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AUS 220 - Week 3

This week, for our AUS 220 Demo project, we recorded electric guitar and tracked some vocal overdubs. We also hooked up a Roland SH-101 synthesizer to re-record bass.

For the first hour or so, I worked on the Pro tools project to create a rough song structure and comp’d the drums we recorded earlier to create an in-time rhythm to be able to track guitars efficiently. Our project was very “messy” from all the different takes and playlists we had from previous recording sessions. So, in order to make our recording session easier for that day, I decided to clean and sort things up before we tracked anything.

With some help from our teacher Michael, I created a quick 4 Bar drum loop by quantizing the drums using the Pro tools’ warp algorithm. I was aiming for everything “super tight” and moved the quarter notes dead on to the nearest beat on the grid. But, when I played back the loop, it sounded very artificial and lacked that “groove”, which the song needed. I asked Michael if there was any way to add a Groove template to the drums like we do in Ableton but he said that there was no direct way of doing it in Pro tools and I would have to manually move the drum transients to loosen things up and add that missing “human” element.

I think this was a very important lesson for me to learn. Prior to that day, I would always aim to have my drums perfectly quantized to the grid. I always thought that in music, things are supposed to be perfectly in-sync with time. But this was not the case; little imperfections can sometimes give a “human touch” to a piece of art and this “human touch” can make the experience more relatable and human.

After this, the rest of the session went smoothly. We recorded some nice electric guitars played by Lachlan, which really gave our song that 'Linkin Park Nu-Metal' vibe we were striving for initially. The riffs that we recorded added a lot of power to the verses and the long open chord strums in the hook section added a dark flavor to the song; giving it a nice contrast whilst making it sound bigger and epic.

As a group, we decided to re-record the bass. This was because the MIDI bass that we already had, sounded as if it had been recorded using a toy instrument and we hadn’t given any thought and time to the shape and design of the bass sound.

Michael suggested to bring in a nice-old analog synth from the 80s called the Roland SH-101. We plugged it in using ¼” TRS cables and then started playing around with its envelope, modulator and LFO settings to create a nice sub bass sound. Daniel Clarke (King 808) was the one to play the instrument and being spot on with the recording, he wrapped it all up in under 15 minutes.

Overall, we were quite satisfied with the day’s work and I look forward to the mixing session coming up this Friday.

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