Beats and Boxes and Pads and Faders

Here’s a new track of some people in the trumpet studio laying down some dope beatboxes, and a nice little remix of all of it at the end in true DJ Clode fashion. It was basically a beatboxing assignment for most of the class and a mixing assignment for yours truly. I guess the idea behind it was working on rhythm, but in a way that was interesting to practice. For me, working on this was an interesting process because it posed some new challenges for me, as well as allowed me to experiment with some things.

The first thing was that I had no control over the recording process of everyone’s beatbox. They were all sent to me in different formats, ranging from AIFF and WAV to even an MP4 video of a wall or ceiling. They were all at different levels and each needed to be warped to fit my master tempo. This wasn’t too out of the ordinary of any recording project.

Then I individually sliced each person’s beat box to a drum rack in Ableton, which is so ridiculously easy in 8 that it is almost a crime. From there I took the individual samples that I liked of each person and compiled it into a new drum rack for my big mashup finale.

One of the big themes I’ve been contemplating this term is how to make the performance of electronic music interesting to watch. Of course, live video is an option, but I feel like the actual performance of the music has to be a performance in order to be interesting. One of the ways I’ve been thinking of accomplishing this is through controllers, and especially (at least this past week) using pads.

With this in mind, I drummed out some stuff on pads. But I don’t know how original that actually is, because the pad thing is done alot, especially in hip hop. So, I decided to experiment with adding faders along with the pads to control some parameters. The result was the “scratch” solo at the end. I am drumming the vocal sample with the pad, and then moving a fader to control pitch. I think this is a neat little trick that I haven’t heard much of, but maybe I just haven’t watched enough Youtubes. Or maybe an actual scratch DJ will find out that I was emulating and will smite me for my “sin” against the music.

Anyways, that is the general process I took working on this piece, I hope parts of it were interesting to listen to. As always, I’m more interested in hearing what you guys think. What would make a digital performance intriguing to you? Is emulated scratching a sin against Grandmaster Flash? Do you want to hear more beatboxing?

Mad props to the beatboxer’s forum’s esteemed scholars: Casey Caloch, Jon Ewing, Misaki Kato, Max Cameron, Randy Johnson, Ryan Lewis, Tony Tunzat, Trevor Jones, Tyler Boorman, and Sam Hunt.

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