Heading into Tracking Station Studio with Tom W to work with the mighty PDog tonight, should be fun. In the meantime, here is a short piece of instrumental music I wrote for a friend of mine’s electronics blog. Check it out! - http://lucsmall.com
The Glass Slipper
Here is my latest song, The Glass Slipper. It is a loop-based mood piece about the moment the party is over. It represents yet another shift in a new sonic direction and this time I feel like the result is more “me”. Hoping to do a couple of other songs in a similar style soon.
Download from http://soundcloud.com/dangarstu/glassslipper
Comping a vocal track with Ableton Live
Although Albeton Live is not traditionally used for vocal-centric music I have begun to find it one of the better pieces of software I have used for exactly that purpose. One of the reasons for this is the ease with which you can record multiple takes and then create a composite track from the best parts.
I’m sure there are many ways to perform this task but this post is about the method that I found worked best for me.
Thief is a song about respecting others and standing up for those who aren’t in a position to stand up for themselves. Despite being a serious song in many respects, I’ve had a lot of fun taking the music in a more electronic direction than I ever have in the past. I’m still learning a lot about Ableton Live and I’m continually surprised and impressed with what it is capable of.
Download from http://soundcoud.com/dangarstu/thief
Script for finding identical files
Over the last few months I’ve been collecting some drum loops from Silicon Beats (http://www.siliconbeats.com/) to use in my songs. My usual routine has been to buy a new set of beats then sit with my laptop on the train and listen through them all, picking out the ones that I think might suit various songs. When I find one I like I copy it to a separate directory under the name of the song it might suit. This process had been working pretty well for me so far until I decided that I really needed find some similar beats and matching drum rolls in order to add some extra dynamics and variety to the songs. Of course what I had failed to record is what any of the beats were originally called (or even what set they came from), and that made finding their matching rolls tricky…
Chosing a Creative Commons Licence
It’s very easy with songs, and no doubt all art, to feel that your creations are your babies. You send them out into the world and people form their own relationships with them, completely independent of you, their creator. With our flesh and blood babies, however, as well as having an influence on those they meet they are in turn affected and changed, and that is a healthy part of growing up. You have a significant input into their lives, particularly in the early days, but eventually comes the time to let go. I have always been happy about releasing my songs free to the world under a Creative Commons licence but I have always preferred one of the No Derivatives variants. What if someone made a version that changed the message of the song? Or worse, what if someone made a version that was better than the original?! The reality is that all of these things are both likely and good for the world so I have decided to move to a Share Alike licence and let these songs go off to live a life of their own without an over-protective parent spoiling all their fun.
For Tea, Sympathy and a Sofa
Well, I promised myself I’d record a song this weekend to end my procrastination and I got there in the end. Some times just telling yourself you are going to record something - anything - is a good way to get the ball rolling. It might not be God’s gift to music but it’s a start. Having recently taken advantage of Ableton’s 33% off deal this is the first song I have made with Live and I must stay I quite enjoyed the process. Live is a great program for letting you record snippets of music as they come to you and worry about piecing them all together later on - a refreshing change from the classic multitrack paradigm. Live is a program that is as useful during the process of writing as it is for making the final recording and I’m really starting to like it. I chose to record For Tea, Sympathy and a Sofa, (a very old song of mine) due to its simple repeating chord progression. I hope you like it.
Download from http://soundcloud.com/dangarstu/for-tea-sympathy-and-a-sofa
In order to start and stop Ableton Live’s looper while playing guitar I needed a foot switch of some description. Looking around the net I came across this wonderful post by AlexMC on how to make your own pedal board from an old USB computer keyboard.
I won’t go through the construction of the pedal in detail as AlexMC covers that very well already, but I will say a little bit about where I did things differently.
A new musical direction means a new equipment setup so I thought I’d share some thoughts on the different configurations I’ve tried so far. My first port of call was the open-source program SooperLooper. SooperLooper is an excellent multitrack audio looper for Mac and Linux. I don’t really trust computers as far as I can throw them though so I also started looking into a variety of hardware loopers. The new Boss RC-30 looked promising, as did some of the old favourites such as the Akai E2 HEAD RUSH…
Making Loop-Based Music
Having been introduced to looping by the wonderful Mr Percival (http://www.mrpercival.com/home.cfm) I’ve decided to experiment with this medium as a way of performing my own original songs as a solo side project I’m starting outside of GIRT (http://girt.tv). Over the next few days I’ll post some info about my efforts to get set up for this new adventure.