The Most Impossible Plan (groove7 outerbanks edit rmx)/The Basic Condition of Life – Skatterbrain

Greetings crew.

Hope all is well. A lot of you here heard me profess my love for Twitter, and for those of you who haven’t, here it goes: I love Twitter for its easy of networking and especially information push to me about things I’m most interested in. Via an actual person or a website, if it allows me to grow in areas of learning on topics that greatly interest me (various areas of tech and music production), than I’m with it. The *push* aspect is of most interest. In any event, a few weeks ago, one of my followers let his followers know that he was about to drop a release and offered the chance for other artists to remix certain songs on the release for its remix EP and a list of singles. Being as though I aspire to ALSO become a great remixer, I try to jump at the chance to remix songs when I can. This particular genre is electronica/synthpop/DnB/etc with BPM (beats per minute) faster than I usually choose to compose in. I thought, “What better way to expand my musical horizons and skills”. The EP, remix EP, and singles list has been release and I’m proud to say that my remix was chosen for the singles list. This is the first single from the new SKatterBrain album “the Basic Condition Of Life“. The artist is @dan303 (Dan Weatherall of Stoke-On-Trent, England)

This remix project was different than the first official remix project I did for Philip Clark, in that I knew what the original song sounded like, typical of remixes that are released AFTER the original song is out. Instead, Dan offered just the remix stems, so I had NO idea what his composition was like. That provided me with an open palette to create from. All he provided to us was the BPM (145) and key (Dm).

My DAW (digital audio workstation of choice) is Logic Studio. (Logic 8). I unfortunately had limited time to complete the remix because it was smack in the middle of vacation time – which meant out of the studio (if I had my Mac with me, that would have been another story ).

In the limited amount of time I had, I chose to explore the loop library in Logic versus programming my own drums from scratch or even chopping up samples to do so. My original plan was to time stretch the samples, but couldn’t remember how to until the 11th hour. Since I’ve grown to be a fan of drum and bass, and already a fan of 2-step, it didn’t take long to find a drum loop that was a mix of both and fit the stems perfectly. Dan used a number of percussive spatial synth effects that give good stereo dynamics, so those stems were added next. Listening to the drum loop, I played a percussive bass synth to lock with parts of the kick drum and counter the analog synth bass stem he sent as one of the stems. He suggested we use as many of the stems as we could, but I decided to create another synth lead part using Logic’s ES-M synth to sub for the one he sent. In the beginning of the remix, you’ll hear a four note section of electric piano, that I mirrored with a synth line created with Logic’s ES-1 synth. The synth pads I play under the ES-M lead are Logic’s “Chilled EP” pad.

Anyway, here’s the track listing:

1. The Most Impossible Plan 04:31
2. The Most impossible Plan [303 edit] 03:03
3. The Most Impossible Plan (groove7 outerbanks edit rmx) 03:38
4. the basic condition of life (ne7’s daijo mix) 05:14
5. Balance of sanity 04:41

Dan’s bandcamp page has links to all the releases.
The EP page is here .
The remix EP page is here .
The singles page is here.

My remix can be dowloaded here .

Much thanks to Dan for giving me the opportunity.

Thanks for the read….on to the next remix project.

Cross Country Collective (C3) – This is How We Do It (leveraging the ‘net/making music)

Some of you know about a remote collaboration I’m involved in called C3. C3 is the brainchild of Fave and The Big La. Here’s the scoop in case you haven’t seen it:

I am pleased to share with you the debut single, “Give it 2 Ya” from our upcoming EP, Contempojazzsoulhop.

Produced by The Big La and Fave
Lyrics written by Fave
Drums and Sampling: The Big La
Electric guitar: Fresh
Keys and Vocals: Fave

It is (and continues to be) a blessing to work with such open-minded, talented and tech savvy brothers. You may download the single using the title link above or from our website. Feel free to share it among your social networks (i.e., Twitter, Facebook, etc.).

So, how does C3 do it…how do we make this music happen when I’m on the East coast, Fave is down in the Big T and The Big La on the West coast?. We all use Apple’s Logic Studio to compose music on our individual and collective fronts. This little chat transcript is of example of how we make the magic happen…this is me and Big La on GMail chat not too long ago:

Sent at 9:33 PM on Wednesday, August 11
me:  yo….
todd:  sup man what’s goin’ on?
me:  U man…! I saw the tweet and the email traffic about Bra Strap…where
is the project uploaded…wanna do a lil somethin wid it
todd:  ha ha. yeah
it’s at: (upload directory)
pass: xxxxxxx
thought you’d HAVE to do a instrumental solo version
me:  ha….I’m on my way
todd:  in the “C3 Sessions”
me: cool!
todd:  just rock the guitar on top of it
me:  u know it
todd:  some nice reverb and echo, super quiet track…it’s still just a proof of concept
me:  i heard the original….sensual bruh…I’m feelin that
todd:  haven’t tracked it out to 3-4 minutes
me:  no prob…u know how we build!
todd:  fave has an updated one be plays on but haven’t got that session yet
me:  oh ok, I saw the tweets about it, we can grow it all eventually
todd:  wait. i’m late on tweets…ha ah
todd:  trying to get a few tracks done before my creative phase gets put on hold again
me:  i’m there! sup with the other session…more C3 under development?
me:  man, you and Fave…i gotta grow to be like y’all
 todd:  think that’s from fave
 me:  my creative phase has been  on lock! haha
 todd:  yes it is from him
 me:  ok cool
 todd: that’s the one i did before bra strap. i think fave funked it up. downloading now
 me:  cool ima get that too
 todd:  yup GET TO WORK!!! lol
 me:  u know it!!!…gotta get on that insomniatical night owl tip again…hahahah
 me:  Ok, I’m out your box…I’ll get back to you. peace.
 todd:  aight. peace!

There you have it….leverage technology and the net to compose, engineering, mix, and produce this EP. Stay tuned.

All the best,
Fresh!

MixTips #2 – Transferring projects between DAWs: Logic to Pro Tools

Mix engineers (and enthusiasts)….

Hope everyone’s good. One of the projects I’m working on is recording a smooth jazz guitar track for an upcoming smooth jazz CD. When talking to the artist the other night, I opted to send him the my entire Logic Studio project, or just the audio file and reference mp3 of the song that I’d bounce.

He mentioned that his engineers use Pro Tools and they can pretty much take any audio file format I send and make it happen. Knowing that all DAWS principally operate the same way, I know there are some nuances between them. I thought it’d be best to learn how to transfer projects between them (as it would be good to know when dealing with future clients).

After some reading, I found that Pro Tools primairly deals with .wav files in 48 KHz/24-bit resolution, so I thought I’d make my export file ready for his engineers, which Logic will allow bouncing a wav file to that exact format. How about multiple audio tracks? That’s simple too:

1) File > Export > All Tracks As Audio Files.
2) Make sure all files start on 0.
3) Be sure to have all faders at unity, centered and without dynamics/effects (raw files)

Here’s a good video showing the process….

Hope this is helpful (Fave, I know you have both at GnS Studios!)

peace,
F!

All about the tone….

Greetings readers, I hope this post finds you well. This year, well starting the end of last year, has brought many opportunities in terms of live performance and music production. Some have materialized, and some haven’t, but either way, they began making me look at my skills as a guitarist AND a recording engineer more closely. Coincidentally, being the YouTube fan that I am, I started watching performance videos, specifically of guitarist doing smooth jazz pieces to backing tracks and loved the tone they were getting. Most either shot their video in studio or just of them playing on camera. This started my such to obtain such tone.

I had three choices, the two most obvious: either mic my amp and record in my DAW (Logic Pro), record direct into Logic, but by way of my Line 6 Pod XT Live, or go record straight into Logic and make use of it’s effects plugins and amp simulators. I decided to search the net for articles and forum activity that would help me understand how to achieve my goal for choice #3. To my surprise, I found many references on how to achieve a certain amp sound (amp sims have been big in software recording apps for the past few years now), or certain rock guitar tones, but nothing for that mellow smooth jazz guitar tone. I turned to magazine articles, still nothing. I like using my Pod XT Live for live performance and have found a few non-stock patches online that have really good clean tone.

Fortunately, I reached out to a great guitarist on YouTube Joe Washington, who kindly gave me insight to the effects chain he uses to achieve his tone. It’s really understanding the building blocks or elements needed to get any tone your are looking to use. Joe gets his town via a combination of different hardware effects, whereas I am trying to do the same via software (at least for now, since I still own my amp and a Roland GP-100. While the GP-100 is old school, this unit has some great user created patches I’d like to try out soon.

Fast forward to the last few weeks… a good friend and superb smooth jazz keyboardist asked me to provide the guitar solo for his upcoming CD’s title track. Needless to say, this has been an awesome opportunity and I’m pretty excited about it. With that, I realized I REALLY needed to get that tone for this track… a need for something not TOO smooth but definitely jazzy. After recording a rough of the solo tonite using my Epiphone Sheraton II, I think I am close to finding what I’ve been imagining for a few months. Looking forward to trying this out with my Emperor II after she gets a good setup.

The image above shows a channel strip in Logic Studio 8 with an amp simulator (Guitar Amp Pro), EQ, compression, reverb, and a dynamic stereo spreader (mix of LPF and HPF), giving me a nice jazzy tone. I’m definitely liking it and once I get it to where I really like it, you may see me record and post a few vids of my own.

In any event, I should have BEEN sleeping, but would love to record some more…THAT…is not a good idea at 12:59am.

’til we meet again…peace!

F!

The Session…Jazzy vibes in The ‘Lab

The Lab.

So….I had a recording session tonite at The Lab. A fellow musician, friend, and talented keyboardist came by to record some original material he records live when we do sound checks early Sunday mornng…so much so, that he has 4 CDs of various musicians (including me) improvising over very nice arrangements he just comes up with as the audio crew gets us ready for the service.

What was cool about this session is that it was just him laying down keyboard tracks. I record in Logic Pro which really has some NICE drum loops across a great deal of genres, not to mention EXCELLENT acoustic and electric piano emulations as well.

About seven track were recorded, but only one, an uptempo tune with a Latin feel, used an acoustic piano. The rest we use a Suitcase Mk II Fender Rhodes electric piano….very nice….fit the vibe of the tunes perfectly. I couldn’t find specific drum loops to fit every track we recorded, but the absence thereof even lent a new feel to the track itself, in some cases.

I have some drum programming to do…looking forward to that in hopes of seeing what new life will be breathed into these songs….

It was good….very good.

peace,
F!

One minute tasty thing (instant groove)

Technology has really afforded anyone with just a little computer savvy to record music a variety of different ways, very quickly. I was cleaning up my external drive and came across a little sumthin’ I threw together just as I was finishing lunch at home one day, getting ready to head back in to the office (took me about 5 mins to do in Logic Express 7.2, Powerbook G4). Check it out…

There u have it….yummy.