Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Best Mamgu Ever

Today I decided to revisit my attempt at scoring Underworld's 'Best Mamgu Ever'. I had figured out a bit of the bassline a couple weeks ago so I gave it another go today. Man, does working with MIDI suck when you have a shit-ass sound card. I can audition the MIDI through my QS6.1 just fine, but as soon as I try and capture its audio I get a mess of noise. My motherboard is a piece of shit, I'll tell you what.

Anyway, I got the piano bit down after slowing the song down in Audacity. Now I just have to figure out the thousands of variations on the bassline they used. I have the opening two minutes out of a total of nine minutes. I'm going to be pulling an all-nighter and get this song layed down. From what I can tell there's not much going on, a pad in the background, some piano, and a solid bassline.

After this I might have a go at some more complex pieces, probably something from Nobuo Uematsu. I figure the best way, at least for me, to learn how to properly compose a song is to learn by doing. I'll figure out what key pieces are written in by re-composing them, how to transform from one line/riff to another, and how to play on chords throughout a song. Of course I'm still going to supplement all this with further reading.

Back to work!

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Drop in the Bucket

I actually worked on music today, how awesome is that? I picked up a nice arpeg in Synth1 and made a simple beat for it. Kick into claps into rolling hats into snares, just basic but building. Then I decided to toss a filter onto the arp and rise it through the intro. It's a nice effect and sounds good so far.

I was listening to some other works on Soundcloud and thought to myself that I should start recording some non-synthetic sounds from my QS. But I was in FL Studio, so I couldn't record from my non-shit soundcard (that's reserved for Ableton!). So I decided to load up my newly acquired E-Mu Proteus VX synth. I had a hell of a time trying to load the presets from that thing, a bad case of read the fucking manual. But once I did get the presets loaded I found another problem. Whenever I press the button to go to the next patch it skips two patches. So it's a complete pain in the ass to audition sounds. I eventually gave up and decided to export the song to Ableton as MIDI. Too bad that didn't work either...

So I got a nice little part going in FL, kinda stuck there at the moment. I went to add a bassline and all my inspiration was apparently gone and it just sounded like ass. I really need to read up on key signitures, harmony and chords. I've heard that dropping a bassline in the key of C sounds like ass when looped over a lead in the key of G or whatever. I'm really not sure what any of that means, even though I have a pretty strong background in music. I was never really taught chords or anything like that in band. Good old monophonic trumpets can't be bothered with that much theory apparently.

So now my task is to read up on music theory. Along with my previous task of organizing my damn sample library. Hopefully I can accomplish something bigger tomorrow. I know I keep saying that, but it's gotta happen one of these days!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

My Day Off

So I did a whole lot of nothing today. Figures, eh? I played some TF2 and put my old HD in my PC. It has a bunch of old songs and some remix material on it, and a bunch of pictures I've been wanting to go through. So I guess I did something productive today.

I really need to get back on my music though. I've been concentrating so much on that one damn loop that I've burned myself out on it. I really want to re-organize my samples. But before I do that I'll have to make copies of all the current samples I'm using and stuff them into the appropriate project folder. From here on out all my samples get organized first, instead of just tossed into a massive folder. I figure it's better to get it over with now, instead of having more songs using up samples that'll just end up getting moved.

So looks like that's on for tomorrow. Hopefully I can start writing again after that!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Desks and Tricks

Yesterday and today I spent designing my future desk. I stumbled upon a site called IKEA hacker and this desk in particular. I love how vast it is, and just had to have it. Too bad it's $330 from IKEA :( So I decided to just rip off the legs ($10 a pop) and build my own top for it. I figure it'll be around 65" long and 36" deep. I'll then have another piece for the top that doubles as 2 2U racks side by side and will hold my monitors on top. That piece will be about 5" high, 50" long and 12" deep. Once I clean up my blueprint I'll be sure to post it, or sculpt it via Google SketchUp. Something along those lines.

Yesterday I figured out how to chop audio in Ableton (figures it was easy as pie) and a few other nifty tricks. The audio chopping is simple. Drop the audio in Arrangement mode, then slice it up and drop the slice into new channels. The problem I was having was that I totally forgot about the snap feature. Idiotic.

Another trick I found via tutorials is to make a new instrument rack and then drop your samples into there. Once you assign them to a MIDI note you can draw out a pattern. After that, go into the sample and turn on 'Loop', assign a controller to the 'Length' and go to town! This will retrigger the sample at your leisure and create some great glitch effects. Start messing with the filter and you got yourself an instrument! I really dig this trick and I'm sure I'll be using it alot in the future.

Hopefully tomorrow I'll work on my song. I have to finish one before March for IDMF and I want to finish at least two more for GAF. Although that's a few months away yet.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Learning the ropes

So I did a couple more tutorials in Ableton today, nothing much as I had a slow day today. I messed around trying to get my VSTis imported then tried to record some MIDI and failed at it. Took the tutorial and managed to pass! At first I was missing FL's piano roll, and I think I still might a little. Even Deadmau5 praises FL's piano roll and I can see why. I think it might just be my favorite part of FL. Oh, and I do love it's mixer. Being about to send to any of its 64 channels is miraculous.

But only time will tell how much Ableton has to offer me. I really dig the live mode and can see myself writing patterns then playing them live to compose the final song. I've always been a fan of jamming out, since I started using Rebirth way back in highschool.

So yea, I think I'm going to take a break for the night and see what happens tomorrow. I'll probably go through a few more lessons and hopefully figure out how to glitch up my loop. Right now I'm heading off to play some Left4Dead and finish off this Vodka and Kool-Aid!

Able in Ableton

Wednesday I decided to copy the drums from It Doesn't Matter to see how they were constructed. I managed a ruff outline and then decided to glitch them up a bit. After looking at some tutorials I figured it out. I spent the rest of the day trying to program triplets in FL Studio and Audacity to no avail. Yesterday was spent furthering the loop into my own creation, and it's a hot loop, but I still wasn't able to get any glitch to it.

So today I said fuck it. There's no way FL is making this possible without me wanting to kill myself. So I downloaded the Ableton Live demo to see what it had to offer. I was blown the fuck away. The 'Live' portion of it is simply amazing and perfect for my workflow. I can't believe I was missing out on so much all this time!

Now that I'm working more heavily in audio as opposed to FL's loop style I needed more options and Ableton gives them to me. I'm so pleased with it that I'll soon be making the switch. Today was spent going through a couple intro tutorials inside Ableton and learning what it had to offer.

Tomorrow I plan on going through some more tutorials and figuring out how to glitch beats inside Live. I might end up keeping the loop non-glitched, as it has a really nice house vibe. I've been wanting to compose a house song for some time and feel this is the perfect groove. I still want to experiment with glitching however, and will probably recycle the loop into an IDM style song as well.

Here's hoping I pick up Live quickly!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Another song down!

I finally finished 'Modulations'! [Hear it here!]

This song was made entirely out of a single sample. It's short and sweet. I didn't have a super long time for arranging, so it's only about two and a half minutes long, about the same length as my previous tracks. Pretty much completed in one day, aside from chopping up the original sample and getting some vibes from it. In total I'd say it took my about three days worth of work.

Enjoy and comment (on my soundcloud or here) if you enjoyed it!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Today was a long day

So I managed to find a copy of Modulations (link to trailer) and watched it this morning. It's about the beginnings of electronic music and the art of sound. If you can find a copy I recommend watching it. Truely great stuff. Plus it has interviews with a ton of artists and the late Robert Moog himself!

It really motivated and inspired me to work on my current project. Evelon from the IDM forums started a post to see what we could all do with only one sample. I chopped it up a couple days ago but didn't get very far past that stage. Today I managed to get a nice groove and most of the parts written. It's very noisy and crunchy - just how I like 'em. I'll be submitting it for NeoGAF's upcoming GAME 4.0 Chiptunes release. I have one more day to finish my track, hopefully I can pull it off.

I decided to call this track 'Modulations' in honor of the documentary. This track brings me to three completed songs. I've been getting some praise on 'The Colors Are Bleeding' which really pushed me to work harder on my craft. Hopefully I can have an EP ready for summer release. Plus I have another compilation I want to enter in, which deadlines in March for IDMF.

In other news, it seems like I won't be majoring in the Audio-Video Recording track at Bloomsburg. They require you to be 'proficient' in an orchestral instrument, attend ensembles, and generally do things that I never wanted to do. That was the reason I dropped out of band in high school. I want to further my knowledge, but not at the expense of my identity. There's still a chance I'll minor at Bloom, but I'm currently looking for alternative options. The music department had the nerve to tell me to attend Full Sail instead. Yes, I'll pay out of state tution (which amounts to something like $40 grand a semester), and move to Florida. I'll get right on that. Hah... Furthering my contempt for this system of ours. I don't want a technical education. I want hands-on learning with a solid UNIVERSITY education. There has to be a path for me somewhere at some school. Hopefully I can find it soon, deadlines for enrollment are coming up fast...

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Second song information

So I completed this song about 2 months ago, but it was never officially released as NeoGAF's G.A.M.E 3.1 bonus album was put on hold for awhile. I figured I'd share the track however, as I enjoy it immensely.

The Colors Are Bleeding

I recommend downloading the song as Soundcloud runs everything at 128kbps and my song's volume is rather low. Pump it up for full effect!

Comments are very much appreciated. Whether bad or good, send them my way! And I'll be sure to link everyone to GAME 3.1 once it's released. At the moment we are working on GAME 4.0 a chiptunes release. Due within the week!