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  • Post your tips for creating longer pieces of work

    Hi Peeps

    When I say "longer," I mean stuff that is over ten minutes long or perhaps even an hour or more.

    My current project is twenty five minutes long and it has been a bit of a monster to work on.

    Altogether there are twenty five audio tracks and a further four effects busses, all spread over seven sections spanning from around just under a minute to over six minutes.

    And there is a whole load of automation going on.

    All this has added up to a lot of time and effort, especially when it came to mixing and balancing the levels across the full length of the piece, trying to hit a particular LUFS and TP level.


    After a while I thought, perhaps if would be easier if I was to work on the sections in separate projects and within each project set a goal for content, time, mixing levels and what have you. Then once I have all the projects/sections complete, stitch them together in a final project. They could simply overlap, with fades to suit, or butted up together and joined with some kind of "bridging piece."


    Anyway, I thought I'd ask those who are used to creating longer tracks, with different sections, how do you manage your project during composition, mixing and final rendering.



    cheers,

    andy
    I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

    Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

  • #2
    I think it took me 4 months to put Refraktor together. I knew it was going to take forever to complete because I didn't have much free time to spend on it.

    I decided to work on it in a series of short (1-hour approx.) sessions. I worked on a short section (maybe 30 seconds of music) for 3 or 4 sessions, until I was happy with it and then moved on to another section of music and went through the same process with that. My project file was made up of maybe 10 or 12 30-second pieces of music, in no particular order, but which I knew could be hammered into some semblance of shape and structure.

    After about 14 weeks, I felt that there was enough music for an entire track and started work on combining/re-ordering sections, tweaking sound/instrument choices, writing bridges and links, tweaking melodies, and mixing the thing.

    I don't normally work like this. Many of my shorter tracks (up to 8 or 9 minutes) are put together in a single session lasting up to 16 hours. I will often have a fairly good idea of the final shape and form of the piece within the first couple of hours, and am working towards a goal which although not precisely defined, is at least distantly visible.

    These days, finding an hour to work on music is almost impossible, but I hope that will change in a couple of months' time.

    Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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    • #3
      I use several approaches, and they are all boring.

      The least boring: I'll take a long field recording--say of night creatures-- and compose smaller sections around the recording. 2 minutes here, 4 minutes there...going back and filling in spots and transitioning between the layers until the original recording (frame) is no longer needed, so is removed. It's hard not to go too far and keep nailing on layer after layer.

      Actual footage of me and a friend in the studio, 2001



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      • #4
        Looking at your work method, something I have found useful is to commit and render tracks to clarify what is going on, often times adding fx to the rendered tracks, cutting bits of them out, altering volume etc. So I will have a project with lots of tracks, then render stems of tracks or groups of tracks where it makes sense, then make another project with just the stems.
        I dont really have sections although I do vary the texture/density over time. I made very long pieces many years ago - all day pieces that could have a lot of time with no sounds added to what ever was happening in the general world. Those pieces were really considered in an abstract "being with sound" as against "listening to sounds". I have returned to that approach lately and will probably continue making ever emptier and longer soundscapes
        Last edited by GregH; 08-15-2019, 01:13 AM.
        BANDCAMP https://greghooper2.bandcamp.com/

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        • #5
          I use Paulstretch to create a 30 minutes track out of about 30 seconds. Usually I do not use more than 3 or 4 instrument or audio tracks in parallel. Less is more. For me, that's also true when it comes to editing recordings.
          ahornberg.bandcamp.com
          soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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          • #6
            Originally posted by seismic1 View Post
            I decided to work on it in a series of short (1-hour approx.) sessions. I worked on a short section (maybe 30 seconds of music) for 3 or 4 sessions, until I was happy with it and then moved on to another section of music and went through the same process with that. My project file was made up of maybe 10 or 12 30-second pieces of music, in no particular order, but which I knew could be hammered into some semblance of shape and structure.

            After about 14 weeks, I felt that there was enough music for an entire track and started work on combining/re-ordering sections, tweaking sound/instrument choices, writing bridges and links, tweaking melodies, and mixing the thing.
            Thanks for sharing that, Tim.

            I remember really enjoying Refraktor the first time I listened to it. I am listening again now

            That's an interesting approach and something I have been contemplating myself since reading parts of the book that comes with In Search of Hades. I was actually quite surprised that albums like Phaedra and Rubycon were sections of takes all assembled together to make up each piece. I had always thought that they had performed much of that stuff live.

            cheers

            andy
            I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

            Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by aoVI View Post
              I use several approaches, and they are all boring.
              Doesn't sound boring to me

              Adding layer after layer is something that I do, sometimes, and then I spend more time scratching those layers away, in parts.
              I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

              Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Ahornberg View Post
                I use Paulstretch to create a 30 minutes track out of about 30 seconds. Usually I do not use more than 3 or 4 instrument or audio tracks in parallel. Less is more. For me, that's also true when it comes to editing recordings.
                But you don't always use paulstretch, surely.


                I used it for a complete album, once, and I enjoyed the process. I have also used it for the odd track here and there.
                I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

                Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by synkrotron View Post

                  Thanks for sharing that, Tim.

                  I remember really enjoying Refraktor the first time I listened to it. I am listening again now

                  That's an interesting approach and something I have been contemplating myself since reading parts of the book that comes with In Search of Hades. I was actually quite surprised that albums like Phaedra and Rubycon were sections of takes all assembled together to make up each piece. I had always thought that they had performed much of that stuff live.

                  cheers

                  andy
                  Refraktor was easier to put together than I expected. It helped that I was expecting it to take a long time to complete, and wasn't in any particular rush to do so. I had a couple of shorter projects on the go at the time.

                  It was quite enjoyable too. Once I had those 10 or 12 sections complete, the process of re-ordering them into a finished work was quite a lot of "fun". Permutations which I hadn't initially considered suddenly presented themselves and gave the piece a life of its own. As I got closer to the end of the arrangement process, it seemed like I had to expend less effort to take the next step towards it.


                  I read an interview with Chris Franke (probably about 40 years ago) where he said that Ricochet was assembled from 40 hours of tape recordings made during the '75 tour.

                  Here are some of them:-



                  I arrived at the gig one year late

                  Whatsisname's Little Fluffy Clouds | Campsite | Hearthis | Orfium | SeismicTC | Twitter | Ello

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by seismic1 View Post
                    Once I had those 10 or 12 sections complete, the process of re-ordering them into a finished work was quite a lot of "fun".
                    I've listened to Refraktor again, just now. You did an amazing job with the arranging and stitching process. I tried to listen out for the "joins" and couldn't spot anything of the like.



                    Thanks for the TD bootleg link, Tim, I'll watch that later

                    cheers

                    andy
                    I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

                    Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I have a piece that is super long (4.5 hours, because that was the limit of the machine I did it on) & was recorded in real time with a dozen tracks. A lot of taped down notes & such in parts. In the end I can honestly say it was impossible to mix because I couldn't get my ears to concentrate in the way I like them to for more than 20 minutes. But you learn a lot & sound does really start to act different in a room after long periods of notes being played like that.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by synkrotron View Post

                        But you don't always use paulstretch, surely.
                        I run everything through Paulstretch and listen to the result. Sometimes it doesn't sound good and I throw it away.

                        ahornberg.bandcamp.com
                        soundcloud.com/ahornberg

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                        • #13
                          "For the purists, I can recommend playing in real time. Building a multi-velocity layered project. Choose your sources. Be it a 16 instrument ether"
                          Son of a bitch!!!I just wrote a whole thing and then hit some qwerty key and it all disappeared! Sorry, I'm not ready to write it all again...
                          "The dumbest of people are the first to tell you."annodeMy Music
                          Check out my ambient radio show list @ recommended listening

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by annode View Post
                            "For the purists, I can recommend playing in real time. Building a multi-velocity layered project. Choose your sources. Be it a 16 instrument ether"
                            Son of a bitch!!!I just wrote a whole thing and then hit some qwerty key and it all disappeared! Sorry, I'm not ready to write it all again...
                            the dreaded "ruin all my work" keystroke
                            BANDCAMP https://greghooper2.bandcamp.com/

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by annode View Post
                              For the purists, I can recommend playing in real time
                              Yes, I have actually done this and I currently have three live tracks on my SoundCloud page weighing in at 16, 19 and 20 minutes long.

                              Of dubious quality, though, so I won't be sharing any time soon... Plainly, I cannot to claim to be a "purist"

                              I may not post anything useful, but at least I do it often

                              Bandcamp // SoundCloud // YouTube

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