Deconstructing Daft Punk - Get Lucky

Deconstructing Daft Punk - Get Lucky

For me, this track by Daft Punk exemplifies everything that the French duo are great at.. namely a brilliant groove, simplicity, a strong hook line and of course tight production. For this video tutorial, I figured there was no point trying to create an exact replica of the track, as all the parts (drums included) were played on real instruments by real musicians! Instead I concentrated on working out the main parts, namely piano chords, bass line, wurlitzer riff and the cool lead synth line at the end of the track.

The verse, bridge and chorus sections of the tune are defined by the changing vocal melody and the variation in the the wurli riff, with the guitar and bass holding the same groove and chords for the full length of the track. Of course we shouldn't forget the great vocoder section in the final section which provides an electro funk element to the song.

The four chords that make up this track are: Bm7 | D | F#m7 | E. The interesting thing is the way they are played using different inversions which increases the range of notes that are used... check out the video and see if you can play along!

X-Press 2 Live In Session: Deconstructing 'Lazy'

X-Press 2 Live In Session: Deconstructing 'Lazy'

In 2002, X-Press 2's deep house single "Lazy" featuring an unlikely collaboration with Talking Head's David Byrne, became one of the most notable dance records of the decade by hitting the top of the UK charts. The breakout single from the 'Musikism' album, 'Lazy' featured Byrne speaking and singing over a barely up-tempo house track.

In this live interview Point Blank's Course Developer and EMC (Electronic Music Composition) course tutor Ski Oakenfull (who deconstructs 'Lazy' as part of our online EMC course) and presenter Luke Hopper chatted to Rocky and Diesel about the track, what made it so infectious, their approach in the studio and the story behind the vocal. Make sure you check it out below…

Logic Pro X - First Impressions

Logic Pro X - First Impressions

The appearance of the upgrade to Apple's flagship audio Application Logic Pro from 9 to X yesterday came as a complete shock to everyone. Some people had almost written it off, thinking there might never be another incarnation of this popular program. As soon as it was announced, it became almost instantly available from the App store so I didn't waste any time downloading it after seeing the spec.

Apart from a overhaul of the graphic interface, two of the most attractive (and long sought after) new features to me were the Midi Effects and Flex Pitch. There have been Midi devices such as Chord, Arpeggiator and Velocity in Ableton for years which have always given Ableton the edge when it came to creative programming, so integrating these into Logic will give it a massive boost.

I've been a fan of Melodyne pitch editing software since it was first released, and have always dreamed of having this facility working natively in a DAW… so I was over the moon when I saw the new Flex Pitch feature which works alongside the existing Flex Time facility. Not only that, but in my mind it makes the editing process easier, as you can use Logic's tools to chop up notes for example.

Add in the new Drummer tool, new look mixer, Soundcloud integration, new sound library, the Retro Synth, smart controls and free iPad controller App to name a few, and this is a major improvement to an already very powerful application. Oh, and did I forget to mention you get it all for £139?

Skream - Midnight Request Line (Deconstructed at Sonar 2013)

Skream - Midnight Request Line (Deconstructed at Sonar 2013)

The task I set myself for this deconstruction video, was to program the whole track using Ableton's Push controller, without looking at the computer screen. The key, as ever, is in the preparation. The more you can work on your presets and racks beforehand, the more you can concentrate on playing the parts and getting creative. Over the last year or so, I have made a point of diligently saving any presets I have created into my user library, and labeling them clearly so I can dial them up whenever I want. I generally include the track name in the preset title so I can easily make the association between the original track & preset. This especially makes jamming with Push a real joy, as you then have access to your own palette of sounds.

The trickiest element to program with this classic dubstep track was the arpeggio synth part, as it changes slightly with each section. The basic rack I made comprised of a Chord device playing a stack of two minor triads, feeding into the Note Length device which then feeds into the Arpeggiator, set to play in the 'Up' style, synced to the beat. All these midi devices controlled a simple monophonic Analog synth patch. The two main parameters that needed to change with each section, were the note length which was much shorter in the intro, and also the Arpeggio rate which is 1/16 in the 'A' section, and 1/8 in the 'B' section. In order to be able to switch between these settings, I created a Chain list by duplicating the rack twice and applying the appropriate parameters to each Chain. I could then assign a Macro to the Chain selector which allowed me to switch between each Chain using a controller knob on the Push.

Cinemavolta - Relativo (Ski Oakenfull Remix)

Featuring: 
Ski Oakenfull
Cinemavolta - Relativo (Ski Oakenfull Remix)

Out now on iTunes

Listen on Soundcloud

CREDITI:
Artista: Cinemavolta
Titolo: Relativo (Ski Oakenfull remix)
Etichetta: Silent Groove
Editore: Silent Groove
Autore: Massimiliano Tozzi
Anno: 2013
Regia: Mattia Cacciatori/Francesco Bonato
Paese: Italia

Automation with Ableton Push (Course Extract)

Automation with Ableton Push (Course Extract)

In this video Ski let's you know about the brand new Push content that's been integrated into our Ableton Live 1 Production course. All the basic techniques of Push are introduced alongside the existing course content, which has also recently been updated to include all the new Live 9 features … We kick off by showing you how to program a beat, and then guide you through things like the Scale function, Building Scenes, FX and Automation.

In this video, we check out an extract from the course, where course developer and tutor Ski Oakenfull looks at how you can use Push to record Automation into clips and also directly on to the arrangement...

Kraftwerk - The Model (Deconstructed at Sonar 2013)

Kraftwerk - The Model (Deconstructed at Sonar 2013)

Ski Oakenfull breaks down one of the best known tracks from electronic music pioneers, and Sonar headliners, Kraftwerk. This deconstruction took place at Ableton's artists meet and greet at Sync Studios, Barcelona. Win an EMC online course AND Ableton Live 9 in our Vocal Verk competition - http://ow.ly/mt5I5

In this video my aim was to show how quickly you can record and arrange all the parts of this classic track by Kraftwerk using Push and Ableton Live 9. After using Push for a few months, it has become my central hub. The ability to jam down ideas quickly straight into Live and arrange them on the fly without the distraction of the computer screen is truly inspirational.

Push also made me get my act together when it came to organising my user library. Once you start categorising your presets using Ableton's own folder names (ie Bass, Synth Lead etc) and place them in the appropriate device list, they will be easily accessible from the browser. I also found that adding a space character before the preset name forces them to the top of your list so you don't have to trawl through Ableton's factory presets.

For this deconstruction I prepared my sounds in advance. Most of them I programmed from scratched or adapted from existing presets (ie. the Operator Choir sound). The track itself is in A minor, but shifts between A Natural Minor and the Dorian for the two main sections. Because bridge section also ends on an E Major chord which contains a G#, I reverted back to the keyboard to play in the chord parts, but could have also used Push in chromatic mode.

Deconstructing Roy Davis Jr feat. Peven Everett - Gabriel

Deconstructing Roy Davis Jr feat. Peven Everett - Gabriel

Ski breaks down an all-time house and garage classic, Gabriel by Roy Davis Jr feat. Peven Everett.

Deconstructing Kavinsky - Nightcall

Deconstructing Kavinsky - Nightcall

Taken from the soundtrack to Drive, Nightcall is an amazing track and one which Point Blank thought was more than worthy of the deconstruction treatment.

Graphene (preview)

Graphene (preview)

I'm in Japan for a couple of weeks.. Apart from providing a break from hectic London life, it's also gives me a chance to work on some of my own music.. I've got a whole heap of Ayota tracks, all in varying states of completion, and this new piece of music is actually written as an outro to an existing piano improvisation. I wrote it a couple of days ago, and thought it would marry quite well with some video I took as our train pulled out of Osaka station bound for Nagoya..