Popcorn Process

I had originally downloaded GarageBand, but it took up a lot of space on my phone and I was having a hard time figuring it out. Instead, I used Auxy. This was still challenging at first to figure out how to use, but with the tutorials I managed. I decided I wanted to do something different than my usual club-ish loop projects. While Auxy still uses the loop function, it doesn’t have built in loops like GarageBand, so I had to create my own. The sounds and instruments reminded me of one of my favorite jams as a little girl: Popcorn by Hot Butter. After a long time figuring out how to use the app in the best way I could, I started getting frustrated both with time and quality. It wasn’t that the app wasn’t capable of producing good quality songs, I was simply having a difficult time doing so. I decided instead of recreating the entire song, I would simply repeat the main theme using a different instrument sound and then skip to the ending to create one cohesive song.

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Brooklyn Nights Remix Process

I chose to remix my first song: Brooklyn Nights. Being as this was my first project using GarageBand, I figured this would be the best place to take what I’ve learned so far in class and apply it.

Unlike my peer remix project, I didn’t add or take away any of the original tracks. The only time I altered with the actual placement of loops was in the “breakdown” section, if you will. Instead of just having the cut up loops of the Digging Deep Synth and the Moving On Bell Lead, I also cut up some of the Sharp Dressed Bass loop to give it a little more edge.

Aside from this, all of my other alterations dealt with mixing. I rose the volume for almost all of my drum/beat loops and slightly lowered some of the melodic loops. I also altered some of the crescendos and decrescendos to create smoother and more exciting transitions. So while the song is pretty much the same exact thing as it was before, I made a few mixing tweaks to make it sound a little more balanced and cohesive.

Sampling – Moral Code

I do not believe sampling without permission is morally acceptable if the person doing so is trying to make money off of it. If sampling is used for the personal and/or educational purposes, I believe it is fine. Realistically, I know it’s not as black and white as that. Especially with the rise of social media and streaming sites/apps such as SoundCloud and YouTube, many people could upload their music for personal reasons, not intending to make any money off of it, yet still gain a lot of credit or fame and still possibly harm the sales of the original song and artist.

I realize there are also gray areas when it comes to what parts are sampled. As we discussed in class, if there was a problem with bass lines being sampled, we would be in quite a pinch, as there are not many different bass lines out there (at least for the type of music we’d be using it for). But for certain melodic guitar riffs or vocals or lyrics, it becomes much more obvious.

I know I wouldn’t feel comfortable if someone used my music without permission. It’s not so much a matter of if I would say yes or no (I would probably be all for letting them use my music), but the matter of respect. Granted, things might change were I to become rich and famous; perhaps I wouldn’t worry so much if I were already established and well off. But when it all comes down to it, if the music were going to be exposed to the public (and not for educational purposes), I do not think sampling without permission is morally acceptable.

Oboe in the Jungle Remix Process

I used Alex Lemma’s Oboe in the Jungle for my remix project. Being as this was a song from our first project, not only did I like the way it sounded when I first heard it, but I had some ideas of my own as well. Plus, Alex being a good friend of mine, it was easy to communicate back and forth if I had any questions or comments.

Unfortunately, because I have little space on my Mac, I didn’t have all of the loops Alex used in his song, so I wasn’t able to alter individual tracks. So instead, I downloaded the full song from SoundCloud and just cut sections and altered dynamics the best I could where I desired. I also added four more loops to give it the extra kick I think it needed to complete that “jungle” effect.

I first used an 80s Classic Lead Synth with the beginning of his song to fill out the percussion section a bit more. I completely left the drop alone, as it’s possibly my favorite part of the entire song. But after a few measures of the unaltered song playing, I added a Big Snare Roll Topper loop gradually getting louder underneath to propel the music forward a bit and lead up to another mini drop. This mini drop introduced the last two loops: Altered State Beat and Heavy Kicker Beat. I remember Professor Hein saying he expected an obnoxious beat underneath a certain part in the song and I completed agreed. Despite my limited loop library, Heavy Kicker Beat seemed to fill out the song well. From there on out, I simply cut up certain sections and combined different tracks in an attempt to give it a hectic jungle feel.

Sample Genealogy

I never knew this until I took a “History of Popular Music” course in high school, but the Black Eyed Peas sampled Dick Dale and the Deltones’ Miserlou in their song Pump It. It plays in the beginning as a very key component and then serves as a nearly constant background accompaniment, peaking at the chorus. There are other instruments and beats going on as well, but it makes a very obvious contribution to the song.

 

Switchfoot used a interpolation of their own song. On their album Hello Hurricane, the opening track is Needle and Haystack Life. The last track is Red Eyes, which uses the chorus from Needle and Haystack Life at the end of the song in the background of an instrumental section. “In this needle and haystack life/I found miracles there in your eyes/It’s no accident we’re here tonight/We are once in a lifetime.” Throughout that interpolation, themes from Red Eyes overlaps it in a very ambient-like way.

Racing Time Process

I was originally only going to include my own phone recording of cars on my street. I had randomly selected 120 bpm and started working with my “New Dover” recording. Not satisfied with just the one found sound, I decided to look through my classmates’ recordings and came across Krystelle’s “Clock Ticking on a Snowstorm,” which worked perfectly with my 120 bpm. So instead of having a literal car racing idea, I toyed with the titular racing time idea. The song starts off with the loop Alpha Omega Bass and the clock recording, which continues throughout the entire piece, becoming prominent again when the music gets softer toward the middle and the very end. The purpose of the first four bars being just the clock represent the growing anticipation right before a race. After the first four measures, my New Dover recording begins and continues through the rest of the song as well.

The song builds up intensity as “the race” begins. I used Aurora Beat, Bell Ringer Arpeggio, Rapid Snare Topper, and Accelerate Synth, as well as a Rising Synth Effect and Diving Synth Effect, to do this, each entrance contributing to the race effect. After a combination of Alpha Omega Beat, Accelerate Synth, and Rapid Snare Topper at a loud dynamic, I brought the volume down on those three parts to serve as a sort of background sound to the newly introduced calmer section. This section uses two more loops: Set Free Synth Pad and Slow Motion Piano. During this section, one imagines a more inner dialogue with the clock recording subtly in the background. I liked having the juxtaposition of the two calm loops with the clock recording and the three background intense loops with the New Dover recording; it gave the song a sort of eye of the storm feeling here.

The song ends with a sort burst of intense music again, using Aurora Beat, Accelerate Synth, and Set Free Synth Pad, as well as the Rising Synth Effect once more. After eight measures of this, Aurora Beat and Set Free Synth Pad drop out, Accelerate Synth gradually fades away, and Slow Motion Piano comes in, also gradually fading away so that the last sounds are the New Dover recording and the clock recording, bringing the song full circle.

Production Analysis of Carry On Wayward Son

Kansas’ “Carry On Wayward Son” opens with a cappella vocals, sung by Steve Walsh and Robby Steinhardt. Followed by that is a typical rock band instrumentation: drums, two electric guitars, and bass guitar, along with a Hammond Organ and a piano. I tried finding out specifics on the guitars, and came across a forum that discussed the possible exact instrumentation. There was a lot of conversing about Gibsons (possibly a Gibson L6S) and Les Pauls and Strats. As for effects, there is mention of possible Boss EQ and Marshall amps. The producers were Jeff Glixman and Kansas and the engineer was Bill Evans

Real vs. Hyperreal vs. Surreal

“Realistic Recording”

This video of Lady Gaga performing an acoustic version “Paparazzi” seems to fit the criteria of a realistic recording. The instrumentation is just the keyboard and her voice. You can hear the slight imperfections of Lady Gaga’s voice (slight pitch fluctuations, although she does a magnificent job staying on pitch. Also, the piano accompaniment isn’t always perfecting even in the eighth notes or dynamics. You can also clearly see in the video that she’s singing and playing the piano herself.

 

“Hyperrealistic Recording”

Most of Daft Punk’s music sounds pretty enhanced or modified, due to their goal of a futuristic yet old fashioned sound. However, their album Random Access Memories included more live studio instrumentalists. Their track “Contact” sounds heavily electronic and modified (especially in the synth), but in fact has James Genus on bass and Omar Hakim on drums. I couldn’t hear the bass too well, but I could hear in the kit that it sounded like a live drummer because of both timbre and inconsistency. I don’t mean inconsistency as in poor musicianship, of course, rather the impossible achievement of playing everything perfectly in time.

 

“Surrealistic Recording”

I know nothing about Skrillex but he was the first person I thought of when I had to choose a recording that couldn’t possibly be played live with instruments. I’m hoping I don’t sound ignorant, but I don’t know how his recording of “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” (or most of his music) could be performed with live instruments. The vocals are altered and there are so many electronic melodies and harmonies and effects going on that I don’t think it would sound right if performed with live acoustic instruments. I’m sure there could be a performance that sounds nice and similar to the original track, but to replicate it exactly would sound strange to me.

Mediocre Mario Brothers Process

I was honestly very frustrated working with just MIDI. If my Mac had enough room for more than three MIDI loops in GarageBand, I think I would’ve had a much more pleasant experience. Despite this, I was forced to try Soundtrap and was able to get familiar with a different program. I downloaded the Super Mario Brothers theme song and the underground theme (my two favorites) from a sketchy looking website and one of my drum patterns from Groove Pizza. I used the Dubstepper drum kit to create basic, shorter, non-looped beats. The Mario Brothers themes were defaulted to the Rhodes and 1984 synthesizers, which I kept to keep that classic video game timbre.

Despite my frustration throughout everything, I’m still relatively happy with the way the song turned out. I wasn’t planning on using an already-known theme – and a very popular one at that – but because I didn’t have enough MIDI loops in GarageBand and I couldn’t create my own loop-style song like last time, this is where my creativity turned. If I did have unlimited room to download more content into GarageBand, I would’ve used that only. If I had the patience, I would have also tried learning other techniques that I don’t even currently know about. I’m positive there are much better remixes and plays on Super Mario Brothers music, but as far as my circumstances are concerned, I’m not upset with my result.