Yin of Yang Mixing In Progress

How I Did It

Space Fiction
by Quarkstar
Recommends (16)
Sat, Mar 10, 2018 @ 10:51 PM

Tools I Used

Kicks: Native Instruments Battery, (QS Patches)
Drums: Rhythmic Robot, Grit Kit, Doomscape
Sub-Bass: Ableton Operator, Scratching Sub-Bass (QS Patch)
Bass: u-he, Hive, ARK Electric Club
Spaceship: jlbrock44's Field Recording of a Freight Train + QS Effects
Piano: Alchemy, Dark Piano
Organ: Synapse Dune, Amiga Organ
Bells: u-he, Hive, AZ Clean Superpluck
Acid Lead: Ableton Operator (QS Patch)

Console Emulation: Sonimus, Statson
EQ: Tokyo Dawn Records, Slick EQ
Limiter: FabFilter Pro-L
Spaceship: Ableton Vocoder, Chorus, Reverb, Filters
Drum Reverb: Ableton Convolution Reverb (UMSS282 Comb)
Main Reverb: Acon Digital, CM Verb
Airwindows -
Bass enhance: Fathom Five
Chorus: ChorusEnsemble
Compressor: ButterComp
Console Emulation: Channel 5
Gain: Purest Gain
Lead gated reverb: Pocketverb
MixDesk Emulation: Busscolours

Thanks to Airwindows for the Patron supported free plugins


My aim was to create an astral themed anthem that sounded unique, big and a little old style.

I pitch shifted mwic’s original Short Fiction samples across several Octaves to spread them out in frequency and give more depth.

Structure is:-
Intro 32 bars
Verse 8 bars
Chorus 8 bars
Bridge 4 bars (Chorus played at half speed)
Chorus and end

The original tune is in D Dorian and I kept to D minor, D sus4 until 3/4 of the way through the tune where I used root inversions of the original melody (G, D, F) and an added C. Since it is a Dorian scale I should have avoided the C and gone for an A, but the A was too low pitched and C sounded right. Why avoid the C? Because D Dorian uses all the white notes but has a minor feel and adding the C would push the key towards C major with consequences to the chords and feel of the melody.

There are several other structures in the tune. There is an overall octave structure where each verse starts with a lower octave then goes higher. There is a tempo and beat structure of half time and fast speeds which run through the verse/chorus. Then there is an excitement level that rises through the tune, achieved by changing the punch of the instruments and adding more percussive sounds as it progresses. I used bells as a supplement to the piano as Bells are good and percussive while punching through the mix at low volumes. Then there are contrasts in sounds to create call and response parts. mwic’s midi samples also contain a verse/chorus contrast.

The beginning is jlbrock44's Field Recording of a Freight Train, slowed down and pitch shifted to be more majestic. The Train is filtered, bass boosted, chorus added, width restricted and panned to give what I thought of as a large spaceship going past. The space sound is quite deep and might interfere with the kicks so there is a 4/4 side chain on that channel so the sounds don’t interfere and the kicks hit nicely.
The kicks go from half speed to a 4/4 pattern and are layered and compressed for fullness. Three different layered kicks are used.
The snares and hi-hats are from Rhythmic Robots Grit Kit, another layered drum kit. Layering drums can give a punchier fuller sound.
There is a Acid Lead playing at 1/16 to give more momentum to the foundation. It is subtly swung and has many changes to its sound throughout.
The tune is strictly on a 1/16 beat, but I wanted to add some swing to the drums. I did that by using a Flam on the kicks and velocity changes on the hi-hats. The flam subtly advances the perceived beat while leaving the main kick on time which is one of my tricks. Velocity (loudness) changes have a perceived change to the timing of the notes.
The snares and hi-hats play in off beats to hide that the melody is metronomic.

There is a drop at the end of the intro at 55s. Following advice from a Deadmau5 tutorial I put a 120Hz high pass filter before the drop and added a hall reverb to make it sound bigger and fuller. At 55s I lower the filter, let the bass through and added a SubBass to get the bass drop.
In this tune the Bass doesn’t hit as hard as I would like as the tune’s root is D. In my opinion the best drops are around G1 to A#1, my favourite being G#1. Below G1 (49Hz) most speakers don’t pick up the bass as it needs a lot of energy. Then I like the second harmonic in the 100 to 120Hz region for the punch. Other musicians prefer other frequencies, so that is not set in stone.
I keep the sub-bass going for one bar as I want another drop later in the tune and can only do that if there is another bass contrast.

The tune contains a lot of short white noise bursts hidden in various instruments. The full spectrum white noise adds a fullness and contrast to the mix making it sound bigger and fuller.