Well, the first month of 2013 is almost over, so I wanted to give a quick update on some of my current projects. Sorry, no deep-thinking posts or handy production tips this time, though certainly more are on their way soon (next Production Q&A is almost done for instance). I just wanted to take some time to talk about some of the things I’ve been exploring and trying out lately for my own productions.
One of the more recent things I’ve been spending my time doing, as I mentioned in a few earlier posts, is DJing with Traktor and the S4 controller again. I have to admit with all the work I’ve been doing preparing material to play live the last couple of years, I really haven’t had much chance to focus on DJing for awhile. It’s been nice going back to that way of working, it’s a real good chance to play with music on a much more relaxing level.
Of course, it’s not all roses though. I’ve been amazed at how long it’s been taking me to go and find new tracks to DJ with these days. Not for lack of choices mind you, there’s basically too much choice! I can spend all day quickly flipping through songs on Beatport, and I’m lucky to find 4-5 that I really like. I mean, I know I’m picky, but wow! It’s great having so many options on one hand, but on the other hand it can be a bit soul-sucking listening to so many ummm….. not-so-good tracks during the process too! Oh well, I guess it could be worse. 🙂
If you’re interested in catching one of my DJ sets, the next time will be at the next Liquid Beats night I run at Beer Authority in Seattle on February 6th. This is the grand opening of their new larger location, so it should be quite a party. I’ll be playing mostly catchy downtempo, but if things get crazy later in the night, who knows where it could go.
12720 Lake City Way NE, Seattle, WA 98125.
In other news, I’ve taken a bit of a break from the Elektron based techno set I was almost done with. Well, I thought I was almost done, but as will often happen when you write music, after a bit of time away from the set I listened to it again and realized that I wasn’t happy with how things were going.
The intention had been to do the set entirely in the Machinedrum, but it was starting to sound a little samey, so I figured it was time to press the Octatrack into duty as well. So, I edited down my 16 songs in the MD into my favorite 8, and set about recording new samples in Live that I could use in the Octatrack.
After a few weeks doing this and getting everything set up to perform and record, once again reality snuck in and I found that I was still really not happy with the direction the set was going. Hard to describe what exactly was wrong, but it wasn’t sitting well with me and I was on the verge of just taking the best song of the set and making a studio track out of it.
But while I’m a huge fan of editing out things that aren’t working and only keeping things that are, going from 16 songs for an hour long live set down to just one for a studio song seemed a bit drastic. So instead I decided to just shelve the project for a bit and focus on other stuff. I even went so far as to pack up the MD and OT (after backing them up of course) for now, out of sight and out of mind as it were.
Hopefully in a couple months I can come back to this project a little more excited about it and see if I can give it one more go!
So, for now I’m just going to focus on working on a couple of single tracks for awhile. I’ve had a lot of really large projects I’ve been working on over the last couple of years, from writing complete live sets to releasing full on albums. I think for at least a couple months it’s time to just ratchet it back a notch and just have fun writing on some smaller projects.
Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time working in Presonus Studio One, and I’ve been really impressed by it. So much so that I haven’t even opened Logic once on the new laptop, and I’m only barely finding a need to use the Live 9 beta now and then. It’s not perfect, there have been some crashes and other bits of weirdness, but no more so than with other DAWs I have access to lately I guess.
I’ve been a bit bored with the DAW offerings lately (let’s admit it, the Live 9 update is kind of…. underwhelming once you’ve used it) and while Studio One isn’t the breath of fresh air I had hoped Live 9 would be, it’s at least something different to work with for now. Really hoping that the beta of Bitwig goes live soon, as that’s my last hope for something truly revolutionary when it comes to DAWs! Then again, I have been known to have high expectations too, so I suppose I should temper my expectations again 🙂
That reminds me, I want to mention the MIDI Guitar software from Jam Origin. This is the first pitch to MIDI tracking software I’ve used that I felt let me play my guitar the way I want while still sending predictable MIDI to my synths. It’s a bit rough around the edges, but well worth the $60 they are asking while it’s in the beta-stage. Free to try, so I definitely recommend trying it if you’re a guitar player.
I’ll try and get some reviews written for both MIDI Guitar and Live 9 once they get out of beta, just to make sure the features are set in stone before I talk about them in depth. Stay tuned!
Finally, man is it nice to have a guitar to turn to now and then, I have to say. As you can tell from the above, I’ve been a little frustrated with my usual music making tools. So it’s been really nice having another outlet to turn to for making music. Over the years my guitar playing has gotten regulated to being something I only used a couple times a year when I needed a part in a specific song.
But lately I’ve been making a real effort to try and pick up the guitar at least once a day and play for a couple of minutes. Sometimes that turns into a couple of hours, and I can honestly say those have been the more enjoyable days in the studio lately. I think it’s time I start focusing some more on getting my chops back, and seeing how I can integrate the guitar more into my own productions. Either on it’s own, or as a MIDI Controller via MIDI Guitar instead of using a keyboard controller. Regardless, this is the direction that is giving me the most to look forward to in 2013, so I plan to roll with it as long as possible.
Hmmm, maybe it’s time to go down the rabbit hole of boutique guitar pedals as well…..