Wind Swept – New Tarekith Track

WindSwept

Wind Swept <- Right Click to Download

A lot of my recent work has been shorter songs with weird sounds, abrupt changes in the song structure, and a bit more “out there” overall.  So for this one I wanted to create a more flowing, almost trance-like song that drifted along a bit more serenely.

The basis for this song was an acoustic guitar jam I had one night using the looper built into the Flashback X4 pedal.  I liked how it turned out, and luckily I had recorded it at the time too.   I used Auria on the iPad Air again as my main DAW, along with the included Fabfilter EQ and Compressor for mixing duties, and Pro-L for the mastering.

The drums were from DrumJam and DM1, and Alchemy handled the couple of synth tracks.  Everything else was my Taylor 814ce heavily processed with my new pedals, the Xotic EP Booster, Boss Multi-Overtone, Boss Tera Echo, the aforementioned Flashback, and the TC Hall Of Fame.

It flows and builds slowly to a discordant peak, then tapers off to nothingness.  Enjoy!

“Deviate” – Korg Gadget Track & Review

Deviate300

Deviate <- Right click to Save or Play

“Deviate” is the first track I’ve written using the new Korg Gadget app, this time around it’s a darker tech house track.   Here’s the Gadget project file for those that came here via GadgetCloud: Deviate Project  Feel free to explore and play around with the song if you want.

My Gadget review follows:

Korg caught a lot of people by surprise when they released their new Gadget app at this winter’s NAMM show.  Unlike their previous efforts to recreate their older hardware with iOS apps, Gadget is a brand new experience.  Designed as a self-contained groovebox of sorts, Korg has included 15 new instruments designed to speed up the initial steps song writing process.

IMG_0011

It took me some time to really get into the workflow of Gadget, not because it’s difficult to grasp, but because at first glance it looks similar to other apps like Live or Electrify NXT.  There’s what looks like a Session view taking up most of the screen space, though unlike Live and NXT you can’t launch individual clips.  Instead you can launch and loop complete Scenes, or set Gadget to step through all the scenes sequentially.  All in all it’s more of a linear sequencer than a live performance tool at the moment, but once you get your head around that things are generally easy to figure out.

It should also be pointed out that Gadget ONLY works in portait orientation on the iPad.  This can be a little frustrating since so many of todays stands and covers are made for landscape mode.  It does help with keeping everything you need to see in one view most of the time, but ergonomically I really wish Korg would come up with a way to do this in landscape mode too.

I won’t go into all 15 instruments (Gadgets, in Korg speak) in this review, that’s easy enough to check into with the manual.  I will say that there’s a great variety of drum machines, one shot effect players, and synths to keep you busy for a long time.  Each device has some really nice sounding presets to get your started, and just enough control to shape them into something unique without getting bogged down by layers of synth programming.

IMG_0012

I thought it was a great compromise myself, depth enough to make some seriously cool sounds, but each Gadget is simple to use too.  All synth and mixer parameters can be automated, and you can even record song length automation if you turn off scene looping.  When you’re done you can export the song to iTunes, Gadget Cloud (a Korg branded Soundcloud page), or Audioshare and Audio Copy.  For a first release, it’s got a lot of well thought out features, and for me it was very stable with not a single crash.  Not a huge CPU hog at all on the iPad Air either!

It’s not perfect though, there are a few areas I hope they address in the promised updates coming later this month:

– It really needs an undo function, it’s too easily to accidentally delete something on touchscreen devices and there’s no way to get it back if you don’t make frequent sequential backups manually.

– Audiobus and IAA support!

– I’d love an option to trigger individual clips and scenes.

– Hardware MIDI-mapping please.

– Patterns can only be 8 bars long.

– Editing automation of multiple notes at the same point in time can be hit or miss.

IMG_0013

 

Most of my complaints are relatively minor though, and hopefully will get addressed soon.  While it’s not one of the cheaper music-making apps on the App Store, I definitely think it’s one of the best.  Easy to make incredible sounds that are unique to you, and the samples it comes with (drums, one shots, efx clips, etc) are modern sounding as well.

I really can’t wait to see what Korg does with this app, already some clever users have found mention of other devices not yet turned on in the code for Gadget.  This is a serious tool for mobile musicians, and I have a feeling Korg is only getting started.

Lines In Space – New Downtempo Track

Lines-Of-Space300

Lines Of Space <- Right Click to Download

Well, luckily I managed to keep myself busy during the first couple of weeks of my recovery from the shoulder surgery.  Surprised myself a bit, but I actually managed to get a track written over the last few days, and one I really like no less!

To write this one I used the iPad again, along with the following apps: Auria, Audiobus, iElectribe, Electrify NXT, Nave, Alchemy, and iSEM.  The guitar parts were recorded with a Taylor 814ce recorded dry into a Lynx Hilo DAC, then effected with Fabfilter’s Timeless2 and Pro-C in Auria.  Fabfilter Pro-L in Auria handled all of the “mastering” in this song.

As you can see, I’m still on an iPad music making kick.  🙂

Well, hope you enjoy the new track.  Hopefully if things go well, I can get another track written before my new monitors arrive in 3 weeks.  But that’s a story for another post!

Peace and beats,
Tarekith

Tern – Downtempo track

Tern300

Tern – Downtempo – 12-16-2013 <- Right Click to Save or Play

Been on a bit of a roll lately with my current way of writing music, having a good time and just seeing where it takes me.  Here’s another slightly happy one (for me at least), done once again with the iPad and my new acoustic guitar.

Speaking of the guitar, it’s been a real joy to play since I got it, no regrets at all.  Over the last few weeks I’ve been slowly customizing it, to make it a little more my style and a bit more unique.  Swapped the tuners, strap button, and truss rod cover screws from gold to cosmo black from Gotoh.  Less blingy, looks pretty sharp if I do say so.

I also took off the pick guard that came on it, though I debated that one for a bit.  I originally hadn’t wanted one when I was shopping for a guitar, but I had no choice unless I wanted to pay big bucks for a custom guitar.  It looked nice enough for a pick guard I guess, but in the end was just a little too red for my taste.

Easy enough to remove it turns out, and it looks much nicer without it I think.  I’ll post some pics once we get some decent light here in Seattle.  Until then, enjoy the new track!

In Splits & Starts – New Downtempo Track

In Splits & Starts <- Click to download

This is the first track I’ve written since selling my Elektron gear and buying a nice acoustic guitar. Don’t worry though, this is definitely not country music! A bit happier and more playful than my usual downtempo tracks, still lots of interesting twists to keep your ears on their toes. Err… something like that.

Recorded in Auria on an iPad Air, drums are a combination of Beatmaker2 and Alchemy Mobile, the few synth sounds in this track are from Alchemy or Nave. Most of the instrumental sounds are actually my Taylor 814ce acoustic guitar processed with a Boss TeraEcho pedal, or the effects and time-stretching in Auria.

Hopefully this marks a new direction for my music making, looking forward to seeing where this takes me next!

Peace and beats,
Tarekith

Shifting Sideways EP released today!

Shifting Sideways

Very excited to announce the release of my new E.P. today, Shifting Sideways!   A blend of ambient and downtempo, the E.P. takes a lot of unexpected turns I play with both space and depth in an evolving, yet grooving manner.   Available on all the major music outlets, including Beatport.  This is actually my first release on Beatport, so I’m pretty excited to see how that works out!

http://www.beatport.com/release/shifting-sideways-ep/1187629

Special thanks to the guys at Foldspace Records for releasing this album, definitely check out their site for some more quality music.  In addition, they’ve posted an interview with me where I talk about playing live, mastering other people’s music, and share funny stories about some of the crazy stuff that can happen at live gigs:

http://foldspacerecords.com/2013/11/an-interview-with-tarekith/

Hope you all enjoy the new music!

Chimera Winds

ChimeraWinds

Chimera Winds

Another new downtempo track, this one a trip down the weird and groovey path once again.    Created completely on an iPad Air using a KMI QuNexus for a keyboard.  Drums and percussion are from DM1, Alchemy, and Thor via Audiobus.  Synth sounds are from Alchemy and Thor as well, along with Animoog, Nave, and Impaktor.  Recorded, arranged, and mixed in Auria, mastered using the Fabfilter Pro-L plug in.

This is a good taste of my new Shifting Sideways EP coming out on Foldspace Records in less than two weeks.  Stay tuned for more info on that!

Shifting Sideways EP

Shifting Sideways

The “Shifting Sideways EP” is a project that was intended to let me experiment a bit with my music making.  Not only were all three songs done completely on an iPad from start to finish, but it gave me a chance to play around with textures and tonalities I normally wouldn’t use.

At times discordant and jarring, other times smooth and floating, I was able to combine multiple layers of sound in ways you might not expect.  The result turned out better than I could have hoped, resulting in a strange fusion of noise, harmony, and emotive textures that create a sense of mystery in each of the songs.

Hope you enjoy!
Tarekith

Track 1 -TH1
Track 2 – Veloant
Track 3 – Blur

If you like the album or just like supporting the artists you listen to, the EP is available for only $3 at Bandcamp.
Click the image blow to be taken there:

Veloant – New Downtempo Track

Veloant

Veloant

Well, adventures in music making on the iPad have been ongoing, and here is the latest result of that work, my new downtempo track called “Veloant”.

I’ve had a couple people ask me about my process for writing songs on just the iPad, so I figured this a good chance to go into the details a little more.  The main DAW I use to record and assemble all of the different parts of these songs is Auria, usually in conjunction with Audiobus.  For Veloant, I started with a simple drum pattern in the DM1 app, just a quick sketch that would give me a rhythm to play over.  Then, while I was recording the pattern playing into Auria, I would hit the Randomize button in DM1 to come up with some crazy variations on my simple drum beats.  The best of these random variations were sliced and diced into new drum loops in Auria after the fact.

photo

 

 

I also layered a simple kick drum loop over the initial drums, and came up with the more agressive sounding drums later in the song using the Alchemy app.  These were set aside until I got further along in the arranging process later on.

With a simple drum loop recorded to provide me the right timing for the song, the next step was mostly like it is for all my songs.  Using Audiobus, I would just jam over my drum loops with different synth apps recording everything in Auria to be picked through later on.  This part of the process is where the meat of the songwriting process takes place for me, I’m recording all the different synth sounds that will make up the rest of the song.  I think I spent about a week and half just jamming on different synths, going back now and then to trim out the best bits.

It certainly helped that so many awesome synth apps were released during the past week, namely Propellorheads Thor, Waldorf’s Nave, and a nice update for Sunrizer as well.  Add to that my KMI QuNexus finally arriving (full review later this week), and I was pretty set for playing iPad synths!

photo

At this point I had a nice collection of drum loops and synth parts recorded, and a rough frame work for the song itself, so I set about getting the arrangement completed.  I was specifically trying to avoid a lot of fills and fancy edits in this song, so it was more about creating groove and motion rather than little bits of ear candy.  It usually takes me a couple tries to get everything placed the way that works best for the material, but even then I think I managed to get most of the arranging done in one night.

photo-1

As you can see, this song has only about 12 tracks in total, which I find is about the limits of where my iPad4 starts to geel slow when navigating Auria.  I can certainly playback more tracks than this with no problems, but things like zooming and moving around the arrange page starts to lag.  Rather than deal with the frustrations of that, I just aim to keep to a simpler song structure.

After living with the song for a couple more days to make sure I’m happy with the arrangement (especially in a slightly weirder song like this one), I’ll finalize the mixdown I’ve been working with while writing so far.  In this track I ended up just a few EQ’s in Auria to tame some of the subs on the drums, and highlight different synth frequencies to avoid some clashing.  The EQs in Auria are actually made by PSP, so they sound quite good despite having some rather outdated GUI’s for a touch device 🙂

Finally I mastered the song using the Fabfilter Pro-L plug in available as an additional purchase inside Auria’s plug in store.  This was my first add on purchase from Auria, and overall the process was simple and went smoothly.  The Pro-L plug in in Auria is identical to the one for the OSX and Windows, so while some might balk at the $40 price, it’s still a lot cheaper than the normal version and has all the same functionality.  Given how much I use Pro-L for my mastering business, it was a no brainer for me.

photo-2

 

And for the most part, that was it for this song!

Because Auria can export to Soundcloud, I decided to see how far I could take this iPad only way of working.  I was pleasantly surprised too!  Within 5 minutes of completing the song, I had uploaded it online, then used the Soundcloud app to post to Facebook and Twitter for people to listen to.  While it’s not as ideal as hosting it in better streaming quality on my own website, it was an interesting experiment to see just how much I could use the iPad for music creation and sharing with my fans.

As always, hope you enjoyed the walkthrough on how this song was created.  Feel free to ask any questions in the comments, and look for my detailed review of the KMI QuNexus coming later this week.

Thanks!