Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 15


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 :::


Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 14


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 :::


Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 13


[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 :::


Halcyon Sky (Debut EP) – Day 12


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 :::


Halcyon Sky (debut EP) – Day 1


Today I began working on one of the tracks entitled Deep (f/C3), from the EP . The entire release will have a fair share of beats and samples, but at the same time, actual instrumentation as well (myself and a few guests as mentioned in the previous post).

This track I’m particularly fond of already because it will be a collaboration with two very talented artists – Trel Robinson and Todd Kelley – together we have recorded previously material together under the name Cross Country Collective, or C3. C3 was born to compose, record and produce tracks remotely, but release them as a product collectively. I became a part of C3 for the 2010 release Contempojazzsoulhop. Contempojazzsoulhop got it’s name from infusing the stregnths of our individual styles – Trel (soul), Todd (hip hop soul) and me (contemporary jazz). For those of you that haven’t heard it, give it a listen, you’ll find other C3 tracks at the Bandcamp site as well. I had the pleasure of coming back to record as C3 on two tunes from Todd Kelley’s latest 24-track release Moods.

Knowing Todd’s unique style of birthing silky soul (and hip hop) comprised of smooth beats and sample arrangements, and Trel’s soulful ballad and R&B laced keyboard playing talent, Deep (f/C3) is a track I’m excited about hearing when it’s finally ready. The foundation of it is minimal (on purpose), so the palette is wide open so far.

Once I have an idea for a track (be it starting with writing the arrangement on guitar, or being inspired by different samples I come across, or both), I always start laying tracks in Logic. For this EP, as a whole, I’m looking forward to not just using Logic but incorporating NI Massive and Maschine, using a few “vintage” hardware synths in my studio rack, bass guitar, electric and my 35 GB, ever expanding sample library.

Also got a track out to guest saxophonist, Kelvin Wilson. The song I wrote a few years back so the scratch track is fully arranged. He did great work on the current single from AfterSix Productions, Chamorrita.

I’m a heavy thinker (probably why I sleep like a baby…lol), that fact in itself inspired the title for this track. Thus far the flow and feel of it seems to reflect that. I think it’s gonna turn out to be nice.

I’m gone. Enjoy the day/evening/night.

::: 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 :::


Quiktraks (60 sec audio) – Day 2

Hey crew….

Here’s a lil sumthin’ I was messin’ around with this evening. No loops this time. This track was originally composed in an old Mac sequencer called Master Tracks Pro. I programmed the drums using my Yamaha RY30 drum machine. I also used a Yamaha TX-81Z for the bass synth, and Yamaha TG-55 for the synth pad. I took the MIDI sequence and imported it in to Logic Express 7.2 and used all EXS24P sampler voices. The track name, No Need For Clocks, was for an artist I was working on a demo for (this is what I came up with, though she eventually did something different with the song).

I seem to be into producing chilled beats lately… I wonder why… 😉

The bounce audio came out real rough, and I dont know why. There are no plugins at all on the tracks, but I did say I will post whatever I come up with, good and not so good. Note to self: find out why the bounce is bad.

Background Notes:

-Recorded with: Logic Express 7.2.2
-Computer: Mac Powerbook G4 Aluminum
-Drums: EXS24P Sampler Hip Hop Kit
-Bass Synth: EXS24P Sampler Analog Bass
-Synth Pad: EXS24P Sampler Filtered Dark Analog Pad

My personal tracks are on my Myspace page
The Lab is here.


Quiktraks (60 sec audio) Day 1

Greetings crew…

Hope all is well. For those of you who know me, you know I am not only a podcaster, but a musician as well. I own a home studio, play in a band, and I’m currently in the works of finishing up a CD with my recording partner.

I’ve been playing and recording (even as in the beginning just to cassette tape) since I was 14. The technology has come a lonnng way and my choice of digital audio workstation is Logic Studio. I’m the kind of person that loves to make use of the many resources out on the internet, especially recording tutorials that reflect not only the kind of equipment I use, but the kind of music I like to record. On YouTube alone, I have collected over 4GB of tutorials on Logic Pro 7 and 8 alone, as well as great user tutorials on the MPC 1000. With that being said, I have found that I have been doing more watching than actual putting to use what I have watched and learned.

Enter Quiktraks (60 sec audio). This lil project simply is an attempt to record and upload daily, no more than 60 secs of anything I feel like recording or have recorded: ideas, throwaway tracks, experiments, etc. The tracks are more so to help me use what I have and learn more then simple watching excellent users teach it. In the end, I feel I’ll eventually learn the ins and outs of the tools I use to make music, especially an extremely power digital audio workstation like Logic Studio.

With that being said, here’s the Day 1 track – Midnite Vibe

Background Notes:

– Recorded with Logic 7.2 Express, no keyboard controller, just the keyboard keys
– Computer: Mac Powerbook G4 Aluminum
– Loops used: Piano, hip-hop drums
– Track processing plugins: Goldverb, Chorus, Parametric and Channel EQ
– My guitar: Takamine EG-544SC-4C Acoustic.

All and any constructive criticism from my recording studio heads are more than welcome! I’d to hear all the technical comments about the mix.

My personal tracks are on my Myspace page
The Lab is here.