The Process to make progress on my own sound signature period (part 4)
What's released and what i do really like so far
So my first step was to listening every single piece of vinyl i own since i started djing sure i guess it’s an advantage a certain way all those years of djing but also a constraint as you put really high your level of expectations without noticing it much. You also want probably to be recognize by your god fathers which make sense, as this music scene/genre is important to you.
I distinct few things by that. There were music i like to play when it’s released and in the context of a party and i don’t really like it anymore (but it’s a good memory and it remember memories as well) There were absolutely stunning music that i feel i can play again today without any complain at all. (Those are important and i made a playlist from them) Then, there’s modernized music who fall into the category of “stunning music as well”.
There were totally different music genre that i listening too when i don’t want to listen electronic music and those are important as well.
Part of the process then was to analyse “stunning music (past)” and “stunning music” (modernized) in terms of construction, in terms of sounds, in terms or processing, in terms of emotions i feel when listening full time or part of it.
I made few Ableton Analysis folders by putting a track to analyse and fake the arrangement with emty midi bloc - i go indepth in this regarding my energy and tiredness it’s quite demanding - so just do one a day…
You will wrote what type of sounds you like - dislike
what type of creative idea in terms of construction the musician had…
Try then to learn sound design and focus on types of sounds you really like only. Things you can use for real in a futur track of your own.
You can also do the same with sample collection, finding what the closest to your taste and analyse how do they made things. You may realize there's two types of phrases :
- the dominant ideas (Foreground, Theme, Main gimmick whatever you call it)
- the ideas which support them, put them in value by their secondary qualities or background positioning
It’s something to learn that. Because, you’ll learn how things are intricate with each other.
And both Foreground and Background elements are strong even if we call the secondary “week” part from time to time.
In terms of Sample Collection, i don’t fall into the puzzle game trap. Creating my music by myself for the most part is important. But, i accepted like in a band that i can’t do everything nice. As an electronic musician you’ll make Bass, Theme, Drums, and anything so basically like in a band, unless you are multi-instrumentist there’s nothing wrong to collaborate with other musicians. So i may borrow a proper shaker played by a real percussionist… simply just because the groove is in there. You can’t make better with your own shaker and you own mic without any practice at all. Unless, a latin groove expert lived not far from you… nothing wrong to borrow a great part. If the sum of this part and yours match and you are satisfied. Well done.
Generally, every primarily part (main, foreground, theme) from sample collection are left. That’s how i deal with that. the foreground is me, even the background are from my experiment. (i may use textures from sample collection, top groove, one-shots or re-creating it - i may extract frequencies elements from a multi with things like regroover pro or re-synthesis options on certain vst synth)
I learnt Sound synthesis exactly to make my own sounds, so i borrow only tiny fragments that inject groove in my track. And also, to kickstart myself and explored other sonic territory and at some point - i delete those parts and continu on a more personal sum of parts.
Acoustic sounds, Synthetic Sounds
There's something here and for my case it's part of finding my own sound signature. There's sounds in electronic music i dislike. Mainly, synthetic clap, rides and synthetic attempt to recreate acoustic sounds. My approach in the use of those sounds is i use only things i like. So i tend to use Acoustic version of the Synthetic one i dislike.
I do not use sampled sounds from copyrighted music. With nowadays algorithm i don’t want to be sued neither taking the risk to be sued… So if i need vocals i do it myself through a processing chain or vocal processing gear. Or i pay someone to shout the phrases i want and i make a contract whereby the person bequeaths me the rights of his vocal parts or I give him/her a percentage of the rights - it’s a featuring. Done.
Gears, setup and this Live Performance
From scratch of the project gestation, my idea was to composed the music on gears and have a certain freedom in terms on performing my sounds live. I remembered that I have never been as productive as on a groovebox. So when i look over the market of groovebox and drum machine few years ago i find elektron and i gel with it instantly. From the dark trinity to more recent devices - a big part comes from elektron synth.
Essentially the Analog Four (One finger chords, Movment Lead & Pad, Pluck, Gimmik), the Digitone (FM Bass, Keys, Organ, Marimba, Plastic, Wood, Glass and Bells weirdness) and the Argon 8M (mainly 7th or 9th chords of Pads, Soundscapes or Textures), a TB Clone for TB alike phrases.
On the Drums, Loop side, i will use an Analog Rytm + Toraiz SP16
There’s a small digital mixer + few AUX pedals, the master goes Analog Heat then PA system.
Then there’s a computers with Ableton and Resolume Arena (gear are synced by E-RM a Multiclock USB) where dummy midi clip are following patterns on my music gears, triggering all my visuals and story telling so the story follow along with timing i choose and tracks i perform.
(don’t worry i will extend on that and gives more informations on why i choose that kind of combinations)