Computer Music - - Make Music Now / Studio Strategies -


Cre­at­ing your own sound li­brary of field record­ings is a lot of fun. It’s some­thing I’ve al­ways been in­ter­ested in, es­pe­cially when it comes to us­ing these sounds in my pro­duc­tions. Years ago, I re­mem­ber us­ing a bud­get con­denser mi­cro­phone, stick­ing it out of the stu­dio win­dow to record any­thing and ev­ery­thing which was go­ing on out­side. I’d hit record, and leave it on for an hour or so; once done, I’d search through the weird and won­der­ful sounds in the record­ing, then chop out and save the best sec­tions to a new folder.

These days, every­one can cap­ture sounds us­ing a mo­bile phone. How­ever, for best re­sults, I sug­gest you in­vest in a good-qual­ity field recorder from the likes of Zoom or Tas­cam. These are pocket-sized, pro­vide long record­ing times, and al­low you to record sig­nals in a wide range of file for­mats.


In elec­tronic mu­sic, your beats have to be punchy and weighty, which is why, de­pend­ing on the style of mu­sic I’m cre­at­ing, I find us­ing found-sounds can be tricky at times. Usu­ally, the core sounds will sound ex­tremely weak, and re­quire a lot of ad­di­tional pro­cess­ing to get them up to a pro stan­dard.

A good tech­nique here, there­fore, is lay­er­ing. I usu­ally stack sounds when pro­duc­ing drums, but es­pe­cially when work­ing with beats de­rived from field record­ings. I’ll spend a lot of time sourc­ing the right sam­ples, and con­cen­trate on tun­ing and EQ to in­vis­i­bly ‘glue’ the in­di­vid­ual hits to­gether.

An­other thing I like to do is set aside a block of stu­dio time and de­sign en­tire found-sound loops in iso­la­tion. These be­spoke loops can then form the ba­sis of a new drum groove once you layer harder-hit­ting one-shot drums over the top.

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