Tuesday, July 19, 2011

New Song...

This blog presents the song I put together based on the patching from last weeks post. Here it is:
Play Nice by DAEDSound

As previously mentioned this involves cross patching between the Buchla 200e and a few standard and custom modules in my primary banana jack modular. For gearheads into the recording part of things my newest discovery and tool is a Zoom R16 multitrack digital recorder which has literally revolutionized how I record and edit tracks. The R16 allows you to record up to 8 tracks at a time - each with their own WAV file. Everything is recorded onto a SD card which you then can pop out and load into your computer. Since I do almost all my recording on hardware or tape and do all my mixing and editing on a computer this merges the gap allowing me to record *individual* tracks which I then can load one at a time into my DAW and edit, pan, fade, process, etc easily. Prior to this I was mostly recording everything to a live stereo track and doing all the part mixing live in the original take with various audio modules like the 207e or Cyndustries MixSix. Once the track was down I was more or less stuck with how the levels came in and out on the track and couldn't process each channel on it's own. With the R16 I run individual outs from each module into the 1/4" inputs and then dump the WAV files and import them one at a time. I still get to record and play the whole track live but I then have the flexibility to mix levels and process each oscillator or instrument further.

I guess I should point out the zoom R16 is a portable (it runs on batteries as well as AC) fancy pants digital multitrack. You can record, edit, mix, process, etc all on the unit itself. For my purposes I really am using it for nothing more than a glorified tape multitrack and the nice thing is it allows me to do this without interfering. I'm sure at some point in this blog's future i'll do a rant on technology and creativity and how they sometimes interfere with each others (the 200e is not immune to this either!) but for now I'm quite happy I can just "plug and play" and use this piece how I want to without forcing me to use work arounds.

For this song I recorded about five minutes of live playing on the two modulars and then overdubbed some live processed bass and drum playing. I wasn't happy with the drumming so I didn't end up using it and when all was said and done I ended up cutting and pasting different parts of the bass playing throughout the song. You can hear one of the live backwards leads at the very beginning of the track. For eagle ears and TOTAL gearheads all the bass playing is my trusty 90s Ibanez SR1000e into a Boss ME50B. The backwards stuff was done 100% live using the "Slo Gear" mimic on the ME50. Nice trick that.

The basic live playing makes up the majority of the track. At the end of the original take I did a noise jam on the modulars which I then also went off on when I added the bass overdub. When it came down to the mix since I had everything separated on the PC I was able to trim the end of the basic jam track and mix in parts of the noise jam earlier towards the end as well as insert some of the end of the track throughout and mix/fade the various parts together. So, in effect, this track was done live with one instrument overdub and then reassembled using the original take as the core and adding different elements of it throughout. This process allows me to capture the original inspiration of the track and it's take but then expand upon it and present it as moire than a simple linear composition. The image inserted here shows the mix with volume envelopes and cut and pasted parts fading in and out under the solid stereo foundation.

I'm enjoying this new twist on my old methods and will have more examples in the near future. It's only taken about a decade and a half but it seems I'm finally finding a recording system for modular synths that gives me the best of my desire for hands on hardware recording with simple automated longitudinal editing. Many more bleeps to follow. Enjoy.

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