Week Three Evaluation (12th April-18th April)

Progressions And Strengths

This week, I had a quite spontaneous idea to record a bongo and add it to the track. I was inspired by a band called ‘Zeitgeist Freedom Energy Exchange’ as a lot of their songs use bongos in quite expressive ways. I had a couple of problems with recording as I tried using both a mixing desk and an audio interface to record in the studio, however, none of them would send the audio output into my laptop or the iMac there as well. So, we had to move my things into the control room; I knew this would work as I have recorded in there before, and this is how I solved the problem. After recording, I did some quantization, but not so much that it warped the audio too much. I also added effects like a compressor in the form of a drum buss to increase its presence in the mix, an EQ to remove some of those lower ends and make it sound brighter, and a reverb (70% wet) to give it an airy feeling.

This week, I also had a chance to work with and learn about the Ableton push, so I decided to implement it into my work. (You can see my write up about the Push here: https://digitalspace.bradfordcollege.ac.uk/10626680/ableton-push/). As I already had most of the instruments down and recorded, I thought about performing an improvised piano solo using this equipment as playing a solo on this is much easier than playing on an actual piano as I am not a piano player! After I experimented with sounds and different ways of improvising, I came up with a solo that I am really happy with and adds a lot to the song. However, I did play the solo in the wrong key at first. I managed to modulate the key to B minor when the original key was in c#, but this was an easy fix; I just moved the pattern down by 2 notes and it sounded much better. Even though the B minor key sounded fine as well, there was a clear modulation. Here is me experimenting with sounds and soloing over the track (note that this is played in B minor as I hadn’t noticed that I was playing in the wrong key yet)!


I think the track has got, visually, a little crowded and messy-looking because of all the tracks I have now. So, this project could do with some admin work. As you can see in the photo above, a lot of the colours are not matching with its track name which is very confusing to look at, so I should do some colour coding. Also, a great way of making your tracks look better would be to group certain ones together. You can do this by ctrl-clicking on the tracks you want to group, then right-clicking and going to the ‘group’ option. Another way to help the track, especially during the mixing/mastering stage would be to actually name your tracks something else other than the sound name or just ‘audio’ as this does not disclose what that track is actually playing. I could instead name them ‘drums’, ‘shaker’, ‘chords 1’ and ‘chords 2’, for example. In the long run, this will make mixing a lot easier as you don’t have to go through all the tracks to find the right one. It will also make improve my general workflow during the arrangement section as having a clean workstation can improve movitation a lot!

In my last evaluation, I said I need to show Lucy the song so she can start thinking of some ideas for it. So, this week, I sent her the track on Instagram and showed her it in college so she could come up with some melodies and lyrics for when we record next week. I want to record them on Monday morning so I have all week to work on them so they sound ready for mixing. I said to her that the lyrics can be about anything, and I just need a few phrases so I can chop them up and use them where I need as a form of sampling; many modern electronic songs do this. If this goes well, I also would love to record some harmonies alongside her lyrics and also some ambient noises like ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ that I can layer up over her vocals in the chorus for example. After I have done all of this, I can work on adding interesting audio effects like a delay or reverb, and necessary effects like an EQ and compressor during the mixing stage.

Targets For Next Week

-Record Lucy’s vocals in college and arrange them in the track. Add necessary effects etc.

-Implement the brass instruments if this goes ahead and gets sent to me during next week.

-If I get all of this done, I need to start researching mixing techniques as this is the next step.