Sunday, April 21, 2019

Easing Easter Ears


It's nearly 4am and my ears need a break.
After deciding that what has for years been a ballad would now be a Drum & Bass track I've quit Bitwig Studio for the morning / night.
It's always good to challenge how one sees one's own work. It's like walking down a path and promising yourself that you'll only take the right hand forks only to end up back where you started. Writing music is like that. One can develop a style and sit comfortably in it for years. That's probably good if one wants to be associated with a certain genre but for me, I'm not going to be widely known for anything so I'm allowed to experiment.
If I were to be pigeon holed it would be for electronic music but there are so many sub-genres in that space that it's easy and productive to wonder off course. That's how I've been spending my Easter so far.
The only thing about music creation for me that isn't so great is that the time I get to work on it, usually between midnight and 5am. That means headphones and after a few hours of sound design and composing it's time to call it a night no matter how far I am into a track.
I'll be doing some monitor mixing next Saturday, the day after I buy my new studio monitors. I hope the neighbours understand that the loud(ish) classical music that will be emanating from the house for three hours next Friday afternoon is totally necessary. New monitors need breaking in.
Hopefully the neighbours will be at work.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

Productivity


Here is the start of something new.
As I've mentioned before my inspiration usually starts with either bass or chords but not this time. I was trying to create a multi-layered instrument, which I did, but to test it I threw some fairly random notes into a loop and voila! A weird thing that when played on my keyboard came out sounding like some 70s inspired acid track. Not old skool acid but more modern, along the lines of Luke Vibert. Anyway, I liked it so much that I saved everything as a preset and started a new track. That's the second one this weekend.
I haven't attempted any beats for either track because I'm not inspired at the moment but it'll come. I know roughly what I want but the ideas need a little maturing before committing them to Bitwig.

Sometimes I think that a little ignorance goes a long way. Take the example above. If I'd known exactly what I was doing I'd have missed this serendipitous opportunity. There would be a preset saved somewhere without an idea to utilise it. I have learned something along the way and that will pay off at some point in the future but simply messing around a bit has actually got me somewhere.
It'd be a good thing if we could all do something that required us to just have a go without having to learn and follow the rules.
Life has too much regulation already.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Enjoying Myself


It's a rare thing for me to get a decent amount of time to actually enjoy myself.
I've taken some time off from work between hospital check-ups and managed to fill it with stuff I like doing.
In that time I've struck a deal on a pair of studio monitors in a local music shop. Worked on my current track in Bitwig Studio. Had time to browse second hand books and found a few gems. There's also been time to kick back on a couple of evenings and enjoy some fine food and drink. All this with no pressure to fulfil and specific duty the next day.
Of course it couldn't last and I have my final appointment tomorrow and also have to swing back into a pattern of sleeping during the day. I'll use the long night tomorrow to arrange the track I'm working on and do a stereo mix.
It's also good to know that with Easter coming up I won't have to work a full week again this month.
April has been a good month.

Sunday, March 31, 2019

Plenty Of Time


I don't think that it matters that I've just lost an hour, I've gained a track.
The best thing to do with it now it to leave it alone for a week and go back to it with fresh ears. All of the main elements are there, the blocks that hold the track together, but it's far from finished.
Next weekend I'll do a rough arrangement and export a copy. That'll be a backing track to listen to so that if I get any ideas I can subtract or add other elements.
With all the pieces in place I'll leave it alone again and work on other tracks. At some point I'll mix it all properly and drop it into a folder. When that folder has a few tracks in I'll master them all and release an EP.
I find it fairly easy to write tracks. The track above was started my me experimenting with a synth. I found a great bass sound and played until a riff emerged. The rest of the track has been built around the bassline. Sometimes it's a chord sequence. I suppose it's 50/50 when starting a new track. Bass or chords, the starting point is one or the other.
So far I'm enjoying using Bitwig Studio a lot. As far as Linux DAW's go it has to be the best and a suitable replacement for FL Studio.

Saturday, March 30, 2019

Back In Business


It's been a hectic week.
I've been off work since Tuesday because my car needed an MOT and I didn't know how much work needed doing. I decided that not going back to work until next week was a good idea because I had plenty of other things I wanted to do.
The first job was getting Bitwig Studio up and running. That worked fine until I tried to boot my new PC on Wednesday and nothing happened. It took me most of Wednesday night / Thursday morning to get the PC to work. What I think happened was that one of the dependencies I added to try and get some plugins working didn't want to play with the NVidia drivers and that argument borked the system.
It's all good now and I've been experimenting and writing tracks. Rather than rely on using plugins, as good as they are, I've been watching loads of YouTube videos to learn how the built in synths work. I've learned enough to design some decent sounds of my own and I'm saving presets along the way.
I've also downloaded a Soundfont creator so that I can build my own multi-sampled synths. I have plenty of synths around so that shouldn't be a problem.
Another thing I'm doing is carrying around a small field recording kit. Nothing special but enough to record sounds without it being too obvious that that is what I'm doing.
I just wish I had more free time so that I could visit places with interesting soundscapes but who knows what I can create from the mundane sounds that are part of my world.
I think I'm about to find out.