Tag Archives: Album Notes

No Time To Relax (Album Notes)

No Time To Relax

Track 9 from my album Sampler. Visit http://www.cdbaby.com/Artist/JamesGilbert to purchase this or any of my 11 albums. I’m also on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify and more.

A melancholy piece featuring pads, light drums and vocalise melody to start with. Then the track adds in some synth leads and synth bass part. The end echos the feel of the start.

The Gravity sound library is used for the bulk of the vocalise. For the drums I used Drum Lab from Native Instruments. Also used for some rhythm elements was Grid II.

The bulk of the sound in this track comes from the instruments. There is no EQ used on any of the instrument tracks. I did use the REAPER ping-pong delay and Native Instruments RC48 reverb unit with some EQ on the reverb. Only the two vocal tracks have any reverb added to it. Although I have the delay unit on a bus, I just realized nothing is being bussed there. So, just reverb is added to this track.

For mastering purposes, I did not do anything beyond a peak limiter (just to make sure nothing peaked).

To my ears at least, this piece just “worked” with the combination instruments I chose and without having to do anything besides balance levels. That’s something to think about as you compose and record music. Get it as good as you can prior to recording to audio and the mixing and mastering process will be easy.

Please, please, if you like the album or these track notes, drop a note in the comments. Even if you don’t like it, drop me a comment. Now that I think about it, I’ve not had any comments since I moved the blog here. Maybe the comments only work for me? Anyone care to test it out?

Exciting times (track notes)

Continuing my liner notes for my July 2018 album “Sampler”

Track 7, Exciting Times, was my first experiment on doing something entirely from loops. Not audio loops, but MIDI loops. The entire track was produced from MIDI loops.

I use to subscribe to a magazine that included a download link or a DVD that had various samples and loops on it. My notes don’t show which issue or magazine name, but it was from a magazine. I took loops that came from what I think was a Trance selection. The majority of the magazine content was audio loops or samples, but from time to time they include midi loops.

Here are the instruments/patches I used for this track. My notes don’t show what changes I made to presets and it would take too long to figure out. Whatever they were, they were not dramatic changes.

Battery 4 (Argon Kit) with ReaEQ highpass at 40HZ and Supercharger GT compressor with a modified drum buss preset. Automation on ReaEQ highpass frequency.

Massive with Thelonius preset (modified). ReaComp sidechained from drum track; ReaEQ with a slight boos around 300hz and a low pass cut at 1.1K. Another ReaComp with sidechain. Supercharger GT with modified Synth Bass preset. NI VC 2A compressor, modified Electric Guitar preset. ReaDelay (modified Dehuminator slower preset). Automation on the Wavetable position and cutoff in Massive as well as the Bypass on the ReaDelay.

Reaktor Razor, Centauri preset (modified); ReaComp sidechained from Drum Buss, 0ms attack; 47ms release, 4:1 ratio, 0 to 481Hz input filter; ReaEQ highpass around 60Hz. Another ReaComp sidechained with 30-225Hz input filter. 3ms attack, 100ms release, 4.1 compression. (The two compressor settings basically end up being sidechained by only the bass drum from the drum sidechain input). Automation on two Macros in Razor. Automation on high pass filter in ReaEQ.

Absynth 5, Arcadia patch (probably modified). ReaComp sidechained similar to above examples.
ReaEQ. Automation on Pan and EQ Low pass frequency

Reaktor Monark, Sakwenzer patch (probably modified). ReaComp with sidechain from Drum track 0-745HZ input filter. 0ms attach, 100 release, 4:1 ratio. ReaEQ, low pass at 8.5Khz and high pass at 100Hz. Automation on lowpass eq filter.

Reaktor Kontour, Twin top patch (modified). ReaComp sidechained similar to above examples. ReaEQ, high pass, automated. Another ReaComp sidechained similar to above. Automation on pan.

Kontakt, string ensemble symphony series, string ensemble patch. ReaComp, sidechained similar to above. ReaEQ High pass around 60Hz, automated.

Kontakt, Rise & Hit, Heavy Fuzz patch. Automation on Volume and Rev-Heavyfuzz.

Kontakt, Exhale by Output, Backwards patch.

Four tracks were sent to a ReaDelay buss that had a 4-tap ping pong delay

Four tracks were sent to a Reverb buss with NI Passive EQ in mid/side mode. Some low mid boost in middle and some low boost on the side.

I printed all the midi to audio and produced the final mix from there.  I used an IK Multimedia Quad Compressor and Quad Image to widen out the sound a bit. I used a few sidechained compressors on some of the audio channels.

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Engergizing Daydreams track notes

Energizing Daydreams

The 2nd track from our album Sampler

The album and audio samples available at: http://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jamesgilbert11

This is part of my continuing series providing what are essentially liner notes for the tracks on my album. Please leave a comment if these liner notes are of interest or I may be inclined not to do notes for all the tracks on the album.

There is a piece of software out there that professionals I’ve run across don’t like to admit they use. Or maybe they don’t want others to find out how helpful it can be. From an educational point of view, it is an excellent way to learn about many aspects of popular music styles. That program is Band in a Box. It would not surprise me if many pieces of music out there aren’t straight from the program with little more than simple mixing added.

For those that don’t know, Band in a Box, from PG Music, lets you enter the chords symbols and structure of a piece of music, choose a style and press play. Depending on the style selected (and other factors) one will then hear either recordings of live musicians playing based on the chords or midi instruments playing whatever instruments & software you’ve assigned Band in A Box to play. All in whatever style you’ve selected. What is heard, again depending on the style, are drums, piano/pads, guitar(s), bass and strings/brass/other. You can export, depending on the style, either audio files of each instrument (stems) or midi files of each instrument (and sometimes a combination of them) as well as an audio of the stereo mix. This program is light years ahead of similar iOs apps I’ve run across.

For this track I chose a midi only style – a style that only creates midi notes. I exported the midi tracks. I took the midi files created by the program, loaded them into my DAW (Reaper) and adapted, changed or added to those files. I then bounce the midi instruments to audio files and mix and master as usual.

The bass part is a cello like patch from the Novo expansion pack 1 by Heavyocity. For the drums I used the Afro Shop Kit in Battery 4 from Native Instruments. The piano part I used the Emotional Piano from Soundiron with Solid Bus Compressor from Native Instruments. For the pad part I used Soundiron’s Mercury Elements Amb F with Solid Bus Compressor. For the string part I used Spitfire audio’s Bernard Herrmann composer toolkit Studio Orchestra patch, long articulation. For the melody I used Exhale from Output with Solid Bus compressor and Replika XT Tape 30fps Delay.

I typically make modifications to any default patches in the above instruments. I did not keep detailed enough notes to know exactly what changes I made to the patches. For the strings, I duplicated the audio track (after bouncing from midi) on another channel. I then panned the original string channel hard left and the new one hard right pitching the left down in pitch ever so slightly and the right one up ever so slightly in pitch. This helped to give the strings a wide sound.

As with the first track of the album, I used a master folder on which any effects or mastering plugins went. All the tracks mentioned so far route to it. I then sent some of the master folder to the reverb track (in this case, not part of the folder). I used the RC48 delay unit from Native Instruments modified from the Small Church reverb preset. On the master folder I put the Solid Bus Compressor from Native Instruments with a modified mix glue preset.

It doesn’t look as though I did anything on the master bus for mastering purposes. Between what Band in a Box does and what the midi instruments I chose do, there wasn’t much need to anything special with the mastering as I did on many of the other tracks.

This track I suppose is about the most mainstream, pop sounding of any of the tracks on the album, with the exception of maybe one other piece.

Hope you enjoyed this track and the notes. Questions and comments are welcome.

Notes about the rest of the tracks will be in future articles if I get enough feedback from those of you reading this.