The challenge was announced in a post on hoofmusic.com on June 26, apparently only hours after Hoof, the producer made it up. We have a couple of coffees with him and ask him some of the questions that a project like this bring forth. Who is this bearded dude that spends eleven to twelve hours in front of his laptop, and still does not know what he wants to be when he grows up?
First question: why?
“I remember the moment the idea popped up in my head. Which is not normal, because I have 15 ideas at the same time, all of the time. I was looking for a way to get to know the instruments of the EastWest Composercloud I got a great deal on. I finally bought into it, because I thought it would be fun to try to make music for movies, games, tv shows and other content. All while updating Komplete Ultimate to version 13.
I realized I had been spending much more time discovering, updating and eventually more or less hoarding instruments, presets and even samples, than I was actually making music with it. Probably while listening to a tutorial about techno hats or listening to Song Exploder, a podcast about how a song was made as told by the musicians.”
You could have just made a track then?
“Sure. But it was time to spend serious time actually using a lot of my tools, you can not do that in one track. Well, you can, but it would be too long and really busy then. And because I was aware the most precious thing in this whole situation is time, I decided to make time. So that is how the “Month of July” came about. I figured I could pull it off to create 2 tot 3 hours of time every day for a month. And more important than just that time box, I wanted to put pressure on it by forcing myself to create a different track every day, and the piece of music had to be posted on my Soundcloud page before 12 at night.”
Wouldn’t it be easier to finish a track over multiple days?
“Then the whole challenge wouldn’t be more than just make time for music. I wanted to force myself to call pieces of music finished enough to show them to the world. Also I wanted to try all kinds of different music, so I liked the idea of starting with a totally blank project window every day.”
That is where the themes for the weekdays came from?
“Everything went fast after I got excited about the prospect, so I do not remember what came first. The themes per day were a way to have starting points. Otherwise I would just start fooling mindlessly around with random sounds or ideas each day, wiith the themes I had some kind of picture in my mind what should come out of that day. If you look at the post I made, I also imagined making songs in the same key each day of the week, so I could collage complete tracks out of the parts I made on all Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I ditched that idea the second Thursday. Did not need it. But mind you, I was not sure if I was able to create an eight bar loop of drums or five minutes of music per day. The definitions of the themes and the themes themselve did help me get started every day. But I digressed enormously from what I had in mind before I started.”
So you think you are the shit, that everybody is waiting for your music?
“No, not at all. From every piece of music I have made in the past, I know most of the people are wildly unimpressed. The fact that I worked for 100 hours on some of it is not audible, and generally people have no idea how the music I present gets made. There are times when I do impress myself, or are just genuinely enjoying listening to what I made, but I do not expect other people to feel the same.
Of course it is nice to have positive reactions, or reactions at all, but the music I have created is like a friend. I spent good times with it and know a lot of things about it that only I have heard. During the #MusicEveryday period I always went to bed thinking I never made something this cool before. And then waking up convinced that I could never do something like the day before again. Same thing for 29 days. Though I have some tracks I always skip in the car, if I listen to the playlist. So the feeling sometimes dissappears.
Some of my favorites were made in two hours, after throwing away what I had because it was not working out. Somehow I do not care too much if people are not into it, but it hurts a little when people do not even listen. I understand you forget, or think you will find a good moment to take time, sometime. It is nice if people listen with an open mind and at least hear the joy it brought me to be the one that had a hand in creating something that was not there the day before.”
What was the goal?
“You already asked that, right?”
No, I asked why you did it, that is different
“Yes, you are right, that was just how it started. The goal was, well, not that clear. Even me spending more time actually was a goal in itself. But as I was doing it, I discovered quickly that it was a great opportunity to create music that I normally would not do if I was only thinking about my next release. So an additional goal became to explore different genres that I thought would be fun, but never came to try.
I realized I also downloaded virtual instruments and sample packs with vocals, drums and lots of guitars that I already had a vague idea about using sometime. So that was a goal as well.”
Could you work around, uhm, work?
“I had to! My normal day job has flexible working hours, they know it is smart to not make appointments before eleven a.m. It seemed possible to get out of bed one or two hours earlier, make music, and then go on with my never standard working day.”
What kind of work do you do?
“That is a little like what genre music I make. It is a very broad area, the one thing that binds all, is that it is about creating stuff, including creating solutions wherever needed.”
Sounds pretty vague
“Ok. I create videos, animations, designs, illustrations, also in 3D, photo manipulations, I make people laugh during boring meetings and I have the most pragmatic solutions to problems.”
Slightly more informative, sounds like a nice job
“It is, also the way the company is organized is really special, centered around people’s talents. And we also are helping our clients to organize their mobility in a way that is climate-positive, instead of making it worse.”
“Ok. Sorry. And outside of that I am the designer for a couple of music labels, so I do all of the track covers, but also teaser videos, the occasional lyrics video, I do the video for a radio show on Trance Energy after I made the intro and so on.
And, as illustrated by this project, I tend to make up concepts that take an unreasonable amount of time. So I am used to work on, say, a painted video for a song I made for half a year. Hopelessly devoted to something where I am so curious to find out the end result, that I do not mind putting in endless amounts of time. And learning every day to resolve brand new problems. And I get a big shot of dopamine when things work out.”
You are always behind your laptop!
“You sound like my ex, hehe. But factually it is true. But I am doing a lot of different things when I am there. Sometimes I even watch or read something for fun. After I am done creating things. Like, at three a.m.
But yes. It is around 11 to 12 hours per day that I create things on my laptop. I remember looking at a photo of Jean-Michel Jarre in his studio. It was probably around Oxygene or something. He was surrounded by synthesizers and cables, playing them like an orchestra. Since I was 16 I dreamed of having this kind of studio and to be able to emulate all instruments of the world and beyond.
It took me a while to realize I now actually have this studio, it just does not look as fancy as his. It is all in my laptop. And lots of creators I like, are using the exact same tools I have. I actually think I am now in a place where I can make whatever I want. That my imagination is the only limit.”
(continues under photo)
But why the obsessive need to want to know everything?
“Well, those are your words. I would not call it obsessive or anything. I want to have a really large toolbox, to create anything that is in my head. Endless possibilities are there when you have an imaginative mind like I have. That is what my brand logo says. The name “Hoof” is derived from the Dutch word for “head”, and between the outside letters of “head” is the infinity symbol.
I was pretty young when I encountered my first Apple Macintosh SE II computer, and since then I did everything to use it as a tool to make things I like. I have been self-educating since then. Rarely a day goes by that I do not learn a new thing. Which is not strange if you see the range of applications I use. And ever since learning Photoshop (first version I used was 2.5), I did do that learning by coming up with my own little projects.
The abundance of sites and Youtube channels where you can learn more makes it easier than ever to find out new techniques, or just answers to problems. Recently I made an animated banner in Adobe Animate and I did it with a lot of muscle memory of using Flash, all of the knowledge was still there! And when I needed a piece of script to do something fancy, I could find it in a whim online. “
That is why you put so much work in the artwork as well?
“Funny you mention that, because that is a great example of learning tricks and finding a use for them. I watched fantastic YouTube channel, Texturelabs. The guy works for Netflix and other television and movie companies and he has been doing titling and posters for 25 years. I thought I knew everything I needed to know about Photoshop, but he uses it in ways I did never thought of. One of the neat things I discovered through him is an elaborate way to use gradient maps.
The result is that I made the design for the Music Everyday stuff in grayscale. and put those gradient maps on them. And with smart objects and displacement with the Reactor plugin by Blkmarket, I can create 31 images for all the days of the month in a matter of minutes.
I use the same technique to make the design for the new Melodic Matters label, I can whip up a design in minutes, with the templates I made. By the way, the texturelabs.org website has a ton of really large free assets I also used in that design, like paper texture, but also specks of dust and dirt. In this design there is also the use of the “blend if” layer effects I overlooked for twenty years, but Texturelabs and Piximperfect brought that powerful tool to my attention as well.”
Great you are so enthusiastic about it, but maybe back to the music?
“Yeah, of course. I get carried away easily… There are so many fantastic tools to create wonderful worlds with!”
How did you come up with new music everyday?
“There is not one way I used everytime. The themes helped to have a direction, but I took them rather freely. For more than half of the days I think I had a concept when I woke up. The first track I did was on the first of July, that is the logic of this concept. For “Thursday True” I wanted to use “real” instruments. Now I think of it, for most of the music the first track I create has the chords. I have been playing the piano since I was 10 or 11. At the time I found out which keys sound good together, and how you can change one, two or three fingers to create music. Much later I found out I then discovered chords, including the ones with extra numbers in them, and inversions and what have you. Very useful tools to have in your box, because it allows you to create your own music and melodies.”
But you also did some cover versions and remixes
“That is true. For the first Wednesday Wild I freely associated with titles and realized I always confuse the songs Born to be Wild and Born to be Alive when naming them. Which is rather stupid, because one is an iconic rock classic with an organ and a guitar solo, and the other a disco track for which Madonna was a backup dancer that mainly endlessly repeats the title of the song. They turned out to be pretty compatible one I changed the pitch on one of them and made a bass part that fits both tracks at the same time.”
And all of those vocals and instruments? In three hours?
“I did a remix type of thing with Highway to Hell more than five years ago, because I thought I could do better than something I encountered online somewhere. Turned out I could not, but anyway, I did discover a site that is made for people who do karaoke, or perform with backing files. The aptly named Karaoke-Version.com that now incorporates it is a good fit for remix versions as well. I thought nobody ever thought of that.
Anyway, you can find loads of well known songs on there, that also have singers doing their best to sound like the original. You just buy the right to use it for $ 2,99 and you can download different combinations of instruments as mp3. I downloaded all of the instruments and vocals one by one and then found out it matched really well, with some sound manipulation magic.”
This could be a commercial release I think?
“I am afraid not, I am not even sure if putting it on Soundcloud and Youtube is allowed, I have asked them that. For commercial use I would need additional licensing. Also, I think more people take offense than there are fans of that combination.
Youtube has really good detection of music licenses, and it registered the Born to be Alive song. In some parts of the world there will be advertising in that clip and all of the money goes to the writers of that song. That also happened with the Depeche Mode cover and the orchestral Spandau Ballet track. Smart algorithms.”
Do you use a lot of samples?
“I do own a lot of samples, so no problem with copyrights with that. There is one piece of music that actually has an illegal sample in it. I can not talk about that, if you have listened to all of the tracks you know which one… But I think for most of the time I play the instrumental tracks myself, sometimes with great virtual versions of orchestral instruments, choirs, guitars. Great fun.
Those instruments are built by sampling the real deal, mostly multiple time per note and with all of the different playing styles, but the performance will be done by the player of the instrument. So that does not count as “using samples” in my book. Also for the drums there are sampled ones all over the place ofcourse. No stolen ones either, all from instruments or packs I really paid for. I think everybody working in the music industry deserves their income from the work they do. No illegal downloads or cracked software in my music!”
But what about that choir that sings “Hoof is a little crazy in the head”?
“Haha, you are the first one to hear that. That is one of the wonderful virtual instruments by EastWest, Hollywood Choirs. It has a word builder, where you can type in a special kind of language, that instructs the software which recorded sounds, vowels, letters should be combined to have the choir sing the words you want. By playing the midi keyboard you create the notes they use. Sounds complicated, it turns out to be exactly that. For the third Wednesday Wild track I spent at least three hours to get them to sing some nonsensical lyrics. In the end I decided to have them just do “Aah”.”
The singer of the Depeche Mode song is not very convincing
“Well. Uhm. That would be me then. It is a recording from seven years ago that I wanted to do better, but there just was not any time. And in the house where I created the music, there is no place to make a bit of a decent voice recording.”
Where do you get your chords and melodies?
“I just try stuff. With melodies I sometimes literally hear them in my head and just play that. With chords it is kind of the same, I play something and I just know what should come next. Even if that is not standard. I have been using strange combinations for all of my life, because I like the element of surprise. But then again, the short time span for these pieces of music make me want to make quick choices, just go with the flow. For me the result is a little too middle-of-the-road in most cases. Especially in that Friday Vocal track with the edm vocal that I made into a rock song.”
And what is next? Another month of #MusicEveryday?
“I do miss it yeah. But it was taking it’s toll on my sleep, and sometimes that self-inflicted pressure became too much. I do want to do it again, that is for sure. I did put the year 2021 in the logo, it is easy to make that 2022. It seems to far away though, I think I would love to do this every season. Four months a year, that would be around 120 pieces of music each year! You would think there should be at least one thing in there that is, like, really good.
For August I have a couple of tracks I want to complete, work on the details, rinse, polish, rearrange, change the kick drum a couple of times and then going back to the first. Some of them I will send as demos, to labels that could do some proper promotion for them, and some of them I will probably release myself on all the platforms. Just to have it out there. And I already have ideas for music videos to accompany them as well. So September and October are already too short.
But first I have to recover a liittle. I have my vacation coming up, so maybe more time with family and friends, instead of bouncing in my own little bubble.”
But on a day like today, what do you do?
“Right now I am typing a fake interview with myself, to give a little background of this project to the reader. And I think about how I can talk about the fun stuff in each of the tracks.
Maybe we can just do a short recap of the 30 tracks that sprung into existence during #MusicEveryday?”
Well, I am the one asking the questions, so that is not for you to decide
“Ok. Maybe you can come up with a nice way for the ready to get to know the pieces of music a little better, and how they came about?”
We could do a short recap, where you tell a little about each of the tracks?
“First track. Really exciting. And I wanted it to be atypical of what I normally do, so people would understand this is not just about that terrible dance-music-that-is-not-music they expect.
I started with Picked Acoustic by Native Instruments, one of the wonderful ways you can play guitar without having a guitar, or having callus on your fingers. They programmed this so wonderful, the casual listener just hears somebody playing a guitar. Which is practically the case, but I am playing the playing. On some level you have learn to use the midi keyboard in a different way for that, but it also opens up new possibities.
Like how I just close my eyes and discover what happens when I randomly change fingers around. After that I added an old fashioned straight up bass instrument and found out what sounded allright with the guitar.
Then I played the Strummed Acoustic 2, Drummer inside Logic X and also the Hammond B3 organ in Logic and then I searched for a harmonica for half an hour or so. Turned out a free tea kettle instrument did the trick.
The singers are the Hollywood Backup singers from EastWest. First use of them for me.
“For this I started with a vocal. I wanted to have something that could be a song, and I have accumulated plenty of them. A couple of times per year there are sweeping deals with loads of packs, finding something useful was possible.
It turned out to be a little hard, so the “song” I ended up with is rather short. The wonderful thing is that even though the sung melody is fixed, you can change it up drastically with the chords you play under it. That opens up a gazillion posibilities, which is not exactly what is useful when strapped for time. So I decided one and went with it.
The type of vocal sounded like those found in vocal trance, that was the style I used. The recurring melodic motives and arpeggios are part of that vocabulary, so that went in. And from that I lifted notes to form the main melody. Also it stops when it hardly started. It was near 12 p.m.
For the video I used the great After Effects plugin FreqReact by Davey.Studio, a way to have any variable in AE react to sound. Because I create the music myself, it is easy to bounce out a version of the music that has only the kick drum, or other elements in the music, so FreqReact has really clear audio signal to work with. In this case I had only react an adjustment layer with a brightness effect, so you see the image light up when the kick drum hits. “
“On Saturday it is time to dance. I had watched a tutorial earlier about how to make filtered/French house by EDM Tips, so it sounded like a fun idea to do something like that for the third track. Because I never tried that before.
To NOT have any copyright issues I first created a piece of music to sample from instead of doing it illegally, and threw the result in the new Quick Sampler in Logic. Another first. After much fiddling it makes it possible to fire off parts of the music by hitting keys on the midi keyboard. Pretty cool. And one of the takeaways of the tutorial was to put a phaser on the sample. Immediately it was totally Daft Punk.
The bass you hear is a prime example of being lucky and using the first thing I played with the first synth bass I chose. I found the singer on Splice.com and for the voice effect I used Manipulator. I knew that plugin would be great for this!
I heard the violins in my head when creating the track, I added them at the very last moment. I played them with the built-in string section in Logic. Small element, feels great!
I was surprised at how well this turned out. Genuinely proud of what I made. Discovering a small part of how this kind of music works was great.”
“I was not sure about this type of music, but I decided early I wanted to try it. I opened all kinds of instruments I hadn’t touched much or never before. The first one was a Kontakt instrument called Lo-Fi Glow. Because I thought I was making a chill lo-fi type of thing. That is also how the classic drum sounds of the Roland 808 turned up in it in the great Battery 4 drum instrument. I am working on a collab with an American trance producer, I discovered how nice it is to use pattern parts in Logic. Making the hi-hats with the subtle triplets is super slick
Then I remembered some people exclusively use the Alchemy synth/sampler that is in Logic, because of the great ever-evolving sound design you can do with it. So that one should be in it. I do not think the end results is particularly a typical lo-fi track. Especially when the synthwave/eighties bass comes in. Throwing in analog style instruments I did not use before was a lot of fun. Cloud Supply was another one of the Kontakt instruments that come with Komplete. Scrolling through the presets one I liked and tweaked automatically became the simple motif you hear. In cases like this it really feels as if the ingredients are already floating around and I just grab them.
Like at 2:50 an extra melodic elements comes in, it is just what I improvised while having the chord progressioin in mind. You also hear it at 3:30, where I found a musicbox-like bell sound in the Kinetic Toys instrument, that I just had to play like, well, a bell. Like it was waiting for me to put the puzzle piece in place.
There are lots of other evolving sounds here and there, from sounds sampled from old analog Oberheim synthesizers in the Syntronik collection, to tiny percussion thingies you hardly ever notice.
The water you hear is an actual small stream in the Rocky Mountains. That was the last element I added.
When I played the whole thing, it turned out to be almost seven minutes long! That is almost a nap, so I guess that works to chill out?”
“When I described the “Blue” in the Mondays, I thought it would be all analog synths, space, cold stuff, metallic. But Sunday night I thought “blues”. There went the actual typed-out plans in the trash. I wanted to make something like Moby did it. With really old vocals put into less old dance tunes.
I have some blues samples in the collection, and a couple of them were background vocals of a group of blues men going uhmmmm. Really low, really cool. For the first time I turned a piece of audio into a playable instrument, also with the quick sampler in Logic. The deep dive this #MusicEveryday is opens new doors all of the time.
Most of the instrumental parts are the result of hitting record, improvise and then take the best part out and looping that.
The video for this entry also makes something extra clear. I started to add more elaborate elements to the template I made, to make things more interesting. The day before having the water deform the image was nice, but now there is twitching and shaking, dust and scratched. Partly connected to the track cover that we zoom out of and another copy behind it. A lot of this video material is from Envato Elements, great website, but I also have been hoarding video stuff for years. The jumpy movements you can create by hand, write script for, or use a plugin like Twitch that gets all of that complex fiddling out of the way.
Turned out my urge to also make slightly interesting videos for the track was what cost the most sleep. I also learned a lot about how to make things complicated in After Effects this month!
The track is interesting, but not as exciting as I remember the things Moby and Fatboy Slim did with old vocals.”
“I see this is the first piece of music where I started to add to the designs I had ready to use beforehand. Like adding those flames. For the video, getting that heat distortion over the prepared background costs me a lot of unnecessary extra time to figure out.
But it did fit this piece, that was my take on a typical trailer soundtrack, including that thunderous voice. In a deal, somewhere on a website with sample collections, I knew I downloaded a kit filled to the brim with all of the cliché’s you can think of. So from that I could put together some text.
The instruments in Opus by EastWest sound just like the real thing, especially in something that you do not expect. You can either play all of the different instrument yourself, or use patterns that repeat in the right notes when you play the keyboard. That does save a lot of time. That instrument is called Orchestrator and has great potential, as presented in this piece.
This was also the first time I used a really great rhythmic instrument: PercX. An elaborate instrument I could dive in for weeks to get in deep and really use its potential. What a wonderful intelligence is packed in it! And every drum sound you will ever need, including those gigantic taiko drums and the stuff you hear in the movies. I used a hammer hitting a large piece of iron in this, which sounds almost identical to the church bell I hear all of the time irl. That was a little confusing..
When I grow up, I would like to make music for movies, tv, YouTube and what have you. Not this overly chliché’d per se, but creating atmosphere with music is so much fun!”
“I opened my eyes early on the day and thought what I could do for the “Wild” theme. I wanted this day for loud music, guitars, drums. Then Born to be Wild jumped in my head. Or was it Born to be Alive, I always confuse them. It only took a couple of minutes to me searching for stems of both songs. To make what you can hear in this track. The secret to creating this in such a short amount of time was the website karaoke-version.com.
Both tracks are on that site. The tempo and the chords are not the same at all, but close enough to each other. Changing those factors in the software is not extremely complex. But there was one big difference: the Born to be Wild was played really enthusiastically by a band somewhere in the world. But they did not play to what is known as a clicktrack. So the tempo varies all of the time. When you want to combine that with a drum computer, it takes a looooong time to change the timing of the vocals to fit a straight beat. It comes down to nudge words and parts of words around so they flow with the rhythm. Without sounding like Max Headroom, so you have to keep it human.
More fun: for this song, I also had to do that for the guitar, the bass, the drums and the organ.
If you listen to the track, it might be kind of clear there could have been more guitars. And I did not have time to puzzle a verse from the Alive track in the mix. But this does make me smile, combining classic rock with simple disco. Just for fun.”
I did not totally remember the appointment I had this day, which resulted in the first day on which I only could get started after dinner. And dinner is around eight p.m. normally. I figured the “True” part of this piece of music would be the feel of walking in a bar where you hear a band is playing. So that is why there is a small piece of radioplay at the start.
I used one of those Native Instruments guitar instruments again, this time the Electric Sunburst. One copy for the strumming and one where I played the solo. The bass and organ I played without what the quantizing you normally do; nuding the notes to be precisely on the beat. Because this is supposed to be live music.
The Drummer that comes with Logic is essentially a group of drummers, that play in different styles, with control over a whole bunch of aspects,including the drum kit they play on, how much fills they play, how much ghost notes, how loud and complex. But aside from that, the chosen drummer more or less behaves him or herself as a normal drummer. Without the burping and farting and intrusive phonecalls of the girlfriend. That drummer can even follow what the bass is playing, so when that bass is loose, so the drummer will be.
Eventually it turns out there are also some brass players in the band, even a baritone saxophone, but it all stays very loose. Even the mix sounds like it isn’t heard on the best pa system.
I succeeded in uploading this before 12. So then I spent at least one hour lifting peanuts from a photo, to put over the earlier made image. For no reason at all. Well, to sell the whole band in a bar thing of course, but why bother?”
“Thursday night I set my alarm, and to do that I had to wipe away some well-meant suggestions from my phone regarding starting to prepare for bed, taking a rest, going to bed to get those seven hours of sleep I programmed in, haha. I realized that our virtual digital assistants are taking over the tedious tasks, but at the same time we trust them with waking us up, reminding us about stuff and even financial stuff. We are very close to be managed by them, instead of being helped.
So that was the concept for this track, a virtual assistent type of vocal directing me around and making decisions. I remembered buying a license for Speechelo, an ai powered system that you can use to create voice-overs for your video. It works like the wordbuilder in the choir I talked about earlier, but without the singing. To have talking sound natural, you need a lot of intelligence and knowledge about human speech, including understanding what you are saying crammed into the software. Speechelo does a sometimes convincing job, but for this concept it was okay if it sounded like machine. For other tracks in the series I had to work on the intonation of the voices with the help of pitch correcting in Logic. This one was usable out of the box. With the test I typed in myself. So much fun.
I did do some trickery with it, obviously in the part where the instructions are getting more and more and the tempo of everything goes up gradually. That was also the first time I did that in a music track. After it goes haywire, you hear different voices from the software saying “Mister Hoof” in different languages.
Synthwave is rather popular at the moment, and I like it a lot. Because it is the soundtrack of my younger years. That is why I picked that genre, and the fact that it is also digital, futuristic and plastic. The synths and sounds are sounding like the eighties and early nineties. Fun track to make. I like a good guitar solo. And who would suspect a penis joke in a track like this?
For the video I used an audio visualiser to depict the voice of the machine. It took a little long to render and then superimpose it on the video material. But I liked that way of visualising the artificial intelligence enough to finish the video the next day, so it could work overnight.”
“I think techo is the most creative genre these days. You can do a lot in it, it is not as fast as, say, trance, so there is more space in there. I have watched videos by different techno producers who talk about the ingredients of the genre, so I thought it was time to take another shot. I have released some music that has been called techno before. But I wanted to try a different approach. This track started by constructing the kick drum and that typical rumble. The dark echo-ey tail after the kick drum.
What is a little hard for me, is to purely work for a groove and musically just stay one key. If you listen to the bass in this track, it is the same all of the time. This is not the kind of music to put on and listen carefully with a cup of hot tea in your hand (that is what Sundays are for).
It is all buildup, creating an atmosphere and having a groove and accents, with constant evolving parts happening. So there are always slightly different things happening. It is really sparse, for what I am used to, but putting the right element in the right place can do wonders.
The sins I committed are probably the war drums that are in there. But on the other hand, there are no rules. I see a lot of people using purely samples to create this kind of music, so also for the instrument sounds you hear. I like to build the layers with synthesizers, to have more control, and to be able to have them play other notes easily.
The strange voices you hear are vocal bits and pieces from a techno sample pack, so I guess those are allowed. They are also mainly used as percussion elements. The talking you hear from the beginning is from a collection called “movie vocals” I like to use. More and more material like this is falling in the public domain. It provides interesting buildings blocks for this kind of tracks, I think.
The video is all about that clubvibe, also with that connection to brightness and kick, so you get an extra cue to feel the beat.”
“One of the things that started this whole project, was the idea I now finally had every single instrument, synthesizer, preset, sample, loop to create whatever I wanted. But somehow, during the first week, Native Instruments released something heartbreakingly beautiful, Piano Colors. The introductory price was not bad (and vacation is not possible this year), so I fell for it.
You hear it clearly in the beginning of this track. I played some chords and subtle melodies and all of the other instruments flowed out of my fingers. Really inspiring. A cello part, violins, basses, it all just fell out of the sky into this music. I heard oboes playing in my head, I put them in. Horns that do short ostinatos, easy. Those instruments are from the Spitfire BBC Orchestra virtual instrument, which you can get for free if you wait for a little time.
In the end another instance of Piano Colors brings some extra life into it, and before I knew it almost three and a half minutes of music were made. I could hardly believe this just sprung into life somehow. Thanks to the inspiring work of that beautiful new instrument!”
“This Monday I would go back to the original space theme I had associated with the Blue I attached to it. Using Speechelo for the Friday track inspired me to have a second go with it. This time a little harder, because I wanted to have an intro with a kind of science-fiction narration. A child remembering the pale blue dot, the earth as seen from space.
As I was writing the text in the online Speechelo application I tried the child voice and it sounded pretty dramatic. So the fantasy turned into a kind of cautonairy tale. To make the voice sound more human, have the artificiality minimized, I did a lot of pitch editing in Logic. Really interesting to see how raising the tone of a word or how a sentence can get way more dramatic impact if you bring it down at the end. It was a bit of back and forth between generating sentences, putting in commas or short pauses, importing them again and tweaking to see if it works.
Now you hear it, it is working to get you in the mood for some thinking about earth. I think. Still limited time to spend, so it could be way better with more time. The music had to be extra dramatic from that point, but also having hope. I went into full movie music making territory. An opera voice, big dramatic chords. A heavy guitar chug from an instrument that is meant for Viking Metal, whatever that may be.
The piano part is another example of something I just heard in my head and had to play. Which proved really difficult, because since not playing every week, like when you are in a band, your hands are not used to that strain at all anymore. I recorded it in a lower speed, and then turned the tempo back up again. Let’s say it needs work. This was one of many pieces of music I uploaded because it was almost 12, not because it was ready. Because I did not want to just end the music, like some earlier pieces, I decided pretty late in the process to have an outro with the girl voice as well. And then it clicked, I could make it a plea to take care of that blue orb we are all living on.
So sometimes messages do pop up when you are just trying out stuff, I guess.”
The plan for this day was to do a Thriller-like piece of music, or something that could fit a low budget horror movie. It was track number 13 and on Thursday it is Tension day. So I wrote some random text that would sound eery. Like the Vincent Price part in the Thriller song. Something about voices in your head. I was actually just throwing words that sounded like something meaningful around. Nonsensical stuff.
Imported into Logic I quickly discovered that it was hard to make something that made sense with it. The spoken word sounded very random and was not inspiring anything. Maybe putting a kick drum in it will help me get some kind of cadence in it, I thought.
Most of the time I use Kick 2 by Sonic Academy, a kickdrum synthesizer, where you build your kick out of different elements. There are tons of presets, so I picked one of the first. And while I was putting the voice nicely around that beat, I heard something very different to do with this material.
Before I knew it, I was making a minimal tech house track that slaps really hard. Somebody told me. The kick that you hear after half a minute is the heaviest I ever made I think. When the complete beat hits at 0:58.. lovely! The processing of the voice I did also makes it sound really in your head. Especially with head phones. Not listening via the speakers in your phone. Why do people do that? That sounds to me like you are actually hating music. But don’t mind me.
For the video I connected more stuff to the kick drum. And I spent an inordinate amount of time to have the picture of in the video being distorted by the glass of the rotating skull. Nobody would ever file a complaint if it would not happen. But no no, I had to make it happen. Because I was convinced it was possible. No matter how many masks, displacement layers and parented nested comps I had to make. Sometimes it is a little wearisome to be me.”
This Wednesday brought a lot of work to the table, also some design stuff, and my plan to make dubstep/brostep did not work out at all. When I was doing the dishes I found myself humming this song by the French choir Les Poppys. It was one of the songs I played on my little record player, one of my parents bought it when they were young. It was featured a lot in the “radio shows” I made in my room. So much I got bored by it in the end.
I googled “Non non je ne rien change acapella” on my phone and found there was actually a crappy acapella of it on Youtube. One where the instruments were removed artificially, you can hear parts bleed through, but that was not a problem for what I had in mind. Trash those boys!
The same problem there was with the Born to be Wild song appeared hear, they did not sing in a tight tempo. That proved to be the main challenge to get done with only an hour to spare, but one can always try. So I did.
When you put a song on Youtube it recognizes, you will get a warning that advertisement can be shown and that the record company will get the earnings. I made the boys unrecognisable I think, because YouTube does not say anything about it.
The guitar is the Electric Sunburst again, but there are also heavily distorted synths and the really loud Butch Vig Drums. Sweet.”
“I did not want to do another rock band playing live or campfire drizzle for the third True Thursday. I figured it would be cool to use all kinds of other instruments from around the world people do live performances with. So I began this track by selecting a large stash of samples of instruments and voices from other continents. I think Africa is overrepresented in the end result, but it was about not sounding European or American, so that is allright.
The label afrofunk turns up really nice grooves and instruments, so I used a lot of them. From all of the tracks I made for #MusicEveryday, this is the one that has the most sampled content. Eventually I added some drum machine elements and I played the bass you hear from 0:37, which is the excellent Rickenbacker bass, again a Kontakt instrument by Native Instruments. It was also the one in the band setting last week, but I used different cabinets, amps and effects pedals. Just like a real guitar player. But it al lives in my MacBook.
There is a spoken word piece coming in at 2:28 that I downloaded from the site CCMixter. It is actually recorded by somebody called Whitewolf with a crappy microphone in 1995 as he writes. On that site you can find recordings that the makers make public for use without copyright restrictions. I was looking for a rap kind of thing, but the delivery of the piece did fit the rhythm and also gave the track unexpected depth.
In the video I connected the light to the clap this time. I really love how some of the elements fit together when they are worlds apart in their origin. Listen here, where you have Asian singing, Indian instruments, South American toasting and a drum machine working together over an African guitar, percussion from all over the continents. Oh, and a gospel choir. Of course. They are everywhere.”
“I wanted to create a more fleshed out song, so I looked for more elaborate vocals in my collection of samples. Not just two sentences of verse and one for a chorus. In the construction kits from Vital EDM Vocals by W.A. Productions, I found this track:
I liked the vocals, even the lyrics were not too cringy, but I figured it could be a way different song than the example. Like I always do when I start with a vocal and with most remixes, I only take the vocal in Logic, and start jamming chords to see what works. For this I used the very helpful Captain Plugins from Mixed in Key.
Normally I will pound my keyboard to see whatever sticks, but because time was an important factor, I wanted to try if this would save time. It did. The Captain plugins can be used way broader than just that, you can have them suggest riffs, basslines and even melodies! No need for that, but for people that have not a lot of experience or knowledge of music theory, software that could count as magic.
The start of the song is a bit like those singing surf dudes like Jack Johnson. But as you might have picked up, I like buildups. So adding more instruments gradually makes this get fuller and fuller. In the end even the Hollywood Backup Singers from the first track make a comeback.
I wanted it to be a track that could be played by a band, where the guitarist starts out with a simple electric guitar sound, and hits the distortion pedal when the drummer goes into second gear.
The end result is nice, but a little too goody-goody, it is neat soft-rock. The problem is that exactly this track is the one I keep humming and singing when I am not paying attention. Like when walking in a store, brushing my teeth or doing dishes. “Same old, same old. I don’t wanna be like everybody else..”
I like how I played the bass, really trying to emulate how he or she would be filling in the part. Even with some notes extra here and there. And I did not do too much quantizing, so it keeps the feel of a real human being. As I am a human, after all.”
This Saturday Dance I had the plan to use the great instruments that are made by F9 Audio. As they say on the website: F9 Audio is dedicated to Electronic music production and is owned and operated by the studio half of Grammy Nominated producers The Freemasons :James Wiltshire.
The Freemasons were in the middle of the house sound that you can recognize immediatly. The sounds of the drums, of the keys, the basses. And those piano’s!
It was such a joy to have the sounds those instruments provide, they not only include great processing of the samples, but also complete channel strips with live effects to further enhance the sound when you use it in tracks. In this track you can hear the classic Korg M1 organ lots of house tracks used for the bass part. The moment I loaded it, I immediately played a bassline that sounded so nice, I still am slightly afraid I heard it in the nineties and now think I wrote it.
The vocal sounds are all from a sung sentence by a nameless singer. I sampled the first two words, to play them on different notes. The suggestive sigh is from an additional adlib. I changed the intonation in the first repetition, to have more material to work with. It comes out a little garbled. But this is to dance on, not analyzing too much.
This came out pretty nice. But I think it is not feasible to get this released now. We will have to wait for a time when retrohouse will be as popular as synthwave is now. So maybe I should work on that.”
This also started with an instrument that generates patterns, textures and sounds, like the Sunday before. In the case of Mallet Flux, these are all tonal percussion instruments; marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, celesta and glockenspiel.
It was part of the Komplete Ultimate update, so I had to try it out. After the first 16 bars two other Kontakt instruments from that update come into play: Straylight and Mysteria. Both cinematic instruments, but with a big difference. Straylight is a granular synthesis instruments that builds sounds from waveforms that are from all different kind of recordings by looping big or small parts, back and forth, and you can play the chords, but also change the mix and intensity of the large collection of sources. These are complex instruments, with complex sounds, where you can easily get lost in the unexpected sonic surrealities you can create. Also it is easy to make really ugly sounds, I discovered. The second instrument, Mysteria, has some of the same elements, but all of the source material has been made by human voices in small and large groups. In the sounds I used in this chill, ambient piece, you can hear some kind of murmur, but it is hard to grasp what you are exactly hearing.
The chillness of this piece get destroyed a little with the Choir, that I managed to sing “Hoof is a little crazy in the head”. It is probably faster to hire a choir in the Czech Republic or Romania to record something like that via the web, than doing all of the programming in the word builder in Opus. Man, that stuff takes a lot of time. On the other hand, when you manage to string the vowels and consonants together, they will sing it in the keys you play on the keyboard, so you can have them sing it any way you want.
The fun part of doing this complicated choir stuff, is that you really start thinking like an arranger and conductor. Which group could be doing what, which part is for the sopranos, what do the altos sing. Really interesting.
Later in the piece there are also the Analog Strings, a great instrument by Output, who we will meet again later. And and Ostinato Strings by Sonokenetic, that does the same as some other libraries, but sound so lively and realistic, I had to add it to my toolbox.
I know I overdid the choir in this track, especially while it should have been chill. But choirs do fit a Sunday, so I decided it could stay. Because I set the rules myself in this project.
In the video you see a piece of video my partner made when we were at the beach the day before. This is proof we sometimes go outside the house.”
“A fresh start to create a space themed piece! Memories of Jean-Michel Jarre flowed richly and I was ready to produce an Oxygène part 67 or what have you. At some moment in time it changed into an old fashioned trance-like track. I think it was the beat I tried that pulled me over the edge. I still have love for the genre, and I felt free to combine it with the space theme.
This part I like best. When I work on this track to make it a complete track, with a better arrangement and buildup, that will be the drop after the build. This one has some potential I think, though the melody needs work. Or more variation at least. But I think this can be come a release on a decent label someday.
Most of the sounds come from the Spire synthesizer. That one has so much to offer if you make trance. I did not use it for years, so I spent an embarrassing long time looking for it in the instrument menu. I forgot what the brand of it was. Now it is back in my arsenal!”
“Harmony is a second nature for me. I can spot a dissonant note from space, if needed. You will have a hard time finding a wrong note in stuff I make. But sometimes there is more tension and excitement in things that do not sound quite right. In this piece of cinematic soundscape things are a little less harmonic, which is interesting as well. There is never real dissonance, but close to it.
One of the interesting experimental things that is going on from 1:12 is the fact that the musical notes you hear in the repeating pattern that sounds like a distorted guitar, are actually derived from the percussion loop that gets played later. It is made by a mad instrument called The Mouth. It says on the product page: Designed to generate melodies and harmonies out of whatever audio material you feed it, THE MOUTH is a unique and exciting way to get creative results on the fly.
This is one of those strange beasts in the Komplete collection that is hard to wrap your head around. But with some experimenting and fiddling, it possible to pull something out of it you could not come up with yourself I guess.
The track is strange, but if you ask me, it could be from a movie. And that was the idea for Tuesday Tension.”
“Always fun, the Wild Wednesday. I did not want to destroy another classic. I wanted a choir to sing thunderous and important words over screaming guitars and earsplitting drums.
Time was not my friend in this, and the word builder in the male and female choirs wore me out. So after eleven o’clock at night I settled for them singing “Aah”.
The guitars and drums are not from Native Instruments for a change. Via the wonderful deals on either Audioplugin.deals, VSTBuzz.com or Pluginboutique.com, I got my hands on two of the Ujam Virtual guitarists, Carbon and Iron and the Heavy Drummer. Surely not paying the prices they normally go for. I think they use the trick drug dealers use. Give it for free or cheap, get them hooked, then they will pay. With their lives. Wait, that might be a bit over-dramatic in this context.
Anyway, these sounds rock! The solo guitar is from another source, the Ministry of Rock 2 collection from EastWest. So much to explore in these directions as well. What I do in this track hardly scratches the surface. It is the whole #MusicEveryday concept that makes it logical to create a hard-hitting rock track one day, and translucent ambient sounds the other. Now I need more time to see how heavy and fast I can go.
For the video I coupled the snare drums to the size of the diamonds and the track cover, to have a visual impact that fits the music. If you did not get the visual association, diamonds are hard rocks.”
“I do play the whole playlist of this #MusicEveryday for myself. As I said earlier, the tunes are a bit like friends. Because of the large group in this case, I am surprised sometimes, by what the end result is. One of the reasons I am compiling this breakdown, is because I have to look back and see what the hell I did. I could have been in the zone, as they say, or tried stupid stuff that worked out ok. Or I can be surprised by what came out of just splurging out something under pressure, using the knowledge and ideas I have accumulated during the years of creating music.
This track fits none of those things. It was pure self-induced panic. I had nothing for this day, especially not time. Doing something with the song “True” was one of those strange brain farts, which was quickly followed by having a full orchestra playing it. Because that is, like, “real”.
I looked into the chords of this eighties track, and it was way more complicated than I could have remembered. As I said in the text along with it on Souncloud and Youtube, it has ALL of the chords known to man.
No way I was going to find them out by ear in this short amount of time. So I actually paid for a complete midi file. This way I could spend my time arranging the parts to different orchestral sections. Being an orchestrator is a serious job.
To come back to that playlist in the car: I skip this one. If it was possible to remove it without anyone noticing, I would. Yes, I did put effort in making the instruments adding their part, added expression to the brass section. Distilled a grounding part to the basses of the orchestra.
But the main thing that could make this slightly interesting is the brass section adding some speed and counterpart to the drawn out notes of all of the other instruments. To be utterly transparent, I copied the notes the bass plays in the original to a brass section. And that was what I was able to do to the whole thing.
Maybe because I had the idea I was cheating big time, or I had to complete an idea that turned out to be not that good to begin with. But this is my least favorite entry in the whole thing. I do not expect anyone to make it past the first half, or third. It is 5:50 minutes, but only because I had the notes to let it go on that long.
Funny thing Youtube recognized the tune and funneled all of the proceedings of advertising towards the original writers. So it does count as a cover version of the song True. But I do not mind at all if the view remain what they are today, twelve views. Please. Do not look or listen. Walk on. Nothing to see here folks!”
I had this one in my back pocket for a Vocal Friday where I did not want to go down the rabbit hole and search for something useful. Back in the days, especially when I bought a slightly decent microphone, I felt free to record songs I liked.
I have fond memories of doing a Baker Man / Wicked Ways cover on a weekday, or trying my best to do the punk song Teenage Kicks in a different way. And, to fuel my confidence, I had been coming up with decent harmonic parts as a backing vocalist for years, while playing keys in bands. I just remembered I added vocals to tracks via my iPhone headset microphone when it was totally uncalled for eight years ago.
If you ask me, I really think I can sing in tune, and I can do harmonies fairly easy, I did that in bands for years. I remember listening to the Eurythmics and freaking out about how they were able to manipulate vocals, mixing, doubling, all of it. Having a working microphone, recording options and this background, I thought I could pull off doing this cover version of the Depeche Mode song that really touched me. The melodies, the chords, really beautiful.
In hindsight the backing vocals were a lot of fun, they are really there to just enhance the main part. They could even go unnoticed if you just listen to the song. So much for me doing those high voices alone in my room.
But singing the lead vocal is really something different. I only did lead vocal on one song we played with the band, and that was something I wrote myself years before it did make it on stage.
I did sing Enjoy the Silence, roughly seven years ago, but I know this is not really lead vocal material. Especially when I listen to this, this is exactly why I always told people I do backing vocals, instead of saying I sing.
Really singing the lead part in a song, carrying a tune, I should invest in developing the craft that goes with that. And with all of what goes into producing music, I am not sure if I should be singing a lead vocal ever, without taking that responsiblity seriously.
In all honestly, this is the other track I skip when listening to the output of the #MusicEveryday project. While I am proud of the backing vocals I did, I feel ashamed to pretend I can pull of the lead vocal. Anyway. It is out there. So be it. I did put some extra distortion on the vocal, hello Trash 2, to make it grittier. But now it just sounds irritating on headphones. It just isn’t it.
“I watched a tutorial by the wonderful Yalcin Efe. It illustrates how you can get from an amateur level techno track, to a pro track, and then illustrates what makes it go way beyond that when you go to Paul Kalkbrenner level.
Somehow I have been watching channels like Yalcin’s for a long time, probably because I heard a lot of people that were committed to trance switching to techno. “That is where the real creativity is happening” people assured me. When I delved into everything techno, I understood. But it is also a broad step from the confines of a genre like trance. Sure, there is still buildup, and sometimes the beat stops, but there is way more of a sturdy on-going groove, or the longing to get back to that.
From the collection of tracks that came out of the #MusicEveryday project, this one stands out for me. After ingesting said tutorial, probably while doing some design work, I set out to create something in the world of Paul Kalkbrenner. Not comparing this to that, but I was happy to take some elements into account.
Normally I use Kick 2 by Sonic Academy, for this track I decided to give BigKick a try. It works really well.
The most direct thing I was inspired of by the Paul Kalkbrenner example, is to have a guitar-like motif in the total sound. That worked for me to have a context with more than just perscussion. Having a kick with a rumble was not part of the tutorial, but I made one anyway.
You have to understand that for me, a guy who started out in bands, thinks in “songs”, it is almost unnatural to stay in one constant base note, all of the time. I will vary chords above that, but this track is in G all of the time. But when it happens in a track like this, it is immediately addictive as well. You get sucked in.
I am so ready to explore this genre right now. If you listen to this track, there are multiple elements you probably do not notice, sometimes just three notes somewhere, that I played purely on intuition. And YES, I broke all kinds of rules in this. There is a heavy guitar. There is a piano solo. But man.. I can not get enough of playing through the complete track and arriving at those complicated piano hits and feel elevated. I know they are coming. Hell, I played them myself, but it keeps being a glorious moment after the beat, the feel, the atmosphere.
Looking back upon the whole experience, this is the track that stands out for me. Sure, I hope that this, with some extra work, can be released. I figure it can be included in playlists in this genre, I can see it being played in large venues where the crowd is ready to be taken along.
But if this never goes beyond my bubble at all, knowing I ma
If this track does never go beyond being on my Soundcloud and Youtube, so the amount of people being exposed to it will stay under 100 forever, I will forever be proud, grateful and filled with wonder how this happened. I could live in this piece of music and be happy.
“During the whole project I kept thinking I should try to do a lo-fi track, those are all the rage. But I wanted to sample something I made myself in the first place. So I made a moody track, with brushes on the drums and with one of the main instruments the Mellotron that is present in the latest update of Logic. This instrument is essentially the first sampler. It was really analog in a way, because it was a system that triggered recordings of strings, a choir, flutes, what have you. I used this instrument as an important ingredient of the remix I did for Project Ich.
For this track I started by creating this:
A laidback snippet, where I combined that Mellotron instrument with a piano, a loosely walking bass and drums that are played with brushes.
I sampled this music to be a dedicated instrument, that I could trigger on my keyboard by triggering different parts of it. With help of the free Izotope Vinyl plugin this input sounds like it is sourced from some obscure record.
To spice it up, I added a really low bass sound, and hiphop drums. And then I added laidback instruments to compliment the resulting groove. And because I made the original groove myself, it was easy to bring the piano that was played in it to the foreground. I could also use the notes of the original bass to be a lightly flowing part. It felt like I was treading the realm of what is considered lo-fi music, that is used by people to study by.
By the way, the bass is REALLY low. You will not even hear it unless you are playing this on a really good sound system.
That Izotope plugin add crackles, but also does drag the sound a little, adds the degeneration you get when playing old records, it is really fun to see how you can set the mood by subtly manipulating elements. Especially when imperfections guide the listener to perceiving authenticity.”
“Finally I managed to get the space vibes I had in mind for the Monday theme. Though this also did verge away while I was working on it. It turned out to have Drum & Bass vibes, but also dub style vocals. This is one of my favorite tracks from the challenge.
It kicks ass, there are cool percussive elements from the original Damage and Drum Synth 500 I did not use before. I really like to see that holding back on adding more and more stuff yields clear results. The vocals are by a classic reggae artist, Ranking Joe. It lifts the track above being background music. I was genuinly happy with how this turned out. I will be working on this more and see if this can get a release.”
“This was the track I made on a day that I hardly could find time to create music. I was also getting tired after 25 days of five hour nights because of the #MusicEveryday fun. I really believed I could never make anything as cool as the day before. This is the most elevator-music type of result I made I think. Just a sketch of a chord progression and an improvised piano part that just keeps repeating.
It is not unbearable or anything, but not anything special. Before I started I thought this was the standard for the daily postings, so I surprised myself on most other days.”
“This was the last Wild Wednesday, so my last chance to make that hardstyle track I had in mind. I was at the Dancefair convention in 2018 and 2019, where I ended up attending several workshops by hardstyle producers. Most of them were fairly technical, so I could use some insights I got in how to do this style.
I constructed the kick drum, the most important element in this style, from different elements. The attack of the sound is something really loud, the body of it, is actually a different instrument. I made a sampler instrument with a kickdrum, so I could actually play notes with it, that follow the bass and chords.
When I did not yet own a sampler, a long time ago, I thought it would be so cool to have the percussion follow the notes of the music. In most music that does not make any sense, but in hardstyle it is part of the sound. A lot of music that is popular right now, has the 808 kick drum that functions as a bass, that sounds cool as well. It is kind of logical, because that sound is generated from a sine wave to begin with. It has a tone.
With the free Voxengo Span plugin you can analyze different aspects of your sounds, or the complete mix. One of the fun things to use it for, is to discover the pitch of a percussive instrument. A lof of time it is not overly important to tune the percussive elements, but it can make a big difference to make sure there at least is no dissonance. It can really bind the track together.
The intro to this song is another appearance of the ai voice I used earlier. I did put some extra manipulation of the pitch and formants to make it deeper. I actually recorded my own voice for the “Music Everyday” right before the drop with the same effects. In hindsight I could have done the whole voice-over myself. I have done voice-over work by the way, besides doing this animation.
This track makes me so happy. It borders on parody, with that Balkan sounding choir kicking in. After the break, for which I sampled a note of the complete track to facilitate a modulation to a full note higher, you even have a group of guys shouting “Hey!” on every offbeat. I do that in the car, while involuntary fist pumping and hitting the roof.
I really like this, feels like a guilty pleasure. But I will be making more in this style. Sorry.”
“I did struggle a little with what to do regarding the True theme. Then I loosened the rules and decided it was okay to do a track wherein I stay true to one company’s instruments. Output is a really innovative maker of virtual instruments.
The first instrument they made that rocked the world of producers, that was REV, that uses reversed sounds/samples for all of it’s instruments. It has been on a lot of tracks I did, including Flux. But after that they introduced Signal, a powerful pulse engine. Exhale uses the human voice as input for great sounds, Substance has the baddest bass sounds, based on a mixture of real instruments and synthesized sounds. Which was also the base of Analog Strings and Analog Brass & Winds.
They developed effect plugins as well, Movement was the first one, a great way to add, well, movement to instruments. It got more imaginative with Portal, a granular effects engine, and a creative distortion plugin called Thermal.
I love these guys, that is clear I guess. There is only Output instruments in this piece of music.”
This was a nice surprise as well. An upbeat closing tune that made me get excited one last time, about how much one can do just sitting behind a laptop. In the Defining Future track that had this cool music video, I already used parts from a sample pack that is labeled “emo vocals”. To make a nice vocal track, I went through it once again, and found this Chase the Sun thing that inspired me. So I built a piece of music around it.
This is the (effected) preview of the material:
The work was to create a context for it. I made it a whole lot faster and built a kind of powerpop/rock-like environment. It is a pity there is not more verses. I might record a more complete version in the future, for which I write new vocals. This music really feels like riding a convertible to the beach and feeling forever young.
We all know I am too old for this shit. But who cares. Not me.”
“I wanted to wrap up the month with a Ben Liebrand style megamix of everything I had done. First I thought I would shake things up and make a initricate collage of all of the elements of all of the tracks. A little along the lines of that track with those worldwide etnic samples.
I made a list of all of the keys and speeds and realized I might very well just tie all of the tracks together in order of their creation date. Because of the Dance theme of the Saturday, I thought to have a beat all through the thing. But in the end I did skip some parts of that.
In 2017 I had a series of releases of trance tracks, and I wanted to be ready to dj live, so I did two courses by epic Rotterdam DJ Okkie. There is a YT vid of me doing a small set of my own tracks, it is not something I link to.. But I did learn the modern way of mixing tracks, and also the tricks to connect music that is totally incompatible. I brought that in practice for this mix. Like turning the low end off for one track, and introducing that of the next one, and switching the mid and high on another moment. Or looping a bar of one track into another one. And sometimes just blatantly lowering or speeding up the tempo.
In a couple of places I bounced out special versions of the track, to fit the mix. Like the first Blue Monday track, that gets played a couple of notes lower over the previous Sunday Chill one. And sometimes I could just repeat a couple of bars to have a somewhat bearable transition.
I was a little shocked to find out the total time of the Soundcloud playlist of #MusicEveryday tracks is 2:38:36! Not too shabby for something that could have yielded 8 or 16 bar loops as well. With this mix I was able to cut the runtime to 43:49 for this mix.
You can determine which tracks I really like, and the ones I want to get over with swiftly in this mix. Some tracks actually benefit from having that four on the floor kick in them, some are kind of degraded. And I wanted to add more rhythmic elements throughout, but frankly, I was really happy to finish the whole project. So I declared it “good enough” after a full Saturday of tinkering.
The video actually took another full day. I am used to backing up the stuff I make, save seperate elements, export presets, keep layers, all of that things you would not expect from a absent-minded professor type of creative. Not being a professor mostly. So I had a large directory with all of the material I used for the videos, and I had the original thumbnail designs as the base for it all. Still took time, and I kept the fast decision making, not bothering with making loops seamless. And that was it!
Do you really think anybody will read this?
“Not this far I think. But I know it is nice to have for myself. I can read this back in the future and have stupid details preserved, to breath life in the memories.
I do plan to post this post on Linkedin as well. And Facebook and Twitter and all.”
With that picture?
“What is wrong with it?”
You look old
“You know a lot about Photoshop, you can make it look better with some tricks and magic buttons right?”