The Great AudioBus Forum Collab Thread: Your tools are only as good as you are

So I've spent the last 6 weeks or so since Black Friday wrestling with my addiction to all things new and shiny. I have to admit - I love me a new app. I do - it's glorious to open a new app that everyone here is raving about and get it to make all sorts of space noises. That being said, I really need to cut myself off for any number of reasons that I don't need to go into here.

I've been struggling to get my head around a lot of threads with names like:

"Is XXX app good for XXX (style of music)?"
"Is XXX synth any good?"
"Is iOS a true music-making platform?"
"Desktops are better because I can't do XXX on iOS"

etc., etc., ad nauseum

Here's the issue I've been taking with these threads of late: Your music doesn't come from the tools on your iPad/iPhone: the tools are there to facilitate your music making. The music comes from you, not whatever apps/workflow you're using. These are simply tools to help make music.

I'm not trying to invalidate these threads - hell, I participate/benefit from/start them as much as anyone. And hey - that's what we're here for. I just think that the musicians here have forgotten about all the thousands of great sounding records made with a single microphone in the center of the room.

Since I went to school to be a recording engineer, I got many lessons in the history of recording audio, and it's thoroughly enlightening and informative. It also illustrates just how much can be done with so little and still sound incredible. I am trying to remind myself that I have MORE than enough tools in my box to create album after album of any style of music I can imagine - I DON'T NEED MORE APPS. Not only do I have to figure out how to use the ones I have, but I then have to actually MAKE something listenable out of them.

In the spirit of this reflection, I'm resolving to make 2018 more about actually making music than buying tools. I'm actually going to get my YouTube channel off the ground, finish this [email protected]#%ing album I've been stuck on, get some new generative ideas completed and generally put into practice all the apps/ideas I've purchased and crafted throughout 2017. I also want to get back out and start gigging regularly again, hopefully with the iPad integrated as well.

So - in the interest of jumping off the cliff:

Who is in the San Francisco Bay Area and wants to meet up and jam? Not just sit around and shoot the shit (as much as I love doing that too) but actually collaborate? Anyone on this board have unfinished ideas kicking around that they want throw me to mess with? Live jamming? Co-composition?

IS THIS THING ON?!?!?!?!

Ok - I'm off my soapbox. I hope to hear from you all. This means you @johnfromberkeley :smiley:

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Comments

  • edited January 10

    Maybe we should start a Discord group for collabs and co-compositions? Might be interesting. ;)

  • That would be great!

  • It’s too easy to get lost in the siren song of new stuff. There are guitar players who think playing is about buying more guitars and gear. I mostly use two apps: Notion and Auria, and a bit of a few sound libraries. I’ve started to do some video and art work as well, and have a few apps for that as well.

    I’m writing, studying, trying stuff. I’ve had all my music study stuff for years now. So, I’m not buying a lot new either, just very select things that I need.

    Onwards and upward. Time to be creative.

  • As for music coming from the musician and not the tools... iOS production is a pretty different world. Simple old apps like Figure challenge that notion by sending me in very different directions I would have if I were working on an Alesis SR16 and a Casio CZ101, for example).

  • That's a terrifying thought for me.

  • @Thomas said:
    As for music coming from the musician and not the tools... iOS production is a pretty different world. Simple old apps like Figure challenge that notion by sending me in very different directions I would have if I were working on an Alesis SR16 and a Casio CZ101, for example).

    I agree - I write very different music on piano than I do on guitar or bass or iPad.

    The other thing I struggle with is overcomplication. It's so easy to overthink something or get lose in "which synth should I use?" Too many options can be a bad thing.

  • @dvlmusic said:

    @Thomas said:
    As for music coming from the musician and not the tools... iOS production is a pretty different world. Simple old apps like Figure challenge that notion by sending me in very different directions I would have if I were working on an Alesis SR16 and a Casio CZ101, for example).

    I agree - I write very different music on piano than I do on guitar or bass or iPad.

    The other thing I struggle with is overcomplication. It's so easy to overthink something or get lose in "which synth should I use?" Too many options can be a bad thing.

    Same here, and creating chord progression in "Suggester" and then transferring them to guitar has had a positive impact on my rhythm playing.

    Setting a goal of one completed track per month (see "Song of the Month Club") has made a huge difference in my "completion ratio" and output in 2017. I'm still tempted by the shiny new apps, and purchase many of them, but taking the goal seriously prevents me from getting lost in them and not getting anything completed.

  • I’m very very good indeed, so my tool must indubitably be excellent.

  • @u0421793 said:
    I’m very very good indeed, so my tool must indubitably be excellent.

    Only if used properly and often. And that, sir, is something I can neither confirm nor deny.

  • agreed - here's an interesting article that's somewhat related to the topic:

    https://pitchfork.com/thepitch/5-excellent-electronic-albums-made-with-a-single-synthesizer/

    i'm intrigued by this idea of only making tracks with one synth. maybe someday i will try it.

  • There was a thread around here a while back about doing tracks using only Bebot. I fully support this idea.

  • I was using a hammer yesterday...
    I don't feel so confidant today

  • Yes, it's easy with a massive app collection to have your creative time for making music, turn into an exercise in learning a new app, or trying to figure out why something doesn't work, that you've never tried before. Pilot error? Buggy, unfinished software?

    Electronic music is heavily based in sound design, though, which is often technology driven. With the iPad apps, I'm trying to figure out new tricks or combinations that are interesting and above all, musical. I started working on a list of sounds/combinations/scenarios, to make it easier to pull the rabbits out of a hat, later.

    Great sounds aren't a substitute for good songs though. They're like the rendering and detail in a drawing. It's easy to jump into rendering too early, because it is the funnest part.

  • I think it’s beneficial to focus on single apps like Gadget, BM3, Egoist etc. or workflow combinations of apps - AUM, Rozeta etc. for extended periods of time to get fluent and productive with them. Obviously I don’t do this, and flutter from one to another, dropping them all for the next shiny new thing...

  • i feel like this might be a good time to share one of my 100% iKaossilator creations. Or it could illustrate the exact opposite point. Anyways:

  • edited January 10

    Solid and decent January thread.
    I get that too!

    @dvlmusic said:
    There was a thread around here a while back about doing tracks using only Bebot. I fully support this idea.

    Bebot is waaay too complex. I suggest a wooden stick.

  • @Mayo said:
    I was using a hammer yesterday...
    I don't feel so confidant today

    ace

  • CibCib
    edited January 10

    It always works in both ways. Sometimes less is more but sometimes more is more.

  • You are right of course - I have spent many a day, years ago, when I told myself that if only I had xyz, then my music would be that much better. But now we have so many wonderful tools, you can’t hide any more. Go and use the tools you have and make some great music, and I’ll do my best to do the same.

  • @Cib said:
    It always works in both ways. Sometimes less is more but sometimes more is more.

    It's all about what works for best for the tune! :smiley:

  • @PhilW said:
    You are right of course - I have spent many a day, years ago, when I told myself that if only I had xyz, then my music would be that much better. But now we have so many wonderful tools, you can’t hide any more. Go and use the tools you have and make some great music, and I’ll do my best to do the same.

    Hey - you wanna watch my kids tonight so I have some space to work on tunes?

    :wink:

  • My days of looking after kids are over, so I really have no excuse!

  • edited January 11

    I had the same epiphany when BlocsWave gained Launchpad export since my simplify to the essential workflow makes me work in realtime recording like old small multi trackers times...

    So my actual handicap is focus myself into wrote something over the more than I need instrumentals I have done the last six months.

    I will love to collaborate but sadly I’m Barcelona placed instead California...
    Someone near? Discord collaboration?
    Add me to the list... :wink:

  • Your tools are only as good as you are

    Most of my tools are considerably better than I am.

  • When you assume your tool is as good as you think you are accidents happen..some happy

  • Ok - collaboration thoughts:

    I'm not familiar with Discord or how it works, but I'm open. We could also DropBox each other links...

    @Dubbylabby - Doesn't matter that you're not in California. I'm working on moving to Italy in the next couple years so I won't be too far from you.

    Anyone can contribute, and can send files in any format you have. Audio clips, MIDI/Audio stems, AUM patches, etc.

    I'll start this off by posting a DropBox link when I get home and we'll see what happens.

  • Monthly one app composition challenge?

    Hosted inside the DAW/Mixer of your choice of course...

  • Gadget would be great for sharing/collaboration. Small files, easy to export.

  • edited January 11

    Ok - here's what I'm thinking for some basic ground rules:

    1) Anything is game - people can post whatever style of music and type of file
    2) Anyone/any number of people can collaborate a tune
    3) Collaborators can take a tune in any direction
    4) Collaborators need not finish anything and simply add to it, but CAN finish it if they like
    5) Collaborators can repost their work at any stage
    6) There can be multiple versions of a tune

    These aren't rules as much as they are guidelines so that we all have the same expectations. Please only post pieces that you don't mind being cut, chopped, sliced, diced, rearranged, remixed, and repurposed.

    So - all that being said here's my first offer:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/s6harxn575cei5j/After Eve Breakdown.aumproj?dl=0

    It's something fairly generic but at least it's straightforward. I'm using the following apps (all AUv3 hosted in AUM):

    Rozeta
    Beathawk
    Tera Synth
    mood
    FAC Chorus

    If you have Rozeta then you'll have the sequence, so the rest of the apps aren't as important.

    Frankly this is a pretty crappy first offering - I've got way better shit, but this is simple and didn't involve 30 different apps.

    Now - away with you! Let's see if this thing works. At least we should get some unique results!

  • @dvlmusic said:
    Ok - here's what I'm thinking for some basic ground rules:

    1) Anything is game - people can post whatever style of music and type of file
    2) Anyone/any number of people can collaborate a tune
    3) Collaborators can take a tune in any direction
    4) Collaborators need not finish anything and simply add to it, but CAN finish it if they like
    5) Collaborators can repost their work at any stage
    6) There can be multiple versions of a tune

    These aren't rules as much as they are guidelines so that we all have the same expectations. Please only post pieces that you don't mind being cut, chopped, sliced, diced, rearranged, remixed, and repurposed.

    So - all that being said here's my first offer:

    https://www.dropbox.com/s/s6harxn575cei5j/After Eve Breakdown.aumproj?dl=0

    It's something fairly generic but at least it's straightforward. I'm using the following apps (all AUv3 hosted in AUM):

    Rozeta
    Beathawk
    Tera Synth
    mood
    FAC Chorus

    If you have Rozeta then you'll have the sequence, so the rest of the apps aren't as important.

    Frankly this is a pretty crappy first offering - I've got way better shit, but this is simple and didn't involve 30 different apps.

    Now - away with you! Let's see if this thing works. At least we should get some unique results!

    Just a suggestion as someone who’s done the pass around thing for the last couple years, and who would like to participate:

    Would it be easier to do Wav files, with the creator posting a rough mix if there are multiple tracks to start, and then each contributor adds one track and uploads his/her individual track wav? Just spitballing, it could get too complicated and it would be up to the first user to keep up with all the tracks for a final mix.

    That idea aside, I’ve opened the project and have all the apps except Beathawk, but I don’t really know where to go from here because there’s no set song length. Maybe somethin more substantial than a couple bars? I dunno I’d like to get this going so just tryin to help.

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