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Subliminal Automation Brick NJ

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.

Monmouth Conservatory of Music
(732) 741-8880
Red Bank NJ
Red Bank, NJ

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Monmouth University (Monmouth University - Department of Music and Theatre Arts)
(732) 571-3400
400 Cedar Avenue
West Long Branch, NJ
 
Music Makers
(732) 681-7469
1825 State Route 35 # 23
Wall Township, NJ

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Chamber Music Conference and Composer's Forum of the East
(201) 242-1277
Leonia NJ
Leonia, NJ

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Caldwell College
(973) 618-3326
Caldwell NJ
Caldwell, NJ

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Georgian Court College (Departament of Art and Music)
(732) 987-2624
900 Lakewood Ave.
Lakewood, NJ
 
Brookdale Community College (Brookdale Community College - Music)
(732) 224-2345
765 Newman Springs Road
Lincroft, NJ
 
Music University Llc
(732) 303-1100
3585 US Hwy 9 Ste 41
Freehold, NJ

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Soundfest Quartet Institute
(201) 679-7061
Englewood NJ
Englewood, NJ

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JCC Thurnauer School of Music
(201) 569-7900
Tenafly NJ
Tenafly, NJ

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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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