Tristan Maduro – Pretend – Reader Track

1. What is the title of your track? What is your artist/band/musical identify/name?

Track: Pretend
My band: Babylovechylde

2. What type of musical genre does this track fall in?

Pop or rather (soft pop, as my wife would say)

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?

Primarily iPhone 4S – apogee1 (eventually adding vocals ) – Yamaha msp10 studio monitors, beyerdynamic dt770 headphones. I master on an ipad 2 using AudioMastering and or Auria… And from time to time I run a musical part through Ableton live to fix audio timing… As there is no way of doing this in iOS.

4. What was the key equipment – software and hardware – that you used to create this particular track?

IPhone 4S – Audiobus, LoopyHD, Soundprism pro, Beatmaker 2, Sampletank , Thumbjam, Alchemy, DM1, Drum Loops HD, iDensity.

5. How did you start to build the track? What was the first element you created and how?

I started by sequencing a beat in DM1 drum machine. I then audio copied the drum part audio loop into Loopy HD. I find loopyHD to be an incredible sketch pad for musical ideas. It has great Audiobus implementation, is user friendly yet full featured. I might also add that, while I have in the past used midi as a tool in my composition / arrangement process within desktop daws, I do not lean very heavily on midi sequencing within ios. The reasons for this are as follows:

DM1 logoMidi arrangement within Beatmaker2 on my iPhone 4S is a bit tedious and difficult.

Keeping synths and samplers live is a waste of my device’s resources.

But most of all, I find that I can get a better feel and groove going with all of my parts by practicing with each of my instruments until I arrive at a suitable performance played in real time . As an additional benefit, I find myself to be more productive if I don’t have the option of trying a musical part with every synth preset I have available. Sometimes noodling your sound is fun, but my intent is to write songs.

6. How did you build from that point? What elements came next and how were they created?

After finding my beat/tempo, I fired up Soundprism pro, and used it as a midi controller to play piano chords in Thumbjam. I like using piano as it is a versatile instrument, allowing me to explore both harmony and melody, staccato or sustained playing. Once I found a fitting chord progression, I recorded it into LoopyHD.

I used the bass note section of Soundprism pro to play a bass synth in Alchemy Synth iOS. I practiced and recorded a few passes of my bass synth part so as to have material to thicken my mix and as alternate phrasing a to add some variety to my bass synth arrangements. Some parts were simply played in low octaves and some straddled low to mid octaves. There are points in Pretend where I’m only using the low parts and points where the song picks up steam where I have layered multiple passes of the same synth.

Soundprism Pro's main performance interface - touch and play :-)

Soundprism Pro’s main performance interface – touch and play :-)

My next pass was to add an expressive pad sound from Alchemy synth. I really love the preprogrammed sounds in Alchemy, I think they are the most useable sounds for my taste…. And have just enough programmability to allow for expression and to help them fit perfectly into the mix. When I really need to dig into my synth to create sounds from scratch, I will use Sunrizer or Magellan . I thickened the atmosphere of the track by singing a line into iDensity; a granular synth. I used this vocal part as my synth grain, creating long sustained vocal tones.

I then Set about creating ornamentation and effects. I used Thumbjam’s continuous pitch mode constrained to E flat scale to create a build sound for my section breaks.. Sliding my finger along the keyboard within Thumbjam to create a sound where pitch builds higher And higher without the stepping that would occur if you played on a conventional keyboard. All of this, I would record as a loop in LoopyHD.

To finish off the tracking of my parts I used Soundprism to play a Sampletank staccato strings patch…. And did additional passes using Soundprism to play chords for orchestral parts, adding a bit of emotional gravitas :)

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?

Aside from Audiobus, LoopyHD….The synth I got the most mileage from is Alchemy… It has a great set of well programmed sounds. The bass sound as played in Alchemy is also participating in the melodic aspects of the song, so you could say that Alchemy was the primary sound module for the track. However Loopy HD allowed me to work quickly and fluidly as inspiration hit.

8. Having created the arrangement/individual tracks, how did you go about mixing and/or mastering the track to produce the finished audio file?

The tracking was done in LoopyHD….. Then transferred…. First from iTunes file sharing on my Mac mini to Dropbox. I pulled the files from Dropbox into Beatmaker2, where I did my arrangement and mixing. I consider this track as a work in progress. It has not been mastered yet and will eventually include vocals by my lovely and talented wife, and perhaps some additional guitar melody to compliment the vocals. I have used AudioMastering and/or Auria to master some of my other tracks.

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?

Loopy HD's main interface in nine-loop mode with the transport panel shown far-left.

Loopy HD’s main interface in nine-loop mode with the transport panel shown far-left.

I really enjoy being able to jam on a whim. Play a part into LoopyHD on the fly and add any sound I can imagine. I have a great range of sounds available within iOS, some of the most innovative midi controllers I have used. Mostly, iOS provides an elegant musical simplicity.

The only thing missing in my iOS workflow is the ability to modify the timing of my audio files via beat warping like in Ableton Live.

10. Tell us a little about yourself and your musical interests/background.

I’m originally an animatronic puppet designer. I now work as a motion graphic designer. I’m a father, husband and a long time music technology hobbyist. I play the sitar….. badly.

I listen to all sorts of music…. And aspire to create in any way that I can.

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    1. Nice track Tristan. Thanks for the explanation as well. Very interesting. I have Alchemy and feel the same way as you about it – I always get something good out of it.

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