Tutorials

Ski's Music Technology Tutorial work

EMC Tutorial #3 - Deconstructing Faithless 'Insomnia'

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This is the third in a series of tutorials from Ski Oakenfull covering a variety of aspects of electronic music composition. Point Blank want you to get involved in this series, so if you can think of well known track for Ski to deconstruct musically in the next tutorial then hit us up on twitter with:

#emcrequest @point_blank + your suggested track title

In this tutorial he breaks down the chord sequences in the verse, bridge and chorus of Insomnia by Faithless.

You can learn more techniques like this on Point Blank's new online Electronic Music Composition course which has been developed by Ski himself. The course will show you how to develop the musical aspects of your tracks in an easy to understand way without getting bogged down with too much scales and theory.

EMC Tutorial #2 - Deconstructing Miike Snow's 'Devil's Work'

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This is the second in a series of tutorials from Ski Oakenfull covering a variety of aspects of electronic music composition. Point Blank want you to get involved in this series, so if you can think of well known track for Ski to deconstruct musically in the next tutorial then hit us up on twitter with:

#emcrequest @point_blank + your suggested track title

In this tutorial he breaks down the chord sequences in the verse, bridge and chorus of Devil's Work by Miike Snow.

You can learn more techniques like this on Point Blank’s new online Electronic Music Composition course which has been developed by Ski himself. The course will show you how to develop the musical aspects of your tracks in an easy to understand way without getting bogged down with too much scales and theory.

EMC Tutorial #1 - Deconstructing Emile Sande's 'Heaven'

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Welcome to a new series of tutorials from Ski Oakenfull covering a variety of aspects of electronic music composition. Point Blank want you to get involved in this series, so if you can think of well known track for Ski to deconstruct musically in the next tutorial then hit us up on twitter with:

#emcrequest @point_blank + your suggested track title

In this tutorial he breaks down the chord sequences in the verse, bridge and chorus of Heaven by Emeli Sande.

You can learn more techniques like this on Point Blank’s new online Electronic Music Composition course which has been developed by Ski himself. The course will show you how to develop the musical aspects of your tracks in an easy to understand way without getting bogged down with too much scales and theory.

Ableton Tutorial - Deep House Arpeggiated Chord Pattern Generator

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This is a tutorial video demonstrating how I achieved an Arpeggiated Chord Pattern Generator in Ableton Live.
You can download a free instrument rack of this sound by going to the 'Free Sounds' section of this site. 
It will appear very soon as part of the Online DJ Mag  Tech section. I will post a link as soon as it is published.
But for now, here is the video and accompanying text.

Taking inspiration from Deep House don and Freerange Records label boss Jimpster, I wanted to have a go at recreating a musical part I heard recently from one of his tracks.
I loved the way the rhythm of the pattern lies on the off beat, so I set about trying to figure a way to achieve this in Ableton.
One of Live’s major assets are its fantastic Midi Effects which, when combined together in series, can perform some powerful Midi processing. So for this project I used the following Midi devices:

Arpeggiator
This allows you to hold down any number of keys, and have Ableton build up a Rhythmic pattern (Arpeggio) using these notes. The important thing in my example, is that I had to set the rate to Free mode to get that offbeat rhythm.

Chord
This allows you to play a single note on the keyboard, and have Ableton add extra notes allowing you to build up chords. In this example I programmed a Minor Triad (+3 & +7)

Scale
This basically allows you to play any notes on the keyboard but force the output to play only notes from a specified scale. This was used to take the output of the Chord device and force it to play only notes in D Minor.

My aim for this project was to be able to hold down one note on the keyboard, and get Ableton to do the work for me. To achieve this I used the following combination of Midi Devices:
Chord (playing 5 notes) -> Arpeggiator -> Chord (playing Minor Triad)  -> Scale (playing Notes from D Minor)

This technique could be applied to any genre to music, and could potentially trigger any sound or sample.. I hope you can experiment and have some fun!

Ableton Tutorial - Creating the Julio Bashmore Bass Sound

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This is a tutorial video demonstrating how I achieved the bass sound used in Julio Bashmore's 'Battle For Middle You' using Analog in Ableton Live.
You can download a free instrument rack of this sound by going to the 'Free Sounds' section of this site.
It will appear very soon as part of the Online DJ Mag Tech section. I will post a link as soon as it is published.
But for now, here is the video and accompanying text.

Creating a Deep Bass Sound using Analog

Julio Bashmore’s ‘Battle For Middle You’ was perhaps one of the most defining tracks of 2011. It managed to not only attain the enviable position of crossing over to a wide range of DJs, but also be at the forefront of last year’s Bass Music revolution.
One of the key ingredients to the sound of ‘Bass Music’ is of course the Bass, and this is certainly evident on Bashmore’s track. The sound is very similar to the Sine wave based analogue Kick Drum of a Roland TR808 Drum Machine, with a sharp bite to the attack, and long release. The main difference however is how defined the pitch is, making it more like an analogue bass patch from a synthesizer.
So in this tutorial I have set about trying to recreate this classic sound using Ableton Live. Although the ‘Operator’ might seem like a natural choice with it’s Sine wave FM style synthesis, I have used the ‘Analog’ instrument as it has a warmer, more authentic sound with its Oscillators and Filters.
I used two Oscillators, the first of which I set to a Sine wave to create the main characteristic of the deep, subby tone. For the second one I chose a Sawtooth to add some body, and give the sound some definition across a wider pitch range. To create the sharp attack, I used a very tight Pitch Envelope on the first Oscillator combined with some Filtering with added Resonance to help beef up the sound.
I made sure that the Amp Envelope on both Oscillators had a fast attack and also fairly long release to let the sound sustain. To accentuate this I added a little Compression, which seems to fatten the overall sound and even it out when played at varying pitch.
Finally I added a touch of EQ, boosting the frequency around 150Hz, although this is more of a mixing thing and should take account of the other elements you have in your tune like your Kick Drum.
So from Dubstep to Deep House to Drum & Bass, I think this provides a really useable sound for all the variants of Bass music. I hope you enjoy the tutorial!

Ableton Tutorial - Looping on the fly

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This is a video I made to demonstrate using the Looper device to set up loops on the fly in Ableton Live, and use a midi controller to start and stop the loop.
It came about after the live sets I have been playing recently with Palm Skin Productions.
It will appear very soon as part of the Online DJ Mag Tech section. I will post a link as soon as it is published.
But for now, here is the video and accompanying text.

Ableton Looper Tutorial Video by Ski Oakenfull

The Looper tool  was a much requested feature of Ableton, and was only introduced relatively recently in version 8.
Before its arrival, it was still possible to loop pre-warped audio ‘on the fly’ in a DJ situation by assigning controllers to set start & end points in the clip inspector, but the Looper adds much more flexibility and provides some exciting possibilities.
Firstly it exists as an Ableton audio effect, so can be used as an insert or return. For a DJ set up, the return scenario is perfect as it allows you to send any of your DJ channels to the Looper, and then treat that return channel separately.
Secondly, you can assign your Midi controller to any of the functions of the Looper such as Record, Play, Stop, Overdub etc. This means you can ‘perform’ your Looping and introduces more of the chance element, and not be tied to your computer.
Thirdly it offers the ability to drag the audio it has ‘captured’ in its audio buffer to a new clip… So if you happened to grab a killer half bar loop during your top billing DJ set at Fabric, you can keep it for later and make a tune when you get back to the studio!
So in my tutorial video, I have gone about explaining how I use the Looper in a live performance situation. The set I am using to demonstrate this, is one that I have developed with my collaborator Palm Skin Productions. It combines DJ style playing of tracks, with beats and live playing.  We also use the Beat Repeat and Auto Filter effects, and have nearly every function mapped to a custom made template on a Novation Remote SL, as well as triggering clips and loops from a Novation Launchpad.
The video demonstration features the following tracks:
Powder House’ (Palm Skin Productions Remix) by Duotone – [ECC Records]
Just Don’t Break My Heart’ by Ski Oakenfull  [Primaudial Records]

Ableton Tutorial - Microtonic inside a Drum Rack

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I'm currently tutoring Ableton & Logic at Point Blank Online Music College. In this video I show how you can set up the Microtonic Drum Synth inside Ableton's Drum Rack so you can benefit from individual outs and FX..
The resulting Instrument Rack can be downloaded here:
http://tinyurl.com/5vb7lmu
For more info on the tutors and courses available at Point Blank College please visit here:
http://tinyurl.com/62hllbd
This video has subsequently been re-made and is now included in the Point Blank Minimal Techno Course.

Ableton Tutorial - Roland SH-101 Rack (Free Download)

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I'm currently tutoring Ableton & Logic at Point Blank Online Music College. In this video I set about recreating a Roland SH-101 LFO Filter Modulation Effect on the Ableton Live 'Analog' Instrument.
The resulting Instrument Rack can be downloaded here:
http://tinyurl.com/3njoglt
For more info on the tutors and courses available at Point Blank College please visit here:
http://tinyurl.com/62hllbd