Tips on recording tracks live.

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eggnchips
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Tips on recording tracks live.

Post by eggnchips » Wed Jan 23, 2013 7:33 pm

Hey chaps,

I'm getting more and more into the recording live thing using hardware and mixer, and knowing that some of you good men on here do the same, I am looking for tips on the structuring and content of a live track.
I will explain some of my weak areas:

Getting a good groove going isn't such a task but for it to have enough content to keep the user interested for 6-8 mins is the difficult part.
I learned the DAW way so could always easily break tracks up into different parts and pencil in stuff.
Recording live and having enough content on all 16 mixer channels to make a solid track isn't easy.
Same goes with structuring as one can't pencil in a nice build up, breakdown etc. like within a DAW.
Or maybe the core groove SHOULD have enough content to keep people interested, without need for changes or adding more stuff.
I guess recording the core parts and then layering on top after is a solution until I get up to par. Or is that cheating from a purist point of view?
Would be great to read your methods and opinions.

Barfunkel
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Re: Tips on recording tracks live.

Post by Barfunkel » Wed Jan 23, 2013 8:10 pm

I believe it's mainly about having a catchy enough groove. Look at Groove La Chord, Losing Control, Basic Channel's tracks etc. Not much going on, the main groove is simply so good that the listener isn't bored but hypnotized.

Not saying you shouldn't have ANY changes or movement, but if you personally are bored by the groove in 2 minutes, I'd go back to the drawing board.

In my own music I try to follow this principle, but I'm still learning things and my grooves and production skills aren't up to it yet, maybe never.

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Re: Tips on recording tracks live.

Post by oblioblioblio » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:11 pm

you missed out the most important thing... fck everything else! no timeline, no stopwatch. Don't plan ahead or try to forcefully compose. Just forget everything and dissolve into the moment, and everything will more or less fall into place... have fun! :D

eggnchips
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Re: Tips on recording tracks live.

Post by eggnchips » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:39 pm

oblioblioblio wrote:you missed out the most important thing... fck everything else! no timeline, no stopwatch. Don't plan ahead or try to forcefully compose. Just forget everything and dissolve into the moment, and everything will more or less fall into place... have fun! :D
I agree it's good to let go but I also think the pressure of composition can be used positively as one has 6 mins to make something happen. I find that having to make the magic in a few minutes can provide more than a few hours worth of jamming.

eggnchips
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Re: Tips on recording tracks live.

Post by eggnchips » Wed Jan 23, 2013 9:39 pm

oblioblioblio wrote:you missed out the most important thing... fck everything else! no timeline, no stopwatch. Don't plan ahead or try to forcefully compose. Just forget everything and dissolve into the moment, and everything will more or less fall into place... have fun! :D
I agree it's good to let go but I also think the pressure of composition can be used positively as one has 6 mins to make something happen. I find that having to make the magic in a few minutes can provide more than a few hours worth of jamming.

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Re: Tips on recording tracks live.

Post by steevio » Wed Jan 23, 2013 10:11 pm

if you really want to record live, follow oblioblioblio's and barfunkel's advice.

i personally think its either or.

either design your music or let it flow. but you have to design at some point, so if you are wanting a true live recording, you have to do your designing in advance.
thats means designing your tools so that they are conducive to improvisation.

my current set-up is purely improvisational, but i had to spend two years making no music whatsoever, to design a platform to be able to achieve it.

so it was hard, because all i wanted to do was make music. but now i make so much music it was worth the wait and the hard work.
dont expect instant results.

i can now improvise for 3 hours at a time, and usually can get 2 or 3 usable tunes ready to release in that time, mixed in between a couple of hours of failed experiments. i start with no plan whatsoever, a totally blank canvass, no notes, no beats, no patterns. it may take 20 minutes to get something happening, then off i go for 3 hours.

edit; i think that maybe there's a mistaken impression that jamming is just indulgent noodling around and that carefully constructing your tunes is somehow more like intelligent design, but if you carefully construct your instrument with intelligent design, then composition is acheived the same way it always has been, by being in the moment with sound.

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Re: Tips on recording tracks live.

Post by oblioblioblio » Thu Jan 24, 2013 12:15 pm

For me, live jamming is a replacement and complete overhaul of the DAW timeline system, something which tied me down for months, even years at a time. Everyone has their own personal preference, but for me it represents a lot of bad things about music, this really forced compositional process, with the mind cast as dictator at centre stage, and not a flowing active communication where the human is just helping keep the machines ticking over. (I'm exagerrating a bit, but it definitely has some truth for me)

Live represents a lot of what I love about music, it keeps things alive and the possibliity of everything breaking into sh!t or suddenly transforming into something beautiful, that's very special and I think it's something that a listener can register. And ultimately, I believe this method achieves far greater musical results in terms of flow, changes, breakdowns and peaks.

It's taken a lot of time and failed experiments to get to be OK with working live, but I wouldn't ever want to go back to letting my mind be able to have complete dictatorship of all 4 dimensions.

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Re: Tips on recording tracks live.

Post by Ingemar » Thu Jan 24, 2013 3:38 pm

in addition to the words of wisdom above, I'd like to remind you (and everyone) to clear the fear - don't go into live recording thinking that it has to be done this or that way, that there is more prestige in mixing live (that it's more detroit, old school, authentic or whatever one might call it). The concern of what others might think perhaps constitutes 10% of the problem, the rest I would say is only what one self expects of oneself. If you go into mixing live with high expectations (6 minutes of magic), you are most likely to be let down. By yourself, or your expectations placed on yourself. As what Oblio and Steevio said, but phrased differently: it is the journey that is the goal. Have fun.

My personal workflow is like a lovely threesome between live takes and itb structuring: some tracks are purely improvised, other purely "arranged" and some of my tracks are live elements cut out and edited into itb-productions. I'm perfectly happy this way, and I wouldn't for the world give up either my laptop nor my hardware.

Never limit yourself in any way, without regarding it as a challenge (in other words: don't construct un-necessary obstructions for yourself)

:-flower

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