I am currently dissecting some trance music as a learning tool.
In particular I am listening to tracks from the latest Shpongle album, which I really like, and wondering how some stuff was made. I am fairly new to music production so the questions could sound basic.
I use Logic and Live. I know that Simon uses Logic too…I wish I could watch him while working. So, to begin:
- I am confused about the absence of a true step sequencer in Logic, which from what I’ve understood is essential to produce those trance rythms. After some research, I’ve discovered that I could build a step sequencer in Logic’s environment. Is it worth it, though? I’ve seen this nice step sequencer in Reason’s Thor and love its ability to tweak the pitches with the knobs. That seems to be the thing I need! But in Logic, or Live. Take the lead at 1:54 in this track (I have not posted the track on youtube so don’t bust me, bust him if that’s illegal):
Summing it up: how would I produce this rythmic lead with the main tools in Logic. I hear this rythm is gated, and this is no problem. I’m not sure what else has been automated, pitches, filter cutoffs, or other stuff. Also I’m not sure what kind of instrument would make that sound. Would I go with the ES2, which has the vector envelope which is a sort of step sequencer in the end? But what if I want to use a sampled instrument?
I don’t find using the piano roll convenient to create this sort of pattern. What I’d like is something like Reason’s Thor! Too bad I don’t like the sounds produced by that synth much, I reckon the ES2 is fatter. But that’s me!
I use the Alchemy softsynth too, which has a step sequencer. I can automate anything there per step, and use samples. But I still can’t get anything close to the lead on that track. Any suggestion? Again this is for practice only.
I was hoping to do that with Ultrabeat, which has an automatable step sequencer. There, I could use a sample and automate its pitch and cutoff, and I’ve done some groovy basslines in that way, and a couple of leads too. Still, nothing remotely close to that sound. I don’t understand why it doesn’t make me modulate pitches via sidechain - I must use a sample to do that. I did a couple of things I like but still not 100% satisfied.
As said the ES2 has the vector envelope but I can’t get anything properly melodic by modulating the wave’s pitches (via the XY controls, which are anything but precise) step by step, nor the cutoff. To make things straightly clear, I simply would like to know what Simon used to make that rythm. If it’s a sequencer built in the environment or the ES2 or what else…Listening to the pattern again, though, I somehow doubt there’s any “step sequencing” in it…can we say it’s simply a gated pad? If so, I need info on how to step-sequence in Logic anyway.
If I wanted to use Live I suppose I would go by modulating pitches, and other stuff, step by step via the clip editor. That would be much simpler to do there than in Logic on any instrument, I think. I still have to try that but to be honest I really want to use sounds made with the ES2 or the sampler in Logic. They’re fat.
- Second one…
The whole amazing drum insanity in the first minute or so of the track. How does one start building anything like that?
- Mixing four drum loops up with a sample based synth (Alchemy), morphing between them and modulating stuff…
- Slicing the loops up and using NNXT in Reason or drum rack in Live.
Any other idea?
That’s all I need to know for now.
Thanks in advance!