On this page, I decided to talk about my work, for all those among you who are interested in music creation, recording and production.
How I do it:
Usually it happens when I have some free afternoon and nothing to do, I sit down at the keyboard and start playing, improvising, thinking about a new song…
First thing usually is to decide what kind of style I’m going to use (for example, latin or downtempo, etc), then I get creative and try to come up with some good sounding chord progressions.
When I have something I like, the next step is to define the basic structure of the music, I then often have to add some more chord progressions or parts.
What follows now, is to create an interesting melody or theme based on these parts – but wait, before I can do that, I have to decide which instruments I’ll be using, so I won’t have trouble later on with playing ranges, etc…
After having done all this, I normally listen to the whole song in MIDI to see if I like it or if something needs improvement. Only then, I finally finish the scores of the parts and start looking for great musicians among my friends and collegues who like chill-out and ambient music and who I might invite for a recording session.
The next step is creating the drum track (for now I do it this way, but I might invite a drummer some day), with the help of the great program Renoise.
The process that follows, is transforming myself into a self-made recording engineer, or let’s say, at least I try to… 🙂
My equipment is not very sophisticated (yet) but it’s allright for what I have to do:
I have a laptop equipped with low-latency patched Linux totally prepared for Audio, an external soundcard (might get a better one some day…), a 4 channel Behringer Mixer, two Sennheiser Microphones of great value, one Shure PG57 (similar to the famous SM57) and that’s it.
Having recorded in Ardour, I first clean the errors out of the recordings and trim everything together so that I have an error-free track, correctly aligned with the drums. This has to be done for every instrument, obviously.
Then I listen to it and sometimes I get crazy ideas and go to the Freesound Project and get really strange or special percussive sounds and effects which I add to my song, normally this really works well in the case of ambient music….
So, now I have the “dry” audio, needing to be mixed and improved in a lot of aspects: headroom, compression, reverberation, sound stage, etc…
I use quite a few tricks and plugins, but try to avoid over-processing, yes, I try… 😛
Unfortunately I don’t have good studio monitors, only headphones, but mostly it’s ok in the end, one just has to be more patient… and let this process take quite a few days, so that one doesn’t start having “tired” ears – the greatest enemy of the sound engineer…
After all this, the track is almost finished, the only step left is to master it, so that it can be put on CD in the future.
What I’d like to learn or improve:
– ideal miking of a classical guitar with two microphones taking in account the room acoustics…
– using VST plugins in Ardour
– more typical drumming rhythms and patterns, so that they sound more complex and realistic
– writing good lyrics and how to implement them in a melody (even in chill-out music some vocal parts really work well)
– special and uncommon scales for the solo parts, to create different colours and scenarios, at least sometimes
If you think you could help, or have some great idea of something musical you’d like to produce together with me that has something to do with chill-out, or think you can bring any other kind of contibution to this project, please don’t hesitate to contact me 🙂