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fun with Logic Pro 9

September 05, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: Songs, Trip Hop

Futurists – FwL1 (September 5, 2010) (download here).

I mentioned a few posts back that after a few years of using Ableton Live 8 for PC, I’ve started to move toward using Logic Pro 9 on the Mac as my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) of choice. This is not to say that I’m switching over – Ableton Live has tons of great features, is awesomely tailored toward performing live sets and DJ mixes, and has a great selection of sounds and audio samples in its own right. However, as I’m more interested in the sequencing and recording of electronic music, I think Logic will be more suited toward my tastes.

for fun and for education, my son (who is seven) and I have been going through the Apple Pro Training Series: Logic Pro 9 and Logic Express 9 textbook. It’s a book geared toward earning Apple’s Logic Pro 9 Level 1 certification, but more than that it seems to be the best resource out there to help you learn Logic Pro or Logic Express 9 – it’s jam-packed with tips, tricks and tutorials.

in the very first tutorial (yes, we haven’t gone very far yet) the guide takes you through creating your own trip hop song by using a selection of sampled loops. For fun, my son and I used the guide, but instead of the instruments (bass, electric guitar, drum loops, etc) that the book suggested we use, we found our own. And in fact, it wasn’t me who found them, but my son – I simply let him pick out whatever sounds he liked the most. After the first little bit of tutorial was done my son and I took over and got to work customizing the song, placing samples where we thought they sounded best, and so on. And in the end we had our own Logic tutorial-inspired trip hop song!

I think the tune turned out half-decent, especially considering just how random these samples we’re using were, and considering the majority of it was conceived by a seven-year old. There was really no rhyme or reason to the sounds we put together, but in the end the song turned out pretty neat. There’s not much I can do with it of course – after all it’s a song composed entirely of Logic Pro 9 sampled loops – there’s not a lick of my own sounds in there. But still, it’s pretty trippy (and hoppy) and might work well as background music for someone’s YouTube video – and it’s copyright free!

A remix from the early 2000s

June 11, 2010 By: Brian Crawford Category: Minimal Techno, Songs, Techno

MFT- Ahhhh (soundlord remix) (July 20, 2001) (download here).

MFT- Ahhhh Mix (2001) (download here).

MFT techno musicback in 2001 a friend of mine, Michael MacBride, had a one-man electronica band called MFT. He produced some pretty inspired songs in those days, and the two of us did a pretty good job of inspiring each other to create techno music in our free time (which, back then, we had quite a bit more of).

one of the things we did back in those days was remix each others songs; he created a remix of Mindwipe, long since lost… and I made a remix of his Ahhhh Mix, a 12 minute ambient tune featuring some chunky beats.

here I have included my remix (the top link – I went by the moniker soundlord back then), and below that, the original Ahhhh Mix. By listening to them both you can tell that the remix is not a whole lot like the original; it was fun remixing the song using my own style (which, even back in 2001, veered toward melodic trance), with sounds from my principal synth at the time, my E-mu E-Synth sampler and synthesizer.

an interesting piece of trivia is that this remix was created using Cubase VST on a Windows machine. Currently the songs I have been creating have been produced using Ableton Live 8 on a newer Windows machine; however, just Friday I received in the mail my new machine – an Apple Macbook Pro. I also received the latest version of Logic Studio in the mail, so I’m going to be experimenting with that. Cubase, then Ableton, then Logic – by the time I’m done I’ll have completed a pretty thorough tour of DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) software.

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a techno song, made in two minutes

November 30, 2009 By: Brian Crawford Category: Clatter, Songs, Techno

Futurists – Clatter (November 30, 2009) (download here).

well okay, maybe it took a bit longer than two minutes. But, I did crank this song out in a single day.

yesterday afternoon I headed to the local Barnes & Noble, got myself a venti coffee (1/3 caffeine, 2/3 decaf), sat down in the café, put on my headphones (Sony MDR-7506 for the curious) and started cranking out this tune. While I was working I must admit I frequently checked the Carolina/Clemson game on ESPN, but it didn’t slow me down too much. I got most of the song done there; the rest I finished after dinner. I put a few finishing touches on it just now.

I was going for a dark, pounding club tune with a relentlessly driving beat, which is pretty much what I ended up with. I asked my good friend Brian, a DJ and producer from Detroit, to help me classify it, and was surprised when he said “Techno” – there are so gosh darn many different varieties of techno out there these days that I suppose I expected it to be something fancier – but he’s right, it’s pretty much techno. Granted, after he said that, he did add, “with Electro influences”!

so here it is. It may not be Freedom Rock, but… turn it up!

an acid trance remix

November 28, 2009 By: Brian Crawford Category: acid, Globules, Songs

Futurists – Globules (Acid Remix) (November 28, 2009) (download here).

here’s an acid trance remix of Globules, a melodic trance song I created a while back.  When I say acid trance, I’m hearkening back to the glory days of trance – not the sweeping, epic trance of today, but that of the early 90s, during which a style of music developed that some would consider ‘true trance’.

Bok Globulesit’s been a lot of fun remixing a trance song into an acid song, and challenging, too.  My sequence is littered with “stuff I tried” – lots of high-pass filter sweeps, side-chain compression, bleeps and bloops, cymbal crashes, etc, that currently have their channels off because they just didn’t work.  In the end, the song is quite minimal, with some mixing it up with the sample from Alan Shepard’s moonwalk, a few instruments carefully placed here and there, and a driving beat that I’ve attempted to use to lull listeners into the so-called trance.

that being said, there’s work I could do to make this remix better.  The beginning and ending are not particularly strong – I’ve done this to make the song easier for a DJ to mix with other songs, but the ending certainly doesn’t stand on its own very well.  Nonetheless, it’s time to shelve this one for a while, to get back to finishing some of the other tracks I’ve been working on.

a song from the late 90s

September 05, 2009 By: Brian Crawford Category: Songs, Trance

Soundlord – Mindwipe (1999) (download here).

Mindwipe RemixesMindwipe is one of the first songs I ever made, back in 1999 or so, as soundlord. The intro is too long, and the quality is pretty poor, but I still think I’m going to have a hard time topping the last two minutes of the song (starting at about 3:16). Crank it and see what you think.

one of my future projects is to turn that final two minutes into a full song. It’s trancy (perhaps somewhat ahead of its time considering I made it in the late 90s) and has some killer arpeggios. If I can remix the song to get rid of the first three minutes and keep the good stuff, that might be a win!

a work in progress, mostly minimal I guess

June 11, 2009 By: Brian Crawford Category: Clips, Minimal Techno

Aeris – Second Glance: Concept (October 9, 2008) (download here).

as I haven’t posted any clips for a while I wanted to go ahead and put this up – it is a song that my friend Bun Mun and I have been working on. Bun Mun has an impressive musical background including having at one time been signed to Ministry of Sound with his band Redefine. He’s brutal with the minimal, but he is also a guitarist and bass player. The two of us seem to have styles similar enough to make some good sounding stuff, but different enough that we manage to complement each other quite well. One thing we don’t have is a lot of time to hit the studio together, but we can always hope that will change in the future.

at any rate, last year we got together and started working on this song, “Second Glance” (I don’t remember why we called it that but I think it had something to do with coming up with a good melody on our second take). There is live bass by Bun Mun (that admittedly needs to be tightened up – we used the first take we got) and some great sounds coming from a Korg MS2000. I had a great time playing with all the different presets on that bad boy.

although this clip is admittedly more of a concept than a song, I think it has a lot of potential. It’s simple and has a pretty good vibe. One thing we need to do is change our band name – we picked the name Aeris out of thin air to refer to the works we put together because we’re both fans of Final Fantasy. Sad, or cool? Maybe both.

first cut of a minimal techno song

May 10, 2009 By: Brian Crawford Category: Bobbins, Minimal Techno, Songs

Futurists – Bobbins: First take (March 8, 2009) (download here).

I actually think this song is pretty good.  It has a bit too much sound wandering from ear to ear (which is a function of the instrument I used, and the type of reverb on it), but generally I think it has a decent downtempo vibe, and I like the breakbeat near the middle.

the end actually features three instances of the same instrument (off the Blofeld), recorded three separate times and tracked once in the left ear, once in the right ear, and once in the center.  I really like it, though I’d understand if people didn’t think it fit.

first take of a trance song

April 29, 2009 By: Brian Crawford Category: Globules, Songs, Trance

Futurists – Globules: First take (January 27, 2009) (download here).

so before you push the button let me mention here that this song isn’t good.

in fact, it’s so bad, I wasn’t going to post it at all, but then I remembered that the whole point of this blog is for people to follow the stuff I’m working on from junk, to not half bad, to… who knows.  So here it is.

what I’d really like to do is to retool this entire song so that it sounds a lot like what you hear between minute 3 and minute 4 of the current version.  I really like that; it seems to work.

the biggest short-term improvements will come from getting rid of the <strong>ear-splitting buzzy lead</strong> (that comes from my Roland JP-8000 – I thought it would work better than it did, but it turned out to be extremely abrasive), and remove those weird metallic swishes that go back and forth every now and then from ear to ear.  They really stand out, and not in a good way.

big changes to come with this song, to be sure.

and by the way, readers of this blog are always welcome to download, play or include in a mix anything I put up here.  That’s one of the reasons I’m doing this.  In the future I’m also going to be releasing some royalty-free samples for musicians and producers to include in their own music.  For this song, I’ll probably post an octave of samples of that squelchy bassline (right at the beginning of the song).  I kinda like it.