February 4, 2014

It's Process Day!!!

by Chris Randall

My attempts at creative endeavors over the weekend were utterly and completely foiled by hardware (not software!) problems. My Maschine Studio got crashy all the sudden, I had to whittle a new tape loop for the echo, the old Doepfer modules/Stackables problem reared its head, and basically everything was conspiring to keep me from making music.

However, creativity struck last night and I was able to pull things together on a track I've been making on and off for a couple weeks now. Just for fun, I let the GoPro Hero 3+ run while I was trying to come up with a part on the DK Synergy for this track. So the video above is actually a snapshot of my writing process, not a finished and arranged song (or real-time improv, like most of my videos, although it does smell like that.) When I'm doing a track with full production that isn't real-time, I like to separate the parts out in the Clip view in Live, blow up the UI so I can run it from the touchscreen, and dick around with different arrangement ideas while I'm trolling for sounds, and that's essentially what I'm doing in the above video.

Sidebar: the DK Synergy is a strange and wonderful beast, and I dearly love owning and playing it, but Jesus fuck the fan in that thing is loud. Something needs to be done about it.

I'm intrigued to learn about your writing process. Since electronic music is almost more about sound design than songwriting, do you play parts first, then do sound programming like me? Or do you come up with cool sounds, then figure out how to use them? Or some other method entirely?


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Feb.13.2014 @ 12:22 PM
Adam Schabtach
@William: I successfully extracted it from the attic. Email/DM/whatever your mailing address to me and I'll send it along. Looks like the Mac floppy(!) with the drivers fell by the wayside; hopefully the drivers are available online somewhere.


Feb.13.2014 @ 2:28 PM
First of all, in my 8(?) years of reading this blog, it has to be one of my favorite threads. What I like most about the Analog Industries blog is that is seems populated with people of different backgrounds/genres/etc, but is self policed well, never see any trolling, and everyone seems to want to honestly help each other out (as evidenced above by the kindness and gentleman effort by Adam with the 1212 or whatnot...class act..).. That being said, coming from different backgrounds etc., process (especially with lots of us living in vacuums) is most provocative, and eye-opening to enrich all of our attempts at what we do.... I wish there was some way to keep this an open thread or "sticky whatever" to continue this honestly altruistic conversation of how we do what we do. Is that in anyway possible CR? I'm sure we could all help each other out a lot in many capacities...

@mike kiraly: great video, thanks for posting, definitely interested in more... I went down the "follow"actions rabbit hole a few years ago, then got into scripting python (poorly admittedly), and max4live, and while it generated some results, it seemed the blood in my brain would move from one side to another, (again probably because my inability to sometimes have math/systems/ and creativity coexist simultaneously in my brain unless I am utterly familiar with my tools at hand, which is not always the case in this rapidly filling world of possibilities)... Thanks so much for sharing, definitely want to know more...

and I totally agree with CR on this, I always describe Ableton as my instrument rather then my daw. It has its obvious shortcomings, but i really find nothing more intuitive for me right now to write with, and the fluidity and familiarity make for a pleasant fun experience. If I were tracking a full drum kit, or recording a live band, probably wouldn't go there, but for my writing, it is the bees knees right now... I even mix with it, which i'm sure is insane with it's issues of automation latency etc, and most people are incredulous at the idea, but, well, it just works for me, i use my ears, and again, find it easier to tweak automation etc then in Logic, but yet again, that is probably due to my own shortcomings....

I wish I wasn't so busy this week, as I would love to continue this conversation with all of you on here in terms of procedures. (and yes to @beautypill, there are some of us that sometimes write primarily with guitars.....i just find for myself ultimately I am kind of bored of them, view them sheerly as oscillators to further use and abuse, and am no shredder, just like the visceral experience)

Feb.18.2014 @ 4:59 AM
Have to put a big ditto under Astharbrian's comment - this blog is probably the only "blog" I read any more - and precisely for the reasons stated above. Big props to Mike Kiraly for his share with generative processes and the video. I have dabbled in follow actions to create interest in drum parts, but never to that extent and haven't tried anything musical per se. The concept of creating lots of rough material to cull from is kind of how I work - which I fell into back when Reaktor was one of the only tools I owned - the tape recorder feature figured prominently in those days.

Beauty Pill - I'm also first a guitarist - although aside from the last couple of months - the ratio of guitar to synth/vsti time had swung wholly away from guitar for several years. Enjoying it's return to my work now..

Feb.20.2014 @ 11:02 AM
Great video, Mike. Requires some discipline to get it set up, but the payoff is big.

I can vouch for the power of follow action when applied to clips of audio-for-CV. It's basically the greatest LFO, ever. I did a poorly shot and narrated video some years ago to show that idea in action, here's the link ffwd'd to the relevant bit:

link [youtu.be]

Feb.22.2014 @ 4:51 PM
I do a combination of all of the above. Often I'm sitting around with just a few minutes, or just not in the mood to work on a whole track, and I'll start fiddling with Reaktor or some new plugin. I will often use a combination of semi random information of some kind and editing and keep working on it until I get a sound, loop, or entire part I really like. Once I start messing with something I won't stop until I think it's really good, like finished quality, or it's not really going anywhere and delete it. If it makes the cut I then throw it in a big folder that contains hundreds of such pieces, color coded in the Finder by how good I think they are. Later I use these either as the basis for starting new tracks, or as spice in existing ones. Either way I have what amounts to my own loop and sample libraries that I use much as I imagine some others use commercial products.

I tend to make all my pieces at the same tempo or three so they work together, but then most of my track are at the same few tempos because it's a weird quirk I have.


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