This blog will cover the process taken to remix the Cover of song Unsteady by cosmogyral. The approach taken and outcome of the song was not exactly how it was planned out but it was definitely close enough. This was my first attempt at remixing a song and it was for sure a learning experience. The first step I took was getting the vocals in time. Using the time warp function in Abelton live. This was particularly hard as this was a live recording and the original recording was not done to a click track. After which I used the convert harmony to MIDI function on the stem of the piano track thisprovved to be particularly hard as Abeltons MIDI conversion was not one hundred percent accurate, so a fair bit of editing had to go into it. Having these two as a base I started adding synth layers. After having played around with many sounds I decided I’d leave three layers one a low end heavy strings section. A second of which was an arpegiated synth and the third a saw drone synth. While in the process of planning this after having studied the chords of the song I wanted to add a completely different lead synth line. Having randomly being inspired by a traditional Sri Lankan melody called the “wannama” I decided to try adding this melody on top of the synth tones I had added and it surprisingly worked. For this main line I used Abeltons Operator Plugin to create my own synth tone. After having added in the lead line it still felt empty so I decided to add in a kick drum into the track. Having finalized all my elements of the track I then went about practicing a Dub mix. After I was comfy with how it was sounding I then did a few takes, mixing in the elements and playing around with the reverb and delay sends as well as the filters on the vocals. Having finished a dub mix take I was happy with, I then edited a few things like fade smoothness and bounced the final track. Once this was done I did send the track to the original artist and they were indeed pleased with it as it was the first time one of their tracks had been remixed. Overall for this being my first attempt at remixing and at using Abelton live I think it was defiantly a good outcome.
For this Project the song I have chosen is a cover of the song unsteady by the X Ambassadors. This is a live cover performed by a local Sri Lankan band called Cosmogyral. The track was originally performed at the Melomanic Sessions which is a warehouse style acoustic music event in Colombo Sri Lanka. For the the purpose of remixing I plan to only use two stems (vocals and piano). For this remix I will use a loop of a section the vocal track as well as use the convert harmony to MIDI function in Abelton Live on the piano track to write out a MIDI part. In this process I really can not point out to what electronic Genre the track is but I do hope to mix into to it a lead line. This lead section which most probably will be played on a synth, a sound that I intend to custom make. This line will be a traditional Sri Lankan melody called the “Wannama”, a melodic line associated with traditional folk music. I will also be making a custom drum rack for the drums in the track. Although the original track is three minutes on its own I intend to use only a vocal loop and most of the track will remain instrumental. Although I must mention I intend on using the loop in many different ways. This is my first attempt at a remix an I intend on doing it in a dubmix style by which I mean programing a MIDI controller and remixing it on the run. Although I am not sure what genre it would exactly be I will be looking for inspiration from electronic producer KYGO . Having asked the band Cosmogyral prior permission to remix the track I intend on sending them the finished product as they too are very keen to here it as it’s the first time one of their tracks have been remixed.
Link to original track
Sampling is the act of taking a portion or section of one sound recording and using it as an instrument or a sound in a different song. Sampling was originally developed by experimental musicians working with musique concrète and electroacoustic music, who physically manipulated tape loops and vinyl records. By the late 1960s sampling took off and the realm of “remixing” came into being. In this blog I aim to compare two songs which have used samples of other songs in production. The first song is Gold digger by Kanye West this 2005 Hip Hop track is one full of controversy having had a few law suits over it for copy right reasons. But the track is a good example as to how sampling is used. The track has samples out of Ray Charles popular 1954 song “I Got a Woman”. In this Kanye uses a multiple loops of lines of the song to which he has added a base synth line and then which he raps over. The type of sampling used here is loop sampling which is a common feature of early two thousand’s hip hop. The next song I aim to compare is Hotline Bling By Drake, this four minute twenty seven second RnB track was released in 2015. This Track uses a sample from Timmy Thomas song Why Can’t We Live Together. This track starts off with a percussive element with a string synth base. Drake uses this sample in hotline bling in this track drake seems to have used the technique of transposition. How you can tell is that the pitch of the sound has changed compared to the original. In these two track the type of sampling is the same but the two techniques differ. Where as Kanye uses a loop style of sampling where he has extracted a portion of another song and looped it to be added in to the mix. Drake uses transposition where he has take a sample of another song and slowed it down to match the pitch of his song. These are two classic examples of sampling, samples have been apart of electronic music for a great while now and in my personal opinion I think it will be for many years to come.
Hotline Bling Sample at 0:20 and 0:34
Why cant we live togetherSample at 0:00 and 0:12.
Gold digger samples can be found at the start of the song and right throughout.
Norwegian DJ and producer, Kyrre Gørvell-Dahll, a.k.a KYGO, has gone from bedroom producer to one of the most hyped tropical electronic artist’s world over. KYGO has made a name for himself with a long list of remixes to rival any beat-maker. However, with the song Firestone he’s shown his hand at making an original track. Recruiting Conrad Sewell on vocals, Firestone is a passionate synth and kick driven tune that shows he is just as good on his own, if not better. Featuring his trademark synth melodies in the chorus, the is an uplifting track that will surely be making its way to festival dance floors. Although it’s not a complete departure from kygo‘s signature sound that first thrust him onto everyone’s radars, it is the first real example of what he can do on his own. Quickly becoming a big name for tropical electronic music, this track reaffirms his position as a serious leader in the genre. Coming in slowly, the piano driven track is stripped back and lets the pop vocals take center stage. As it builds with a beating kick drum and the whirling of synth sounds, the melody coming in at the chorus is brimming with sunshine and uplifting bass. As the vocals go,“We light up the world”, it’s pulled back again to a trickle. Kygo‘s ability to pull back and build again and again is demonstrated really well here, showing restraint and giving just enough to keep you captivated. It’s a track designed for summer, and would definitely be warming up parties any where in the world.
After 3 weeks in the studio, week 4 was mix down time. Having chosen song 2 by Blur as the song to make our sound-alike and having recorded all elements for it, it was time for tone matching. As far as instrumentation goes it’s a pretty straight forward song with just drums guitar and bass. Although the drums had to layered takes one with hi-hats and the other playing the same rhythm with a rim shot. The performance of all musicians was pretty spot on although i personally taught that the drummer was abit on the light side. But then again no two drummers play the same. As far as to how the track sounded the team did get a pretty spot on drum and electric guitar sound although the bass guitar took abit of work to get close to. Having said that a fair bit of EQ and outboard gear was used to take out a ringy snare. Although we managed to get the roomy sound we required for the drums and outboard reverb was used to on the snare and another on the vocals just to add a little presence. Compression and dynamics wise the overheads and kick drum mic were compressed pretty heavily on its way on to tape and as for post tape the vocals and bass which had a pretty wide dynamic range in-between verse and choruses of the song were compressed to keep it as constant as possible. The mix of the song i wouldn’t say was 100% spot on but it was pretty close. Having mixed on the desk slight EQ was used to remove any unwanted frequencies on most channels and if it was not possible to go in detail on the desk, a stock pro tools EQ was used in the box. While the team worked together and rode the faders of the vocals and drum buss on the final mix. On the whole the outcome of the project was pretty good although a few more changes could have been made provided we had more time to do so. If there were anything to be corrected it’s just the little fine details such as minor level adjustments few correction on the EQ of the room mic’s. But all in all i think it was a pretty accurate sound-alike cover.
Blur song 2 :- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SSbBvKaM6sk
Runners Producers and Engineers.
The studio is a place where people go to be creative, to express creativity, capture it and store it. To do this there are many people that play many roles in a studio to achieve the best sound and capture an artist as best as possible. Having been given the opportunity to play one of these roles recently in this blog I aim to speak about the role of an Engineer in the studio. The role of an Engineer is one of utmost importance, the work put in by the engineer has a great effect on the final outcome of the project. A Studio engineer works with all the technical aspects of sound during the processes of recording, mixing, and mastering. The engineers often assist the producers and musicians to help give their work the sound they are hoping to achieve. For example, an engineer will piece together parts of a song, make sure the right levels are recorded , make sure that the right compression and EQ is applied and the proper microphone techniques are used. Studio engineers are different from producers where producers are the ones who control the musical and performance aspect of a song the engineer looks at its sonic perspective. However, some studio engineers go on with their careers taking on both roles at the same time. Having played this role in the studio in the week gone by something I did learn is that when the session is in progress the engineer must be well aware of what’s going on around him form levels on the desk, to compression ratios and thresholds, to delay and reverb units and other out board gear it is a must that he keeps his ears open, and listen out for anything that may go wrong. So in conclusion I would say that this is one of, if not the most important role(s) in the studio and must be done with utmost responsibility and care.
With the commencement of semester three and the beginning of a new unit the first assignment of AUD210 was handed over to us. This being a sound a like project. Where groups of six or seven were put together to pick a song and recreate it identically to the original. For this my group, group four choose the song 2 song by Blur. This song is a traditional four four rock song in the key of F minor. The structure of the song is pretty simple and straight forward starting off with a drum and guitar and leading into the first hook line of the song “Woo-hoo” as its intro, then its first verse, this first verse leads in to a chorus. After which there is verse number 2 which is followed by a chorus. The song then ends with its second hook “Yeah yeah” being repeated 4 times. The dynamics of this song is pretty intense with the verses being very light drums and guitars and the chorus coming in with a very heavy distorted bass and heavy drums . The song only having two verses and three chorus with its “hook” lines keeps the song to a short two minutes. The song is simple in all senses from structure to instrumentation where the only instruments in the track are clean electric guitar drums and bass. The song does not hold a steady tempo throughout but can be said to be around 129Bpm. In the Chorus where a heavy distorted bass has been used to add weight and dynamics there is also a guitar harmony being played in the background. The drums in the song are very big and “roomy” giving the vocals and bass a prominent place in the mix. The song blur as for performance and vibe is a total rockers paradise to rock out too from the strict drum beat at the intro to the last “woo-hoo”.
The world we live in today is one that’s changing more or less every hour. New technology, new ways of thinking and most importantly new trends change the way we live daily. When it comes to the world of audio which I pick to blog on this time as always its changed massively. What was yesterdays life and soul (tape) is now near extinction! or is it? Well not really I would say, I’d say give it a bit of time and It will be back. Yes, that’s right, the “tape is back” revolution has already begun.
If you happen to ask any one who’s lived through the 80’s and 90’s how cool it was to run down to a cassette store get a couple of tunes and chuck them in the car stereo or the little portable cassette player the Walkman (the iPod of the past), they’d probably say it was the next best thing to the baggy pants and funky hair do’s. It’s definitely a fact the people are going old school again with more and more engineers looking for that vintage purer analogue sound.
The need for this kind of listener experience brings out the basic principle of economics causing companies like Sony to start production of these equipment again. According to Jason Evangelho writer for Forbes tech magazines article “Think The Cassette Tape Is Dead? Then Why Did Sony Just Squeeze 185TB Of Data Onto One?”  clearly shows how tapes coming back. But that said it might take some time for it to actually get back proper, since people have moved on to CD players and iPod and do not own Cassettes players anymore.
This trend will sure catch up sooner or later you’ll find people playing Bob Marley and the Beatles on little cassette’s again. Not only the consumer industry but the audio production side of things have also a immense need for the tape feel. Where we find engineers starting to use multi-track tape machines again to give a record the feel no tape emulation plugin could give . I definitely think that tape will be back in full action and even who knows we might start carrying Walkman again. Bringing tape back might not only bring back a old school trend but also increase the quality of audio we listen to overall.
Music’s being around for ages as far as anyone can remember, growing up listening old school country music which was very “lovey dovey” something that’s always interested me is lyrics. While most modern popular music very rarely has more that 10 lines which often repeats right throughout the song you do still get music with great stories behind them. Something that I always wonder about is “what is the actual story”.
In personal opinion I believe it’s the way the listener perceives it, the story the artist intended to bring out will never be told word for word. This is what’s so amazing about music, its how each of the listeners hears the song and he or she paints their own picture. For example the song cannonball by Damien Rice has a chorus line that’s goes:-
“Stones taught me to fly
Love, it taught me to lie
Life, it taught me to die
So it’s not hard to fall
When you float like a cannonball”
If I was to pick the second line “Love, it taught me to lie” and was to ask 5 people they would pretty much have 4 to 5 different takes on it. What I thought it was, that it was a break up that made the person in context a liar but according to the artist it is not so, the actual meaning is that love made the person in context a liar in order to get love. Technically meaning he lied to be loved. Excuse the messy example but, in short this is what I find so amazing about lyrics the story will never be the same . The meaning of the song is opened to the mind of the listener and that is pretty amazing.
What on earth is copyright?????
Well according to plagiarism today “copyright is a law that gives you ownership over the things you create. Be it a painting, a photograph, a poem or a novel, if you created it, you own it and it’s the copyright law itself that assures that ownership. The ownership that copyright law grants comes with several rights that you, as the owner, have exclusively” 
Why we need copyrights can be explained with a million ways. But what I aim to bring out in this blog is how copyright is Greek to me? Yes, by Greek I mean from where I come from (Sri Lankan) its very rarely even heard of. As strange as this sounds it is true. But what is even more Strange is the amount of cases where copyright has been broken are a very few as well. The reason for this is very hard to explain, but what I think mainly is that there is no copyright companies nor record labels. This means there are no companies to register with neither are there companies to monitor any infringements. By this no one actually realizes neither do they make any issue of any copyrights unless its used for high end commercial reasons and is found to be making a lot of money.
In a personal point of view I highly think that the country should start implementing copyright laws if we are to reach out to the international market. Although it will take a little while for people to get use to it ,it is definitely a must have for any music industry to develop. One reason I think that the sir Lankan music has survived is because it’s the only music of its kind as its made in a Sinhalese style and can’t be copyrighted anywhere else in the world. Another reason why copy right is not taken seriously is because the legal action one can take is very minimum. Nevertheless it is something Sri Lanka should look into before it’s too late. Because this is what makes all creators unique instead of someone else stealing their spotlight.