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Subliminal Automation Boise ID

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.

Boise State University (Department of Music)
(208) 426-1596
1910 University Dr.
Boise, ID
 
Centre Stage Studios
(208) 461-1069
3710 E Newby St Ste 101
Nampa, ID

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Albertson College of Idaho
(208) 459-5275
Caldwell ID
Caldwell, ID

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College of Southern Idaho
208-733-9554 x2557
Twin Falls ID
Twin Falls, ID

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University of Idaho
Rm 206 Music Building
Moscow, ID
 
Northwest Nazarene University Idaho (Music Program - Northwest Nazarene University Idaho)
(208) 467-8011
623 Holly Street
Nampa, ID
 
Brenda's Piano Studio
(208) 356-6334
172 K Street
Rexburg, ID
 
Albertson College of Idaho
2112 Cleveland Blvd.
Caldwell, ID
 
Mountains & Strings Chamber Music Retreat
(208) 317-2224
Rexburg ID
Rexburg, ID

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Idaho State University
(208) 282-2475
Pocatello ID
Pocatello, ID

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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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