Nov 11, 2010 Uncategorized
Posted by irfon
I’ll be honest right out of the gate on this one: I have a lot of hobbies, and I tend toward the scattered rather than the focused. I do work hard on music, but probably not as much or as many hours as many people working in their spare time. And that’s nowhere near what the people who are both focused and doing music full-time can spend.
So sometimes when I read about techniques people use that have a very high work to impact ratio on the sound, I find them very intellectually interesting, but I don’t think of them as things that I’m likely to myself do anytime soon. And yet, I could probably find ways to employ them, with a little effort at being efficient about them.
One of the techniques I’ve read about from a lot of sources is the gentle art of directly editing the attack portion of all the drum hits in your songs.
Many producers, I’ve read, will assign each individual drum to a separate track (I do this on some of my more recent tracks, but haven’t in the past) and will then bounce each track out to audio and sit down and edit the wave manually, hit by hit for the whole song. The key things being done are creating very steep, sharp, clean attacks and moving them precisely to the beat. This kind of detailed hand editing is something I’ve done in sound design, but never as a polish activity at the track level, because it’s always seemed very time-consuming.
But then… I have no real idea if that’s what’s going on (it’s likely not) with Trifonic’s track, “Broken,” but when I listen to it, they’re doing something that’s wonderful with the percussion. The song starts out soft and languid, and the music mostly retains that, but there is a point (around 1:15 or so) where the percussion snaps into this hyper-realistic sharpness that creates an incredible textural gradient with the rest of the music, and it makes me think that perhaps I should be spending the time to master that, at least sparingly. And that’s when I start to fantasize about where I could take tracks if I had eight or ten or sixteen hours a day to lose myself in them, every day.
But then I remember that when I have, say, four hours, like tonight, I spend half of that installing Xcode and reading the introduction of my “Learning Cocoa” book, and I remember who we’re talking about.
The real question I find myself wondering about more and more, after many failed attempts at cultivating true focus, is whether I can make things that stand on their own despite the way my mind flits and jumps, or if there’s a way perhaps even to harness that for great justice.
In the meantime, though, here’s the song, complete with some totally random fan “video” that you should probably not worry about too much (I’m mostly just using YouTube as a handy method of referencing the song):