an electro remix of “move along”

AutoStatic has been busy working away on an electro remix of my track “move along”, and he’s now posted the results. “move along” is by far my most acoustic track, with piano, bass, drums, and vocals (the instruments were all actually softsynths, but it certainly sounds fairly acoustic), so it’s very cool to hear it so completely altered in to a danceable electro track, with a tonne of vocal processing work and all manner of synth sounds.

It’s obviously very cool to hear what’s been done with my original track, but I think it’s even cooler just to see this sort of track being made under Linux, and with all software instruments, no less. Check it out!

sooperlooper rhodes remix

If you enjoyed yesterday’s sketch, you really should check out this great remix by ioflow. He took my original loops and rearranged them in Renoise, mixing things up to great effect with some micro-edits (the little reversed bits sound awesome) and some low-key, distorted beats. Unfortunately I forgot to save the final set of loops, so he had to make do without the melody part, but it definitely hasn’t hurt things.

I very nearly neglected to post yesterday’s sketch, since the timing was rough and the whole thing was musically very simple. Needless to say, I’m glad I did post it now — chalk this up as a win for online collaboration and Creative Commons!

an experiment with ccmixter

Creative Commons licences allow musicians, artists, and other creative people to create new and unique works based on the works of others. While you can often do interesting things based on finished pieces, having access to the individual components gives you a lot more flexibility, and it’s that access to components that ccMixter aims to provide.

ccMixter lets users do two core things: upload samples of their own creation, and upload remixes made using samples from other users. The samples that people upload range from individual sounds and solo recordings through to the stems (that is, the individual tracks) from full, mixed songs, so there’s a wealth of stuff to work with.

The most impressive thing feature of ccMixter is its attribution tracking on remixes. When you upload a remix, you tell ccMixter which samples you used, so it’s very easy to see what samples are used in a remix, or what remixes make use of your samples. It all gets complicated once you start using remixes within other remixes, but ccMixter displays the attributions as a tree, giving you a simple, and very cool, overview of a remix’s entire history.

I’ve always had a “do-it-yourself” attitude with my music, creating a lot of my own sounds and recording all of my own tracks, and I don’t see that changing just yet. As an experiment, though, I uploaded the stems for “move along”: complete and separate main and backing vocal, bass, and piano tracks, and a mixed stereo drum track.

I wasn’t sure if anyone would do much with it, but to my surprise, there are three remixes on the site using those samples — you can check them out from the link above. There’s a constant influx of new material, so you don’t have long to catch people’s attention, but it’s definitely exciting to know that people are listening to your work and using it in new ways. I’m sure I’ll be uploading more tracks in future to see what other users can do with them.

“move along” update

Thanks to everyone that listened to my new track, and especially those of you that gave me your thoughts on it — they’ve all been greatly appreciated. I wasn’t sure how such a change of direction would come together, but overall the reaction has been very positive, which is just awesome.

One comment I received from fellow podcaster Mike Holstein before releasing the track was that the vocal was too soft against the piano, but I chose to ignore it — I’m still not really confident in my voice, so I didn’t really have the guts to bring it to the fore as I should have. A number of other people on the linux-audio-user list have since made the same comment though, and after listening back I have to say that I now agree with them 100%.

An aggressive EQ curve to tame resonances in the bass part, courtesy of the "lv2fil" LV2 plugin

I’ve decided to remix the track from scratch: I took a snapshot of the track in Ardour, and then zeroed all the levels, deleted all the plugins, and started a new mix from scratch. There were other parts of the mix I wasn’t happy with — the bass had some nasty resonances, and the drums were a bit inconsistent — but I’ve been about to smooth out some of those problems using EQ (the lv2fil four-band parametric EQ), compression (using the Invada Studio compressor, which works well at low attack values for taming transients), and level automation. The upshot of this is that I can push the piano further back in the mix and bring out more of the drums and vocals.

I’m still playing with the EQ and levels on the vocals and the piano, to make sure they sit together well with each other and with the other elements, but I think it’s already sounding more polished and better balanced. I’m looking forward to having this one finished (again!).