I was sitting around today and after a discussion with my kids on jobs I had as a teen... I had a memory... and it hit me... I realized that most of you don't understand how I come up with a Beat of the Day song selection. Usually it is tied to a memory... something I am feeling at the time... Today was a day where I remembered my high school job (one of them) at the record store in Eastland Mall... 1980... Day 2 of my job... Genesis released Duke... and when I walked in... blammo... I was already a Genesis fan... but that whole album played... and it is now a desert island record for me... anyway... here is an explanation of some of my process... and a sneak into the keyboard part I worked out today...
I thought I would post a short video of the software and plugins I used to mix my latest Beat of the Day song - Tom Petty's Breakdown!
Give it a look and let me know of questions you may have afterward!
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Breakdown
This was a fun song to recreate! As per usual... I only did part of it as I am not a singer and there are no vocals.
Imagine trying to recreate guitar parts for some of the best guitarists in the world. Well... I did OK... but I am my own worst critic and these are close... but not perfect...
All of my Beat of the Day videos are not perfect... nothing I play is "perfect"!
I like what Tim Exile says... "you find yourself chasing your tail for perfection"...
I found that the song has feeling and feels more natural with some imperfections... maybe it is my 60s and 70s introduction to music... Led Zeppelin... there was no metronome... no grid... just the mighty John Bonham smashing those drums to his own clock...
Anyway... I digress...
This was fun... probably does not have the same energy as Journey's Separate Ways... but still fun!
I am continually working on the Beat of the Day series of videos.
I plan to write and describe the making of these videos as I complete them. Complete with how-tos and my approach to each area of the song... performance of instruments, recording, sound design and matching, and more...
Please sign up for the email list if you want to be notified about new videos and blog posts!
In the mean time... check out my latest Beat of the Day!
Separate Ways - Journey
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Original Demo Followup
I have loaded another Shimmer Piano Demo and at about 1:30 into it I adjust the sends to the second Shimmer to give you a sense of what would happen if I were aggressive on the send knob position! Enjoy and I welcome feedback - positive and negative.
Sound Design and Processing
To follow up on my last post, I wanted to talk about my process and how it evolved while building my experiment.
Let's just walk through my construction process first.
I selected my sounds to begin. First I added a Steinway 2 Piano patch from the EXS library in Mainstage.
Then I loaded a pad in Retrosynth that was close to what I wanted. Then I tweaked the pad sound to get the rich fat subtle sound I was looking for.
Then I routed the two instrument outputs into a single bus and applied some minor top end eq and some compression.
On that "sum" channel, I pointed the aux sends to a channel that I set up to hold my effects stack. I created a second channel with another effects stack to route signal through as well. Above, labeled Shimmer 1 and Shimmer 2.
I created all of the effects patches and stacked them and tweaked until I came out with a really cool sounding piano sound that "shimmered". It is a matter of trial and error and some knowledge about how each effect would interact and compliment each in the line of effects. In this case, I have a really long "SilverVerb" reverb into a delay, into a pitch shifter dialed up or down a whole octave (12 semi-tones), Then into another SilverVerb with a long trail and size.
I then bus some of that via Aux into the next channel of a very similar set of effects. This is so I can control the amount of effects and have lots of options for my sound depending on what the song calls for.
This technique is not new and is very similar to others out there... but it is my simple twist on some of these methods to give me a lot of options.
I will put this patch up in this post so you can pull it down and tinker with it. IT is assumed that you have Mainstage and the synths used in this patch.
There are 3 patches in this concert that you can flip between. These are variations on my original patch. I am building a complete set of patches for a performance library that will be for purchase soon.
These are the original drawing board I started with.
Enjoy and leave comments on tweaks you make and areas where you think they can be improved.
Mainstage Patch Experiments
I started playing with Apple's Mainstage and creating some new patches. I started with my usual Piano/Pad combo kind of patch that I love to put together. What I ended up with is more of a "shimmer" piano.
It is built solely with a Piano, a soft pad really low... and a lot of processing to really add a nice effect to the piano sound.
I routed the piano through a bus and inserted a reverb, pitch shift, stereo delay, compressor and another reverb. This combination gives the sound a real "sparkle" or "shimmer"!
I am working on the interface and will post the patch as soon as I finish tweaking it.
Listen to the track (Falling Snow) I played with this patch and see what you think!