Unit 8 – Research

The idea for this song first came about after listening to “Some unholy war” by Amy Winehouse off of her album back to black. After i had heard this version i began to practice it on guitar. I found it interesting how such a variety of unusual chords were put together and sounded so well. After listening to it over a few times i listened to the down tempo version on the same album and i really liked this version a lot more.  This is mainly down to the down tempo version being more laid back and chilled in comparison to the original version. My final song doesn’t really sound like either of these versions but I do think it fits in to a similar genre.

Another song that somewhat contributed to my final unit 8 song was the the song “Hotel California” by the Eagles. Although this song didn’t have an overall influence on my song, element of it did push me to change the mood of the song. The verses of the song were definitely swayed more towards Amy Winehouses style. The choruses definitely lift the song up and that’s the feeling I took away from ” Hotel California”.

The last song that influenced my song differs on quite a large scale to the past two. The third song is “West coast” by Lana Del Ray.  Whist listening through Ultraviolet, this song stood out for me. Each time I hear it I still feel like it should be two separate songs. But on the other hand it makes sense the way it is . This was the reason that “West coast ” influenced my own song. The verse and chorus of both songs change the mood quite a bit and the vibe feels different. Listening to ” West coast” more recently, the lead guitar reminds me of the one on my song too.

 

During the recording process for unit 8 certain issues definitely stand out more then others. The main one being timing. Although the timing issues that occurred during unit 8 weren’t exactly down to my timing, I have found this experience helpful in many ways. After finally solving these issues I did some research into the important of using a metronome whilst recording. Whilst reading this article I definitely will make sure that I play along to a metronome instead of playing to a piano or other instrument incase  it is out of time like what happened on this project. By doing this stuff will get recorded a whole lot quicker. As well after reading this article I think that I will consider practicing with a metronome on occasion.

http://www.stetina.com/lessons/metronome.html

Another issue that I came across during unit 8 was recording with an acoustic guitar. Personally I think the reason that this was an issue was down to three different factors. The first being that the piano I was playing to was a bit hard to play too which at the time I didn’t know it was out of time. The second being that we had to keep re recording because on certain takes the signal wasn’t coming through very strong. The sound that was being recorded reminded me of ” The masterplan” by Oasis because of how thin the acoustic guitar sounds.  The third was down to my lack of experience playing on acoustic guitars. These issues definitely led to me playing on an electric guitar instead. Now having a final song I think using a electric guitar was definitely a better choice.

 

The most recent documentary I watched was Supersonic. I did expect good things from this documentary and it didn’t fail to meet my expectations. As well as being eye opening to the bands stuggles through the early 90s, it also was very amusing with commentary from both Liam and Noel Gallagher throughout. The documentary was leading up to Oasis playing at Knebworth where they performed to 125,000 people.

Unit 8 – The Underground Theatre

For part of unit 8 we had to do a live performance. This performance we held at The Underground Theatre in Eastbourne. At around 4 a clock we had to go for a sound check to make sure all the equipment was organised for the performance later on in the day. After the sound check i went home to sleep then returned at about 7 .Doors opened at around 7 so i got there in good time. Whilst waiting i tuned the guitar that i was using which belonged to the college. I used a red and white Squier guitar for this performance. This was the same guitar that i recorded all my guitar parts for my song. In terms of the performance overall it didn’t sound to bad. The main issue that i faced whilst playing was that i couldn’t hear a thing that i was playing. I only knew i was in time as i could hear the rest of my peers playing. I couldn’t hear the piano either. Through this performance myself and my peers used eye contact to continue playing even we messed up at parts.  So throughout the whole performance i was under the impression that i was playing quietly. Especially as i wasn’t using a pick to play. Another issue was the lack of time we practice. This is clear as certain parts were a bit all over the place. The last issue that i faced was my amp settings. As i couldn’t hear anything i didn’t realise how sharp my guitar sounded. This differs quite drastically in comparison to the sound of my guitar on my final mix. Although this performance wasn’t perfect, it was a whole load better then the Christmas gig we did.

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Studio Roles – Producer

Typically a producer has a big involvement in to how a finished song or album is going to sound. In terms of hierarchy in the studio, the producer has the most power.

Within this role the producer is in charge of various different aspects in the studio. For example this can involve creating ideas, mixing or overseeing someone else mixing, hiring session musicians and working with a sound engineer to make sure the best sound in produced.

An example of a famous producer would be Dr Dre. Dr Dre is responsible for co producing Eminems Marshall Mathers LP as well as being the executive producer for The Eminem Show and Encore.

Week 8

In today session we discussed stylistic elements of psychedelic rock. After analysing different songs from well known bands we applied what we had discussed to make a song in a psychedelic style. During this I played guitar. The key of the song was in Am.

In today’s session we had to analyse our own work and write down the strengths and weaknesses. My main strength so far is my chose of instruments fit nicely. My main weakness is that I haven’t done much yet. We also had to analyse another persons work. The piece i listened to was backing to Harry Potter and the deathly hallows part two. My only main criticism was that for me the instrumental seemed to joyful for the scene. I suggested using a minor key to alter this.
When I got back to my own work I started to find gun sound effects to use for my scene. The original scene doesn’t have any gunfire. I wanted to add the sounds of the guns to make it seem more dramatic when the bodies hit the floor. When I decided to include the gunfire I didn’t realise how hard it would be to have the guns in sync with the sounds of the guns especially with multiple guns going off at the same time.

Week 7 –  The Archery centre

In this recording session I had to re record the acoustic guitar on the track for Counting stars. As a group we did complete a short version of the song however I didn’t have time to mix it on my own.

On the last week of term leading up to Christmas we had a gig at the Archery centre on Seaside Road in Eastbourne.During the performance my guitar amp definitely needed to be turned up. Although i could hear my guitar,  in the recording it can’t be heard at all. Overall Supersonic was fairly decent in comparison to Dakota . As different members of the group had to rearrange themselves to get prepared for Dakota it did seem quite unorganised on stage between Supersonic and Dakota. I don’t think this really was anyone’s fault as we hadn’t spent much time making a smooth transition. The second performance didn’t go quite to plan down to some technical issues for the drummer and tuning problems for the lead guitarist . The drummer was unable to hear much of what was being played through his headphones and therefore found it hard to play . This was why we restarted a few times . This was my first performance playing guitar live so I leant a fair bit whilst doing it. The first thing I definitely will remember for next time is too check the volume of my amp to level it out with the rest of the groups instruments.

In the session on Wednesday I downloaded a clip of the film Road To Perdition so I could start on ideas for the backing track. So far I have a rain loop, a piano section and also a cello over the top of the piano. Next lesson I’ll add a intro and start finding effects for the gun fire and footsteps.

Week 6

Today in recording we started off filling in a drum sheet. This included information about Close/spot microphones and how to use dynamic microphone to pick up drum sounds from one direction as they’re less sensitive. In addition to this i also looked at polar patterns and how they pick up different sounds. Also i looked at space paired(overhead mics). The positives of them are that they capture left and right sounds. The main negatives are that it can cause phase which is a thin sound over the recording . I also looked at coincident pairs which cross over each other. As I have no previous experience setting up microphones or using drum kits, this handout was very helpful.

In second session of the week we chose the songs that we wanted to perform at the Christmas gig at the Archery centre in Eastbourne . We all decided on Supersonic by Oasis and Dakota by Stereophonics. In both songs I play guitar.

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In MIDI today we briefly went over stereo spreaders and also adaptive limiters to give our songs a fuller sound on logic. I used the adaptive limiter and I can really hear a different in my piece now. As well as this I continued to make progress on my film piece which is very close to coming to an end.

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Week 5

In this session i worked as part of a group to make a rough cover of a song.  Someone suggested covering Counting stars by One republic. Not all of us were too familiar with the song so we all listened to it to pick out what parts we could copy to make our cover . In the group we had one pianist, one guitarist and a bassist. We started recording the bass straight into Logic through the desk. After that we use a mic and a stand to record the acoustic guitar.

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In the next session we were left to carry on with our compositions for the whole session. My main focus was to finish off the section towards the end of my piece .