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Subliminal Automation Arvada CO

By applying what I call "subliminalautomation," you can hold listeners' attentionwithout resorting to abrupt shifts. The idea isto use very small brush strokes to keep a partchanging continuously but subtly.

Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts
(303) 665-0599
Lafayette CO
Lafayette, CO

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University of Colorado - Boulder
(303) 735-2283
Boulder CO
Boulder, CO

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University of Colorado - Denver (Department of Music & Entertainment Industry Studies )
(303) 556-2279
Arts Building 176
Denver, CO
 
University of Colorado - Boulder (College of Music - University of Colorado at Boulder)
(303) 492-6352
College of Music Building 18th and Euclid 301
Boulder, CO
 
Denver School Of Music
(303) 420-7952
5275 Marshall St Ste 205
Arvada, CO

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University of Denver
(303) 871-6997
Denver CO
Denver, CO

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Boulder Arts Academy
(303) 449-9291
Boulder CO
Boulder, CO

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University of Denver (Lamont School of Music)
(303) 871-6400
2344 E. Iliff Ave.
Denver, CO
 
Naropa Institute (Naropa Institute - Music)
(800) 772-6951
2130 Arapahoe Avenue
Boulder, CO
 
Yma Music School
(303) 452-0716
9255 Washington St
Thornton, CO

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Subliminal Automation

As one of Brian Eno’s ObliqueStrategies cards states, “Repetition is a formof change.” For dance music, this isn’t merely astrategy, but a mantra. However, the fact of thematter is — unless your audience’s intoxicantsare extremely good — too much repetitiongets old fast. Too little, and you risk breaking the spell you’re casting on the dance floor.

The most common technique for keeping a riff interesting is to dramatically morph the synths and effects, creating crescendos andpeaks to enhance the listener’s journey. Thisis well-suited to progressive dance, sometypes of house, and of course, trance. Butdrastic or sweeping changes don’t always mesh with the tech and minimal genres.

By applying what I call “subliminalautomation,” you can hold listeners’ attention without resorting to abrupt shifts. The idea isto use very small brush strokes to keep a part changing continuously but subtly. To illustratethis, we’ll automate an analog-style square wave riff over a beat from Loopmasters’ JoeyYoungman library. The end result is a cyclingriff that keeps tickling the ear, while leaving sonic space for embellishments in the drumsand other synth bits.

0.001_StrobeStep 1. Create a simple riff with a sound that’s not too complex and has a bitof room to morph subtly. Here’s the isolated square wave riff, created withFXpansion’s Strobe synth from DCAM Synth Squad (reviewed Nov. ’09).

0.002_FilterAutoStep 2. Let’s start with a touch of filter automation. Inthis example (using Ableton Live), we’ve lowered thecutoff ever so slightly, then put a slight peak at themiddle of the eight-bar loop.

0.003_SawAutoStep 3. To change the wave shape slightly, we’llblend in a bit of sawtooth twice, with peaks atbar 3 and bar 7.

0.004_SustainAutoStep 4. Another useful parameter to automate is theenvelope sustain level. Large shifts are great forbuilding peaks and crescendos. A tiny amount addsjust a dash of flavor.

0.005_NoiseAutoStep 5. As a final touch, we’ll blend in a bit of noise. Aswith sustain and filter, a little goes a long way. For thepeaks, you can get a lot crazier, as we’ve discussed inprevious columns.

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