#jamuary2021 – Hamburgled

That dang squirrel… taking my food!

Putting this track together was fun… but I did struggle a bit (again) with audio tracks, external midi, and exporting the file. I know I grumbled about this before, but Akai really needs to get an ability to mix in from the inputs for a track if/when you need to. I suppose posting everything to audio tracks is fine, but the workflow is just wonky to me. I’ll quit my belly aching on it, but it did lead to a bit of a mess uploading a track that was missing a core synth part. On the pro soundcloud account it’s not a *huge* problem to replace a track, but boy was it funny to go back and listen to the track and notice it was missing. It’s something I can fix in my on process for creating and publishing songs, but… well… it’s a hassle. Also… to be fair, even if there was a checkbox to use external gear to get it in from the inputs I’d probably still complain about it being a problem because then I’d probably double up sounds, or cause myself other problems. Maybe it is fine Akai? Maybe! This is just something that’s been such an ingrained workflow in DAWs though, that it does lead me to at least one area where the MPC in standalone isn’t quite enough as a DAW. Everything inside the box it is cool, but exporting out content it doesn’t work quite so hot. /grumbling off…

For this track I was looking to push myself in a different way of building songs, and was trying to think about how I would do this similar to Ableton Live, making micro edits, and cutting chopping, and replacing notes… all that fun stuff. As another experiment, I’d say it worked okay… but I felt like I was fighting the interface a lot. Not just from the above… but I had plenty of notes across the range from C-1 to C-8 or so, and while in grid view and switching tracks, it kept moving the view finder. It would be most excellent if the grid view would remember what range of notes you were last editing, because while I didn’t mind changing tracks to edit notes and placements and all, what I did mind was having to change to the magnifying glass tool, zip around to look at what I wanted to see, and then change tracks to realize I had forgotten where I was. Copious notes might help here while doing editing, but it definitely made me feel like I was fighting the machine in a way that I haven’t felt in a while. Working in one large sequence was freeing in one way, but it seems that the grid view and editing in general is a side effect of this, and the device isn’t really tailored towards working on such long passages. I can live with it for sure, and it will probably lead me back down the path of working with multiple sequences, but there is a certain spontaneity that I feel I was getting working on a single sequence that I haven’t gotten hammering on a bunch of different sequencer sections.

All that said, I am still quite happy continuing to work just in the MPC interface, and I suspect there are further workflow changes I can make to help streamline the music creation process. I’m taking this month as an opportunity to keep building on things I learned from last month, and may end up ejecting into a different production device, or software at some point, just to round myself back out a bit more. Who knows!

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