Chronicles of A Remix – For A Time (Fresh’s Continuum Edit) – Part 1

Greetings readers…

Hope all are well. I’m taking a break from watching the SB, it’s half time (Go Seahawks!). I’m starting another edition to a the series, Chronicles of A Remix, that I began back in 2011 when constructing a remix along with Bill Cammack from NYC. This time, I was invited to try remixing a track given to me by a DJ and music producer in Baltimore, MD. After view some of my Instagram videos, he noticed I use Logic and happen to have a track he was working on in Logic. He decided to “gift” me the track to play with. After getting the stems and the Logic project from him. I set out to regroove this. The downside was that the Logic project he sent to me is in Logic X. I still use Logic 9 so I couldn’t open it to hear what the original track sounds like. Actually that’s not a bad thing because the key to moving forward is one piece of information – BPM (beats per minute) or teemp of the track. Once I got that from him I was golden. Below is a short video basically summarizing what I said above. Stay tuned for subsequent installments.

::: oceans of rhythm :::


Halcyon Sky: The Regrooves EP – Day 25


Greetings all…

9:24 pm… In studio checking out one of the remixes just sent to me for the EP. As I thought, stellar work, and the vibe is exactly what I expected. I’m looking forward to dropping this project as soon as possible. I’m equally excited to have an artist from the Netherlands remixing one of my tracks from the Halcyon Sky release. It remains to be seen as to whether his track will make this EP, based on his daily schedule and my predicted drop date but either way, you will be hearing it in the future. It marks the beginning of a collaborative effort between him and me, so stay tuned throughout the year for some tracks by us.

I’ve received some rough mixes from the two other artists who’ll be featured on this project and I’m definitely feeling the flow of both tracks. Music composition and the technology of the internet, a beautiful thing… :). Back to work on mine.

Have a good night…

::: oceans of rhythm :::


Halcyon Sky – The Regrooves EP – Day 24


Greetings all.

Happy 2015. I hope the start of the new year finds you well and vice versa. As predicted, the start of 2015 has jumped off, music production-wise, as expected. Most of you know, the debut release by AfterSix Productions (Dan and I) What Love Is, is available on Bandcamp, another CD recording project for the band I play in, Divine Intervention, is underway, I’m tightening up some tracks for a show that will be “airing” on FB this quarter, along with a few other things. This post, obviously, as about the upcoming release: Halcyon Sky – The Regrooves EP.

This morning I had a great conversation with one of the remixers about the status of the remix he’s working on for the project. He began to tell me about how this opportunity really stretched his ability as a producer, made him realize the criticality of how he sees his work, wanting to make sure the vibe of the track fit the essence of the project, etc. These things were not foreign to me at all because I’ve often had the same thoughts when produce music to be used in other capacity, let alone just listened to and hopefully enjoyed by the masses.

Within the discussion I had learned the track was already delivered to me on New Year’s Eve, but I hadn’t checked my email to know it was even there. I shared that a big aspect of releasing Halcyon Sky was to meet my own deadline and achieve the goal or releasing the product as planned. The remixer also shared that it was a driving factor in getting it to me when he did but like all conscientious artists, he is very critical of his work. I asked him if he wanted more time to submit a new track. He accepted but asked me to listen to what he had submitted first. I assured him I would, but that I was certain I’d like it because of the time I took to listen to all this particular artist had shared on IG videos, YouTube videos in terms of music snippets he’s composed. In addition, his posts showed his passion for creating music in the genre he likes most – all that played a part in me choosing him for the project.

Thirteen hours later, I finally remembered to check the mail for the track and give it a listen. As I thought…I was 100% spot on. I’m feelin’ the vibe of this track and cant wait to release it on the project. In case you’re reading this bruh….much thanks (I know you got my text message already! ha!)

Slumber time….enjoy your day.

::: oceans of rhythm :::


Halcyon Sky – The Regrooves EP – Day 22


Greetings all…

I’ve reached what I call Phase 3 of this project and am glad to present unto you news on the development of Halcyon Sky – The Regrooves EP. This four track EP will be what is known commonly as remixes of tracks I’ve chosen from the project. Some of you have heard the remixes I’ve done over years: Philip Clark’s “Granted (the Groove 7 3am Eternal Mix) “, Mary Mary’s “Walkin” (Mr. Fresh/Bill C. Regroove), The Most Impossible Plan (the groove 7 outerbanks edit), and a few others.

I’m excited about this EP because I’ve got three other remixers on the project – Todd (The Big La) Kelley, Netm8ker, and Upright. They have their own fluid, nice moves in their respective music productions that I’m sure will bring stellar touch to this release.

Stay tuned for updates, all the way through the drop date in January!

Thanks for the read!


Halcyon Sky (debut EP) – Day 6


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 :::


Sample library elements – A creative approach in production

Greetings producers, sound designers, “beatmakers”, musicians. Hope your day is going well. Last night I took some time to again categorize samples from sample CDs I get from the magazines Future Music and Computer Music. Some of you have read my previous blogpost on how I organize my sample library by genre, loops (bpm), instrument, etc…on two external drives – one connected to my studio computer and the other 750GB portable drive I pack with my Macbook for mobile production.

During last night’s session, I was auditioning some soul and funk drum loops and hits. The loops folder included the full mix loop, the individual drum loop (with/without kick and snare) and a folder of individual hits. As I listened to each loop, I decided whether it would be something I’d be prone to want to use for a future track or just leave on the DVD. While all the loops were excellently recorded, I thought back my days of programming drum machines I owned for the drum and percussion tracks I needed. This was, of course, before the advent of samplers. Though I could take the individual hits and load them into my DAW’s (Logic Pro’s EXS24 or Ultrabeat) sampler and map them across the keyboard *OR* load them into my MPC, I wondered if using loops AS IS, was just the lazy man’s approach to music production. While I’m not here to debate whether it is or not (nor would I even spend the energy to do so), I thought that because of how I had to take a beat in my head and translate it to the drum machine of choice at the time. Of course, the drum machine was dependent upon the quality of the PCM samples (or whatever format it used), so drum hit flexibility was no where near along the lines of samplers – and – in the minimal sense, assigning individual drum samples across your keyboard is pretty much the same thing, there is something, to me, about taking a loop and using it as is. Easy, yes…I’ve done it a few times, but is it really lazy?

Over the weekend I spotted the latest Computer Music magazine. This one’s title is “The Ultimate Sample Collection”, complete with 7.3 GB of samples from the well respected vendor, Time and Space – 2109 samples in all. The mag is jam packed with articles, tutorials on sampling – especially using Logic Pro in the examples, which is pretty cool. Oddly enough, as I read an article on Jon Carter and Alex Blanco (Loopmasters Block Party Essentials sample DVD), an interesting sidebar captured my attention. Here’s the quote:

“Like a lot of producers in the business, we know that there are a lot of great collections out there nowadays, with some great sounds and vibes. We also know that theres a way to employ samples from these packs in your tracks and imbue them with youyr own unique groove. There’s no reason not to, as long as you’re creative with them as you would be with samples that you make by yourself. The other good thing about using somebody elses samples is that you can find inspiration and add variation to tyour tracks by going for a different style to usual. By picking a sample collection that isn’t necessarily designed for the genre you’re working in (tech-house for a hip-hoptrack or jazz breaks for a techno production, for example), you will find uyourself entering fresh territory, and with a sonic palette that you probably wouldn’t have found just by going through your all-too-familiar collection. The key is never to just drop a loop in (unelss it’s a remix, you’re in a hurry, you’re on a flat fee and it fits perfectly!) – always try to make it your own in some way.”
Interestingly enough I was thinking how I can employ samples from the really popular genre of dubstep into the house, soul/RnB, instrumental jazzy hip hop, and chillout/downtempo tracks I like to write and produce. I like the substance of the quote above – it always reminds me that in the plethora of samples and construction kits available (free and otherwise), use creativity and variation employing them. Not to say, you wont come up with a smash hit like Rihanna’s “Umbrella” (drum loop taken straight from Apple’s Garageband/Logic loops library and slowed down a little), if you use a straight loop, but …u follow me.

Thanks for the read…

::: oceans of rhythm :::


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.


::: oceans of rhythms :::

Chronicles of a Remix: I’m Walkin’/Mary Mary – Day 7

Sup crew…

Below is a short video on the status of the remix. This is a collab between me and Bill Cammack.

In the last update, I had just started chopping up samples from the timestretched vocal acappella. Analyzing the acappella is where I always start. Knowing the BPM is always helps, but if that isn’t readily available, you could always import the original track and use Logic’s BPM counter to determine what that is. Here’s a video he did on beat mapping for this remix:

There are a few ways to timestretch an audio file. What I find easiest to do (without using any external plugins) is to use Logic’s Time and Pitch Machine. Once you know what the BPM is of the original audio file, you enter the new BPM, and let Time and Pitch Machine run the Complex algorithm selection to stretch (or sometimes called time compress) the audio to the BPM you want use. The Complex algorithm setting seems to work the best in dealing with any problems from any audio aliasing resulting from the time stretching.

From that point it was adding some other elements from my sample library and arranging how I wanted them to be. My thought, throughout, was to have the mix include some dynamics to it…in terms of audio effects, at minimum (after all, this IS a dance club remix). THe first thing was to incorporate some delay on the samples. This is pretty much where I ended up going, while keeping focus on how I wanted the drum track to be.

Fast forward to some back and forth discussions with Bill on FB, and a collaboration was born. Bill has a good working knowledge of just not Ultrabeat, but Logic in general. I sent him an mp3 snippet of what I had so far and we went to work on it! The video clip below gives a lil background on how it’s been going so far.

That it’s it for the moment…stay tuned.

::: oceans of rhythm :::


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 :::


Chronicles of a Remix: The Intro.

Greetings readers…

Hope all is well. The audio clip in this post much summarizes what this series is about, however, for those of you who can not listen to the audio, here we go.

This series is created out of a desire to share with you, a musically journey of creativity or deeper still, re-creativity. I’ve been a musician for over half my life and ever since I discovered the concept of “the remix”, I’ve been interested on the entire approach of taking an original song and birthing something new from it.

Though I’ve heard countless remixes in many genres over the years, I didn’t really become fascinated with it, until I heard certain artists/remixers take tunes from my favorite group, Incognito, and create remixes of their songs. What fascinated me was the particular style and approach of a handful of remixers (my favorites), who took the essence of the song in an ENTIRELY different direction, while creating an new sense of depth and width to the arrangement. All the genres that these remixes fell into were mostly of the house, chillout/downtempo, breakbeat, and jazzy hip-hop veins.

Who are some of my favorites? Jazzanova, Atjazz (Martin Iverson), Little Big Bee, Masters At Work, Ski Oakenfull, Mark de Clive-Lowe, MJ Cole, Roger Sanchez, Pete Rock, Just Blaze, Pepe Braddock, etc.

The first “official” remix I did was last year, fora track called “Granted” by Philip Clark. You can read about that here . So that being said, Chronicles of a Remix will be a behind the scenes look at everything I consider when doing a remix: the tools I use (hardware, software), my inspirations, my thoughts (large and small), the direction, etc. I will include some audio footage at any point in time: in studio, while I’m at work, en route somewhere, whatever. They’ll be sometimes where I’ll include some video footage as well. Don’t expect either types of footage to be polished to some great extent, as I prefer to give it to u as it comes, without any great post-production effort…I guess you can call it “keeping it real” (simple).

That’s about it. For those of you who are friends with me on FB and have paid any attention to the few comments I made over the last week, you may already know what the first remix project is (if you’ve heard the audio clip above, you know already).

Stay tuned for the first post in a day or two.

Have a great weekend

::: oceans of rhythm :::