I received many mails asking me about the process i use to bring old modules back to life.
As an old Atari/Amiga demo fan i of course have the great 4CD Box set compilation in modules called “Mods anthology” which was released in 1996 by a crazy collector named “Gryzor”. (If anybody got some news of him ;). But i also took some inspiration directly on YouTube.
Seek and Destroy
I first remember demos that really thrilled me when i was younger (no comment please ;) and searching for the soundtrack in this huge music database.
During the 90′s all the ‘demoscene’ musics were produced using Protracker (4 channels only), Fastracker, Impulse tracker and a few Sids. As you may (not) know those softwares cannot export midi files and each tracker gots his own format. Mp3′s format did not exist at this time.
Then, the procedure is simple. Listen to the original music and do it again.
I’m using a Mac and the Software i use is Ableton Live. I have two softwares running as the same time. Live and Cocomod’x or Renoise.LiveCoco Modx
RenoiseI listen to the original track and i’m trying to recompose the same thing in Live.I admit, it’s a hard work because it takes many hours to rebuild the whole parts.
Fortunately, in this time, most of the music were build using the same ‘chromatic themes’ or ‘chord evolution structures’. It’s easier.
Demovibes is remixes of those tracks then i just rebuild main parts of specific gimmicks that brings in audience memories the entire musics.When every note (bass lines, lead, beats, pads…) is drawn into Live i now have to choose of most of the time create the sound that suits the best to the original track. I actually really want to keep this ‘oldschoolish’ spirit in my demovibes creations.
Some sounds are easy to do (simple saw sounds…) and there are others that are hard to recreate. Many sounds were samples from Korg/Yamaha synthetizers.
Can different themes work together ?
Of course they can but i often have to detune them from the original key. Espcecially when i play with willbe because we work separatly and at a moment when have to merge our tracks.For ‘demovibes 3′ i had to detune almost all of them to fit the first track (Thanks clawz for you CMajor key;).
Ok all my tracks are there in Midi format. (enigma.als, spaceballs.als…(als is the Ableton live format)). Now let’s move on to the general and final mix.
Of course, all the tracks are previously mixed down correctly (i mean frequencies, pannings, sequencings. Now the hardest part is to make them all work together).
Two main problems. The transitions, The BPM.
Usually, to make nice transitions, i use rythm beats or nice bass lines. I never use ‘release’ or ‘delay’, ‘reverb’ effects. You can make a nice fade between 2 tracks using Hi-Hat sample for example or BassDrum. Bass Lines can also be interesting.
Switching from a previous tune playing a bass line…. Smoothly moving to another theme… Nobody can notice they have moved from a piece to another.
Ableton Live offers nice tools to switch from a BPM to another. Human ear cannot feel any differences between 135BPM and 140. It’s quite easy to change the beat.Now it’s time to export to wav
Audio Export / Import
I export every part of the music (drum, leads, pads…) in different separated files and bringing them back into live. I can then create transitions for every music. I can also now choose the different effects i wanna put on some parts. I control effects using my Midi controller (Bcr 2000 at home and a korg Nanokontrolduring lives.).
When every effect is plugged, when every samples is loaded it’s now time to warm up.
Warm up and check up
I warm up i check everything. I hear again and again every part of the tune, every transition, every beat. I write on a paper the moments that’s i’ll have to do something special. I play dozen times just like the audience was in front of me. I stop for a few days, and then back on tracks.
Music always sounds different a few hours / days later. You have a clean and really healthy ear.Now it’s time to go and giving you some pleasure…. I hope.