Monday, May 24, 2010



For me, doing digital studio mixes are a bit of a challenge. I’m usually trying to pull together the perfect mix often hyper-editing the songs till they fit perfectly. In a way, doing a studio mix is not unlike writing a song – just instead of samples and synth sounds I’m using full songs.

Mixes like this are always something I like to do when I’m in route to a gig. It seems to pass the time nicely, and Ableton holds up really well in Windows power saver mode. I’m usually able to get about 3.5 – 4 hours of battery life out of my Toshiba laptop which is enough time to get the job done.

The mix I did for Kristina Childs’ ‘Plasmodium’ podcast was a little different than the mixes I’ve done in the past. Previously, the structure was pretty standard – beat match the songs to fit the tempo of the mix, and select songs which contribute the overall flow of the mix while staying in key with their counterparts.

With the Plasmodium mix, I wanted to see if I could adjust the overall tempo of the project and leave each song at its original tempo. So rather than beat matching each song and warping them into place – the project is constantly adjusting itself to the music. The idea is to leave the majority of each song unwarped, and only warp the audio file during the mix. To make things a little more tricky, I figured it would also be cool to migrate my way from a slower funk tempo (90-something), ending with a more up-beat dance tempo (120-something).

Doing this was a little tricky because the transitions needed to sound natural with as little warping as possible. I needed follow a bit of a hierarchy:

1. Song Selection: First and foremost I needed to stick with the songs that are going to work with the mix. So I put together a pool of music that I felt was in-line with my vision for this mix. The end result was a pool of about 60 songs of various tempos.

2.Sort by Tempo – Then by Key: It seemed easiest to run the songs through Mixed-In-Key to measure tempo first, this way it would be easy to see which songs were closest in timing, then I could see which songs were closest to each other in key.

Since the point of this mix is to keep the songs beat matched while mostly preserving the full integrity of each song, I decided to only warp each track only while it was in the mix. To do this, I had to lay out the mix first. I sliced each song from the start of each mix to the end of the mix, and changed the timing algorithm (in live 7) to “complex” during the mix. After the each song was finished being mixed, the following clips were left unwarped.

The end result was pretty nice – very little to no degradation in sound for each song that I used, and a full beat matched mix of music leaving each song as it was intended to be heard.

pezzner - process part 208 (plasmodium) by modyfier

01. Fatback Band - Summertime Funk
02. Rayko - Transfer (Endless Melody Edit)
03. Submoave - Garden With Blue Grass

04. Kraak and Smack Feat Ben Westbeech - Squeeze Me

05. Audited Beats - Trailer Party

06. Nego Mozambique - Wake Up For The Music

07. Lewie Day - Lychee Martini (With Francis E Dec Radio Rant)

08. Audion - I Am The Car

09. Soul Clap - Concious

10. Koze - Mrs Bojangels

11. Hakan Lidbo Feat Vincent Inc - We Fall So Deep (Addex Remix)

12. Sebastian Davidson - Nightbird (Aki Bergen and Seb Davidson Mix)

13. Daze Deten - Downtown Hustle

14. DJ Leandre - I Tried 4 U

15. Mark E - Human

16. Soundstream - Rainmaker

17. Bubba - Grander Scale Of Love

18. Lee Curtiss - Smoking Mirrors

19. Andre Lodemann - Where Are You Now

20. King Tubby - Psyche Out


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