This what I do at night and the evenings (and on the weekends etc.).
I have a small record label that’s a growing collection of my more organized music projects; a release platform for my music, cues and songs for professional commercial use, and–as of this year, a growing filed recording library.
Does anyone out there have any music needs?
Rather than a generalist, I do a few things very well (synth textures mixed with folk instruments to name one).
Below is from early this week. Cuckoo is from Norway and a bit of a modern titan in today’s YouTube-based synth world. This is a pice I did that will go into a pack I am building called Today’s Future [but]_non-dystopian_. (starts at 10:52!)
Today’s patch was originally intended to be a spatial, washy sound-bed for a forthcoming track “Ghidd Whaah.” Mixing the original wrapped this week, and yesterday a rearranged the track for a micro live set. The plan was to enter it in a new #jamuary2022 contest.
(Jamuary is a sharing event at the start of each year meant to get folks writing. In maybe it’s 4th or 5th interaction, it really seems to be growing.)
Coincidentally, the theme this week was “uplifting,” and “Gheed Whaah” is just that, composed of gibberish robot lyrics set to nice chords.
[This how-i-did it is a much as a kind-of diary as a look into the ‘how’ on this particular patch.]
I started in B @ 85bpm with a randomized Xynthesizr patch. Xynthesizr is a iPhone app that allows for all sorts of tinkly synth sequences. It is a good starting point for just about anything—ex.: think drone to write acoustic chords over.
From there it’s fed into the Morphagene, which mangles audio in all sorts of horrible ways. In between this carnage, there are some beautiful bits. I’ve really been trying to get to this beauty a lot faster, so I’ve been burning up the manual as well as racking up the reps/ hours.
Basically this module allows you to tape, chop, shrink/ expand bits of audio in some sort of way so that totally new sounds unheard by man coming out the other side.
I am generally still flying blind, but the tiniest rays of light are starting to poke thru.
And to complicate life even further, this is all being fed into the Mimeophon, which is a delay/ echo/ reverb unit. I know it does a lot more, but this is what I have it doing now. Again, I can only scratch the surface presently, but I have real faith greatness here too is just around the bend.
These were made to work together.
Lastly, I duplicated the output and fed it thru a Doepfer SEM filter. Really I wanted to see what would happen, but I made it self oscillate into a kind of bass drone. I am pretty sure I know what’s going on, but I need more time, man!
The whole of all of this is firmly in happy accident territory. And in my personal continuing quest for non-dystopian-future-sounding future sounds,* I’m not sure there is a better customizable instrument.
Learn and map out a bunch of basic song structures. Drag your favorite song into your DAW and mark the sections.
Then, when writing, pick a structure and write to this. You can always get fancy later.
If the above feels too restrictive consider the alternative is the hard way. (Maybe you do not know your structures enough. I didn’t but thought I did.)
100% of the time it’s easier to break the rules when you know them in the first place.
Even if you just have 4-bars, stretch out the song idea over a whole structure immediately, no mater how pitifully thin some parts seem. If the spark is real and you actually have something, your seed/ idea will more than survive. In fact, there will more than likely be more to it than you initially thought.
Remember, it’s easier to take away then to add after your initial burst of inspiration.
The dark magic may be in your initial writing, but the money is in the re-writing. Anyone can come up with an idea, but hardly anyone produces finished work.
Set a time of day to re-write. An appointment.
When at a this writing appointment give yourself 2 options: write or do nothing; not internet nothing. Absolutely nothing; just sit there. (This is advice is from Neil Gaiman, and he knows.)
Always better to have too many words and verses.
Then, the more medieval you are about chopping words the better.
Keep it simple. Play to about 50% of your top-end ability.
What’s Good? Favorite DJ resource on the Internet (a/k/a Youtube) is Digital DJ Tips. Honerable mention to DJ Tech Tools as well.
Can I stream? No you cannot stream form Apple music or Spotify. You have to to sign up for Tidal, but I am not using streaming this time around.
How to Setlist? Per Digital DJ Tips’ advice, I have twice as much music ready as I need packed neatly into a Serato, in order of BPM, which is probably how I will play it. Organization has been the best digital tip (of many). I’ve watched a ton of Phil’s content on repeat, and his patience is saintly.
What’s your thing? Know what you’re after. I mix like a vinyl DJ, and that’s making the first outing easy: emphasis on vibe and mood, not non-stop dancing. Making this distinction–figuring out the what and how, will save heartache down the road.
What’s been the best? The internet (Youtube) is filled with some really amazing feats of curation an dexterity from DJ’s all over. A lot of great Brazilian action out there right now. As a closeted sp-404 guy, I found LeMellotron in Paris, and their DJ sets are second to none. I love all of their programing.