Track – Live High

This track started life on the MPC X, and I did everything I could to try and use Clip mode to create loops. How the MPC X handles clips is close to what I need, especially compared to how previous versions handled clips… but I have to say, it is not quite there.

I’ve got two main problems with how the MPC X handles clips. The first problem is that the looper cannot be used in real time in many instances, because you are forced to take audio off of your inputs (mostly fine) or resampling (not really fine). Resampling means that you’ve got to take a break in your workflow if you want to resample something you are doing live while running other audio. The other problem I hit was that when you export the loop from audio to a sample, when you assign it in clip mode, it does some kind of strange BPM timing… and this almost never matched what the project I was working on. Although my project was 96bpm, it would just assume what seemed like a random BPM 90% of the time, and with warping on it would sound like hot stretched garbage, even with the Pro Ten warping turned on. This is a big bummer and doesn’t bode well for using the MPC X as something you could use in a live environment.

The drums come in courtesy of the Pocket Operator Tonic, and pretty much seeded this track. I sampled a full 16 pads, but I think I really only used 7 or 8 of the sounds, and nothing fancy for 16 level or other tricks here, just a straight up beat this time around.

The bass and lead sounds I created from the Access Virus Dark Star, and I played quite a few patterns to see what I liked. There is probably enough to make a whole other song or two, but for now it is saved off in this project. I only used 5 loops created from this, and the song plugs along without a whole lot of variety.

The vocals are all me, sampling into the Pocket Operator Speak, on fx 7, and dropping the tone of the content by 8 semitones. I was going for a more computer synthesized set of audio, and it definitely gave that effect. The vocals are “Yo that sounds dope get real live high” and chopped up into the MPC X to give the audio components. I had thought about pitching the vocals around, and I ought to have for some more variety, but I ran out of steam for this project.

The grand total of clips are 2 drum loops, 2 bass loops, 3 lead loops, and 2 vocal loops that make up this song. Honestly, I could have finished this within the MPC, but I ended up bringing it into Ableton Live just to audition the clips and track them out faster. I will probably go back and take a stab at doing it all within the MPC X at some point, but I also just wanted to finish this track. While it might suffer from it a bit, I’m also trying to focus on just completing at least a quarter of the tracks I get started, and I have a large backlog of started, but unfinished tracks.

No More Technology – #Jamuary

No eurorack modules were harmed in the making of this video. The PO-32 (Tonic) makes up the drums, the PO-35 (Voice) is how I got the “No More Technology” hook, and… the lead/bass came from some Eurorack mess. I recorded all of this into Ableton Live for some FX processing. All of this was recorded back in October/November, and I’ve meant to create a finished track.

In the spirit of #Jamuary though, I figured I’d break out some gear and refine the track a bit more. I’m really trying to cap myself to about 30-60 minutes of production time this month for each song. This is good in some ways because it’s forcing me to get ideas down, but it is bad in a few other ways since I’m really not mixing/mastering anything. Leaving this track with a bit more of a tinny sound than I’d like, but hey it is what it is.

I used to be a master with Ableton Live back in the day, but I haven’t touched it much lately. First, I have been kind of a hardware snob… so there’s that. Second, most of my productions were done between Live 1.1 and Live 6.0. I’ve really fallen quite behind in a lot of features, so I’m going to have to learn the software again.