hybridists unite!

general questions, comments and ideas about recording, audio, music, etc.
jamoo
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hybridists unite!

Post by jamoo » Wed Apr 14, 2004 9:55 am

Seems like tape-opers have a definite bent either towards conventional instrumentation recording OR the electronic/midi world. If you don't have a band and you can't play all the instruments you want to hear, you kinda have to live in the middle. Anyone have any insights into this?

It always complicates my appoach. Like, you'd think it'd be easier to just play a rhythm bit once, sample, then loop. But that's not as automatic as it sounds. You can play the whole 3 1/2 minute song before you even make your sample. Alas, once you have the right sample it is perfect, but that often takes a lot of time and frustration and dickering around with things like the "feel" of the track. If you play it, the feel is automatically there, but you definitely lack perfection -- how many times do you want to play it over again? Then there's punch-in's, but those'll send you right back to the sampler.

This is where I live at the moment.

..

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by apropos of nothing » Wed Apr 14, 2004 10:28 am

Yo bro, I'm here with ya.

I'm a live-able keyboardist, a lousy guitarist, and a passable bassist and drummer.

Ideally one'd be able to get a perfect take in one go, and if I can do that its still my goal. If I can't, I track until I can fill in the part.

My tack has been playing each part through a few times and getting three or four samples of variations of each part. Perfection is not so important as feel. If you can get a sixteen or thirty-two happy bars, that's great. If not, take shorter ones and reconstruct.

My problem lately is having enough distance from my material to be able to go "well, I need a C or D part, and it needs to be here, and I need to transition like this." I may retrack a couple of songs from scratch (which I still end up doing more often than I care to admit) just based on this.

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by Meriphew » Wed Apr 14, 2004 11:23 am

My music is a blend of electronic keys and drums with real guitars, bass, and vox. I also use a real drummer mixed with the electronic drums on alot of songs.

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by inverseroom » Wed Apr 14, 2004 11:27 am

My favorite thing about popular music is that it straddles the line between "live" and electronic instruments. I often combine drum machines with acoustic guitars, or real drums with synths--it's the contrast between sounds that gets me excited. Here's how I recorded a recent rock/jazz number:

1) Played a rhymic stereo piano part to two tracks, keeping time by tapping my foot (I used a Casio sampled piano, the WK-3000, which FYI is awesome, believe it or not).

2) Overdubbed live drums to five tracks in two takes, first the drums and then the cymbals.

3) Added a melodic line using the lowest string of a 12-string acoustic, then recorded another take to an adjacent track. Panned them.

4) Put a rhythm guitar part in the middle with the same 12-string.

5) Added organ bass (Casio again).

6) Added an organ lead (fake Hammond with fake Leslie).

7) Tracked three vocal lines--each one in a different voice, to emulate three separate people, and each shouted at the mic from a different distnat part of the room. The vocal was simple--just yelling "Hot potato!" once in each of two breaks.

I've done the same kind of thing using synth parts instead of organs--it sounds pretty cool, IMHO!

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by chris harris » Wed Apr 14, 2004 12:32 pm

I really enjoy music that uses electronic elements for the distinct SOUND of electronic elements.

I'm really not very fond of music where they try to trick you into believing that the electronic sounds are actually "organic" (non-synthetic) sounds.

My rule is that if I'm using electronic drums, I want them to SOUND like electronic drums.

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by jamoo » Wed Apr 14, 2004 2:03 pm

That's interesting, because if you use electronic drums you often don't have a choice -- sometimes they can't sound real. Kick-n-snare maybe, if you use samples of real drums, but toms -- no way. I don't know why, but programmed toms are a joke.

I dunno, if I like the way something sounds, I can't really knock it for how it was created, but I could see how someone could feel cheated.

I like to read about the process. Sounds like hybirdists here do tracking and use technology to augment stuff, which is cool. I'm still way early in the learning technique phase, even though I have a pretty thorough understanding of the tools. (except for compression, which I think is waaay over emphasized) he says, lamenting the fact that he can't play the bass at a consistent level

..
subatomic pieces wrote:I really enjoy music that uses electronic elements for the distinct SOUND of electronic elements.

I'm really not very fond of music where they try to trick you into believing that the electronic sounds are actually "organic" (non-synthetic) sounds.

My rule is that if I'm using electronic drums, I want them to SOUND like electronic drums.

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by ampguy » Wed Apr 14, 2004 3:15 pm

i'm mainly a guitarist.

i like to find good beats to play to and record them. you can check some of my work at the mp3s section in the beats thread

when i can't find good beats, i do have a couple of drum boxes with pre-programmed songs that i sometimes use.

i have acid 4 pro, but mainly use it for one time recording, the looping thing is too mechanical.

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by dubold » Thu Apr 15, 2004 6:51 am

I'm also paddling around in this boat. I had previously given up on "real" sounding drums since I can't really track them in my apt and am not really close with any drummers. I've been using loops or electronic sounding patterns, and also programming some stuff in reason... mostly with the goal of accenting the "fakeness" of the process, rather than trying to hide it.

When I started working at the studio I'm currently at, I was pretty amazed by my boss's productions. He really went all out with the MIDI drums, and came up with some stuff that sounds pretty fantastic, and is really suitable for the style he's doing.

Of course, he's banging on an octapad, and I was layering sounds in ACID at the time. so there's a bit of a different feel going on here.

I think it depends on what sort of sound you want to go for. If I wanted something really "real", I think i'd just work with a drummer. I doubt that's really helpful though. I've just really taken the Oblique Strategy to heart that says something about taking a weakness and making it a strength.

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by phalex » Thu Apr 15, 2004 7:00 am

Bear and I use drum machines all the time because neither of us have the space or money for real drums. Our music is a combination of acoustic guitars, fuzz bass, and fake drums. I really like fuzz bass in folk music, in combination with acoustic guitars.
Werd.

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by XXGABEXX » Thu Apr 15, 2004 7:29 am

I mainly record into my iMac, but I hardly take advantage of what digital has to offer. I guess I kinda treat it like tape.

When I use live drums, I lay down a click track and then I play my drum parts until I get it right. I'm not a drummer. And this shows in AudioDesk (MOTU software) where it counts the takes. When you see "track 5, take 72" it's kind of disheartening. But I use it as an excuse to practice drumming.

Now when I use synthesized drums, they usually come out of a drum machine or a sequencer. I program the beat(s) and then just hit record and play the programmed beats.

I'm sure I could go crazy sampling and editting, but it would just slow me down in my attempt at world domination through the rock that is Gabe. Maybe someday when I don't have a day job I'll learn how to make full use of digital. But until then... hello take 73.
-GABE

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by honkyjonk » Thu Apr 15, 2004 7:42 am

I was in this boat too at one time, but I couldn't find any drum machines that sounded like real drums, so I ended up getting a real drum set and a sampler, and then due to my impatience, stopped using the sampler, so now I just do a kabillion takes until I get it right, BUT, funny thing is, I really enjoy trying to make the live set sound like a drum machine, running it through effects like maybe the Alesis Philtre etc.
Much fun. I really do enjoy the mix of fake and real, I just had a complex with those first drum machines. I should have just taken them for what they were, but then maybe I wouldn't have learned how to play real drums. . . . . . .

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by chris harris » Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:02 am

honkyjonk wrote:BUT, funny thing is, I really enjoy trying to make the live set sound like a drum machine, running it through effects like maybe the Alesis Philtre etc.
Much fun.
fun indeed! but, it is a little frustrating when a client hasn't budgeted enough time to mix properly and then they drop this request on you.... I'm thinking, "well, we sure wasted a lot of time setting up those ten mics and recording take after take of your sloppy drummer, when we could've just used a drum machine!"

And, I'm no stranger to take 72 when recording my own drums! ;)

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by Rigsby » Thu Apr 15, 2004 8:59 am

subatomic pieces wrote:I really enjoy music that uses electronic elements for the distinct SOUND of electronic elements.

I'm really not very fond of music where they try to trick you into believing that the electronic sounds are actually "organic" (non-synthetic) sounds.

My rule is that if I'm using electronic drums, I want them to SOUND like electronic drums.
I am so with this. It's nice to be able to create a blend too, where say a cello is blended with a low wave and when blended perfectly, the mere adjustment of the level of one affects whether it sounds synthetic or 'real'. really nice subtle stuff.
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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by apropos of nothing » Thu Apr 15, 2004 9:13 am

I've been using a Kat DK-10 drum pad, and a Roland TD-7 drum module for drum tones. I haven't been quantizing lately. I'd rather cut the four measures I got right and repeat'em, and or mix them with some other sets of four measures I got spot-on. It ends up sounding... Pretty decent.

Nobody remembers what the hell a rock trap-kit sounds like anymore anyway, save them as been going to see local bands, and they are a great minority. :wink:

Friend of mine has a cheap, but well-tuned kit at his house that I occasionally bang on with brushes. Sounds marvellous. Gonna try and convince him to let me go drum on it and get sounds that way.

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Re: hybridists unite!

Post by I'm Painting Again » Fri Apr 16, 2004 2:10 am

learning to play the instruments your missing is a probably the best thing..sampling is an art that gets better with practice too..i have confidence that if you keep trying as hard as you can you will work out a method for factory style songwriting..

reductive arranging is a method used by some of the first producers to make songs entirely of loops..its basically setting a tempo or several tempos in a sequencer and making a bunch of loops and overdub loops for each tempo and cuting/pasting the song together..

i think triggering drum samples from a pad of key, i.e., playing the parts with your fingers makes for better feeling tracks..you know rather than stepediting the hits in..

working with a partner that can fill in your gaps is possibly another option for you..

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