ASSESSMENT TASK 2 – STUDIO TECHNIQUES

Assessment 2

2nd production “should consciously emulate a particular style of music production, either from the past or from the present day”, in an ORIGINAL piece:

Provide evidence (in your blog) of the production techniques you intend to use, with links to appropriate articles (detailing those techniques) and links to tracks where those techniques are clearly demonstrated (where possible).

Record anything you like that helps to demonstrate your production emulation.

Treatment / Bounce

Produce a piece which clearly demonstrates the production techniques you’ve chosen to emulate.

limit to below 0 dB – typically -0.2 / -0.3 or -1 dB if you’re paying attention to the ‘Mastered for iTunes‘ recomendations.

explain your choice of bouncing to 24 bit / any sample rate (with no dither) or dithering your mix to 16 bit 44.1 KHz.

The purpose of this task is to borrow present and/or past production techniques in creating your own, original production pastiche.

You may focus on one approach i.e., using several techniques of one producer, or combine a variety of techniques used by different producers.

TECHNIQUE 1: HANZ ZIMMER ROOM REVERB/SPACING TECHNIQUE:

Zimmer has been renowned for his incredibly atmospheric pieces, and believes that modern film scoring shouldn’t be limited to the studio at all. In fact, his comments on how “It’s no fun playing in a dead room” gives way to the theory that reverb to make a sonic space should be organic, rather than generated off a dry recording.

“2000 years of architects like Brunelleschi figuring out how to amplify a sound beats the 20 years we’ve had of fake reverb development. But if your budget is a bit tight, try a school auditorium. Or an empty warehouse. Use your imagination. You belong to the proud fraternity of poor, starving artists.”

https://www.gearslutz.com/board/music-picture/704868-hans-zimmer-how-sound-like-him.html

Taking inspiration from this, I decided to record my rhythm guitar part in the recital hall, with a stereo pair of microphones around 20 feet away from Zac:

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To capture the natural reverbation of the room, the mics were set to omnidirectional, as to capture as much of the room as possible:

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Processing for this part mainly consisted of cleaning up the capture, and I duplicated the track to make one emphasise more of the low end, whilst removing the boominess of the amp, with the other capturing the fizz of the overdrive:

Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 16.55.25.png

A demo can be found below:

TECHNIQUE 2: TRENT REZNOR’S CACOPHANY OF BEATS TECHNIQUE:

Following on from techniques covered in-class, I liked the idea of crossing Hans’ organic sound with some chaotic, energetic, electronic beats.

“We would create—with no preconceived notion of what it was going to sound like—several different rhythm sections or drumbeats and then chop between them to create something else,”

https://www.wired.com/2010/05/process_song/

Trent’s technique of chopping and changing between drumlines appealed to me as I find it easy to write drum parts up in logic. I used 4 different Ultrabeat machines in total, with a mix of half time, driving and relaxed beats, and a more laid back breakbeat from Logic’s built in Drummer Function. Here you can see how bulky the MIDI sections from the track are.

Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 17.20.42.png

Processing from this section mainly focused on making the various loops stand aside from each other, but without them being too intrusive. Here are two variants of the EQ. The one on the right is for the Logic Drummer track, to make it a bit more bass heavy. Essentially it’s a modified EQ of the “Hi-Fi” EQ preset. The one on the left was to dampen the hihats a bit, as I felt they were a little bright.

Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 17.24.25.png

Overall I feel as if the technique fits in well with the rest of the project. A demo can be found below:

TECHNIQUE 3: FLUME/CHET FAKER RUBBISH MIC/AMP CONTRASTING TECHNIQUE:

Whilst a little off the beaten track, I heard about a technique from Flume when he was talking about producing some songs with Chet Faker. Essentially all it was was a technique designed to contrast the rest of the track, by literally recording a part of the song on the worst equipment available. Speaking to Simon I managed to get ahold of the old, broken talkback mic and a dusty old amplifier which had been sat at the top of the recital hall for a long time. It was perfect, and ironically gave me a great (rough edged) sound when recording it through the department interface.

“I have an EP coming out soon with my friend, Chet Faker, and we tried having concepts for each song. Oo one of them, the idea was to make all drum samples lo-fi and dodgy-sounding. The bass guitar was just the cheapest, tiniest bass we could find and the vocals we recorded through a $30 microphone we got free with a VCR player.”

“The track has an indie/lo-fi vibe then, near the end, it builds into a hi-fi sound sample with the biggest kick drums I have and this huge synth. [faker’s] vocals open up and he sings at the end too. That contrast was the concept we aimed for. I usually like to have some idea in mind before I write a song.”

The track he’s talking about is called “This Song Is Not About A Girl”, and whilst relatively unknown, actually employs some interesting techniques via production.

My attempt can be found below:

Processing for this part consisted of getting rid of the weird throbbing noise that the Amp was emanating. I dropped the bottom end off the EQ to remove some of the nasty humming as it was way too prominent, but decided to keep the hiss and crackle as I thought it added to the character of the part. screen-shot-2016-12-14-at-17-43-34

TECHNIQUE 4: FLUME “SUPER TIMESTRETCH” TECHNIQUE:

In the same interview I analysed for Task 1, Flume talks about timestretching songs and samples up to 48 hours in order to create ambient soundscapes, into which he dips and extracts eerie sounding samples. (10:55 for the reference)

After attempting to timestretch a guitar chord to 24 hours, my laptop crashed. I decided to not put any more stress on it, and instead timestretched a 20 second guitar riff out to 56 minutes. The achieved effect samples are very interesting and sit quite comfortably in the verse sections of the track. Below is a demo:

Processing for this part consisted of ridding the samples of the rumbly noises as I didn’t want them to interfere with the basslines. I also brightened the top end slightly.

Screen Shot 2016-12-14 at 17.48.02.png

 

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