Track – Work Work

Dropping this track… now… folks in the MPC Forums have seen this in my sig for a while now… I’ve just been super lazy in posting.

The ride I happened to see while I was grabbing ice cream and had to take a picture. While I don’t want to old one of these older vehicles, I can appreciate them when I see them!

This was done almost entirely on the MPC X for sequencing sections and building it out into a song… in song mode. Haha!

In writing it, the song sounded way too clean to me. As it stands, it’s now way too muddy, but that was the sound I was looking for. Making it all good right?

To really get the muddy sound I ran the track through my Chase Bliss Audio pedals, specifically I got a lot of work from Condor for tweaking the EQ… and this was quite heavy handed since I wasn’t worrying about mixing and master the track… so I was doing some lazy 3 band eq filter mixing… because that’s all you’ve got from Condor. If I had tracked everything out through it, one track at a time a 3 eq band can definitely suffice, but yeah… for a final mix without really any thought to mixing tracks, this is a quick way to get a bit muddy. Again though… I didn’t care for this track and it was half of the point.

The other muddy buddy in here is the Generation Loss. You can hear that I went pretty noticeable on the wow/flutter, and there’s a bit of VHS tape noise simulation in the mix that I filtered down with the LP filter. Ultimately I was going for a sound that really sounded like some of my old tapes that had been used and abused a bit too much, and this is where my memory took me.

Is it too much? Absolutely! Am I happy with the results? Absolutely! One of these days I might put up the clean version of the track, but for now I will let this stand as it is.


LoFi Buttery Piano – Akai MPC X Program

Let me start by explaining the patch a bit, and how I got here…

Life started off on the Akai S950, using piano multi samples from G1 through C4, every sixth note… My goal was to get some of that S950 12-bit grit and artifacts, but still keep it relatively free of the crazy stretching artifacts you can get by just sampling a single note and stretching it across the entire keyboard. This way, it maintains a lot of the characteristics of a piano, instead of heading into the field of creating what sounds like a more synthetic instrument.

From here, I routed the audio output into my guitar pedal board. The output on the S950 was a bit hot coming out of the mix channel though, requiring me to get the output level down to about halfway so that I wasn’t hearing any clipping or distortion on the output signal from the S950. A little bit of strategic EQ’ing helped to round out the sound through Brothers, I wanted to get a bit of that old school Casio sound, though I don’t have one handy any more for reference, so I was going from memory what of “that sound” was.

Once I settled into how I wanted to EQ the audio, I routed it to the Generation Loss. You’ll definitely hear the Flutter the most, but there is some Wow in the background as well. I also switched on the Noise, I really wanted it to sound like the piano was recorded from an old school tape that had been played quite a bit, and the tape player was about to fall apart. This definitely shines through in the samples recorded.

Everything was sampled in through the Autosampler on the MPC X, and here I recorded every note, as I didn’t want the Wow or Flutter distortion to get further distorted through the sampling engine on the MPC. Although the noise exists in the samples, I decided to tame it a bit by adding a low pass filter into the program. It helps pass through that strained sound without the piano sounding so harsh. If you want to add the noise back in just go into program mode and modify KeyGround->All and open that filter up.

Anyway, feel free to play around with this program, I had fun sampling it, and may end up adding some variations as I play around with it. I’m not sure you can tune anything to it or with it, but it definitely has a vibe all its own.

Who’s Home – PO-33 #Jamuary

I’m not really happy with this, but I also had a bit of a gap for #Jamuary. Guess it was too much to think I’d put something together every day. On the other hand, it is freeing to have just taken a few takes, and going for the best of them so that I can move on.

There really isn’t anything too special here, and I actually sampled way more than I ended up using. Some of the other tracks I’ve posted I’ve been thinking of going back and actually tracking them out and mixing them up a bit, but this one I was super into last week, and now it just kind of falls flat for me.

Another thing of note, I decided not to use any of the PO-33 FX, and it was probably the right call in this case, I wasn’t exactly feeling the track, and while the PO-33 FX can add some fun, it helps to enjoy jamming with the track.

My last note, I usually spend time balancing out the guitar pedal effects, but you can very clearly hear that the audio levels bounce around. I am not proud of this, but again, probably best to just get something down and out sometimes. It’s now time to move on from this track and start recording in some more samples 😀

Its my Jam – PO-33 Track

The image is courtesy of a road trip I did with my family from the East Coast out to Montana. On the way back we stopped at an amethyst mine, and I got some really cool pictures of some older beat up vehicles. There was some really cool stuff going on here, and we got some neat amethyst crystals to bring back home with us.

As for the song, nothing too fancy here, just using samples of thumps and bumps from everyday objects. A lot of the magic is just pitching things up and down, using filters… and then just jamming it out. I’m going to stick with the PO-33 a bit longer, but a lot of the initial magic playing around with the FX again is a bit gone, it has now gone from being novel to producing some pretty similar sounds to my ear. The device is still fantastic, and it might just be time for me start considering what I am going to move on to for a device to keep going on making tracks.

This is also another track I struggled with sounding like two different songs from the two four bar patterns I created. To remedy this I tried to create a couple two bar transitional sections to get it a bit more under control. I’m pretty happy with the results, and decided to take it for a spin through the Chase Bliss Audio effect monster. I’m pretty happy with it, but I think it’s time for me to play around with the ordering of the pedals soon. They weren’t put into any particular order other than what I thought might be interesting a couple of months ago.

I don’t think I have hit the end of creativity with this little device by any means, and I’ve definitely spit out more content in the last week than I have in the last few months, but it is also what it is. Maybe I’ll try and knock out another six to ten tracks, and actually write up more thoughts on it. Where I am is perhaps just a six or seven day slump. Too much creative energy expended?

Glass Mythology – PO-33 Track

The image comes courtesy of a business trip to Bangalore. The pool with the blue lights looked amazing so I had to take a picture. I’ll have to keep an eye out for more of these eye catching images… and maybe I can do a better job getting a “live” photo on my phone… or a video… so I can work out some neat video tricks versus just having a video of me clicking on guitar pedals and such.

The friendship bracelet is courtesy of my daughter. While my wife has been away on vacation, my daughter decided to make friendship bracelets for the family. She has taken it away a few times, when I’ve been more parent than friend, but for the time being I have it back 😀

The plucking string/harp sound really kicked off this song. I heard it, and new I had to use it in a song. For whatever reason it reminded me of the glass bells sound you used to find in a lot of older hip hop songs, which meant this had to be a hip hop track. I mean seriously… listen to that sound, in all its glory!

Today I really only constructed ten patterns. Two four bar loops, and a couple of transition/drop patterns. I liked how it came out, but it felt like it needed a bit more FX so I processed it through my mad Chase Bliss Audio science lab. Mistakes were made in the recording of this track, but an artist is supposed to take the mistakes a build on them. I’ve built a tower!

Listening to the track again, I think the Condor could have been used to reinforce the bass for most of the track, the bass is a bit wimpy and could use some additional oomph. The Wombtomb added some really awesome phaser effects, but you’ll hear when I was turning the knob the slow sounds great, the fast sounds great, the middle part… not so much. When I practiced a little to get some good knob settings, I definitely got some great sounds out of the Generation Loss, but I wasn’t as impressed in the recording… I am chocking it up to the difference between Wow and Flutter, and I picked the wrong one in the recording. Well Generation Loss wasn’t bad, I just know it can do better. What else? Oh, Mood scares me in live situations… I had some really cool sounds when I was practicing, but it is totally hit or miss when you’ve got complex sounds going and when you engage/disengage the sample really matters. This try, Mood missed… *sigh*… some day I will learn to control it better.

Insert Original Song Title Here

This is just messing around with the Akai MPC X, I tapped out a beat using the Rawcutz sample pack, and for those that care the sound kit is “HipHop-Kit-RC Ace Kit 95.xmp”. Yeah yeah… I usually do my own chopping and sampling… but I was more interested in just putting something together quick and checking out how hot the output levels are on the MPC X, and how badly distorted it would get going through the Chase Bliss pedals.

For one… the level and impedance are a bit too much for the pedals, unless you want a distorted and over driven sound. You don’t have direct control with a knob for the outputs 3-8, so you’ll either need a mixer, or in my case, I just dropped the output by -20db. This seemed like the right amount. This also means that to get back from guitar pedal level, back to line level, you’ll need to bring the signal in a bit hot again. You can absolutely create clipping/over drive problems doing this, and it might be on output or on input issue, but you’ll just have to trust your ear… or get fancy out board gear to measure your signals.

This isn’t anything terribly fancy, I was just having fun blasting the sounds through the pedals and seeing what came out. I’m pleasantly surprised that the Spectre did not go into immediate whale calls, because that’s a frequent side effect of this pedal. For this play through, I was less excited by the Brothers pedal, to my ears it just made the signal too hot. I’ll have to experiment with pedal ordering some more, and it’s possible Condor would help a bit with sound sculpting in this case.

Back to jamming!