1 What is the title of your track? What is your band/artist name?
2 What type of musical genre does this track fall in?
3 Tell us a bit about your recording setup. Is it all iOS or do you combine iOS with other recording technology in some way?
This was done using iPad2 (iOS6) and then a newly acquired iPad4 (iOS7).
4 What was the key equipment – software and hardware – that you used to create this particular track?
The iPad is the key. In particular the strings in GarageBand (guitar and classical). This album is all about strings. Every track has a mixture of string sounds, some are the lead, some are rhythm, some are both and more.
As a keyboardist the sounds of piano and organ will always be at the forefront for me but the fantastic string sounds and the playability of them on the iPad really inspired me and I decided that I would create this album; and the title comes from being a musician and a fan of theoretical physics. I got to thinking about M-Theory and how vibrating strings may be underlying all of reality. Well, those kind of thoughts/discussions are best dealt with over beers, or with music, or both!
5 How did you start to build the track? What was the first element you created and how?
Just finger picking a few chords on the GarageBand acoustic guitar got the whole party started. I had the idea to create a structured song (ABACAB…ETC) and just let the notes take me with them and I built it up 8 bars at a time.
6 How did you build from that point? What elements came next and how were they created?
Classic Rock Organ; one of my favourite sounds (in and out of the iPad). For me it is very expressive, being especially careful of not overdoing it and let it get overly distorted (that has its place, just not in this song).
I kept the organ melody very simple, but this simplicity allowed me to fully explore and express my feelings. This isn’t a happy-go-lucky type of love song obviously, but it is a Valentine, and is written with much admiration, respect, and love for my girlfriend of over seven wonderful years.
Conga-Loops: I love some bongos or congas to go along with the percussive rock organ sound. It can clash, but I was careful and I think it worked here. I dropped the conga loops in and out at various times as I didn’t want the percussion to be noticed, much.
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?
The organ sound was adjusted a little bit inside GB but nothing else for that. However, I wanted more sound from the acoustic parts and so I took the guitar track and the strings track out of Garage Band. By saving the song with all but the guitar track muted I got a guitar only track. I used “open in” and went into AudioShare (created uncompressed, highest format in GB).
In AudioShare I used the simple set up for IAA (Inter-App Audio), and added AUFX:Space for some nice and gentle reverb. I used the “small room” preset and adjusted down from there. It added some shine to the highs and made a more full sounding guitar.
I could have taken the guitar track back into GB using the guitar input slot and then used the many amplifiers and effects available there; and initially I did. But I did not find a sound that I liked and AUFX:Space was the answer. I did the same for the strings and it gave them a rounder tone and a smoother bottom (and we all like smooth bottoms, right?).
8 Having created the arrangement/individual tracks, how did you go about mixing and/or mastering the track to produce the finished audio file?
Now I have organ, congas, acoustic guitar and the string section ready and the old tracks deleted. The only remaining task was to mix the volume levels, the individual tracks needed no more tweaking. And so once that was done I saved and exported the whole song; using “open in” this time going straight into Audio Mastering.
9 In producing this particular track, what elements of your workflow do you think were particularly effective? Equally, are there limitations (particularly with any iOS element of the workflow) that you found you had to work around?
GarageBand works very well as a creative arena for me, however it is not geared towards using its sounds in other apps (it doesn’t play with with others unless it is the Team Captain, so to speak). An easy enough workaround is using AudioShare (maybe the most valuable app in my arsenal), and its ability to process IAA. For other works I have used Auria to mix and add effects but this was kept simple and didn’t really need anything else.
10 Tell us a little about yourself and your musical interests/background.
Music has been a driving force in my life since I can remember. My grandmother, mother and aunt all played keys, although we didn’t have a piano in the house as I grew up, my mom did eventually get an electric organ (very cheesy sounds). My formal music training came from school band, where I played trumpet. And I studied music theory and music history in college as well.
The modern me owns two Yamaha keyboard workstations and a Roland synth, a Fostex digital recorder/mixer, plus all kinds of instruments (guitar, trumpet, ocarina), and percussion.
I often listen to classical, jazz, and new age/ambient, but am a rocker at heart. Progressive Rock is what gets me going the most, both old and new; from EL&P, Genesis, and Yes to Dream Theatre, Riverside, and Porcupine Tree. Then there is more modern music; EDM, Trance, House, Dub, etc…I like a lot of it, just not familiar with it. Live looping: now this is my favourite new thing and I am going to try my hand at it soon (wish me luck).