something in the sky / mills...

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cloutier
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something in the sky / mills...

Post by cloutier » Fri Jul 13, 2012 8:56 pm

i've been long fascinated with jeff mills' productions, most especially his deeper, spaced out tracks, and now that i'm trying to learn production and having an ok go at it so far, i figured it would be a good time to ask...

how the fck does he do half of this sh!t?! hahah. mostly its his percussion, but he also has some amazing synth stuff that i just can't figure out. i'm sure 99% of his percussion is all 808 and 909 related, but there's gotta be something i'm missing.





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Re: something in the sky / mills...

Post by oblioblioblio » Fri Jul 13, 2012 9:43 pm

it's all about the feel. you can never recreate the feel of someone elses tracks, you have to find your own flow. to find your own style. that's how you get that undefinable je ne sais quois thing about a piece of music that when you try to deconstruct it into individual elements it falls apart in your finger tips.

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Re: something in the sky / mills...

Post by oblioblioblio » Fri Jul 13, 2012 10:15 pm

don't let me piss on your bonfire though... clearly theres something fantastic happening in these tracks and its always possible to learn from pieces of music.

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Re: something in the sky / mills...

Post by hydrogen » Sat Jul 14, 2012 12:27 am

when i think of this kind of quality of music and mnml.nl forum the first thing that comes to mind is nakoradiomies... really good stuff here and in the similar vein. http://soundcloud.com/nakoradiomies. The only thing i can come up with is a fully hardware driven studio driven by live performance and execution.




Seems like the stuff he has up now is on more of the dub tip... (i've heard a bunch of different styles from him) but the vibe, creativity and sound quality is there. I absolutely love this quality of sound. As far as I know its all driven by music knowledge, performance and specific hardware.
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Re: something in the sky / mills...

Post by livecollective » Sun Jul 15, 2012 5:08 pm

a huge part of jeff mills sound comes from running in the red, and pushing the kick to the point of distortion through the mixer. These tracks are masterpieces but they were not mixed like you would mix a track in the digital realm these days. To get that sound, I would take drum machine samples if you don't have the real deal and really push them, distort, sharp eq, compress, ignore the concept of trying to gain stage and just max the kick out, for synth lines it helps to knock them down to 12-bit to add a lil crunch... this definitely gives it a proper older. crunchy, feeling.



distortion, eq, and compression (on all the drums),

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Re: something in the sky / mills...

Post by pafufta816 » Mon Jul 16, 2012 6:28 am

i think the key here is that he has his hands layed onto the 909/808 while he is recording. he is probably making very small minute tweaks to each sounds parameters. unlike many digital producers, whom create a drum pattern which is perfectly synthesized and sequenced, aka each bar of percussion sounds identical to all other bars, the inorganic nature is quite stark for most modern techno/house producers who work exclusively digitally). jeff mills is working with finicky analog equipment and he is not just programming, but "playing" the drum machine. he can punch notes in on the fly, while recording, change the length of decay and envelopes for them.

the biggest thing that has helped me with drum programming is my experience with improvisation on the instruments i play. when i program drums i try to tweak the sh!t out of them, this way when i edit them into tracks i have many little moments (like jeff mills) where the drums are talking, singing, shifting, morphing. i feel like some basic channel and chain reaction releases have this percussive quality, where each sound is very repetitive, but the tone and color of the notes goes through very organic sounding permutations throughout the track.

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Re: something in the sky / mills...

Post by Robot Criminal » Thu Jul 19, 2012 4:42 pm


this is pure wizardry.
that is all.
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Re: something in the sky / mills...

Post by Hades » Fri Jul 20, 2012 6:34 am

cloutier wrote:i've been long fascinated with jeff mills' productions, most especially his deeper, spaced out tracks, and now that i'm trying to learn production and having an ok go at it so far, i figured it would be a good time to ask...

how the fck does he do half of this sh!t?! hahah. mostly its his percussion, but he also has some amazing synth stuff that i just can't figure out. i'm sure 99% of his percussion is all 808 and 909 related, but there's gotta be something i'm missing.
well, if you're fairly new to this, and you consider Mills has been doing this for about 20 years...
the longer I'm into this, the more it amazes me how much time and experience you need to get sounds out of your gear that don't sound like lame presets or stuff that has been overused over the years.
And I'm not talking about the simple bass/pad/whatever sounds that everyone can make soon enough, but exactly the stuff you mention here: all these little things that seem so hard to get out of your gear.

Sorry if I can't be more of a help, but I think Jeff Mills is just someone as high up there as his space techno.
Give yourself a few more years, I think that's the only thing that gets on your side inevitably with this : time !

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