August 21st, 2019

I'm not that great at programming drums. There is a lot of nuance that makes a drum beat work well. It is often the details that pulls everything together and it is those details I find challenging to program. This is one of my first attempts at using Garageband's Smart Drummer to handle some of those details. The hi-hat, snare, and bass drum I programmed myself but the percussion (bongos, tambourines, and wood blocks) were all done using the Smart Drummer control in GarageBand. I'm surprised by how well it works. It adds some 'human variation' that can be difficult, or time consuming, to obtain otherwise.


March 19th, 2019

For Mac users, if you're looking for a way to record a passable guitar sound without the obvious digital artifacts Garageband does an admirable job (can't say the same for overdrive or distortion). Any kind of modulation helps too and in this case a chorus was added to the guitar track which gave it a little more space.


January 9th, 2019

Sampling music has always had a stigma surrounding it and while on the one hand I can kind of understand that reaction, it's far more difficult than it sounds. Not all samples are created equal and making something unique out of something that already exists in a working framework is an art in and of itself. I see it from the perspective of presets in that you have a starting point and then you work out from there. I wanted to try my hand at it and this track is the result. The only sample is the vocal loop which came from the Apple Loops library and exported into Ableton for use in Simpler to chop and adjust. I can't see myself going this route often but it was a nice change of pace from the usual.


December 15th, 2018

It had been quite a while since I visited GarageBand after I started using Ableton around 5 years ago. Looking to do something different, I used GarageBand exclusively to make this track and in doing so remembered how impressive it is. Sure, it lacks quite a few things that makes Logic Pro X the obvious upgrade, but it doesn't feel like an immediate necessity to run out and buy Logic either. GarageBand samples just sound good, which makes creating all the more enjoyable.


December 15th, 2018

For a while, I had a Korg Minilogue which I used to make a majority of the sounds heard here. As far as analog synthesizers go, it's about as a good a value for your money as you'll find. And it sounds great. While a great synthesizer, the one downside is its polyphony. At only 4 voices, big chords weren't an option unless you layered tracks together. Which works but isn't ideal. Despite the lack of voices, there is something about analog synthesizers. It's the equivalent of the film versus digital debate in photography. Film has its own characteristics that can't be emulated in digital and the same goes for analog oscillators versus digital oscillators. I'm currently back to digital oscillators purely for money reasons, but hope to get back to a proper analogue synthesizer in the future.


December 11th, 2018

As far as synthesis goes, FM synthesis is unique as are the sounds. Whether you know it or not, nearly everyone has had some exposure to FM sounds as it has been used in some form or another in popular music via synthesizers such as the classic Yamaha DX7. It's hard to describe the characteristics of FM sounds but the closest I can get is 'glassy'. There is an edge to FM synthesis that's appealing and among my most favorite categories of sounds. While I can't program FM synthesis all that well, there are presets that do an excellent job and Arturia presets are a great starting point. Most of the sounds in this track are FM presets modified in one way or another (minus the drums).