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!

Halcyon Sky (debut EP) – Day 6

river

Whew… a long day (sleepless last night for the most part), so this is a quick update. Worked on one of the tracks today that I’ve laid the foundation for. The focus today was only building up and deciding on the percussion for this track. An essential element of chillout tracks, from a percussion standpoint, is a shaker. Between the many types provided in Logic 9′s loops library and those (many) I have in my sample library, it was just a matter of choosing one that sounded good in the track. I chose to start with Logic 9 and after auditioning a few found one that fit in the track nicely. Since it’s an Apple loop software instrument, it will adjust itself to the tempo of the song should I choose to change it in the future – that flexibility is good to have.

I spent some more time working on some drafts of the artwork for the release. In the last post, I mentioned wanting to realize the graphics lettering on the actual photo. I was able to do one draft today and I like it so far. What I like even more is finding another photo from the same artist that I will use for the title track remix. Immediately, this photo became inspirational to the point where I already have an idea on how the remix will be composed. I like that.

Tommorrow I think I’m going begin work on the title track. Details to come soon.

Off to bed, I am mad tired.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (debut EP) – Day 4

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Photo Credit: Leland Melvin/Instagram
ND/HS

Greetings…

Sunday evening, sitting in “Studio B”, noticing it’s just about time for the NBA All-Star Game tipoff. Today was pretty quiet in The Lab. Last night, I sent a track, in progress, to two of my partners that we’ll colloborate on. Another track is still with my sax player who, as I previously mentioned, is working on a horn arrangement and possibly additional keyboards, so I’m satisfied with how the development of the EP is going so far. I did start work on a new track (the photo above fits the title and concept of the song). That said, it will be minimal in composition, but I’m finding that I’m going to take some time in programming the drums and percussion. The choice of other elements will be equally as important, as I’m trying to convey to the listener what the title of the song is. Evoking the essence of a song can involve a fair amount of time conceptualizing different things, but in my experience, I’ve found the time taken often brings the success originally hoped for.

Currently I’m deciding on a mix of digital soft synths and the one bit of analog kit I have in the studio – which will require some processing. It’ll be interesting because I first used this piece of equipment back in 1987 :). I -think- I may be also using NI Maschine on this song as well. In any event, I’m hoping this will end up as a mood piece.

As said before, production always starts in Logic. The track is open as I type this, so I think I’ll develop it a bit more, then catch some of the game at some point.

I’ve read, and continue to read, a lot of stories of artists, globally, that compose music (especially electronic) in a myriad of ways, some purely analog, some purely in the box (digital), some a mix of the two, some only with hardware. I get to see their studio setups (anything from a corner of a bedroom to huge control and recording rooms). Either way, it’s always exciting to read about the journeys the take and how descriptive they are along the way. It’s continually inspiration and and is one reason why I’m doing the same.

Enjoy the evening….

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Halcyon Sky (debut EP) – Day 3

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1:15PM. Woke up this morning to at least find the sun shining, which means snow removal assistance, so that’s a good thing. After getting the day started, I found some more inspiration for this collaboration track. After listening back, I like how the synth bass sits in the track so far, so I think it’s a keeper.

This particular track is a conceptual in that I’m composing it with certain elements to invoke that conception. One way I like to do that is via the use of samples. Every music composer who does so, via the use of their favorite DAW or sample based instrument, uses samples in various ways. I like to use small samples to insert certain aspects into a track, especially if the samples are vocal based or sound effect based. This particular track is using both. This morning I dug into my vocal samples folder and found a few that work nicely. The key to composing chillout tracks is to remember that often times, “less is more”. A particular song can have a mix of many audio and MIDI (software instrument) tracks, but still end up with a nice minimal feel – this is the approach I specifically plan to take with this track. Being an avid listener of chillout and downtempo, and producing podcasts that reflect those genres makes it even more exciting when composing these tracks.

As mentioned in the last post, I think the project as it stands, is ready to go out to my C3 partners in AL and CA… I’m interested to see what they’ll add to it and how it will drive the final composition. I’m now contemplating what kind of guitar tracks I’l record. If what I’m hearing in my head is pretty much translated to track, I think it’ll work fine….stay tuned.

Ok, once again, it’s time to don the boots, etc. Have a great day.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

F!

Welcome To The Sunday Soundtrack – 05 Jan 14

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Photo Courtesy of Flaschi (instagram.com/flaschi)

Greetings Listeners…

Welcome to the first podcast of 2014! It’s great to be back. I appreciate all the requests and glad that you’re taking the time to listen to this edition of The Sunday Soundtrack. Seventy percent of the playlist are new tracks never featured on previous podcasts, so I hope you enjoy them.

Last year was a year of musical collaborations that were (and still are) very satisfying. One such collaboration was on the project entitled “Moods” by Todd “Big La” Kelley. The track, “One Time” is featured on his farewell release, which is available as a FREE download on Bandcamp. The remainder of the playlist is sure to provide tracks ranging from lush to tightly knit smooth grooves, perfect for that chillout timeframe in your day. So, without further adieu…the playlist:

1. ‪Rhythmbreeze‬ – Fresh Moods/Fresh Moods
2, ‪Almost There‬ – Hideo Kobayashi/Om Lounge 10
3. Fantasy (Hideo Kobayashi Deep Vocal Mix) – Afterlife/Fantasy
4 Sentient – MrFijiwiji and Tulpa/Friends EP
5. Want Me – Affelaye/Maybe There
6. Racetracks – Tony Watson/Abstrakt Sampler
7. Loose Tunes – Skipless/Rooftops
8. Francesa – Ricardo Silveira/Storyteller
9. Janeiro (Chiller Twist Blue Line Remix) – Solid Session/Armada Lounge
10. One Time (f/C3) – Todd Kelley/Moods

A big shout out to my entire podcast massive (you know who you ALL are) as well as the listeners. Have a great day, whatever day it is, whatever time it is.

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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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 :::

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Welcome To The Sunday Soundtrack – 20 Feb 2011

Crew,

Welcome, once again to The Sunday Soundtrack. It’s been a few months, almost four months, since the last podcast and during the necessary hiatus, it was good to rearrange somethings, and get some new tracks to share with you. Officially, I wish you a Happy New Year and hope things are going well for you.

As said above, brand new tracks are on the playlist, representing the essence of what I’ve created The Sunday Soundtrack for years ago – a relaxing, yet no so common mix of laidback music for any day of the week. I’d be remiss if I didn’t thank all who gently poked me in the side to get the podcast back on board. Mad shouts to my entire podcasting crew (see the blogroll) for the encouragement, the ID drops, the whole nine. Keep doin’ it big, you keep me inspired. Special shout to all the fans of the podcast as well, your comments keep me inspired in the same way.


1 – Optymystic-Tom Middleton/Life Tracks
2 – Letcha Letcha-Ten Madison/Travelling
3 – Harissa-Ten Madison/Travelling
4 – Miner’s Son (Aquatic mix)-Beth Hirsch
5 – Another Time, Another Space-Citrus Sun/Another Time Another Space
6 – afterthewoman-rdm
7 – Afternoon in the Park (Orbiting Dream) Ft. Dan Prudian-Inner Light Spectrum/The Path to Reality
8 – A Touch Of Jazz

It’s been a pleasure. I’ll be back with another edition within the month. Big shouts to all my indie musicians who are flowin’ everything from jazzy, downtempo instrumental hip-hop (stay tuned in the coming episodes), to @fave and @toddkelley, my writing partners on the Cross Country Collective (C3) project, my writing and business partner as well as LONG time good friend, Dan McCollum (we are After Six Productions on FB) and to all artists adding to this universal language of of music. One last shout out to @dvsjr and @shaktiirocket, I hope The Sunday Soundtrack continues to provide that musical backdrop for your Sunday brunches. To my fans, I salute you! Follow me here:

Fresh on Twitter
The Sunday Soundtrack on Twitter

::: oceans of rhythm :::

Fresh!