Fresh Start

I’m out of town for the next few days. The next 3 sessions will be done in headphones, with no other tools than my laptop. Let’s see how it goes.

The Process

  • I Started with a blank session today. I needed a fresh start.
  • I wanted an acoustic feel in today’s beat. So I loaded an set of “real” kicks, and chose one with practically no sub frequencies and a nice acoustic attack.
  • I went through organic percussive loops for the first half of the session. It’s pretty simple with Ableton. you just type in a few key words in the search bar and all the samples you’re looking for magically appear. I was isolating my favourite parts of different loops with homogeneous tones and created a groove that matched the direction I had in mind.
  • I wanted guitars to lead the harmonic section. Knowing I would never be able to come up with a natural sounding guitar loop without a midi keyboard or a line in, I also went through my samples and search for acoustic guitar loops. I found this simple arpeggiated A min chord with a lot of dynamics and isolated my favourite part of the loop. The first harmonic layer was locked in.
  • My next step was to add depth to the track. I automated an irregular ping pong delay with a bandpass filter on the wet signal on the guitar track. The delay created the depth I needed in order to move on to the next layer.
  • It was time to add midi to the project. Omnisphere is the perfect tool to create hybrid sounds. I first looked through the “Ethnic world” folder and landed on this awesome sounding guitar preset. Being limited on my midi tools, I came up with the simplest melody in approximately 30 seconds and committed to the idea right away.
  • I needed sub frequencies to support the new chords I came up with the last sound. I found a simple acoustic bass preset in Trillian. I drew in the notes that rooted the new chords.
  • From there, I knew I had to layer the pattern with deeper sounds to create space in the mix. I navigated randomly through presets and samples, typing in words that could somehow fit the vibe of the track.
  • I loaded a few pre-made sounds I saved from past sessions. this personalized library is getting more and more useful.

The Result

This beat doesn’t say much, but it has enough content to be an awesome template for future projects. I think I’m going to keep building it all week. It has soul, it has somewhat of a purpose. I feel pretty good about it.

What I learned

  • Know your limitations and use them at your advantage.

Here’s the beat