1 What is the title of your track? What is your artist/band/musical identify/name?
“STEREO DESIGNER Bebot Challenge”
2 What type of musical genre does this track fall in?
3 Tell us a bit about you recording setup. Is it all iOS or do you combine iOS with other recording technology in some way?
In other performances I have been known to use:
• One iPad sending audio to another iPad for effects processing
• One iPad sending audio to a Kaoss KP3
• Two iPads sending audio, but not synchonrized
4 What was the key equipment – software and hardware – that you used to create this particular track?
5 How did you start to build the track? What was the first element you created and how?
The first element was the rhythm synth which also had the function of setting up the overall timing of the loop.
6 How did you build from that point? What elements came next and how were they created?
The bassline entered in next to create a general key feeling and a sense of motion. This piece was cut down to 1:30 so I had to “get into” the song as quickly as possible. I wanted each element to contribute something new and interesting.
Then the main melody followed, which is more of a kind of solo. I find it difficult to create a true theme in such limited time confines, so this is more of a tech demo showing possibilities that you can do with a Theremin-style instrument. The melody begins with one tone, and then is harmonized. Pitch dives are done by unlocking from the pentatonic grid and going into full free-form mode. Vibrato is added by playing with just the low pass filter.
7 Were there particular parts/instruments that you feel are critical to the finished piece? Was there a particular iOS app (or apps) that you used to achieve this?
I think the most crucial is the bassline, without which it would sound like just a jumble of high-pitched tones. The bassline gives the piece its gritty flavor that pulls you along while the melody walks off into a solo.
8 Having created the arrangement/individual tracks, how did you go about mixing and/or mastering the track to produce the finished audio file?
In this case it’s a live performance and there’s no time to break for mixing. To try to avoid parts clashing together I tried to use the low pass filter to keep the rhythm pulse in the background, and the bassline is low enough that its tones won’t collide with the lead.
9 In producing this particular track, what elements of your workflow do you think were particularly effective? Equally, are their limitations (particularly with any iOS element of the workflow) that you found you had to work around?
I really like Loopy HD. Once you get a loop going you can tap the Rec button way ahead of the next loop cycle and it’ll be armed. Then when the loop cycle begins again it’ll turn on to recording mode leaving at least 1 hand free for the next interesting bit of the song.
In this piece I think volume was the largest challenge. Because Bebot is pushing out everything at 100% and it’s hard enough live looping that I can’t be bothered to play with mixing controls in real-time. So I had to try to find ways to let each layer breathe and yet support the other layers.
10 Tell us a little about yourself and your musical interests/background.
Musically speaking, I just play around until I find sounds and progressions I like. I did take piano lessons and band early on, and more recently a little music theory, but I find the best way for me to learn anything is just to do it.
Then, I started doing a lot of looping music a few years ago. “Live looping” to be exact: I like the part of this art where you don’t use premade loops so everything is fresh and relevant to the current performance. It adds a lot of surprise elements and I never really quite know how it’s going to turn out. I do know roughly where I want to take the audience, but I try to poke my head up from the iPads to see how people are reacting and give them more of this or less of that.
Presently I’m trying to create my own iOS instruments because there are things I want to be able to do in the iPad that I know no other apps do. There are a lot of challenges, but I think I’m getting the hang of it. I love making music and I hope that other people can enjoy it too.