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Subliminal Automation Biloxi MS

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.

University of Southern Mississippi
(601) 266-1000
Hattiesburg MS
Hattiesburg, MS

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Mississippi University for Women (MUW Department of Music and Theatre)
(662) 329-7341
1100 College Street MUW-70
Columbus, MS
 
Millsaps College (Millsaps College - Music)
(601) 974-1000
1701 North State Street
Jackson, MS
 
University of Southern Mississippi (USM School of Music)
(601) 266-5363
118 College Drive #5081
Hattiesburg, MS
 
Delta State University (Department of Music)
(662) 846-4615
Highway 8
Cleveland, MS
 
Belhaven College
(800) 960-5940
Jackson MS
Jackson, MS

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Jones County Junior College (Jones County Junior College -: Department of Music)
(601) 477-4000
900 South Court Street
Ellisville, MS
 
Mississippi College (Departament of music at Mississippi College)
(601) 925-3000
200 S. Capitol Street
Clinton, MS
 
Jackson State University (Jackson State University)
(800) 848-6817
1400 Lynch St
Jackson, MS
 
University of Mississippi (University of Mississippi Department of Musi)
(662) 915-7268
164 Scruggs Bldg
University, MS
 
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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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