I haven’t had a chance to record over the past week due to a full schedule however I have finished one track excluding the violin and female backing vocals as I still haven’t recorded her the plan is to finish the second song with Oscar next week then get the violinist in to record over both of the songs in one session, this means that i only have to get her in once. i have started downloading stems to mix I plan on using a variety of genres to test myself and teach myself new techniques prominent in different genres, I’ve just downloaded the stems of a trap song while I am not a fan of trap i think that song mixing techniques used in trap would apply for genres that i am a fan of such as grime or dubstep.
So far i have been making myself familiar with Ableton and the APC40 I have a song that isn’t quite finished yet but i have started cutting up and putting into Ableton this is just so that i can practice while i finish the song. I spent the first week learning how to cut the audio files and put them into the session view without this i wouldn’t be able to even start, i still need to finish the song and decide which effects i want to use in the performance as well as considering whether to introduce a second MIDI controller to use the faders to control the effects which could result in a nice dub delay. the effects i am definitely using are a delay and reverb some i may consider are a chorus or flanger but i will have to see how they fit into the song.
I have been recording a singer song writer that i have recorded before, i have a couple of songs that we have recorded in the past and we plan on recording another two so he can release them as an EP, I am recording the songs as well as starting the mixing process with him because he is very much the producer he knows what he wants from his songs and is very particular about which parts stay in and which parts get cut out i continue the mixing by myself after the outline has been created with him i will also be the one mastering the songs for release. so far we have nearly finished one song the reason we have not finished this song yet is because we are trying to get a violinist in to record violin over the top and provide backing vocals how ever it has been struggle to find a time where we are all free and have access to a studio, I plan to start recording the second song with Oscar now and see when the violinist is available to record and when she is we will track both the songs on the same to avoid this problem again. while Oscar is very much the producer i do have input on his music where he will do a few takes and ask me which i preferred often going with my choice.
recording has started with my first artists who is a singer song writer called Oscar Prince he is a friend of mine but he will be bringing in a friend of his to play violin and provide backing vocals, we have currently spent about 2 and a half hours recording, my main role is just as a studio engineer how ever i do have a small input production wise especially when it comes down to choosing which takes to use and management of time. the current plan is to record two songs with Oscar as well as mixing and mastering them, this may change to include more songs but as of yet is staying at two.
We have been learning to set up, sound check and mix a live band this has included front of house and a monitor mix, one of the main things to understand before actually mixing is the signal path of audio, for the monitor desk it goes from the mic, through the XLR and into the audio interface from the interface it then goes to a spliter allowing the signal to be sent to both desks, one feed of the signal goes through an xlr into the desk and then down the channel strip, on the monitor desk the channel strip goes in order of the on button (which is above the channel fader) then gain and then the sends to the monitors. there is also a channel EQ allowing you to equalize the source to give the artist a a realistic sound for example removing high end from the kick drum. on the desk you want to make sure that the mix channel faders are up to 0 and the volume of what you are sending is controlled with the sends from the channels. the difference on the front of house (FOH) desk is that there is no channel “on” button but mute buttons instead and also the main difference is that you aren’t working with groups in the same way, each channel is sent to the master output and the groups will mainly be used to boost volume of a channel or collection of channels for example if the vocals aren’t loud enough just from output of the channel then sending them to a group as well as the master mix will boost levels.
when mixing the band, the levels are not the only important thing the EQ of each channel is also very important because without EQ the instruments can just sound wrong and it will be a poor listening experience for example in a live environment a bass guitar can sound like rhythm guitar making the mid frequencies very busy when the bass should be positioned lower in the frequency spectrum via EQ, this opens up the mix and makes each instrument more defined.
when setting up a live band close micing is normally the preferred method, this is to reduce spill from other instruments, the crowd or even the play back systems which could cause feedback issues to occur. also when setting up you have to think about health and safety, making sure wires are out of the way to avoid tripping hazards.
For my live sound assesment I had to set up and mix for a 4 piece band (drums, bass, guitar and vocals) the drums were close mic’ed with 1 overhead however as the venue wasn’t huge the drums didn’t have to be boosted in a group after normal gain, when doing the EQ for the drums i boosted the low end and cut the high end, cutting the high end will help with any spill, the toms were EQed a similar way to the kick but with the frequencies shifted up a bit with the top end tweaked to ear, similar with the bass DI, the guitarist had issues hearing himself in the monitor mix after trying to adjust it on the desk for a bit i soon realised that he was very far away from his monitor wedge so i moved it closer to his guitar pedal which forced him to be closer to it, this fixed the issue and he was able to hear himself fine after that. when mixing FOH I was mostly happy with the mix although i was having issues with the vocals they sounded lost in the mix and i think this was because i had boosted or cut at the wrong frequencies on the vocals which put them in the same frequency band as the other instruments which results in a muddy sound. If I did the assesment again i would have spent more time on cable management as it was poor with cables across the stage or hanging from high mic stands this causes tripping hazards and more confusing if there is an issue with whatever is on the end of the cable.
I am considering doing a live performance with Ableton and an APC40 to play a rack live and manipulate/ effect it live, this will be a challenge for me because i have a limited amount of knowledge about ableton and I have not had much experience using live MIDI controllers. the equipment i need is a mac book with Ableton installed, and APC40 and a playback system.
Generative music is where creative control is almost take off the human artist and instead replaced with algorithms designed to randomise the structure and/or the midi notes played. Two terms you must become familiar with as part of generative music are voice and path, a voice is a sound similar to voices on a keyboard, the more voices you use at once the more interesting or complex your piece can be. Paths are what the voice follows and there for determine what pattern the voices will play these paths can change as they go along or hold a linear pattern.
A piece of software designed to create generative music is Noatikl which is a 16 track generative midi programme it also has MIDI out support which means that you can use it to play your hardware synthesizers with generated paths, however this piece of software is more designed toward drones and ambient sounds opposed to more of a song structure. Noatikl uses an interface similar to that of Max where you connect up objects to move along the signal flow this means that the user interface is quite intuitive and makes it easier to pick up and opening up the objects is where you set the parameters for each one or add effects onto voices.
It’s hard to talk about generative music without talking about Brian Eno he is an artist/producer and thought of as a pioneer of generative music one of his releases “music for airports” released in 1978 used sungnotes repeating at unorthodox timings Brian Eno said that this was so that “they are not likely to come back into sync again.” (Eno, 1996) this means that the song will sound different with every loop of tape, this is important as it is a trope of generative music, you don’t want it to be repetitive or looping as it would then not feel generative or random as it should.
Generative music does not follow conventional rules like other genres such as a set tempo or drum pattern instead it has different rules more about the production or creation of it. Generative music almost needs to make itself the artist simply records the sounds or sets the parameters and the system put in place does the rest. This means that generative music cant be described the same way as other genres because there is no limitation to or expected instrumentation and no expected mood or feel to the track.