Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 16

The Lab

1:47am. Yesterday was a day primarily devoted to moving the EP along. A few months ago when I started this journey, I had the EP scheduled to drop yesterday, but time flies whether you’re having fun or not. Returning to work after a 15 month layoff made me realize that, ideally, I have less time on my hands to complete this now, than before but I’m not complaining due to the reasoning why.

The website is done and four of the ten tracks are ready to be mixed down, so even though the drop date is slipped, all in all, the progress isn’t bad. The track edits are finally done for the song I was working on, a song that I actually started to compose two summers ago. while on vacation in a hotel room. Today, it was back to a track I composed about four years ago originally entitled “Third Sky”, which is being renamed for this EP. Though the arrangement, the drums, and the synth pads are fine, the bass guitar is decent, but it needs to be redone. The guitar I *maybe* can live with but wont listen to again for a day or so. Either way, those are two tracks I didn’t really plan time to redo, but upon listening again…

The other five tracks are sufficiently prioritized such that I can reschedule a more realistic drop date. That planning will have to wait until tonight. Sleep time is definitely now….hmmm..I just realized I ate almost a whole pack of Club Crackers while typing this post…

Have a great Sunday.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 15

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Greetings, Sitting in the public library in between stops, basking in a little satisfaction. Ahh yes…forward motion. Last night I wrapped up mixing one of the tracks on for the EP. It’s a track I composed about two years ago and thought it’d make an excellent song for the project. Though it’s in it’s pre-mastered state, a good thing to do for any track at this point is to play it on various systems – mp3 player, CD player, over computer speakers, studio monitors, etc. This is to try to achieve the best sound possible across the many mediums people listen to music on.

I burned it to CD and took for a ride around the city today….I like! Not too bassy coming out of the SUV’s sound system, percussion is nice and organic sounding, acoustic guitar is sweet. next is an mp3 for the iPod.

So, I can pretty much scratch this one off until I get to the part of the schedule where I master all the tracks over a few days. Forward motion. On to the next track in the priority list tonight.

In the last post, I mentioned starting design of the Bandcamp page. That actually is now completed as well. I like banner artwork and the color scheme design. Onward.

Have a good one….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 14

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Greetings all…
For those of you in the US, I hope you are enjoying Memorial Day and taking a moment to reflect upon why this holiday was created. It’s been pretty quiet here and I’ve decided to stay out of the heat.

The EP all of the tracks in various stages of development and with that, I’m backtracking to something I should have done at the onset – develop a production schedule. That said, it’s done. Working backwards from the target drop date, all the tasks needed to be done to meet that drop date are now scheduled, soooo…here we go.

Special initial shout outs to Stephanie Labeda for the artwork and my boys Todd Kelley and Fave (C3) for the completed collaboration on one of the tracks.

That’s it for now…

Have a great one….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 13

thelab

[12:39 am] I don’t know if I can actually count yesterday as a true day 13 of working on the EP because I’ve nothing but tech difficulties in studio – I should say technical difficulty as it only pertains to re-setting up a wireless mouse. Non-powered USB hubs can be finicky and I think this is the case because connecting a portable USB hard drive doesn’t always seem to work. That being said, I’ll probably hit up eBay or Amazon to see if I can find one on the cheap. In any event, not actually working on tracks allowed me to take time to think about a realistic release date. Now that I’ve settled on one, it’s time to define the schedule to meet it. Every track on the EP is in some state of development, so I believe it”l be easy to (ideally) stick to schedule.

Initially, this EP was supposed to be comprised of tracks totally done by me only, but I already have (as some of you read) the (desired) collaboration with Todd and Fave of C3. I’m considering doing one more with a DC metro area artist whom I’ve had a few lengthy discussions with…good ones at that. That, in itself, will alter the drop date, but maybe I may go ahead with that.

Been an *interesting* weekend from a mental standpoint and kinda glad it’s over (who really ever said they were glad to see the weekend go, but….). Anyway, classical music is playing in the background. I get in the mood at times and this is one of those times.

Time to turn in….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 12

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Last night, I continued with the track I mentioned in the last post. I decided to add a synth solo at the section of the song right before the outro, using the same patch from Massive that played the synth hook in the beginning of the song. It came out nicely, after adjusting some MIDI velocities on that solo.

As for the bass synth track, I think I’m going to start with Logic’s Basement Bass, from the ES2 synthesizer. Once I compose and lay that track, the song will pretty much be on its way to the mix phase (that’s if I don’t add this guitar track I am conceptualizing in my head)> If I can reproduce what I’m hearing in my head, I think it’ll add a nice touch to the track.

As I am documenting the progress of the EP development in these blog posts, it reminded me to take advanrage of Logic’s notepad functionality to enter things such as what sample library and samples I’ve used, settings, and anything else of interest.

Well, that’s it for now.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 11

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Greetings all. It’s been a very quiet Friday evening so I took advantage of that fact to get some progress time in on the EP. Tonight I continued on one of the more chilled tracks and have finished the entire arrangement. I got a little work in on it last night and afterwards popped in a sample library disk from the lastest issue of Future Music Magazine. On this disk there are some vocal samples from a collection called Terry Grant – Voices From The Edge. While I won’t give the title of the track I’m working on, these vocal samples AUTOMATICALLY and coincidentally fit the theme of the track perfectly. All that was required was for me to chop them up and place them where they fit best in the track. With some added stereo delay, the fit very nicely. All that’s left now is to record the bass synth. Logic has a nice stock bass synth from its ES2 synthesizer that I’ll use for the last track, then it’ll be time to mix. Once you finally hear it, come back and read this post if you remember. It’ll all come together.

9:24 pm…I gotta make a run. Have a good and safe weekend….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 10

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Day 10. Ok, so each track on the EP is at some level of development. Some are ready to mix and master, some are just snippets that need to be arranged and so on, others are sort of at the midway point. As said in the last post, collaboration track with C3 is arranged and ready for mixdown – after I upgrade to Logic X. As seen from the photo above, this afternoon I’m finally taking time to prioritize the schedule so I can get this out at the desired time.

Now that the Studio A is finally back up and running, the last thing I need to do is install the Maschine 1,8.2 software OS to be able to integrate Maschine Mikro into my Logic workflow. I was thinking of leaking the artwork to your good people, buuuuuut I think I’ll wait. :)

Speaking of schedules, I really should develop a master schedule to include this other music projects I’ve got going. Can’t reach the destination in the best way without a path forward.

Enjoy the evening…

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 9

Logic Studio in The Lab

….and on the ninth day….I’m back. :)

It’s been a few weeks since I last posted, but things are moving along. First, good Tuesday morning at 7:24am. In our last episode, I received the drum track from from one of my production partners (of C3) for the collaborative track on the EP. Since then, I’ve received keyboard tracks from my other partner in C3, definitely some great additions to the track (as I expected). For all intents and purposes, all the elements of this track are in place. Next step is the final arrangement, then mixdown. I’m definitely looking forward to how this track will manifest itself.

In other news, I broke the studio down over the last two weeks in order to upgrade to a newer, better, faster computer – a 2.5 GHz Mac mini, i5 Intel processor. What does this mean, other than the performance upgrades? Logic X on the horizon :). The reassemble of the studio also meant integrating two older units into the rack for use with Logic: my Roland JV-1080 and Roland S-760 sampler. Why integrate older units from the 90′s when I could use everything more intuitively “in the box”? It’s where I came from AND I’d like to incorporate/integrate the old with the new instead of having them sit in my studio storage taking up space. Strangely enough, its part of the whole composition process. The units are still very capable in light of the advances in synth and sampling technology over the years. I had a long discussion with Netm8kr on this topic this past Sunday.

So, one track pretty much done. Off to the next one in progress on the list.

Have a great day….

:::oceans of rhythm:::

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Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 8

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Greetings….

I trust this post finds you well. 12:12 am and I’ve taken a few days off from the EP recording to focus on completing a final mix for the long awaited CD project my partner and I have been working on. We had a successful session last week and have one last mix to do before sending the entire project (less two tracks) out to Nashville to get mastered. More on that as the weeks approach.

Yesterday, I got back some drum tracks my man Todd Kelley of C3 recorded and programmed for me. These are, of course, for the track entitled “Deep (f/C3)”. After inserting the stems in to the track and giving it a listen, they fit perfectly. Working with individual stems (as you other recording artists/producers know) allow for maximum flexibility from an editing standpoint, so I can see now this is going to work out perfectly.The addition of the drums alone vibe great with the feel of the track.

In any event, that’s it for now. Bed time for sure….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (debut EP) – Day 7

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Good Sunday night to you (or whatever day it is). Had some time this weekend to continue pre=production on the tracks for the EP, particularly the title track. I’ve posted that I’ve found the artwork for EP already, as well as the artwork for the title track remix, so that’s cool. I’m liking the current arrangement of the track so far, but know I’ll probably take awhile to make sure that it’s birthed correctly :-)

In addition, I received what is to be the first input on the collaboration track with C3, and I’m LIKING where it’s going already…definitely excited about this. This comes as no surprise though, because every track we’ve collaborated on in the past has been on point.

I’m blessed to have a dedicated project recording studio in my home, a place where my creative flow can go unhindered, it makes music production a joy. That said, I came across some articles in my library this weekend that provide some good reminders to heed as I take this particular creative journey:

1. “Don’t let the technology lead you – it is a tool, be the master, not the servant.” – Garry Cobain.

This obviously applies to employing tech in most creative processes outside of music production.

2. “Remember, no matter how much you like all those colored flashing LEDs (and LCDs) in the studio, they are the means, not the end. At the end of the day, what you make is only any use if it works for the ears and the brain.” – Dr. Alex Patterson

So true. I come from a time of music production and songwriting when it was purely analog. Through the evolution to the present, I’ve got plenty of LCDs and blinking lights up in here. I’m the kind of composer that prefers not to birth tracks from solely “in the box” (computer)…I like my compositions to be yielded from a mix of hardware and software sound generators. Either way, Dr. Patterson’s quote rings true.

That’s it for now. It’s about 10:20p right now and we’re under another winter storm advisory. Gonna do a lil more work here in the studio, we’ll see what happens tomorrow.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!

PS: Shout out to my whole crew over at ADN. Catch up with you soon!