Week Two And Easter Break Evaluation (22nd March-11th April)

Overall, the work I’ve done on this song during the last week of college and Easter has been mostly on mixing and production techniques rather than working with instrumentation and structure. However, I did finally finish the overall structure by adding an ending. I have focussed on learning new production techniques with Lewis and using my previous mixing knowledge to add things like panning. I want to work on giving the track more depth by duplicating tracks and panning them left and right, and perhaps even experimenting with panning automation when I get back into college. I also want to learn more production techniques that will help the song sound more professional and lively.

Progressions And Strengths

Before Easter, I learnt some different production techniques with Lewis. One of these was sidechaining. This is used in almost all modern music and it is an important factor when you want the song to sound tighter and less muddy. I did some sidechaining work with Lewis. It takes the output of a certain track and uses this to change and manipulate the volume of another track. I have explained this more in my research work (https://digitalspace.bradfordcollege.ac.uk/10626680/production-techniques/). Now that I know how to do this and use it correctly, I plan to apply it to more songs and projects in the future. I added the sidechain effect to both the played bass and the sub-bass, taking the audio from the breakbeat sample. This means when the bass is played on the sample, both bass tracks will come down in volume to allow the kick to be heard more and so it doesn’t sound muddy. This is what my sidechain looked like on my played bass:

I have recently been experimenting with automation on this song recently and have come up with some great sounding experiments that I could use later on. One of the most important automations I did was at the end of the song. Having a fade out as an outro is extremely common in old and modern music alike. I mentioned in my last evaluation that I was thinking about having a fade out instead of a structured outro as I have this in my other song. I was sceptical at first as I saw a fade out as a cheap way of ending a song, but to make the fade out more interesting, I decided to fade different instruments in different amounts. This means the guitar sample and piano still plays very quietly once everything else has stopped, and the chords don’t resolve back to beat 1. I now really like this as an ending and might even consider it for other songs in the future!

Lex, one of the University students, plays the flute and also does production work. I and my tutor were talking about asking him to play flute on this track as we thought it would further emphasise that chilled/hip-hop energy I wanted to show on this track. I think it would also act as a great collaboration as I will be working with people I have never worked with and also an instrument I’ve never worked with as well. It will be a brilliant experience for me as a producer to be able to work with people older than me and gather knowledge from them as well. I messaged him and sent him the track file just before writing this evaluation so he can come up with a quick draft in time for next week to see what I think.


I mentioned in my targets in the last evaluation that I could start looking for a rapper to feature on the track. This is still very much a possibility and a great idea and Lewis, my tutor also thinks so too. The problem is actually finding a good rapper that would be willing to feature on the track for free as I won’t be making money off this music, it is simply for educational purposes. The rapper should preferably be local and have worked before with the type of music I’m making, as trap or grime rappers wouldn’t fit with the genre. I could start advertising for a rapper or asking friends if they know anyone who would be willing to do this. It’s not vital that I get a rapper, I just think it would improve the song a lot and it also acts as another collaboration for my project.

Next week, I want to work more on panning and experiment with it. However, before I do this, I want to do some more research on how to pan instruments effectively so I am not going about it the wrong way. I know how to pan on Ableton already so I could experiment with this before I come up with a finalised idea. I want to research how to pan drums the right way, and what instruments should be where in the final mix. I think panning the tracks will help the feel of the song a lot as it gives the music more depth and allows the listener to hear different parts of the song that might not have been as prominent if it was in mono form. I could also look into how to use different types of panning like the ping pong effect and panning automation to make the song more spacey and profound.

As well as looking at production techniques like sidechaining, I also want to look at more of these as well. Once we are back in college, I want to look at sound design in Ableton and how I can apply what I create to my song. This might be building my own digital synthesiser which I can then use for a solo or that could even replace an already existing instrument. Potentially, I also want to be able to use an Ableton Push alongside this to come up with some really interesting chords and melodies that could add a lot of body to this song. I want to learn about the different waveforms and the filters and modulations you can add to it to totally change the sound.

Targets For Next Week

-Put adverts out looking for a rapper and get into contact with people who might know anyone willing to work on my project.

-Experiment with different types of panning to add depth to my song.

-Look at more production techniques with Lewis like sound design and digital synthesis.