Song 5: Peer remix

Remix a song by another student in the class. You can work from their original session file, or download the audio from SoundCloud and work with that. You can make any alteration you see fit, up to and include radical reworking.

I just want to start this post by saying that I don’t really even have a good flavor for how Kanye really does this.  I’m so used to melodically-driven pop.  But I’m going to take a stab at it and try to resample this song into a groove.  I’m going to try to set it up in Ableton so that keys on my keyboard trigger the elements of the groove.  I think that should work.  I am probably sure that Kanye visualizes the complete song structure with hook and everything as he’s laying down the song structure, or at least has a good feel for it, and isn’t just creating  a background track in a vacuum.  But what do I know?

I’m thinking about Sampling “A Night Out at Applebees.”  That track definitely sounds like it could have a rap over it even by itself.  Great progression there.  The drum loop in it is super idiomatic to our current musical world as well.   I finally figured out how to get Trillian loaded back onto my computer.  It will be great to have that in Pro Tools and other DAWs to make some phat bass sounds.

I watched some good videos to up my Ableton skills on sampling and remixing samples.

How to Remix in Ableton

Lets Remix : Daft Punk – Get Lucky in Ableton Live 9

Avicii in the studio – The Making of Dancing In My Head

The Daft Punk video is really huge for explaining remixing.  It’s basically a master class in how to remix a song.  I highly recommend it.  So after watching it I decided it was the right time to boot up Ableton.

After watching the Daft Punk remix video it seems to me that it is easier to just create the full arrangement without using the sampler in Live.  So I decided to go that route.  I chopped up Michael’s piece into units that I thought I would like to use and started to apply effects to them.

Adding Applebees to Session copy.jpg

For this project I decided to watch the Daft Punk remix video once more and make a running list of effects he used and also think about the overall arrangement.

(1) From the beginning the producer isolates 2 segments of the piece that he wants to work with for the remix.  I went through “Applebees” and color coded each of the sections of the piece as it went along and gave them a different color.

Red – piano/kit intro

Yellow – strings entrance

Green – “Tell your mom I said hello…” break down – no drums.  Definitely could use this section and cut a new beat behind it.

Blue – vibes/reverse vibes

Pink – vibes/ no drums – this also might be a great section to add new drums.

Brown – all instruments

Orange – All instruments and just kick… also might be a good section to use.

Sections - Applebees copy.jpg

(2) Establish the length of the segments and set up the beginning of the segment to hit on the transient.

I decided to start with just using the sections that had no drums or minimal drums and add a new beat to those.  I muted the other tracks for now.Useable Sections copy.jpg

isolating samples copy.jpg

Now that I have my loops set, I’d like to add in kick and bass samples.  So I look through some of Live’s loops.

I found “House – 122 bpm” and started with that.  Here’s the audible result:

It sounded like the first track (just the piano) needed some boost in the mix, so I boosted it 6 dB.

Adding Drum Loop copy.jpg

Made Some Small Adjustments to the loop lengths.

(3) The next thing that occurs in the video is a addition of filters to the tracks.  So I go ahead and employ the same filters within my session.

As in the video, I add EQ, compression, and 2 auto filters to the master channel.  It’s there for now because I have to have all of my tracks playing combined through the master.  adding filters copy.jpg

I made my first filter to have a low cut but also to have a small boost in the bass.  The second filter I made a low-pass filter for the purposes of arrangement of dance energy in the disco house style song.

(4)  With the filters in place and set up, I decided to find a two-bar segment of “Applebees” to loop as an introduction.  I think I’m gonna use “tell your mom I said hello, and your grandmother” as well as the vibes entrance.  The first clip is just too funny.  I think I’m going to open up the low pass filter over these two clips as a way to build energy at the beginning of the song.

tell your mom i said hello copy.jpg

(5)  Next in the video a kick is added.  I am going to do the same in spite of already having a kick in the drum loop track, for the purpose of side-chain compression.

I like “A-Kick Remo 1” from the Live 9 Packs sample library.  I drop the volume -6 dB because it is causing the master to go into the red when combined with all the other parts.

(6) Create an artificial side-chain.  I did this in spite of adding the kick, realizing that since he did this artificially I did not need the new added kick.  I will listen on the big speakers later during mix down and see if the new kick is actually necessary or not.

I like a pretty heavy side-chain because it’s just funny.  I set the initial attack to be -22.9 dB before popping back to zero on each bass drum hit.

I like the sidechaining on the original tracks.sidechaining copy.jpg

(6)  Build the arrangement.  It looks like in this idiom the intro has no sidechaining and then what is introduced is a new bass drum with the old and a side chain.  I’m going to do exactly the same thing.

(7)  Group the audio tracks that create the arrangement so you can add filters over all 3 tracks.  This is likely the step I was missing before when trying to add filters over the master fader.filters copy.jpg

I added a band pass filter onto the Applebees tracks which I automated to have it move higher in frequency as a buildup to the main part of the song.  I also added a high pass filter to the drums and deactivated it during the main part of the song.  Lastly I added a high pass filter to the yellow sample which is the breakdown so that the bass drum in that section didn’t compete as much with the new drum kit loop I had rolling with that part of the track:

automation lanes2  copy.jpg

automation lanes copy.jpg

I decided to add some high-pass filters on the master channel during the end of each section leading into each new section.high pass filters copy.jpg

(9) I also added the obligatory ping pong delay in these buildup sections:

ping pong delay copy.jpg

(10)  At this point I started really working on the arrangement, just adding filters and fades and crash cymbals where I felt appropriate:

building the arrangment copy.jpg

Apple bees 2.0

After listening to this mix in the car, I hear the bass drum as being WAY too loud.  So I reduced it by 9dB in the mix and re-bounced it:

Next I added some white noise to the arrangement.  I found “Filtered Noize.aif” under the ” Live 8 Samples” Library:white noise copy.jpg

I added side chain compression on it, triggered by the kick drum.  I set the threshold low and the level to be high, 10:1.  It helped really add that compression to the white noise.

At this point I am just messing around with more of the filters/FX and making sure things generally sound good.  I’m enjoying this project:

more filters copy.jpg

I put the mastering compressor on the master track:mastering copy.jpg

I decided to add a synth bass to the track.  I had to roll off some of the bass from the original track to make sure everything was kosher with the blend between my bass and the bass that is already on the track.

I tried to add just the sample of “hello” at the very end of the bridge to refresh the memory about the voice.  I also added an auto filter effect on it and swept it.

Lastly, I’m trying to do some drum drop outs.  Instead of doing that, I decided to add ping pong delay to the drum track itself.

all remaining edits copy.jpg

Added some white noise to the end of the track, increased the length of the ping-pong delay and the reverb at the end of the track.  Here is the final result!  I’m sure there’s more I can do with this, but for the sake of time, I’m satisfied stopping here.

After listening to the mix in the car, of course I heard some issues.  I lowered the high end of the vibe track (I brightened it too much) and raised “tell your mom I said hello” 2dB.  For the vibe track I dipped about 4dB around 1kHz.

I think I got really lucky that “tell your mom I said hello” had a beautiful 3-against-4 feel with the rest of the track.  I just liked this track in general but I think the end result turned out awesome.

I decided to add vocoder to the signal at the end of the track.  I had some plans to make some kind of melody with it, but it was so hard to get the vocoder working that I was only able to get chords done so far.  Here it is so far:

I decided to try to really mess with the volume on the vocoder track and add a lead track.

vocoder tracks copy 2.jpg



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