New original musical microblogging – POWERLESS

Photo 28

Notice Uncle Leo hiding behind the guitar in the picture above.


Powerless – this is more musical microblogging, very much in the spirit of Hector & Achilles, but with better software.  I’m not sure if it’s a better result.  Anyway, the goal was to get both Guitar Rig and Reason running through Logic.  That worked great, except I couldn’t quite figure out how to use the Logic instruments without triggering the Reason stuff.  And the video tutorial I was working from sucked, so there was still a lot of trial and error.  And Uncle Leo kept walking on the laptop – big surprise there.

So this is a pair of Dr Rex rhythms coming through Reason (first one then both patterns), acoustic piano from the Reason NN-19 sampler (but using reverb and chorus from Logic) and a Thor patch called Alan Turnig’s Dream, also through Reason.

Guitar was supplied by my old Travis Bean, still in need of some cosmetic repair work.  Sadly, it was too late at night to run live out of the Lab Series amplifier, so I settled for a cheezy preset from Guitar Rig.  You have to hand it too Native Instruments, even the feedback from the Bean’s high output humbuckers is faithfully modeled.  Basically this is supposed to be a Vox AC-30 (2×12) with a bit of delay.  I don’t like these digital models for guitar, but they are damned convenient, especially after hours.

All other sounds were played on the Axiom 25 keyboard, which had to have its first hard reset because when I started all but three of the keys were non-functional.  Fortunately the reset solved that problem.

Hopefully there is decent volume.  My old GarageBand efforts are usually pretty quiet.  This may be quiet too because the meters on Logic weren’t peaking.  To my ears, though, it sounds OK.  I haven’t tried to automate any panning or really doing anything left-right at all.  Sorry – no spacial dynamics this time.  I try to learn that as I get more comfortable with the recording, mixing and mastering.

This was really just an exercise, but I’m very pleased about it’s faithfulness to the original musical microblogging concept from – almost exactly one minute.

Batman and Robin

It’s clear who is in charge.  Fretbuzzdotnet wrote and performed this lovely little number, and you can hear his sublime take on production here – very different and very excellent.

I, on the other hand, am quite content to be Robin.  I’m not the boss, but I like to think I contribute. Not sure I’d look as good in tights.  Anyway, after my behavior last night (don’t ask) I needed a time out.  Thanks to fbdn, this is what came out. Sorry about the percussion freak out, but Squarepusher is, after all, the Artist of The Week. Make sure to turn up the volume. The mix came out quiet.


Musical DNA

What Makes A Song?

In recent weeks, I’ve committed myself to utilizing the various composition tools at my disposal, especially this computer. So I’ve been mucking about a lot in an effort to basically duplicate the experience I had with iMovie. While that has worked out well, I’m not satisfied with the limitations of the software. Having to go to the previous version to create clips with video manipulation and different speeds has been a chore, even though it has added more visual options. However, when push comes to shove, I would gladly give up the visual spfx and just enjoy the simplicity and effectiveness of the new program’s interface. In a way, that’s the most important feature of all, and not all those bells and whistles.

So this brings me to the Native Instruments I/O box and the midi controller for software instruments, and now it’s all about GarageBand. Lots of tracks, beautiful interface, loops galore for all instruments and voice. It’s plenty of bells and whistles with a (now that I got the hardware interfaces) friendly and inviting interface. I’m getting pretty comfortable pretty quickly, but I still haven’t done a ‘mic’d up recording’. That will have to wait till I address the issue of getting started.

So the options put me in mind of a complex dance. I can let the machine lead me, more so than in a long time when I just recorded to four track live with a drum pattern generated by a Zoom multi-effects pedal. Now, I can sequence directly, but it’s clumsy. The software is really encouraging loop development and provides numerous grooves, tempos, kits, fills, and everything else you could hope for.

My most successful compositions have been developed so that they would sound full and complete, even if only played by a single, six-string guitar. No effects, no amp, perhaps no pick. That, to me, was the DNA of a composition. I could then layer, overdub and jam at will.

Another decision is whether to begin with something (simple) and new, or try to create, from the ground up, a performance of a song for which I’ve (basically) decoded that musical DNA. I have started that process already, just to have a canvas from which to work. I’m bothered by having to hunt and hunt for exactly the right rhythm part for songs that I’m already acquainted with. I’m guessing that hunting will go easier when I’m doing that while conjuring a new composition. There are a few contenders for this, but so far nothing I’ve played while plugged into the I/O box.

And then there’s the bass…

So I have a ways to go, but I have gotten started.