tempo of a song is one of my first considerations, along with genre. I keep my genre list basic because frankly, the industry is out of control with genres, sub-genres and the like…I just can’t keep up.

That being said, here is a screen shot of what my sample organization looks like. There are a number of sample loops aside from drum loops with bpms so having that as the primary search criteria makes composing, from a sample standpoint, very easy.

I still have a ton of sample CDs that I haven’t categorized yet, but at least I’ve got all the ones from the various hard drives done. Aside from adding the sample CDs over time, the next project is to burn all of these current ones….to CD, then incorporate the iTunes solution into the mix. Between the CDs, my portable drive and Logic Studio, I shouldnt ever want to see another sample or sample loop ever …lol. (I know that it itself, is unrealistic…ha!) I’ll continue to look out for the info I get from Primeloops, Loopmasters, Platinumloops, Siliconbeats, P5 Audio, and a host of other fantastic vendors that grace the music production community with free demos and samples…but at least now, I can categorize them in an order fashion.

Sample users (this means you especially Big La ha!), I’d be interested to read about how you categorize your samples, if at all.

Thanks for the read…

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

Apple’s Logic Studio 8 Tutorials

Though there are rumors of Logic 10 on the horizon, I thought I’d post tutes for Logic 8, the DAW of choice for me.

Logic 8 Overview
Logic 8 Recording
Logic 8 Arranging
Logic 8 Overdubbing
Logic 8 Editing Audio
Logic 8 Editing MIDI
Logic 8 Mixing
Logic 8 Automation
Logic 8 Finishing The Mix
Logic 8 Scoring
Logic 8 Surround Sound

:::oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

PlayPlay

Your music production studio. Does limitation equal greater creativity?

A few weeks back, I posted a series of blogs I wrote about sampling and music composition. In the last of the articles, I posed a question in which answers came back regarding tools used to compose music, in the midst of current music composition technology (DAWs, software and hardware synths, etc). I specifically posted questions I knew would solicit such answers after (again) thinking about how my own studio is set up and in turn, how I like to compose music.

Recently I came across a really good article about music production studios and their outputs regarding the use of them by their own engineers/producers. The next to last paragraph hit home for me and I agree with it a great deal. It definitely describes my mindset when it comes to the desire to get the latest and greatest anything with respect to what I have already. Here’s an excerpt:

Well I believe the most important thing to remember, and a notion that all producers will agree with is that having limitations enhances your creativity. Equally it is very easy to get bogged down and loose your creative flow if you have too many options available.

Before you cripple your hard drive with that new Waves bundle or clutter up your studio with another vintage synth off ebay, think to yourself, have you really mastered all the instruments that you already have at your disposal? Why not try making a tune using just one synth? Is there a plugin you always use that has parameters that you still don’t understand? These parameters might just create the effect that you have been searching for so seek the answers. By mastering one synth at a time you will 1) learn the science of synthesis far more thoroughly 2) open up new avenues of sound which might have otherwise fallen by the wayside if you had not fully explored that instrument and 3) be able to get musical ideas from your head onto your arrange page as quick as possible, before they frustratingly evaporate.

You can read the article in it’s entirety here

Thoughts?

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

From The Vault – “Reach 4 It”

Hey people…

Hope all is well. Sitting in The Lab this Saturday nite, prepping some stuff for the CD project my partner and I are trying to wrap up. In discussing some remix material with him a few days ago, I came across a track I began recording for a vocalist I was starting to work with early this year. She has a variety of genres mixed into her style and one of them is house music. Some of you who have known me for some time also know that I have an undying love for house music. Growing up in NJ, I found myself in NYC a lot and it’s NYC that sparked my love for house. Needless to say, it’s all in my music collection and I find myself always gravitating to it, one way or another, in my productions.

The name of this track is “Reach For It”. Like many genres of music these days, they all have subgenres, and one of my favorite genres of house music (if not my TRUE favorite) is ‘soulful house’ a la Blaze and other artists.

This track was done in a day or so and it’s a work in progress, ready for resurrection, now that I listen back to it. All comments welcome. It’s up on Soundcloud…and so am I.

Reach 4 It by mrfresh

Ok…back to work (I love it here…)

Enjoy the weekend.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

A Day In The Life #1 – The Lab – 23 Oct 10: Yamaha TG77 Synth Strings

Just playing around with some of my rackmount synths, the Yamaha TG77, seeing what sounds I can incorporate into the balance of the CD project, as well as other ones.

I recently read a quote by Brian Transeau, remixer, film scorer, electronic musician and composer, in the October 2010 issue of Future Music:

“I have a little bit of sadness that people’s introduction to synthesis now is soft synthesis, because there’s so much joy in just putting your hands on a physical instrument with knobs, and they just sound so expressive and powerful. So I see the strengths in both and try to use them to their strengths”

Interestingly enough, I must have subconsciously recorded this video in agreement with that quote.

Sorry for the “eye test” at the end…still can’t seem to get the closing text big like that in the beginning! LOL.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

peace,
F!

Sampling Tips From The Pros

Samples everywhere, User made, professionally sold. I feel a big blog post coming on. A few more sections of research to do. In the mean time, check out this article from Music Radar.

Me, I’m going back to the music production computer next to me…I just loaded some samples into Logic’s EXS24

::: oceans of rhythm :::

F!