Subliminal Automation Worcester MA

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.

Performing Arts School of Worcester
(508) 755-8246
Worcestor MA
Worcestor, MA

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Pakachoag Music School of Greater Worcester
203 Pakachoag Street
Auburn, MA
Pakachoag Community Music School
(508) 791-8159
Auburn MA
Auburn, MA

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College of the Holy Cross (College of the Holy Cross - Music)
(508) 793-2296
1 College Street
Worcester, MA
Worcester State College (Worcester State College - Visual and Performing Arts)
(508) 929-8040
486 Chandler Street
Worcester, MA
Joy of Music Program, Inc.
(508) 856-9541
Worcestor MA
Worcestor, MA

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Apple Tree Arts
(508) 839-4286
Grafton MA
Grafton, MA

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Community Music School of Thayer Symphony Orchestra
(978) 466-1800
Leominster MA
Leominster, MA

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Assumption College (Assumption College: Art and Music)
(508) 767-7000
500 Salisbury Street
Worcester, MA
Anna Maria College (Anna Maria College - Music)
(800) 344-4586
50 Sunset Lane
Paxton, MA
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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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