Tag Archives: Electronica

“Studies on Relaxation” Demo EP – Official Launch

The final track off my demo EP has been up for a little over a week now, but I’ve been holding back on announcing everything ‘officially’ because I considered that there was still some more work to be done. As in the artwork.

My resident artist’s been hard at work at making a cover for the thing and has just finished the wonderful artwork that I’m now proud to publish:

The EP has the following tracklist, which can also be found on the “Music” page:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/playlists/885264" height="200"]

Feel free to download and share the music.

It’s a little late, but I’m also going to introduce Munko the Bandersnatch, the Bandesnaci Mascot, also the work of ADNgraphic. He can be seen on the cover, smoking a hookah and as a permanent decoration of this site, frowning on the left. Keep an eye out for more material coming up that features him. He’s an expressive little bugger.

Trumpets and the Talking Bass

or “How much I love to learn on my own”

I’ve recently discovered a very satisfying way of expanding my setup (which means adding two more virtual instruments) without increasing the number of tracks. I still have my limit number of 8 tracks, but can now use an additional drone on my pad track and another bass patch on (you guessed it) my bass track.

Watching a couple of Dubspot videos and stumbling upon some other tutorials, I managed to find out some ways to use Ableton Live racks and figure them out a little. I’m actually very proud of myself for having figured out most of the stuff and having come up with the ideas on my own. I think that’s the upside of being an independent digital musician: I’m free to learn, absorb and discover information and create as I evolve musically. I’m free to set my own limitations, rather than have some external thing impose them upon me, such as other musicians (with totally conflicting visions), prearranged compositions with traditional musical notation or an excess of rules (music theory-wise).

In any case, the situation I’m in and the musical path that I chose work best for me. I’ve collaborated with Conservatory musicians, rockers, jazzmen, and all sorts of other musicians, with tons of different approaches to music and a myriad of different workflows, and I can honestly say this open approach that I’ve found is the most efficient and satisfying method that I’ve ever encountered.

Kudos to the guys over at Ableton for developing software that offers so much versatility that anyone can use it in any possible way. I’m now so used to it and have based my music around it so much I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to use anything else ever again.

Anyway, the additions that I’ve done to my setup extend my diversity and I’m happy about that. I’ve added an overtone drone patch that I can layer over my pad or replace it with at any time. I also made a talking bass patch (think “yay-yay”)  - also good for layering on or replacing my current bass with. I got some good hints on how to create it from watching deadmau5′s ustream (for once, I’m glad I stumbled upon it). I’ve mapped the filter LFO rate to a knob (as in I can now control exactly how fast it goes “yayayay” and wobbles) so I can now do dubstep like it’s nobody’s business.

Also taking into account the 7 beat repeaters and my master filter, I think this particular setup is pretty close to reaching peak efficiency. I won’t add a lot more to it since I’m not keen on overloading my CPU, but what I have now is more than enough.

Until I get a proper demonstration of what these recent additions, here’s another track for the demo EP:

[soundcloud url="http://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/18325745"]

Improvisation

*Before the actual post, a disclaimer: Below is GEEK TALK. I aimed this post at people with in-depth knowledge on MIDI controllers, Ableton Live sets and controllerism in general. If you’re not an electronic music geek, chances are you won’t understand much. If you do, however, kudos to you.

I have finally finished a set-up that allows me to do similar things to what I’ve been seeing around in videos featuring my favorite Electronica artists: improvise full songs. How can Nosaj Thing do ALL that stuff with just one controller. Or Moldover, for that matter?

In my newbie days, I often wondered how you can improvise in the Electronica genre. There’s no instruments, no actual notes, just samples and tracks and buttons and knobs and sliders. I’ve since discovered looping, sampling and sequencing on the fly, among other things, so the next step for me has been discovering a set-up that allows me to improvise a track without having to wait at least half-an-hour between songs to create (or load) a different Live set.

I’ve finally done that, a few days ago, thanks to discovering that limiting yourself is the actual secret. I don’t want to use ALL the effects, samples, channels and functions on my controllers. As an example, instead of using my Korg nanoKONTROL to control its full capacity of 36 mixer channel volumes and just as many effect parameters ( not counting the buttons) I’m using it to control 8 mixer channels with two sends each. Limiting myself to 8 channels with a MIDI effect and two sends each made me think about how I could fill that small space with something truly versatile and expressive. So I’ve figured it out. Some reverb, some filtered delay and some beat repeaters with modifiable parameters and I couldn’t believe the magic.

It always seems complicated when you look at it, but it’s actually simple. The fact that you don’t know what’s mapped to what from the start is what makes it look complicated and confusing.

I’ll elaborate on my set on a later date, but, until then, here’s my first fully improvised song on youtube:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkhfnaTP0D8]