Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Opposite Day

Okay, for today, we've got an art/music production technique.  It is a simple one, but worth mentioning for those that have kind of languished into a rut.

Do everything the opposite of what you  would normally do.

For example, if you normally progress through your tracks from drums, to bass, melody, and finish with pads.  Start with the pads, then melody, then bass, theeeeen drums.

But how and what you choose to inverse is where the creativity can really come in. 

Maybe make the pads out of your drums, and make the drums out of your pads?  Get in there with your sampler and flex that sampling muscle.  To turn a pad into a drum, sample your pad sound.  Into a sampler, shorten the sample, pitch it into the appropriate frequency range, and then start working that adsr envelope for amplitude.  Looking for a very fast attack, a bit of a hold or decay, a short or nonexistent sustain and no release.  But don't stop there.  Consider a pitch envelope as well.  Start with a very high freq with the pad sound, and then pitch down very rapidly into the real range of the target drum sound.

To turn your drums into pads... its not so hard, and again, the sampler is your friend (notice the trend?).  Whack your drum sounds into your sampler.  For this example, assume a kick, stretch the sample out quite long, like four, or eight, or even sixteen bars.  Because the kick likely started with a low frequency, and the stretching, depending on your algorithm, you've likely got an inaudibly low pad.  Now pitch it back up in your sampler (also can use plugins to pitch up, probably introducing different but no less interesting artifacts).  You'll probably be hearing an assortment of artifacts now.  Look on these favorably, as now you have character, and weird things happening in your pads that you likely wouldn't normally have.  And again, don't stop there.  Maybe a really long lfo very slightly modulating the pitch of the sample.  Filters are a powerful sound shaping tool, so don't neglect to use them in your sound design.  Use either high, low, band pass, notch, formant, comb, or any other goofy filter type you can find out there (or any combination of filters), being modulated by an lfo, or even an envelope with an extremely slow attack.

The inversion process can be applied anywhere and everywhere, especially where you have developed rules.  Like never put reverb on your bass or ... whatever the particular rules that you've heard and internalized (maybe without reason) or have actually developed for yourself.

When doing techniques like this, don't forget to be brutal.  Follow the rule, you might find yourself slacking, or falling back into your previous routines (and where did they get you? into the doldrums?).  This exercise is to break those habits.

I'd like to hear some of the silly rules that you follow or have heard, as in art there are many of them, and they often hold the potential for the greatest surprises.

26 comments:

  1. Mixing things up can be pretty effective when you're looking for a new thing. Turning everything around? Sounds intriguing...

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  2. oo i can see this really boosting creativity! this could be applied to many things in life too, not just music :)

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  3. I'm a poet, so a lot of people assume I follow the rules of rhyme and meter, but I don't always.

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  4. honestly never though about turning a kid drum into a pad, might have to give that a try. You gonna get in on the next 48 hr contest?

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  5. I always add a lot of reverb to my tracks. I'll add less this time!

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  6. Sounds like a really good idea if you're stuck in a rut. Rules are meant to be broken! :P

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  7. Some good tips here, I will apply these to my rigorous process of starting tracks and never finishing them. Big up.

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  8. Even with other things in my day to day life I notice I get into routines. Routines in itself isn't a bad thing but I notice I am not paying attention to the little things.

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  9. Interesting, I sometimes compose some music, albeit the piano. Might be weird, but I'm going to see how it turns out

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  10. Creating outside of the box is one of my favorite pastimes. Great post to get the creative juices flowing!

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  11. Do everything the opposite of what you would normally do - would be a great experiment in daily life too not only in music

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  12. I tried mixing up my routine and crashed my car. Shite.

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  13. re your comment: very nice, jerkface. i actually just wanted to work in that daily show quote somehow.

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  14. nice tip! can be applied in many situations where creativity needs a boost

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  15. @ -E- :) Well, I worked your word into this post. Jokes.

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  16. @ GENETICS: how about no reverb at ALL? Mad, I know. Make it work. Get dry!

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  17. Have to say I've been doing this for a while now. When ever I get boring I break routine and mix things up. Get's the creative juices flowing.

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  18. I often use kicks/percussion in a granular style. Kicks make awesome reeses.

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  19. This is going to be kinda hard for me, but I'll do it.

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  20. haha good plan, I'll give it a shot.

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  21. Its hearing about people doing things like this what helps me realise my workflow isn't so weird.

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  22. I guess it'll be hard for me to do.

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  23. Forces yourself to find new ways of doing things too, when you take the opposite way around. You'll end up with a more flexible understanding of technique.

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  24. I see how this could produce something inovative. :)

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  25. I've been changing my routines recently, and everything has gone well. Great advice!!!

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