Joined: Oct 26, 2021
Location: Tempe, AZ 85281
|Posted: Tue Oct 26, 2021 3:36 pm Post subject:
1 1/2 years alone with an AnalogKeys: the results
|I sold all my other instruments and pledged myself to making only live music with an AnalogKeys. It's been a year and half now, and the result is a YT channel:
About this project:
First, general goals: perform music that I like with just the AK. “That I like” was left pretty open. I don’t make any particular sort of EM, it’s just synth music to me. And that’s pretty broad. It could be improv, ambient, Berlin, world music influenced, folk, whatever. And the music would be written for the AK so I didn’t have to worry about doing impossible things.
Overall, I’m happy so far with the progress. I have 25 or so videos that I think are decent, and more coming.
My big takeaways:
Could not have done it without selling all the other gear, I would have have gotten distracted.
I found it best to focus on one function and get it down. I’d make the song with something specific in mind to do: “use the performance knobs for morphs”, “use instant change instead of bar queing for pattern change”, “use all the mappings in the joystick”, that kind of thing.
I also found it’s better to have fewer, more flexible patterns, most songs were fewer than 12.
I can only really work with Direct Change on permanently. With that, the whole tyranny of the bar is blown to bits.
I make variations for “fills” of each pattern, and assign them to adjacent patterns. Each main pattern is on 1, 5, 9, 13 so I know I can go to one of those for the next big change, and one of the in between patterns for “fills”. They work as fills because I use Direct Change and only switch over for a moment.
Probabilties and Fills, I use pretty much all the time. Fills, oddly enough, I usually use to thin out a pattern, because I use other patterns for fills.
The AK’s unique ability to track voice changes and handle note off messages properly, along with the fabulous voice stealing make the whole sound very smooth.
Kits are your friend: I make a new kit for each pattern and just assign it. If later I find I want to join the kit to another pattern, I just reload it. But 9 times out of ten I make timbral changes with each pattern. These can be very subtle and when so make the whole track breathe.
I’ve never had to manage Kits at all, I just access them through the pattern. If they get orphaned later, so what you have 128 of them.
Copy and Paste of all sorts needs to be memorized throughly, nothing will break your flow in a bigger way.
As you slowly master a beast like this, be sure to enjoy the effect of vastly opening vistas with each new hurdle you cross. I’ve got things in mind for this guy I just never would have had before.
It CAN be done. It doesn’t have to be perfect, doesn’t have to be x, y or z. It just has to be cool and sound good. Find a way!
Making my songs by performing vs multi-tracking is like 1000 times better, more fun, more engaging, more fun to share, and just all around energizing instead of draining.
To my surprise, I like making videos. I’m a vinyl LP guy, hater of MTV since it launched. But YT allows you to share things in a pretty low key way if you want. Also, shooting off a video when the tune is sounding good is so much faster than DAW work. And it forces a performance. I only ever do one take, if I flub it, I’ll try again some other day.
A great use of the Performance Controllers: I assign A to all decays, with just a modest amount, and B, to all filters, again modest cut, C to volume. This way I can make “the whole band” layback or get a little tighter, or brighter and splashier, or whatever, behind me while I play the keyboard. This is another thing that make a track “breathe” and sound alive
That’s about it. Anyone thinking of taking a plunge into a minimal setup, I’d encourage you. Be flexible about what you want to do, explore, and then explore some more, always looking for that little thing that’ll open it up. And you can always buy more shit later (hello? TipTop/Buchla? Stop winking at me!)