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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Chronicles of A Remix – Vol.2: Stop It Now/Karlina Veras – Pt.1

Greetings Crew…

Back with another edition in the series entitled “Chronicles of A Remix”. In this edition, I’ll bring you in on a song I’m producing for Santo Domingo born, London-based vocalist, Karlina Veras.

Karlina and I connected via Twitter as a result of her tweet requesting collaboration with a producer for some tracks she has. The track I’m engineering, mixing and producing is one she calls “Stop It Now”. This is strictly a barter situation where I get to hone my mix skills, get credit for and push the final tune, while she gets the tune.

So far, she’s sent me rough vocals, grand piano, vocal adlibs. and a disco-style backing drum track. This is a dance track at 126 BPM. She’s requesting “a sense of air and space and a bit of sensitivity and desperation with a search of something”. In a base collaboration like this, the more the artist can convey to the composer about the tune, the better. Already I have an idea of the arrangement and elements I plan to incorporate to achieve what she feels. The first thing I did was audition some 2-step drum loops for foundation, to give it the feel she’s looking for.

One of the first things I noticed is that the audio stems were a mix of 24-bit (which Logic Studio automatically imports) and 32-bit resolutions (which Logic doesn’t automatically import). Logic’s current max import bit rate is 24-bit. I used my “swiss army knife”, Audacity to the conversion, then import into Logic, all the time thinking “Logic Studio must have a way of doing this”. It does: Compressor. Good to go next time.

This is the kind of thing I dreamt of doing many years ago and I’m simply looking at it as creatively win-win situation: I get to hone my music production and recording engineering skills on a song within a genre I like, she gets the track…all good. I have the BPM and some other track notes on the song from her. Being that it will be a dance track, this should be fun project, since some of favorite sub-genres lie in the dance music genre.
Next steps are to augment the loop with some drum programming to thicken it up. After sending her a snippet the other day, she likes it so far. We’re both excited.

Stay tuned for part 2.

Karlina Veras Official Site

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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Chronicles of a Remix: I’m Walkin’/Mary Mary – Day 8 (The Sendoff)

Sup crew…

I just finished the final base arrangement of the mix. Added a little track automation to the acappella track, as well as a jazzy guitar riff towards the end. I tend to like using a nice combination of a clean tone with just the right delay on it. Here’s a screenshot of the arrange window:

Leveraging technology today, for creative purposes. is really quite easy. As Bill commented on the last update post here, it allows worldwide collaboration no matter where the participants are, or what time of day (or night it is). Some of you know of the collaboration by me (DC), Todd Kelley (Cali), and Fave (Houston), namely Cross Country Collective.

Another thing that helps is to know the tools you’re working with. In this case, I use Logic Studio (Logic Pro 8), and Bill is using Logic Express 9. Same software but as usual, an “express: version of software usually has less functionality than a full version, but in this case, I put together the session such that he could import it into his version and nothing would be lost…pretty much the same process used for the C3 EP (with Todd and Fave using Logic Studio 9).

It’s off to Bill C in NYC…handle it, bruh! Stay tuned for the birth sometime this week.

peace,

::: oceans of rhythms :::
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Chronicles of a Remix: I’m Walkin’/Mary Mary – Day 2

Day 2 – Ok, I have the first two tracks kickin’ off this tune. I know that at some point, I’ll probably chop the vocals up, and some track automation, etc. As mentioned in the audio clip above, I’m thinking of some specific vocal samples to add, if I can find them. For this version of the remix (I will probably do three max), I’ll maintain the original tempo.

I’m using a standard software Apple loop for the basis of the drum track, but may program my own at a later day…I’ll see how the overall track flows….

More later…

::: oceans of rhythm :::

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“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 :::

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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 :::

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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 :::

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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 :::

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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!