I was interviewed by DJ Mag earlier this year, and was really chuffed to see the article appear in the August issue. I discussed my deconstructions for Point Blank Music school, and how they have evolved over the last six years. I'm attaching a photo of the piece below which you can download.
Over the last few months I've been working on a major update of Point Blank's Mixing Dance Music for Ableton Live course with top sound engineer Anthony Chapman. It's been expanded from a four week to an eight week course, and will guide you through fundamental mixing techniques like image and balance, dynamics, EQ, reverb, depth, mixing vocals and even mastering. It’s the perfect course for remixers, studio engineers and programmers alike.
Please check out the video below, and also read more about it here.
This course is compatible with both Logic Pro and Ableton Live
Electronic Music Composition 2 (EMC²), is the natural progression from EMC, taking you further along your creative pathway. We continue to demonstrate how classic and cutting edge tunes are put together and sometimes break the 'rules'. EMC² explains the tricks of the trade, building on what you learnt from EMC and getting more in depth: extending your knowledge of musical theory; deconstructing BIG tunes to see what makes them work; how to get vocals into your work and examining the different approaches to writing that will help keep you inspired and prolific. EMC² is developed by virtuoso keyboardist Ski Oakenfull. It contains presentation techniques that enable you to see exactly what's being played on the keys and what's happening in the software/DAW. To enrol on this course you need to have taken EMC. If you want to take both you should consider enrolling on the EMC Professional Course Program and save some cash. See you in class!
In 2012 Ski was asked by Point Blank Music School to write an online course entitled Electronic Music Composition or 'EMC' for short. The first 4 week incarnation proved to be extremely popular, so later that year he set about writing a part 2. Eventually they merged into a single 8 week course which is currently running as both a standalone course and a module in Logic & Ableton certificate programmes. Take a look at the preview and syllabus description below!
This course is compatible with both Logic Pro and Ableton Live
Ever find it difficult to finish your tracks? In Electronic Music Composition (EMC), we analyze how classic and cutting edge tunes work and show you the techniques used so you can implement them in your own tracks. Over 8 inspirational and engaging weeks, EMC shows you how to develop the musical aspects of your tracks without getting too bogged down in scales and theory. You'll learn how to add hooks, riffs, chords, basslines, melodies, develop your arrangements and work with vocals whilst keeping everything in key so it 'sounds right'. Developed by keyboardist Ski Oakenfull (Sony artist/producer/writer/player for Incognito, Joey Negro and The Bays), this course shows you what's being played on the keys and what's happening in the software/DAW. See you in class!
Includes 120 quality videos (approx)/ 3 x 1-2-1 Live Tutorials (via Skype) / 1x DVR™ (1-2-1 recorded video feedback)/ 8 hours live masterclasses/1 year access / over 160 pages of course notes / 24/7 access to forum/ exclusive audio resources to download. Optional: sign your track to Point Blank Music distributed by iTunes, beatport, Juno Download and Amazon.
Keys, Chords & Arpeggios
Terminology: the keyboard, root note, which notes 'work'
Transposing in Logic or Ableton Live
Basic chords and how to make them, major & minor chords used in sequence
Slowing down tempo of track for easier playing/recording
Ableton Live - warping, Logic - Flextime
Arpeggiating: automated & playing them yourself
All supported by plenty of videos, audio examples
Projects to download
Chord Progressions, Voicings & Basslines
Chords, basslines and how they work together, chord progressions
I-IV-V minor sequence, Ableton Live chord device
Human chord device, note intervals, alternative chord sequences
How to play shapes, different approaches to writing, different chord voicings
1st & 2nd inversions, moving between chords using different voicings
Playing over chord device, extending chords: 7ths, Maj 7ths & Min 9ths
Which chords 'go' over which tracks?
Bass: playing under repetitive chords, repetitive lines and changing chords
Playing basslines with no chords over them
Rhythm, Riffs & Melodies
Rhythm: basic and syncopated, analysing examples, using piano roll
Riffs and melodies as hooks in the track, how to improvise
Chords & scales, improvising riffs & melodies over chords
Playing chords rhythmically, soloing, comping several ‘takes’ together
Using vocal samples as main hook, transposing vocal vs changing chords
Working with an acapella, vocoding melodies, playing chords rhythmically
Interweaving chords with drum track to make hooks, playing across the groove
Creating melody from electronic percussion, extra melody tips, octaving
Finding the top note of a chord and re-enforcing it with another sound
Final Musical Touches & Arranging
Adding final musical touches and techniques to arrange & finish your track:
Build tension & release in arrangement, changing melody over same chords
Using different chord sequences for different sections
Using standard arrangement templates e.g. (ABABCB).
One chord sequence tracks: emphasising beats, adding strings, arpeggios
How melody changes feel of chord sequence between verse & chorus
Creating a B-section, using a high string line to build a section, modulating
Relative minor changes, shift modulation, circle of fifths
Use of strings, analyzing and extending an arrangement. Finish your track!
Extending Musical Theory
General EMC1 Recap
Mixing Major & Minor Chords, Slash Chords & Right hand Inversions
Breaking the rules with clashes and notes not in the scale
Working with Intervals and Chord Riffs
Extended Scale Theory - Modes & Alternative Minors
More about Chord Progressions - Dominant 7ths
Extracting Feel - Making it Funky
Track Analysis: Massive Tunes
Analyzing big tracks
Including Avicii / Skrillex / Deadmau5 / X-Press2 / Julio Bashmore
Breakdown of Analysis Process
The musical elements: how do they work?
Creating a structure template of each track to apply to your own compositions
Check out the highlights from Point Blank's time in Amsterdam where instructor Ski Oakenfull was at Cafe Cox giving 3 Ableton Live seminars as part of the ADE Playground. While we were there we also caught up with Andy Mac, product specialist at Akai Professional to talk about the MPC Renaissance.
Later we headed to the DJ Mag Top 100 DJs party where we chatted to Ed Real, Managing Director at Track It Down about the state of the online landscape for electronic music artists today.
This article was written by Ski for the Point Blank Blog and published on 29th October 2012
Live users have been anticipating the announcement of version 9 for over 3 years now, causing some intense speculation about what new features might be added. So when it was finally announced last week, you can imagine the frenzy of excited tweeting and status updating that took place. Ableton’s biggest surprise however, was the announcement of a brand new hardware controller entitled ‘Push‘. On reflection it seems like natural move for Ableton to introduce their own controller, especially when you consider other companies such as Native Instruments andAkai who have been doing this for a quite a while now. Both NI’s Maschine and Akai’s new MPC Renaissance come with their own standalone DAW software, providing some real competition for Ableton. Push however, raises the bar, and by benefiting from it’s predecessors, the APC40 and Launchpad, has combined all the best features to create what seems to be a unique new controller. Let’s have a look at what it has to offer..
Ski has written & developed an eight week course for Point Blank entitled 'Electronic Music Composition' which launched in June 2012. It can now be taken as part of the Complete Electronic Music Composition programmeEnrol here!