What do you struggle with?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
astromass
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by astromass » Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:47 am

alcoholism...
nyquist theorem and nyquil...

abort
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by abort » Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:54 am

I am fundamentally flawed ...oh and my spelling sucks.

:mrgreen:

stringtapper
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by stringtapper » Fri Jul 03, 2009 1:59 am

1. Taking myself too seriously. Sometimes it can be hard to get started when you walk in the studio thinking that you must create a masterpiece in 2 hours. You can easily defeat yourself before you ever get started. I've come to accept that everything we do is a process of learning in some way. I have plenty of .als files that are just an Operator with a single default tone looping in a clip with some string of audio effects after it, garbling it up in strange ways. No song or anything, but I learned from experimenting and that can be applied to something else I do later.

2. Intention overload. I study and listen to many different styles of music and it can take years to master just one of them. Ok I'm going to work on my bebop soloing this morning. Keyboard harmony in the afternoon. Making phat beatz after dinner. Synth programming. Orchestration by hand. I need to find a "serious angle" for a new interactive composition. When you do it this way you risk becoming a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. I've certainly done that to myself to a degree. I am easily distracted and can lose focus pretty quickly. At least most of my interests are all music/audio related. (Now GTAIV was a different story.)

3. Time management. See #2 for contributing factors. I tend to be extremely disorganized and this is probably the one thing I am struggling with on a general "life" level, beyond music and any creative interests but certainly it affects those too.
Last edited by stringtapper on Fri Jul 03, 2009 9:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
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acidboy
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by acidboy » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:02 am

I had lots of trouble finishing projects as-well, i still have folders and folders of stuff i keep meaning to get around too. I found the best way to get a composition finished is to buy some graph paper and draw out your arrangement before you record it to the arrangement view. It really helps to visualize the whole thing and see which parts are lacking structure. Ive also gotten in to the habit of naming things verse, chorus, break... It also helps as you know what's what. Its easy to fall in to a rut of just making a bunch of loops sometimes, If you write for the arrangement view it becomes a more traditional process on a timeline.

pedx1ng
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by pedx1ng » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:13 am

Finishing A song (singular), nevermind songs (plural). :( I get little vignettes of ideas that typically arise from my noodlings. A bass line. A melody. A beat loop. But I cannot seem to progress these elements into a finished composition. I'm fully aware my music theory is a weakness so I have a book on that that I recently went through and I'm trying to learn more about chord progressions and such, but it hasn't helped.

It seems my most interesting things (to me) have come out of the randomness of me just sitting at the keyboard and noodling. When I try to put forethought and structure into something, it doesn't turn out as cool.

And then I listen to stuff that some of you peeps come up with and I get a little discouraged. I think it would be beneficial if I could just force myself to finish tracks, even if they sucked, it would at least be a learning experience. Rather than abandoning things because they aren't good or enough or I've run out of ideas...

ChiDJ
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by ChiDJ » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:14 am

After destroying me financially, the ex found out I'm single and she wants to fuck me...(Not financially), so......

do I think with my little head and get some?...(cause I'm Kinda lonely right now)...or do I tell her to STFU!!??

I think this qualifies as a legitimate struggle..

Tod
"Let you're body feel the sound! Let it cover you up and down!"

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dave999z
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by dave999z » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:31 am

in addition to many of the problems you all just described...

a big problem i have is my day job sucks the life out of me and i'm mentally spent by the time i get home and just don't have the energy to make music very much.

pretty soon i may be moving from my apartment into a house (my sister is moving out of hers, so i'm thinking of renting it from her). i'm hoping the privacy gives my creativity a kick in the ass. the ability to play pretty loudly late at night should be great. most of all the ability to do vocal takes (without worry about disturbing neighbors and without being self conscious) - i would love that.

Angstrom
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by Angstrom » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:43 am

pedx1ng wrote:Finishing A song (singular), nevermind songs (plural). :( I get little vignettes of ideas that typically arise from my noodlings. A bass line. A melody. A beat loop. But I cannot seem to progress these elements into a finished composition. I'm fully aware my music theory is a weakness so I have a book on that that I recently went through and I'm trying to learn more about chord progressions and such, but it hasn't helped.

I find composing 'full' songs to be quite pleasurable and easy, so I guess I could offer some advice.
Firstly I'm not convinced that theory will drive anyone toward completing a compelling arrangement. Of course theory helps you convert what's in your head onto the keys, but if you haven't got your compositional mentality right in the first place then music theory is just going to be a dead tool in your hand.


I'll also say that I really don't like that arrangement methodology of 'make a big block of clips and chop stuff out of it', it makes me hurt inside when I even think about that. I dislike it a lot. I use several other methods, which other people will hate equally. :)

Arranging Method 1: The Soundtrack
think about the music like a film, so you may have 16 bars of dark moody looping funk. So what is this scene? I mean in tone, in mood, in emotion. How would it visually be represented on screen, who would be in it. Lets say it's represented in deep brown and rich red tones, there's some flock wallpaper, there's a table with a moody looking guy sat at it. He looks like he's waiting for someone. he's smoking in an annoyed manner. Right, what's the next scene. And what's the music to it.
I know some people might think this is some kind of pretentious shite, but I find that it tricks the brain into providing an apt soundtrack that simply delivers itself. Kinda self-evolving music created by the non-critical part of the brain directly. I have not taken 'ownership' of it, so it bypasses the internal 'critic' .

I don't usually do all that storytelling so literally, but essentially that's what I'm doing. I usually go for more abstracted scenes.


Arranging Method 1b: The Soundtrack to real life
Often the story might be more for my own life, that I know the track is for a certain situation, a time of night, or activity (driving at 2 am, back from a gig, all the passengers are a bit wasted) Then I imagine the song on the stereo, and I imagine one of the wasted fuckers suddenly getting bored and saying "hey what else have you got ". Now I don't want them to say that, so what would need to keep those fuckers occupied. I know that they are stoned so they need repetition for at least 16 bars, then BLAM something a bit explodey and psychedelic will get them, BAM right in the kisser. then break it down and bring in something from their childhood, but subtle like, so the wonder exactly why it is they just started to think about sesame street. Then .. what ?

See. the imagined scenario drives the arrangement.
I think this is what actors call a 'backstory'. they give themselves one (for their character) to make their acting seem convincing, I think the same thing for music. Even if none of what you intend is actually conveyed to the listener - trust me they just know there's something in there. It niggles at them


Arranging Method 2: The trip to the kitchen, turning off the computer
This is much simpler.
You play with your 16 or 32 bars endlessly pissing about with them. You say "right that's it for me" and head off to the kitchen to make a coffee or find a beer. You keep the tune going in your head, and play with it like modeling clay. Doo be do be bam bam , shabba dabba. zeeeuuurm zuuurrm.
After a bit you notice that your mental version now has a part that is not actually IN your recorded version.
Now - run back into the studio, start up the fucking computer again, and
this is very important: without listening to the original play in the new part.
I repeat, do not listen to the original thing, just try and create the new part as roughly and sketchilly as you can.
I do this a little way down the timeline if it needs parametric automation, or in Session if it will work there.

Then you can leave it alone, or try and weld the two parts together if you like. You should have the mental faculties to pick up the baton at a later date. The fun thing about this is - the two parts will match, but not quite - there will be a weird sort of jump between them. Oddly the human brain loves odd little jumps, 'surprises' we call them. Surprises in music and in music are entertaining because we like patterns, and we like them to be broken just a little bit.


Anyway, I know this was tl;dr , but hopefully it helps a few of these people struggling with arrangements.
Last edited by Angstrom on Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

baseinstinct
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by baseinstinct » Fri Jul 03, 2009 2:46 am

As many folks here, composition.

And making my projects too big. Composition again. I keep adding new parts till I can hardly know what's where. This is an aftermath of learning to add new parts at the time there were too few and my music sounded to me too "skinny". So 2GB project limit keeps me sane.

Also, switching between Session and Arrangement. Once things are recorded to Arr, I am not sure where to introduce changes. To overcome the chaos I create a dedicated midi frack for dummy clips which just get names of the scenes. Still, if there were a track for scene names, ppl would benefit.

DRUMZ
Creating a consistent drumkit. So I match an OTC rex drumloop -> slice, separate tones and mangle. Sometimes it works.
But the padKONTROL I bought in irder to learn to punch in my drum lines has only got adapted to be a (wonderful) controller. Maybe drumming will come with time.

VOCALS
I record and then gradually turn it down until there is literally nothing left. Call it subliminal messages. Also haven't found a tool to turn vocal into a likeable synth.



Besides
I think I need to learn how to get a song or two ready for mastering, and pay someone to do the final job. It will surely give me an idea what needs working on at earlier stages.



Generally, I am more than happy with where I am at now, musically, but I realize it more strongly than ever before, that after a decade of music making at home, I may still need many years to master this art to "come out". I hoped it would happen sooner, as with Nirvana, Prodigy, Zep or Bowie.


And one more. if I notice a poster is starting to rant or promote something I don't need, I stop reading. That's a big step.




@ Angstrom
Now I remember I have been recently thinking about a piece of music as both a story at one level and a neural stimulator, stretched over time, at another. Thanks for amplifying this.

baseinstinct
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by baseinstinct » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:01 am

ChiDJ wrote:
do I think with my little head and get some?...(cause I'm Kinda lonely right now)...or do I tell her to STFU!!??

Was it a request for advice?

beats me
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by beats me » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:10 am

What's the point/plan? + There's 10,000 (and growing) producers that are better than me + I never get that [insert hot NOW sound] sound + little patience for the fine details of production = Hey, what's on TV right now?

I used to get a sense of accomplishment when finishing a track. Now I get a sense of relief....like a work deadline has been met. I've never really had a master plan for my music but now the "I just do it for myself" isn't cutting it or motivating me.

H20nly
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by H20nly » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:20 am

mholloway wrote:easy to answer this one! = FINISHING SONGS.
+32

or so
what ever that number is of songs that I have close to finished if I'd just....

ChiDJ wrote:Do I where a condom? or not?
If you have to ask; yes.
You're ex is messin with your head... she might not even know... its in the blood.

beats me wrote:What's the point/plan? + There's 10,000 (and growing) producers that are better than me + I never get that [insert hot NOW sound] sound + little patience for the fine details of production = Hey, what's on TV right now?

I used to get a sense of accomplishment when finishing a track. Now I get a sense of relief....like a work deadline has been met. I've never really had a master plan for my music but now the "I just do it for myself" isn't cutting it or motivating me.
Come on guy! snap out of it. The difference between you and most of those other 9,999 producers is that YOU don't suck. You can't tell me otherwise. The world is a smoother place including minus you.

sublimelobc
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by sublimelobc » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:44 am

ChiDJ wrote:After destroying me financially, the ex found out I'm single and she wants to fuck me...(Not financially), so......

do I think with my little head and get some?...(cause I'm Kinda lonely right now)...or do I tell her to STFU!!??

I think this qualifies as a legitimate struggle..

Tod
Wow! Aren't you fresh off of dealing with that chaffing issue? Do you really need the added drama?

Machinesworking
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by Machinesworking » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:53 am

Mixdown. definitely struggle with setting levels on final songs. I think in all honesty if I ever release a CD I'll be going to a real studio. I think I'm too close to the material to do it properly.

Never fully satisfied with the drums, why I'm going to end up with another real life drummer, besides the live show thing.

Composition isn't a problem for me. My only advice with it is to realize that if you struggle with it at some level you will never be more than 90% satisfied with a song. Meaning that your brain will find 10% of the structure that it wants to mess with, but more than likely that will fuck the flow of the song up. Also, not every song needs a break that's as cool and catchy as the chorus. Not every song needs a break etc.

beats me
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Re: What do you struggle with?

Post by beats me » Fri Jul 03, 2009 3:56 am

H20nly wrote:
beats me wrote:What's the point/plan? + There's 10,000 (and growing) producers that are better than me + I never get that [insert hot NOW sound] sound + little patience for the fine details of production = Hey, what's on TV right now?

I used to get a sense of accomplishment when finishing a track. Now I get a sense of relief....like a work deadline has been met. I've never really had a master plan for my music but now the "I just do it for myself" isn't cutting it or motivating me.
Come on guy! snap out of it. The difference between you and most of those other 9,999 producers is that YOU don't suck. You can't tell me otherwise. The world is a smoother place including minus you.
Oh crap. Thanks man. But I think we all have creative differences with ourselves. If there's nobody else in your project than it's up to you to beat yourself up.

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