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June 15, 2006

Filed under: music»recording»sketchpad

Musical Sketchpad, Session Six

One minute music.

Sometime next week the ProTools rig that my department ordered at work will arrive. I'm very excited, and not just because it's a serious DAW to play with outside of work hours (mental note: pick up a flash drive for my personal projects). It's also a real opportunity to add much more polish to the Best of B-SPAN podcasts. One of my plans is to add musical beds underneath all narration--but for that, I need freely-licensed samples that include both intros and outros, plus a subdued central loop. And why use our canned music library when I can make much more interesting backgrounds myself?

This sketchpad is an attempt at building such a loop, using a riff that's cool but far too busy to fit into the Four String Riot. It's not perfect for that purpose--the overlaid solo is choppier than I wanted, and this is probably too high energy to use for such low-energy material--but I think it turned out surprisingly well as a compositional experiment, and was good for planning my approach. I think it also proves that it's possible to build this kind of music quickly using just my bass and a few software tools. The drum loop was programmed using the essential free beatbox Hammerhead (using its Acoustic kits) and then imported into my Cubase session. I recorded all of the bass directly into the Tascam US122 at the same tempo, then tweaked it with either the built-in effects or the MDA VST collection which is fantastic and free.

Much easier than writing a real song. And honestly, not much less fun.

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