Project

Pre Production testing sounds

Drum Loops

To start the project I began to look at areas in which my production was weak. So I started from a simple house beat to work on getting the foundations for the tracks.

This tutorial shows how to use the classic drum sounds from the Rolland 909, 808 using the drum rack in Ableton live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Jsay-Eci0E#t=123

I followed the tutorial, It was clear and easy to follow. It allowed me to under stand the basics of the house beat. I then spent some time working on my own beats using the drum rack samples and live drum samples to make house beats.

In the first link the drum loop is from the drum rack samples

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/uni-beat-1

The loop follows the straight house pattern but has an over polished drum sound. I am going to have to work on the mixing of the drum loops to see if I can get the sounds to have more of the classic character.

The second of the links is the live drum sounds samples

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/uni-beat-2

The live drum loop has the same issues as the electronic samples. For me the sound is too clean and doesn’t sound like a classic house drum beat yet. I will do some testing to try and get the sound I am looking for.

Overall this process has created simple house drum loop structure. It has been a good practice in creating house drums loops. I will need work on the sound of the loops to get them to sound like a classic house drum loop and a modern house drum loop. I think the problem could be with the eq of the hi hats as I think the too bright for the house sound.


Classic 80’s Chicago House Baseline

A tutorial from pointblank on building a 80’s house sounding baseline using subtractive synthesis in Ableton live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJrCmhZ-jng

The tutor was clear and he took his time to explain how to set up the analogue vst in Ableton. It was a good tutorial as is showed that these sounds can be achieved from using stock plugins. I followed the tutorial and here is my attempt:

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/uni-beat-bass-line-classic-chicago

My remake sounds good to me but lacks the bottom end punch that the tutor is able to achieve. I will be able to solve this issue with further eq of the baseline to bring up the bottom end frequencies.


Modern Bass line

After attempting the a sound of classic bass sound from a Chicago house track. I then decided to try and make a modern house base line. At the moment one of the best producers at making a baseline based house track is Julio Bashmore. So I decided to try and replicate the base lines from his two top tracks. Battle for Middle You and Au seve.

Julio Bashmore -Battle For Middle You

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aLqWjUWGYFA#t=30

The track “Battle For Middle You” by Juilo Bashmore is the first house track to start the craze for heavy bass line house has filled the underground scene and chart scene with bass line lead tracks.

To recreate this baseline I followed a tutorial that was put on youtube by mixmag. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bIrQgHy5hjU

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/battle-for-middle-bass

The tutorial should me how to create the sub bass sound used in the track. The sound was achieved by using the analogue plugin in Ableton live. To get the sound you use the sine wave and lower it by two octaves and filter out unwanted frequencies.

The next modern style bass I wanted to recreate was another Julio Bashmore bass. I followed a tutorial to recreate the main base line from, Julio Bashmores most famous track Au seve.

This tutroal was followed to get the bass sound.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOEC3u7SoMA

To recreate the sound a square wave is used and lowered by two octaves and a low pass filter was added to take away frequencies. The tutorial was good as the tutor explained how to recreate all the sounds of the track and all the midi notes to replicate the orginal track. The tutorial was good as it was simple to follow and my recreation was pretty close to Julio bashmores orginal track. Here my version below.

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/au-bass

These tutorials worked great as the bass lines created above are becoming the fundamental base line sound for the modern house sound. So it was good practice to be able to make the baselines. The next step is to learn to mix the base lines so that the they don’t destroy the mix with the low end frequencies. The base lines do need work but I will work on eqing the sound to try and achieve the best baseline sounds for my tracks.


Practice on mixing,

On going research and training on mixing electronic music

First of the year was mixing the Rolland 808 bass drum to get it to sit nicely in the mix not effecting surrounding sounds.

The techniques learnt by following a similar method of mixing the bass drum worked really well and cleared up the sample tracks bottom end and gave the bass drum room to come through.

I went to look at how other bass heavy genre would make the tracks clear but remain to have very heavy bottom and a light top end.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQUYiaHNv5Q

I took on board the ways the tracks mixed on how the plugins were used but not over used to create the sounds and get the mix sounding good.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RkhwKC3Igbo

This eq mixing technique was practiced to see how to get the bottom end of the track to be clear but still have a strong sound.This technique works well as it lets you cut out all conflicting frequencies allowing you to balance the track and have all the elements working with each other

Practice at mixing

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/dot-dot-dot

This track was created to practice mixing practice when using the 909 bass drum and hi hats mixed with live drum samples.

The effect of this gave the track a the sound of the classic house tracks drums. This worked well and the sounds created will be used when creating the final track.

The next reason for this tracks creation was to practice mixing a house track, to get a clear mix with strong bottom end , mid and tops.

This is the track after mixing.

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/dot-dot-dot-1


Dance music for sound systems

An article about sound systems in japan by resident adviser. This article is very relevant to my project even though its about japans scene. It made me re aware that house music is for dancing to and for being played through big sound systems in clubs or festivals.

http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?2399

This article made me look at my tracks I have been working and made me think that the tracks need to mixed correctly and have the track split into three sections the low mids and highs so that the house tracks can be mixed and mastered to be able to play on a sound system for dancing.

The hard part of doing this is getting the tracks bottom end and mids to sit together but no mud each other up so practice is needed to get the this section of my practice track clear.

So to start looking at cleaning up the bottom end of my practice track I looked a tutorial on eqing.


Data from questionnaire

Redlight 9ts

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pWYRKOqtX2A

After the anlysis of the questionnaire Redlight – 9TS is the first modern house track that will be analysed and recreated to show the structure of the modern house track.

Redlight – ‘9TS’ Structure and Instrumentation

Section Bars Information
Intro 1 to 24 Percussion hit every barMain Vocal of the trackChopped vocal sample low down in the mixVinyl crackle
Intro 2 25 to 32 Main VocalChopped vocal sample low down in the mix808 rim shot on 16th808 claps in triplet patternDeep male vocal
First Body 32 to 80 Main 4/4 BeatSine sub bassMain vocalChopped vocal sample low down in the mixMale “uh” and “come on”Synth padReverbed 808 rim shots
The Drop 80 to 88 Sine sub bassSynth padAmbiance
The Reprise 88 to 96 Sine sub bassSynth padAmbianceMain vocal808 rim shot on 16thSnare roll
The Main body 96 to 129 Main 4/4 BeatSine sub bassMain vocalChopped vocal sample low down in the mixMale “uh” and “come on”Synth padReverbed 808 rim shotsReverbed percussion
Outro 129 to 141        141to 145 Main 4/4 BeatSine sub bassMain vocal delayed phraseChopped vocal sample low down in the mixMale “uh” and “come on”Reverbed 808 rim shotsReverbed percussionSine Bass line4/4 beat no kickMale Uh with reverb

The main sections of this track to replicate the structure were:

-The drums

-Bass line

-Percussion

The drums were created by using Ableton lives 909 and 808 drum racks, the classic house 4/4 drum beat was created using the 909 kick, hi hat and clap. The clav and clicks and rim shots were used from the 808 drum rack as these sounds were similar to the sounds used in the original track.

The baseline is created by using a sine wave and lowering the octave twice to get the sound in the low-end frequencies so that it can become a sub bass. For this track this was all that was needed to replicate this style of house music.

Mixing

Tutorial on mixing lowend kicks and bass in ableton live

Ableton Tutorial: Mixing your Bass, Kick and Sub with EQ & Sidechain compression:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F2tK-vyspM

This tutorial was used to look at eqing of the bass sound and using sidechain compression to let the kick come through the mix. Using sidechain compression worked well to get the kick to come through in the mix.

Article on the same process but further reading was required to help get the low end of the track to work

http://www.residentadvisor.net/feature.aspx?1211

The finished track

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/mordern-house-project-1


Duke Domunt “I got you”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tf1kGyppBVE

Duke Dumont- I got you track structure

Section Bars Information
Intro 1 to 16 Muted kickVocal sampleVocal sample 2Steel drum cymbal roll
Intro 2 16 to 32 Kick and hi hatVocal sampleVocal sample 2Steel drum cymbal rollBass lineMain Piano riff
First Body 32 to 48 KickMain piano riffMain female vocal sectionMain male vocalClaps
The second body 48 to 64 Kick and hi hatPercussionClapsVocal sampleVocal sample 2Steel drum cymbal rollBass lineMain Piano riff
The Drop 65 to 72 Kick Main piano riffMain female vocal section
The Reprise 73o 80 ClapMain piano riffMain female vocal sectionMale vocal section
Second body part 2 81 to 96 Kick and hi hatPercussionClapsVocal sampleVocal sample 2Steel drum cymbal rollBass lineMain Piano riff
Drop 2 97 to 101 Synth chordsMain female vocal sections 2
reprise 109 to 1117 Vocal sampleMain female vocal sectionsMale vocal sectionClapsKicks
Main Body 117 to 135 Kick and hi hatPercussionClapsVocal sampleVocal sample 2Steel drum cymbal rollBass lineMain Piano riff
Outro 135 to 144 XylophoneVocal sampleClapKick drum

Tutorials on piano section

A couple of tutorials were watched and practiced to allow me to be able to play the original track I got you but Duke Dumount. To work out what chords were used in the original track. This task proved difficult at first as I am not a key board player but eventually I worked out how to the play the track and have now created a piano house riff based of the original riff

Piano sound creation

This tutorial was used to learn how to use Ableton live plugins to create a piano sound that would represent the piano sound found in the house music genre.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pknnm3YGUkQ

The compressor from Ableton was used and so was the overdrive was added to the stock piano sound found in Ableton to create the warmth that the house piano sound has.

Drums sounds

The drum sections of the track were just the stock 909 drum rack sounds from Ableton live. A compressor and a eq was added to give the drums the required sound.

The marimba sound

The marimba sound was a stock Abelton live sound again and the preset was messed around with to get the sound I was looking for. I increased the release to try and create a more natural sound. I increased the distortion to add more harmonics to try and achieve a fuller sound.

The bass line

The bass line is a single sin sub note bass line, this was used as it would create the bottom end of the track but it would not interfere with the piano sound.

Mixing of track

Mixing the piano in the track was a challenge to get it to sit in the mix and still have its full sound, so a couple of tutorials were watched to try and get this to happen in the track.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bove6v3u8TE

In this you tube clip the producer increased the out side noise to create the space but this was not effective in the creation of my piano noise as it is a vst and not a live recording.

The piano was eq so it could fit on the fit and not have clashing sections

The kick drum has the top end rolled off so the element of the thud was still available

The hi hats and claps had the bottom end rolled off so that the it clear the mids of the tracks out making the section clearer

The finished track.

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/modern-house-project-2


Mr fingers –“Can you feel it”

Section Bars Information
Intro 1 to 8 Bass lineKick drum
Intro 2 8 to 20 Bass lineKick drumClap and snareRideSoft chords
First Body 20 to 39 Bass lineKick drumClap and snareRideSoft chordsLead saw wave
The drop 39 to 43 Bass lineKickSoft chords
The reprise 44 to 48 Bass lineKickHi hatsSoft chords
The Second Body 49 to 76 Bass lineKickHi hatsRideClapsSoft chordsSynth choir
The Drop 76 to 84 Bass lineKickSoft chords
The Reprise 84 to 88 Bass lineKickSoft chordsLead saw wave
The Main body 88 to 112 Bass lineKickHi hatsRideClapsSoft chordsSynth choirLead saw wave
Main Body 2 112 to 148 Bass lineKickSoft chordsLead saw waveSoft chordsClapsRideHi hats
Outro 1 156 to 160 Bass lineKickSoft chords
Outro 2 160 to 160 Bass lineSoft chords

The link to the original track:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UeiH9Mm0E5

The main section that required production tutorials to help create were the bass line, synth chord sounds and the lead sound.

Drums Sounds

The drum sections of the track were just the stock 909 drum rack sounds from Ableton live. A compressor and a eq was added to give the drums the required sound. A saturator was also added to give the rougher character in the sound. Doing these steps helped create a more authentic drum sound heard in classic house tracks.

Bass Line and Pad Sounds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCFDwko0npw

The main inspiration for the bass line sound came from this tutorial as it shown me the instrument that was used to create the original. The original sound was from a Roland Juno 6. I couldn’t get the plug in version to work with my machine. So I adapted a present from Ableton that replicates the sound of a Juno 106. I managed to eq the preset and add a saturator. This gave me the sound I liked for this track. I then add a Tal Chours to get the classic chorus sound from the 80’s onto my bass line. The sound from the plug in is fantastic and it’s free from http://kunz.corrupt.ch/Products.

The pad sound for this track was used from a preset banks in Ableton. The sounds was eqed to suit reverb was to give a spacy sound and the Tal Chorus vts was added to give the sound characteristics of the 80’s.


Frankie Kncukles “your love” remake

Bars Information
1 to 20 Synth lead riff arpSynth pad riff chordsMain Bass line
20 to 34 Synth lead riff arpSynth pad riff chordsKick hi hat and snareMain Baseline
34 to 50 Synth lead riff arpSynth pad riff chordsKick hi hat and snareRolling Baseline 
50to 62 Synth lead riff arpSynth pad riff chordsKick hi hat and snareMain BaselineMale groanMale vocal phrase
62 to 85 Synth lead riff arpSynth pad riff chordsKick hi hat and snareMain BaselineMale groanMale vocal section
85 to 100 Synth lead riff arpSynth pad riff chordsKick hi hat and snareRolling BaselineMale vocal section 2
100 to 130 Synth lead riff arpSynth pad riff chordsKick hi hat and snareMain BaselineMale groanMale vocal phrase
130 to 138 Main BaselineSynth chordsSynth lead 2Kick hi hat and snare
138 to 146 Kick snareSci fi synth sound
147 to 153 Main Baseline
152 to 168 Synth lead riff arpSynth pad riff chordsKick hi hat and snareMain BaselineMale groanMale vocal phrase
169 to 197 Synth lead riff arpSynth pad riff chordsKick hi hat and snareMain BaselineMale groanMale vocal phraseFemale vocal sectionFade out

The challenge of recreating this classic house tracks was daunting, in the analysis of the track the sounds and structure seemed to be complex. Recreating the sounds of the instruments in Your Love was a challenge but I managed to find one tutorial on how to recreate the sounds of the track using sylenth 1 and Abelton.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mbNbrkhh5_g

The bass and all synths were created by following this tutorial. The tutorial was really good for recreating the sound of the instruments but it was difficult to follow when trying to see the notes and chord patterns for the track.

Mixing

The track was mixed using similar methods from the previous tracks.

  • Side chain compression on the bass line with kick drum.
  • An eging technique called subtractive eq.

My recreation of Frankie Knuckles ‘your love”

https://soundcloud.com/chris-armstrong-71/your-love


Creative classic track one

What

This track is a blend of sounds, these sounds were created and used to give the classic house sound found in Chicago in the 1980’s. The bass line was influenced from the track by Mr Fingers “Can you Feel it” The synths were influenced by the legendary track by Frankie Knuckles “Your Love” this track was a massive influence on the creation of this house track as it is and has been the most influential dance record to be released. It wasn’t the first but it is diffidently most recognizable house track ever. It is also seen as the track that created the genre. The drums for the track are blend of the drum machine  programming from both classic tracks.

When

The track was created after the questionnaire was completed and the answers for this gave me the tracks I was to use for research in the structure of classic house.

Why

The classic track was used to compare the instrumentation and structure with the modern sound of house music. The reason for creating a creative track to represent the sound of classic house.on the classic tracks I had made to replicate the classic house sound was that I felt I had not shown enough of a creative edge to my project.

How

The track was create using Ableton live 9 and it’s stock plugins Sylenth vst and Tal chorus.

Positive

First of all the bass line was created using the same method as in the remake of Mr Fingers track “can you feel it” the bass line was created by using a replication of the Rolland Juno 106, an arp was added to create the changing bass line.

The drum section for this track used the drum rack in Ableton. I found that the 909 Ableton samples just didn’t sound like the real machine. So I found real 909 drum machine samples and created my own drum rack, I also added a saturator compressor and a reverb so I could adjust the parameters to get the sound I was looking for.

Both these processes were simple enough to achieve as I have been working on creating drum programming and bass line creation through out the year. I think I have achieved a good sounding classic house drum section and bass line. I believe these elements are similar to the original sound of the classic house record.

Negative

For this track I found it challenging to write the chord progression and the lead melody.
The sound design for the chords sound and the sound design on the lead sections were difficult as I found it was difficult to recreate sounds that didn’t sound cheesy or 80’s pop. It was a challenge to get the synths to sound like they have soul and character. So I used a lot of filtering, reverb,chorus and a saturator to try and obtain the rough classic sound.

Overall I think I have managed to capture the essence of the classic house sound. Here is my track


Creative Modern House Track

What

The creative modern track is a blend of two dj’s style in the modern house sound. It features the piano sounds that you can hear in Duke Domunt tracks. It features baseline sound that you can hear from a Redlight track. The drums are where the styles share a common ground with using the house 4/4 bass drum and off beat open hi hat.

Why

The modern track was used to compare the instrumentation and structure with the classic sound of house music. The reason for creating a creative was track to represent the sound of modern house in a creative form.

When

The track was created after the questionnaire was completed and the answers for this gave me the tracks I was to use for research in the structure of classic house.

How

I created this full track using Ableton Live and its stock plugins.

Positive

The creation of the drums for this track went smoothly and efficiently, as I was well practiced in programming drum loops for house music by the end of the project.

The bass line was quick for recreation, as I had previously made a similar sound for the replication track of Redlight’s “9ts” so I was comfortable in recreating the sound needed for this track.

Creating the chords for the piano riff was also an easy process as I had been working on chords and writing riffs in all the previous tracks.

Negative

One of the hardest task to complete for this track was the mixing of the kick drum and the bass line. It’s took a good while eqing the bass and creating side chain compression to get the kick drum and bass line to sit together and not distort with each other. This then created a new problem after I managed to get the kick and bass line to work with each other.

I then had an issue getting the piano sound to sound clear in the mix, so I had to eq out the bottom end of the piano which I think has left the piano sounding thin. I tried to compensate for this by adding a chorus and a saturator to try and give a fuller sound but I still think the paino is a weak sound compared to the bass line and drums.

Here is my final track:

In the above track I believe I have managed to recreate a house track in the modern style.


Here is the link to the full Soundcloud profile.


Conclusions

The beginning of the project aspect to this year highlighted some clear skills gaps and areas in which I needed improvement in my production skills. There were also aspects of this project that I feel I succeed in. I feel that I was able to program house style drum patterns in Ableton well but there was a  area of improvements to get the sound of the kick drum, Hi hat, snare ,clap, etc to sound like the professional records I was analyzsing and studying. I eventually got to grips with getting the drum sound to sound how I wanted and to work with each other creating a clear drum pattern.

An other skills gap that arisen through this project was that my synth sound design was lacking as my first attempts at recreating house sounds I had heard in records I previously listened too. I overcame this issue by training myself by using tutorials and practicing to recreate both classic house tracks and modern dance tracks.

After completing the tutorials and creating tracks another skill gap arisen why my mixing techniques for house music. I was struggling to get the bass line and the bass drum to work together. I was also struggling to achieve clarity in my mid and high frequency sections. To overcome this issue I resorted back to research around the subject area and using tutorial’s to train me. I spent a lot of time on working on the skills to mix the sub bass frequencies with the kick drums. I believe i have achieved a good mix in this section of my tracks. I also think after practice mixing the mid and high frequency i man eventually managed to achieve.

After overcoming issues with my production skills and mixing skills I then went on to create a classic house track and a modern house track. I believe that both these tracks represent the era’s they are meant to come from. This was done buy using the research data to highlight the tracks I was to analyses. From that I created remakes of the selected tracks to practice my skills. After completing these tracks I went on to create the final tracks for my project. I feel that the latter part of the project went smoothly after I had worked on my production skills and mixing skills.

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