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How do you start a new track?

production pyschill psybient

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#1
Lorn

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When I first started trying to produce I always started with the kick and bass. I knew I wanted to be in the psy ambient realm of music. This starting place simply never went anywhere for me.

 

After experimenting and discovering some other well established artists who were sharing their own techniques...I now start by creating pads and textural sounds. I decide what key to use then simply spend some time layering smooth/ambient/textural sounds together.

 

I am in no way an expert but i have progressed rapidly finding a way to start something. The track takes on its own course most of the time.

 

I have spent lots of time dissecting tracks I want to sound like or create something similar. I think this is important, especially for learning arrangement, but it seems whenever I attempt to actually create a track with similar sounds I fail miserably. The track needs its own place and its own sound. So far starting this way has helped tremendously.

 

Would love to read what others do.



#2
Iacchus

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I usually start with an element that has inspired me in music I've heard recently.. maybe a bass, a percussive thing, a stylistic influence such as a new genre that has interested me

 

I start with that and then it usually morphs into something totally different as new sounds you make in the process start to fit together and inspire more ideas.. usually the bit I was originally trying to imitate gets left in a graveyard at the end and long forgotten

 

I think it's starting that's the important bit, any way for any reason.  The songs kinda write themselves after that.



#3
Johnny Mandrake

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I am starting by creating some nice feeling loop, sometimes it's a pad, sometimes some arp, sometimes drum loops, sometimes some voices. After that I am creating more loops to create a group of sounds that are good to me. After that I can use this group for live playing and I am rearranging the patterns in different ways to create the song sketch. When the sketch is fine, I am tweaking the sounds, add filters, effects and more sounds to fill the tracks aura.



#4
andorra

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With psybient tracks I first try to find the right atmosphere I'm looking for with pad and/or some keys together with delay and reverb I want to use. There it starts...

 

If I'll start creating a downtempo or psytrance track I usually try to create the kick and bass -loop first and some percussions and hi-hats to find the right drive and mood for the track.

 

I've noticed that it's easier to start a new track and find the right elements faster is when you first listen to some of your favourite music :)

 

At what point do you guys start using a reference track (if you tend to use one!)?


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#5
Lorn

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At what point do you guys start using a reference track (if you tend to use one!)?

 

I've been doing this a lot recently. Picking a track I really like and attempting to make something similar, without duplicating. I find its the structure of the reference track which helps me the most, ie. where are the breaks, how many and how long are they, is there a long intro or does the meat of the track come in right away, etc.



#6
via'on

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I spend a lot of time improvising on my synth. Most of the time, It's a chord progression that drives me into a a song clip.

Then, it's song building around this part. It can modify this to fit in a music genre I want to develop :)


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#7
Delightful Imperfections

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Great topic idea :)

I used to struggle with this quite a bit, as starting a track can be so vast, its like where do you start? I think it can almost be a little daunting for those of us not from a traditional musical background! So now I start with an idea, or an intention for the tracks...then I start collecting / auditioning / carving sounds that resonate with that idea, intention, or the feeling behind it, but without worrying about how they go together yet. That comes later. It could be anything pads / atmospherics / synths / drums / whatever so long as it aligns with my root idea / feeling.

Then, when the time comes to play, I already have a collections of sounds & idea's that more or less match the vibe I'm looking for - this makes play time, much more playful! And productive, because I'm not spending my time looking for components. Sure some sounds get ditched, & new ones created along the way, but it just gets me moving so much quicker.

 

Now if only I could find such an efficient way to finish tracks, lol! 



#8
Progressive Anarchists

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The first thing I do is to create a single pattern with a cacophony almost every instrument I will probably use in the song. This includes drumkits, percussions and various overdubbed melodic loops.

 

The next step is to clone this "almost all-inclusive" part a few times and to drop different instruments from every copy.

 

Then, I try out possibilities for transitions.

 

When I am tired from working on the middle parts, I create an introduction.

 

When I think it is enough, I create the ending.

 

When the basic structure is complete, I modify the beats and the notation to make it more eclectic.

 

Next step is to optimize velocities and the automata.

 

Last step is to optimize volumes, to apply EQs and using low/highpass filters to wipe out what is not really hearable.



#9
Ghost in the Chill

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Great topic!

 

 

I've noticed that it's easier to start a new track and find the right elements faster is when you first listen to some of your favourite music :)

 

 

This.

In my case, it works even better when I listen to audio not directly related to the "psytrance culture". I think about:

 

- movie soundtracks (good to think about techniques that create precise emotional reactions)

 

- movie SFX and voice cues (good for sound design inspiration)

 

- video games audio (mainly for harmonic inspiration. Nobuo Uematsu and Yasunori Mitsuda come to mind, but there are lots of others because primo, 70% of the big licences composers are classically-trained vets (the others are metalheads :P) and secundo, the video games audience seems to be largely more tolerant with harmonic eccentricities...)

 

 

To answer the main topic, I generally start a track with a melodic theme. This theme is a character and the track is his story.

If I feel other characters are needed along the way, I add themes.

Harmonies describe their emotions.

Sound design is the scenery.

Rhythmic elements (obviously...) set the rhythm of the action.

 

The process is also easier to me if I work on a track that is part of an ensemble (EP, album, live set...) because it's easier to define its "role" in the big plot and how it should be structured (is this track the intro of the ensemble, or the climax, or the happy end...).



#10
andorra

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It's a weird thing that sometimes you come out with a full track in one night and sometimes it takes a month to make the first minute :)







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