Good Tutorials & New LP Sequencer

Came across these over on the Ableton forum and though I would share. Good tutorial on splitting up a drum break to make something new. Nothing new to me, but it's always good to get a refresher on techniques. Take a look if interested, definitely a good watch:

Part 1

Part 2

The Blog.

Also came across another post from a very smart dude who goes by Lo-Fi Massahkah. I know him from a previous patch he made for the Lemur and Ableton Live which was just amazing, so I was very interested to see what he came up with next. Definitely not disappointed, it's a nice synth sequencer for the Launch Pad. Check out the video, very kool stuff indeed....

Inflection - Launch Pad Sequencer [video]

DyNAmic Sequencer for the Lemur and Live [video]

Rediscovering the Old

HAPPY NEW YEAR Everyone!! Hope 2010 is the best yet.

So I went on a track spending spree over xmas, mainly older Detroit stuff that I never thought would make it to mp3. The classic No Ufo's and Time, Space Transmat from Model 500 from *1985*!!! Then there's the classic Big Fun (the Magic Juan remix) which is another timeless classic for me. Classic, timeless techno from the fore-fathers! And I haven't mentioned some of the earlier Cybotron stuff or the Transmat stuff. I'll be looking for these next!!

Then there was some Rob Hood stuff. A lot of people really look to Rob Hood as the first guy in Detroit to can the minimal sound and his Minimal Nation Album defines that sound to a tee.... Minimal, driving, hypnotic and above all Detroit!! For some reason these tracks just hit the all the right strings for me, and I did hear a lot of these tracks when going to parties in Detroit in the mid-90's. I also picked up some F.U.S.E. tracks - I can clearly remember picking up Dimension Intrusion in the early 90's. That was probably one of the CD's that really got me into techno. And the tracks still sound fresh today!!

Someone I particularly is a DJ by the name of Twonz - a DJ from Detroit who championed the Detroit sound - he was known as the techno terrorist before it was socially unacceptable to use the word terrorist. His mix tape, Don't F*ck With Detroit was playing on my stereo pretty much constantly for 2 years. An awesome mix that really highlights what Detroit means to me.

Very happy to reacquaint myself with music that started it all for me. This also has me rediscovering my vinyl collection, which has some gems that I had totally forgotten about. Makes me want to play records out again!


Gear List

In the interest of keeping the blog going, I'm going just post my gear list real quick:

Intel Dual Core PC @ 2Ghz, 2G RAM (need to update this)
Dual flat screen monitors (I find this essential)
Live 8 Suite Edition w/Max for Live
KRK Rokit-8 Speakers (may potentially add my 10", 500W sub to mix)
Roland RBUS VM3100 Pro Mixer
M-Audio RBUS Soundcard
M-Audio Oxygen 8
M-Audio Keystation 88
Native Instruments MASCHINE
NI's Komplete 5
NI's Kore2 + controller
Jazzmutant Lemur
Novation Remote Zero SL
Novation Launchpad
Behringer BCF2000/BCR2000
Camel Audio's Alchemy
D16's Silverline Collection & Classic Boxes Collection
PSP Nitro
IKMultmedia T-Racks Suite

Damn, writing the list down it looks pretty impressive! I've been building/collecting stuff for 10yrs, so not a bad collection at all. Anyways, I'll probably talk about some of the controllers in other posts as that stuff really interests me (although I have a lot to learn here with respect to customization).

That's it for now, I'll leave you with a new track I finished on the weekend that was inspired by a trip to see Jason Hodges play some proper underground house. Hope you enjoy it (and see if you can place the sample - hint, the track title gives it away!):

Doggy Style by Ypsi Kid


The Build pt. 3

So I'm going to try and wrap this up as I think I've been a bit long winded and I also want to move onto some other exciting things to talk about.

I've got my drums, bass and synth line going, I need to orgainze everything for the different parts of the track, sequence the parts out and then do some mixing to get even better levels (this is where concentrating on levels from the beginning comes in very handy - safes you a LOT of time and effort trying to get things right at the end). I have no real formula yet for my tracks, I try and keep things locked onto the 4/8/16/32 bar change ups (either for sections or breaks of the track). I didn't have a lot of different parts for this track so I knew it was going to be a bit tracky (nothing wrong with that if done correctly). Needless to say, I put the sequence together pretty quick and was somewhat happy with it.

After walking away and coming back to the mix, I really did not like how the bass was sounding or sitting in the mix - so I decided to change the sound that I was using for the bass. This can be a problem that I've heard affectionately reffered to as "the dreaded loop monster". This phenomenon happens when you are working on looped based music and start to listen to the same loop(s) for an extended period of time. You tend to convince yourself that it sounds good, only to find out after a break that the loop I've been working on/listening to sucks. So this is always on the back of my mind when making tracks and I'm sure to always come back after a few hours of rest to ensure my material isn't crap!

I was glad to take a break and find that the bass was not what I was looking for. Turned out the patch I picked the second time for the bass fit really nicely into the mix. That pretty much concludes this build post. I'm going to do another one, except a little more more "real time" and less wordy. I'll stick to the juicey facts and make sure to post examples.

That's it for this build, if you've made it through all these build posts, I commend you as they are fairly long and kind of scattered!

Thanks for reading, until next time check out some of my new track on soundcloud.


MAX for LIVE Released!!!

Just had to quickly post about the release of Max for Live. Something that I think will change the face of music production and bring it into the 21st century. Its like being able to pop the hood of a car and customize and tweak to your liking - except you can now do this with instruments, effects and midi effects... while the Ableton is running... WOW.

Thanks to my lovely wife for snagging this for me for my B-Day. I'll be deep in the programming game for a while but hopefully this will enable me to customize my APC40 to my liking. But of course, I will be making some tracks over this time as well (Also picked up Camel Audio's Alchemy, an awesome, powerful and easy to use synth).

I'll be finishing up the build post today as well, need to finish that up as I have tons more I want to post on! I also need to post about my new gear! I should have some time over the next couple of days, so expect lots of new posts over the next few days.



Check this out!

Just wanted to point out a really nicely produced track by someone who frequents the Ableton Message Board - Jeskola01, also known as Breakitdown on Soundcloud. Low Winter Sun - This track is a great piece of work in the DEEP techno realm. Put on those waders, cuz its going deep...

Low Winter Sun by breakitdown

Enjoy, and support him if you like the track, I did.


The Build pt. 2

So I have my light foundation with the drums, just a shell that I can build over top of - again nothing special, but gives the track its first identity and usually is a good indicator of what type of track it will be. I originally started this track with the idea of a dubstep tune in my head (idea being that I wanted to make a dubstep track, not conscious yet of the elements).

With the bass line, I'm using Native Instruments MASSIVE which is a nice flexible synth and one that is easy to use to get a nice big sound (and I believe it is a well used weapon in dubstep). This is a new synth to me, but one I like because, as I said, it's pretty intuitive to use which is a big bonus. So I set out to make my own patch, something I've been working on lately instead of using presets. The process involves using Oscillators to create waveforms, and then use filters and efx to shape the waveforms into something you would use. I was able to get a decent sound pretty quick and used the LFO (low frequency Oscillator) to make the bass wobble by assigning it to the filter cutoff of the onboard efx (what this does is make the filter cutoff, the frequency which is allowed through the filter, to move in either a synched or non-synched way, giving you a decent 'wobble' effect on the bass). Had this in place and used a simple 2 note bass line with some wobble applied.

Now I have my drums and bass, I usually look to add the synth/keys here or I focus on adding rhytmic elements to the drums to add some depth and movement. On this track, I decided to go with the synth/keys first and use a new Virtual Synth I picked up for a steal (regular $150, got it for $15!!) which is Applied Accoustics Ultra Analog VA-1. Another easy to use synth that resembles the 'analog' world. For those of you who don't know, there is the eternal debate of digital vs analog. Some people think digital sounds like crap and analog is warm and fuller sounding - and you get those who say you can't tell the different. I really don't care as long as it sounds good in the context of my tracks... and digital is cheaper and more accessible. Anyways, a great synth that I wanted to start incorporating into my work flow and what better chance to use it than here!

I found a nice pad like sound and, keeping things in key, sequenced out a simple 2 note synth line. Nothing special cuz my music theory sucks, so I have to keep things simple - hwoever, to me, the simple stuff usually sounds the best (or maybe I'm just biased!!). The riff was sitting ok in the mix, but was hitting the same time as a kick and the bass, so things were a bit clogged in this space. To make things breathe a bit better, I eq'd all these elements to carve out some space and give the sounds room to breathe - this worked pretty good, but had to do something else to bring the kick out.

This brings out another tool from the toolbox which is very handy if used correctly (although this is probably over done in todays dance music). Side Chain Compression. Quick overview - compression is simply the idea that you set a threshold in db, and set a ration (ex. 1:2). What this means is that everytime the signal is below the threshold, it is brought up 1db. If the signal goes over the threshold, the signal is reduced by 2 db - so you can manage the levels or db of your tracks better with Compression. Side Chain compression takes that idea and instead of setting a threshold manually, you use a secondary signal in order to set the threshold. So, in my case, I use Side Chain compression on the bass line track, and set the input (threshold) to the kick drum - this means that everytime the kick drum hits, the bass line track will be turned down based on my setting. As you can tell, this is a good technique for giving tracks room to breath, so here, this gives my kick drum space/room to breath over top of the bass line. You can use this technique in extreme ways to get a 'pumping' effect - something very prevalent in French House (ex. Daft Punk).

I think that's good for today, so in the mean time let me post the finished product of this process. I'll talk about the other aspects of the production in the next couple of posts.

Slow & Steady by Ypsi Kid