I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

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Tarekith
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I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Tarekith » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:43 pm

Image

Link to the audio files in the "Link Your Music" forum: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=219201

The Ad Infinitum album was probably one of the quickest projects of mine to come to fruition, from start to finish it took me almost exactly one month to complete. Well, the audio aspects anyway, artwork, promotion, and writing things like this took slightly longer of course. And what’s most surprising for me, was that I approached this album a lot differently than I have most of my music making the last few years.

Most of my music projects recently have been focused on creating music I could perform live, patterns and motifs that I could use to shape the overall structure of a piece over the course of 30-60 minutes. The focus was on creating performable material, with the performance being the main thing I was worried about capturing. Most of the time with no editing, or any sort of post-production, after the fact. What I performed WAS the end result I was aiming for, even if it wasn’t recorded in a live context on stage, and only in my studio. This time around I wanted to go back to actually shaping songs individually, really crafting songs that stood on their own and not just as a piece in a larger context.

I only had a few rough ideas about the shape of the album when I started, and I planned to let it evolve once I started the writing process and saw where things were headed. However, I knew I wanted to slow things down a bit compared to my more recent work which was mostly 120BPM or faster. A blend of downtempo and what I’ll call modern ambient, mixed with enough sound design shenanigans to keep even the quietest moments interesting. I wanted the album to be very dynamic in terms of loudness, soft gentle sections leading to and from the more drum-heavy songs.

And most of all I wanted to use Ableton Live and Push 2 to do it all.

It’s been years since I really dove in and spent a lot of time working on my own songs in Live, even though it’s something I use many times a week for my studio business. Nothing against Live, I’ve just been exploring other ways of making music the last 3-4 years; hardware, iPads, acoustic guitar, etc.

So, on November 7th, 2015, with my wife away on a work trip for 2.5 weeks, I sat down in the studio in front of Push 2 and started to write. All of the songs started on Push 2, sometimes with drums first, occasionally a melody or just mangling a sample led to a song idea, a few times I even used it to help me capture my guitar playing as well. Just being able to quickly record something, hit the Convert button, and then keep on tweaking it into something new was a load of fun. Sometimes I would just throw some random Max4Live devices on the master channel and record audio in realtime as I tweaked and messed about with things that I had no idea how they worked. “Raveere” was one song that was done 100% this way in fact.

Instead of working on the songs one at a time from start to completion, I started a bunch of songs at once. This gives the entire album a bit of cohesion since nothing was created in isolation, I was able to keep the same headspace across the tracks. It also lets me jump around from track to track if one of them is just not doing it for me that day. Rather than stopping for the day and coming back to it later, I could just open up another one of my songs and keep working on something different instead. These were long days, often 8-10 hours at a stretch just sketching and refining my ideas, trying different rough arrangements, fine-tuning the mixes as I went, etc. I was 100% focused on Push 2 at this point, I wasn’t even looking at the laptop most of the time.

By the end of 2 weeks I had 9 songs roughly laid out that I was really happy with. They fit the mood I was going for, and I could see how they would progress as an album through all sorts of different emotions I wanted to draw out. It was at this point that I decided to not just release all of the songs as nine separate entities, but also to combine them into one longer piece complete with custom transitions to make them flow together how I was hearing them in my head.

So, I set aside Push (job well done you), and set about focusing on the laptop and mouse to get more detailed with the arranging and editing. In the last few years this is where I’ve started to get bogged down, not for lack of ideas, but more of a “been there, done that” sort of mindset. Mousing in transitions and fills can get a little tedious for me at times, but luckily the time away from such activities let me come at it with more enthusiasm than I had in the past and it actually was pretty fun.

It took me about a week to work on all the songs like this. Occasionally turning to Push when I needed to record something new real quick, but often just sitting with the laptop, a mouse, and a pair of headphones at my kitchen table focused on the task at hand. I spent 3-4 days after that doing final mixdown tweaks and mastering the songs, and then 2-3 days taking all the individual songs and combining them together for the continuous form of the album I wanted to release as well.

And then…. I was done.

This sort of realization always hits me suddenly, when I realize there’s nothing more I need to do with the songs. What was most surprising to me though, was looking back at the album back-ups and realizing I finished exactly 31 days after I started. I can’t recall a time I’ve ever written this much detailed music in such a short period of time. Thanks Push 2 :)

H20nly
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by H20nly » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:56 pm

8) nice. looking forward to listening to it...

drez
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by drez » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:06 pm

Inspiring words Tarekith. Looking forward to a listen!
http://www.twitter.com/dreznicek
http://www.soundcloud.com/dreznicek
MacBook Pro Retina Laptop, 2.7Ghz i7, 16Gig RAM, 500G SSD, Live 9, Push, Novation SL25 Mk2, iPad (TouchOSC, Lemur, Touch-Able), Reason

Stromkraft
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Stromkraft » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:31 pm

Tarekith wrote:
And then…. I was done.

This sort of realization always hits me suddenly, when I realize there’s nothing more I need to do with the songs. What was most surprising to me though, was looking back at the album back-ups and realizing I finished exactly 31 days after I started. I can’t recall a time I’ve ever written this much detailed music in such a short period of time. Thanks Push 2 :)
What a great testimony to the power of Push 2. Could you have done it on the Push 1 as well, you think? I'm planning of doing something similar with the original Push including PXT Live next year.
Make some music!

Jbvdb
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Jbvdb » Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:22 am

F that's inspiring and the album sounds great!

Jbvdb
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Jbvdb » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:27 am

I just listened to descending sun like 3 times man that's some good shit! Kinda FSOL ish in a very good way! How are you not famous!

ObtuseMoose
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by ObtuseMoose » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:44 am

Oh my. This is really good, Tarekith, I like this album a lot. Well done, man, very well done.

--
Moose
"all the musical ability of a blocked nostril"

Tarekith
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Tarekith » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:08 am

Stromkraft wrote:What a great testimony to the power of Push 2. Could you have done it on the Push 1 as well, you think? I'm planning of doing something similar with the original Push including PXT Live next year.
Could I have? Yes. Would I have? No.

I admit it, as much as I like the idea of Push1, I just never bonded with it that well. It wasn't hard to use, but I always felt like I had to hunt around to find what I needed. In many ways it reminded me a lot of my failed attempts at using a Novation SL37 and Automap, mainly do to that generic display being too... well, generic. I always have to remind myself what screen I was in, and remember how to get where I wanted to go.

Push 2 is light years ahead on this front for me. The text and icons give each page more identity, and it's just laid out and organized so much better too. I know people think I'm a shill for Ableton, but this really was the most fun I've had making music in a LONG time.

Tarekith
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Tarekith » Fri Dec 18, 2015 7:10 am

Jbvdb wrote:I just listened to descending sun like 3 times man that's some good shit! Kinda FSOL ish in a very good way! How are you not famous!
Thanks a lot! I have no idea why I'm not famous, I ask myself that a lot (in a very humble way) :)

Maybe the downsides of putting all my efforts into production, and sucking terribly at promotion as a result I guess. I sent the album out to a few labels and never heard anything back, reminded me of the good old days :) Oh well, all my efforts lately are on growing the mastering business anyway, writing music is just for fun these days and I kind of like that freedom.

I'm going to be putting out a YouTube video shortly for producers interested in the album, so people can see how the tracks are laid out in Live, and I can share some tips on what I did in terms of production techniques. Likely that will come out next week, I'll post here when it does.

Guillermo Barrancos
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Guillermo Barrancos » Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:44 am

Tarekith wrote:
Jbvdb wrote:I just listened to descending sun like 3 times man that's some good shit! Kinda FSOL ish in a very good way! How are you not famous!
Thanks a lot! I have no idea why I'm not famous, I ask myself that a lot (in a very humble way) :)

Maybe the downsides of putting all my efforts into production, and sucking terribly at promotion as a result I guess. I sent the album out to a few labels and never heard anything back, reminded me of the good old days :) Oh well, all my efforts lately are on growing the mastering business anyway, writing music is just for fun these days and I kind of like that freedom.

I'm going to be putting out a YouTube video shortly for producers interested in the album, so people can see how the tracks are laid out in Live, and I can share some tips on what I did in terms of production techniques. Likely that will come out next week, I'll post here when it does.
Have you tried to use services like TuneCore to get your music on iTunes/Apple Music and Spotify for example? When you get your music on iTunes, you can then also use the new Connect for Apple Music to increase your exposure.

Tarekith
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Tarekith » Fri Dec 18, 2015 8:49 am

I use CDBaby for this personally, so all of my music is already on iTunes, etc. This album should be available in those formats shortly, it's already been submitted.

I've only dabbled with Apple Music a little bit during the demo period tbh. It's an interesting idea but I don't really need a subscription service myself, and you can't use the Connect functions unless you have a streaming account. We'll see, definitely something to keep an eye on, so thanks for the reminder. :)

Stromkraft
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Stromkraft » Fri Dec 18, 2015 9:57 am

Tarekith wrote: Push 2 is light years ahead on this front for me. The text and icons give each page more identity, and it's just laid out and organized so much better too. I know people think I'm a shill for Ableton, but this really was the most fun I've had making music in a LONG time.
Maybe this is at the core of what makes Push 2 attractive and Ableton just have buried this core in their feature lists. Your testimony makes more sense than the Ableton Push 2 page.

If it weren't for PXT Live I would have ordered a 2 now. But because the fact that PXT Live and my preference of not using the power supply & my somewhat blurry eye sight leading to me have had to memorize all the paths, I don't feel I need a display to see where I am. For me then, I think the push 2 still would be a superficial improvement. With time that could change, but that's where I am now.
Make some music!

Jbvdb
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Jbvdb » Fri Dec 18, 2015 1:49 pm

Tarekith wrote:
Jbvdb wrote:I just listened to descending sun like 3 times man that's some good shit! Kinda FSOL ish in a very good way! How are you not famous!
Thanks a lot! I have no idea why I'm not famous, I ask myself that a lot (in a very humble way) :)

Maybe the downsides of putting all my efforts into production, and sucking terribly at promotion as a result I guess. I sent the album out to a few labels and never heard anything back, reminded me of the good old days :) Oh well, all my efforts lately are on growing the mastering business anyway, writing music is just for fun these days and I kind of like that freedom.

I'm going to be putting out a YouTube video shortly for producers interested in the album, so people can see how the tracks are laid out in Live, and I can share some tips on what I did in terms of production techniques. Likely that will come out next week, I'll post here when it does.
Excellent I am excited to see that YouTube video! Learn from the masters!

Tarekith
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Tarekith » Fri Dec 18, 2015 4:12 pm

It's uploading now, will take a couple hours for YouTube to process it, then I'll have the link ready.

Tarekith
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Re: I wrote an entire album in one month with Push 2.

Post by Tarekith » Fri Dec 18, 2015 6:13 pm

Ok, here's the video walkthrough showing all the Ableton Projects and some info on how I wrote the album. Few tips and tricks along the way too:

https://youtu.be/7vZU2EJog4I

Hope you enjoy and that people find it useful!

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