Tag Archives: buttons

Slice and Quote

Having a rather limited setup (as in 5 virtual instruments with good but not unlimited tweakability) has its ups and downs.

The good part about my setup is that it really challenges me creatively, while guaranteeing that anything I do, any song I write, any style or genre that I try to touch has my own unique and distinctive sound. This particularly limiting quality of my setup has it’s risks though, namely that fact that there’s always a slight chance that all my tracks will sound the same (as in very, very similar), which is the case with a lot of digital musicians today. (mostly with – but not limited to – those that dwell within the mainstream) . Hence the creative challenge.

This drove me to create two more virtual instruments for my setup (which is limited to a total of 8 usable tracks, for various reasons too complicated for this post).

The first instrument is what I call a quote machine. I created a drum rack that has some didgeridoo samples (which I played and recorded myself) and quotes assigned to ┬ánotes. It provides me with an unusual “lead” when my mix seems to be lacking something. What this basically means is that I press a button and Groucho Marx talks while my music plays.

The second instrument is a drum rack that I’ve set up to play sample slices, which provide my setup with just a little more diversity. As in: I’ll┬árarely use the same slices in two different songs. This decreases the chance that my songs will sound similar to the point listeners wouldn’t be able to tell them apart. I can’t explain any further without going into total geek mode so I’ll let the music demonstrate this.

( I’ve also been reading some international law regarding sampling so I’ve made sure all my slices are either from free sample packs, tweaked beyond any possible recognition or recorded off stuff in the public domain.)

Anyway, I’ve been hard at work on my demo EP lately (the main reason I haven’t updated since WWII) so I’ve churned out two new tracks that might help illustrate what I’m talking about. Here you go:


[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/17794015"]

Having slices instead of whole clips also means I can rearrange them and play them like an instrument, hence creating a whole new melody out of the thing. In this case (I’m talking about the track just above this paragraph), orchestral hits as percussion.



[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/17654839"]

This is the one with Groucho Marx and my favourite so far. Cheers.