Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Analog Kick Drums


Here's where we get into the meat of what I was hoping this blog would be. Here's something I banged out last night on the bus ride home. The basic concept was to try to make a kick drum preset using the subtractor analog modeling synth in Reason. I never really use that synth, because honestly I've never really been a fan of the sounds I could get out of it.

That being said, this kick drum suits me pretty well. I did layer with a sample to get the beater sound which is almost always missing from synth drums and some of the low lows which seems to always be missing from the subtractor synth. It's got a bit of that basketball in the gymnasium sound, but that's not always so bad and I may tweak that out later anyway.

Well there you go, it's an intro, and hopefully it'll turn into something soon.

Till Next Time,

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Destroyed Drums


Welcome back.

Here's a little something I banged together one weekend in Reason. I love Reason as a way to sketch out song ideas; mostly because it's a closed environment with a good drum machine, good sampler, and now with Thor a pretty good analog modeling synth. Without the ability to scroll through endless plug-ins it forces you to focus on rhythm and melody as opposed to sound design. On the other hand, each synth is fairly deep and can be connected in almost endless ways which allows me to change up what I'm doing. This is always a source of inspiration for me.

When I wrote this song I had recently upgraded to Reason 4 and was trying to explore the Thor synth to find it's strength and weaknesses. I was really enjoying the sound of overdriving the filters with the synth sound and wanted to see if I could use those filters to get a crushed distorted drum sound. It ended up being a little tricky but I figured it out and this track was the result. The track starts with "dry" drums (the samples started pretty compressed and roomy), then half way through the destroyed drums come in.

This is about as distorted as I could get the drums to sound, and if I move ahead with this track to do something else with it, I might back off a bit or mix some of the dry drums back in.

As an aside, the vocals in this track are from what I believe was an Akai sample cd, I think it was called Arabic Traditions. One of the folders was this woman singing a song in Arabic cut into pieces. I grabbed the pieces and loaded them into a Redrum drum machine and triggered them in a sequence I thought sounded cool. I have know idea what the original song said, and I'm sure it makes no sense now. Although if anyone out there knows Arabic and wants to enlighten me, I'd be very curious to know what it says.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

Goodbye Bush, Mission:Accomplished

Here we go.

This is an art/ambient track I wrote on the plane on the way to the NAMM show last week. About a year earlier I had downloaded an audio copy of GWB's famous Mission Accomplished speech. The original concept was to cut it up, maybe put some Nixon or something else in there, and generally make him sound like a fool.

Unfortunately, once I started playing with it, just listening to the sound of his voice pissed me off so much that working on it wasn't fun and it was pretty clear he didn't need my help to sound like a fool anyway. While listening to the speech I just wanted him to go away.

So having some down time on the plane to LA the week before Obama's inauguration I found the file again and thought since he is finally now going away, it's be nice to write a piece that would sort of erase him from my mind. Have him just fade away............

Anyway, that's the basis for this piece, I don't expect anyone to ever listen to it twice (that's actually kind of the point), and mad props if you make it all the way through once. But it is fun to hear him just sort of glitch out and eventually fade away.

Made using Ableton Live and Reason on a plane. President Bush in his own words. Most of the glitching came from Audio Damage's Automaton although there are some manual glitches closer to the beginning for effect.




Welcome to MicroSong.

I'm starting this blog hoping to explore some new ideas in music publishing.

My name is Dan Gillespie and I've been writing and recording music for about 12 years. I do this because I think it's fun and why the hell not. I do like my music related job, but I have no desire be a rock star or go endlessly touring. Because of this I've ended up with many gigabytes of either full or half baked musical ideas over the years that I may or may not get around to finishing, but will almost certainly never bother to package into an album and try to sell, but would still be fun to send out into the ether. I'm hoping this blog can help me solve that problem.

I'm also hoping that this blog can open up a conversation on song writing techniques and I/we can all share a little bit about our processes and ideas. Much attention is payed to the performance art of musical performance, but I'd like to see this as an opportunity to see and talk about the performance art of musical composition. To that end I'm hoping to get a couple of my friends to make some posts on here as well and hopefully we'll be able to see some songs evolve from initial musical idea to completion. If an album is like a book, the pieces of music posted here will very much be analogous to blog posts, rapid publishing of whatevers coming out of my musical mind.

Hopefully this idea will appeal to more than just me, and if you find yourself getting a kick out of it, I hope you'll join in. Perhaps even publish your process here as well.