Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Voice as synthesizers

Here is a clip of what one of my vocal synths looks like in ProTools. Just a few of the 30-ish layers that make up a song.

I start by humming a very high, pinched, thin note into a looper which records for 2 seconds and then continuously layers it to form a solid full pitch. I put those pitches into ProTools (shown here) and manually set the volume of each pitch shown in black lines. You can visually see the notes "turn on" as the cursor moves along the timeline. Each track is generally one pitch each, just like on a keyboard, otherwise things get confusing quick! Once I've set the volumes just where I want them, all of these individual tracks get bounced down to one stereo track labeled Synth and is then mixed into the song.

Friday, October 14, 2011

It begins

I'm sitting here drinking my morning coffee from "my spot" on the dining room table as my 4 year old son yells at Dora the Explorer, "The TAKE-AWAY trick! Subtracto!" and I wonder... where to begin this blog? First let me say, I've just realized last night that the far end of this corner booth is going flat. It's been my office chair for months and it seems that I'll soon be sitting on nothing but the hard wood under the sad, sad foam that used to be here. I hope it's all worth it in the end, though. It's getting nearer to the time that will tell.

The new music I've been editing is made entirely of INTENSELY edited vocals (and in a few cases heavily edited piano samples as well). This album is more of a conceptual art piece than 11 pop songs but I wonder on a daily basis if this concept will be lost on many listeners who just think it sounds like odd synthesizers. None of the parts are simply played and recorded. Each note is a sample of my voice, pieced together to form a melody. The attack, sustain, and release of each note, volume, panning left and right... all created by hand. So, I think it's important as the songs are nearing completion, to pick you up in my car and take you along for the ride. You must know, there will be lots of stops along the way, the car is not registered and smells like burnt crayons, and there will be a continuous running commentary from The King of Random in the back seat.

As I edit the music, I will post snippets of tracks and sounds that make up the music and let you hear things as I hear them every day, in pieces, in groupings, all together, singled out. I'll post lyrics, pictures and daily events relevant to making the music. I'll let you in on what it's like to be an unemployed housewife with BIG DREAMS who's raising a 4 year old and attempting to make a unique solo album while keeping the household insanity down to a category-one hurricane.

"Oh OH!! Mom!! Wait, I have a great idea! Let's ARGUE!!!"

Time to pour more coffee, get Jaden his cheerios, and fire up Pro Tools. Same as it ever was...