Down with the Tempo

August 15, 2006 3:15 AM

Alright. I used to think using GarageBand (and its loops) to make songs was "cheating". Then I started to use it. It's amazing how fun and easy it is, and you can really create some great sounding music. Here is my first downtempo song, entitled "Down with the Tempo". Enjoy!

posted by RockBandit (3 comments total)

I liked the ending... however, I did get pretty sick of that initial loop very fast, and it was easy to guess when new loops would be added or subtracted.

I personally like songs that are dangerous in some respect, that have tension or surprises. I think most people don't but I still think you should change things up at least once for a long while so people completely forget about the initial loop and are happy to come back to it.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:33 AM on August 16, 2006

Yeah, that's the thing I need to work on. The repetition of the loops (especially that guitar) gets old fast. I definitely need to spice it up some!

Thanks for the constructive feedback though! :)
posted by RockBandit at 9:19 AM on August 16, 2006

There's a lot you can do. A simple thing is to pass the loop through many effects and then switch them on and off or send a modulation signal to them.

In one direction, the Orb is one of the very cleverest loop users -- there's a long version of "Towers of Dub" on I think UF Off where they spend several minutes just playing with a single sequencer loop without ever losing tension (though you realize after a bit that it's at least three carefully blended loops of the same sound), modulating a few resonant filters to bring out the harmonics of the whole space they have created for you -- when they bring in a fast, rushing, windy flute part that fits so well with the harmonics of the loops already there, it fair brings tears to my eyes.

This is a little bit knob twiddling but much more setting up the knob so that it twiddles just the way you need it to.

In another direction, I'm right now listening to "European Son" by the Velvet Underground -- this is a very dangerous song, it's not even clear what's going through the band's head right now except beating on things in a rhythmic way. They really mix things up: this is another way to go.

If you want to study loop-based pop music, you should get any Fatboy Slim album and study the structure of his songs -- they're pretty well all loop-based and he has exemplary song structure. (Hah, now a Pere Ubu song "Loop" has come on. Eris smiles.)

You could do worse than simply copy the structure of such a song for a first try, and just replace his loops with your own material -- it's totally legal, they can only copyright the sound of a song, not its compositional structure.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 6:20 PM on August 16, 2006

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