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  1. I would argue that it's not totally gone. There's some living in Asheville, NC. Small, scattered, but not gone. waiting
  2. Amen. If nothing else, the passing of greatness leaves a void to be filled by another. If you miss the old Pleiadian sound of intricate melodies/fx so much, channel that in to writing good trance (I promise you're not the only one who misses it). The answers aren't in the past, but in the future. To the future! *holds on to hat* Wooooeeeeeeee!
  3. Here's a rundown of what you will have to learn: Making neat sounds to play leads/basslines with, called synthesis. Writing neat leads/basslines, picking the notes/rhythms. Making neat FX Making neat drum sounds Writing neat drums Engineering (getting all your FX, Leads/basslines to sound good together) Making Trance The first six are straightforward, if not easy. The last one can be tricky. Go here and read everything: http://tweakheadz.com/guide.htm It's not geared to trance, but it's a great starting point. Get your hands on a smaller sequencer program like Reason or Fruity Loops. I've never used Live, so I don't know if that's program to start with. Play with it some. Then read the manual. Then play some more, then read the manual again. Keep doing this until you are comfortable with everything in the program (should take several months if you do it every day). These programs will give you the materials to learn synthesis, sampling, EQing, compression, effects, arrangement, and much more. Then get a professional sequencer like cubase or Logic (though you can use Fruity for this too), a bunch of VSTis like Z3ta, Vanguard, and Albino, an effects package like Waves, and start writing some trance. As you come up with specific questions, ask 'em here! This probably seems like a lot of work... that's 'cause it is! If you really are meant to write trance though it won't seem like work at all, but play. And the rewards are... otherworldly. Good luck! peace, -fk
  4. So many tips and tricks... -Make sure your kick is short enough that it doesn't overlap your bass. If you're doing a roll of quick kicks, make a version of the kick that is short enough that they won't overlap. I typically make, for the given bpm of a song, a 1/8 beat, 1/16, 1/32, and 1/64 version of my kick. That way I know my kicks never overlap. -Use Waves C4 like a compressor-EQ hybrid (which it is). You can use this to boost/cut frequency ranges while also compressing/expanding those same ranges. Sometimes it's better to cut a frequency with EQ, sometimes it's better to compress that frequency with a compressor. Sometimes it's better to do both simultaneously and C4 lets you do just that. -Listen to your favorite trance song, carefully. Plop a wave of it in a new project file, find the tempo so that the sequencer syncs with the song, and draw in all the elements to visually see what the song looks like arranged. Kicks, hihats, FX, leads... it's great to see how other artists lay out their tracks. -Layer your synths. A synth playing a melody sounds cool. Two synths that sound the same playing the same melody sound even cooler, especially when you get to the big energy part of a song and one of the synths switches to a new melody. -Layer your hihats with similar sounding hats. To add a subtle groove you can play just a single hat instead of the pair and it will stand out. -Get funky with that modwheel. Live instruments sound awesome, and the modwheel is an easy way to give a boring synth line some life. Get in there and flick it open and closed, adding spice to the song. -There are two ways to bring in a new element: predictably and by surprise. Be careful with the 'by surprise' way as it quickly leads to music that sounds 'disjointed', though it certainly has it's place. To help bring in new elements predictably, use sounds that build in energy like noise sweeps, reversed explosions, percussion builds (snares, etc). All of these tell the listener "get ready, something's coming!" One of the classic ways to bring in a new element is at the last bar of a phrase, drop most of the other elements out and play a bar of the new element, then bring it all back in at the start of the next phrase with the new element. Combine this with a long noise sweep or percussive build and this is a smooth way to bring in even the nastiest lead. -Write other styles of music. Challenge yourself to write a downtempo track, and ambient track, a pure melodic track, anything. Everything you learn you will be able to use to make your trance that much better. If nothing else, you will learn what makes that particular style of music *not* trance and appreciate trance that much more. -Don't be too hard on yourself. -Know when you've written crap and don't let it get you down to trash it. -Don't take advice as law. -Have fun! peace, -fk
  5. "And thus were the children of Goa split into two factions, one the Shpongled and the other the Unshpongled. They broke first in agreement, then in taste, and finally into two seperate camps. In the first camp it was declared that Shpongle was of the Top Five holy groups and that their songs should be idealized and worshipped on the holiest of holy times, 4:20 am and pm, and on the holiest of holy days, April 20th. On the holiest day and the holiest time it was decreed that the holiest of masks should be bathed in fresh semen. The camp of Shpongled rejoiced, worshipped, and came all over the Shpongle mask, and it was good. In the second camp it was declared that Shpongle was rubbish and okay at best, and that carnival Brazilian music was not to be mixed in a song - ever, unless it was a carnival Brazilian song. Outlawed also were the mixing of Latin themes and flute, indeed any mixture of world music was viewed as excessive at best and dodgy at worst. There would be no shooting of loads on the Shpongle mask, nor would there ever be worship on the holy times or the holy day. Shpongle was declared fanboy music and outcast from the camp of the Unshpongled. And this is how the two factions came to be." -the Book of Goa,
  6. Well, I'm not an advanced musician, but I've experienced a similar frustration as you seem to describe here. Creating chords is the same as creating melodies, just a bit more advanced. When you pick notes to write a melody, you're probably choosing notes that sound good together, right? Now if you pick three notes that sound pretty decent and you have a little melody that you're playing on these notes, try playing the three notes at the same time. That's a chord. Any combination of notes played simultaneously is a chord (2, 3, etc). I like to think about music as being like cooking, and the notes are ingredients. Some are sour and some are sweet, and some notes only sound sour when you play them with sweet notes. That last bit is an important one - the notes you choose will sound very different depending on the notes you pair them with. There are no 'right' chords, though there are certainly more common ones. If you just can't seem to find combinations of notes that make decent chords, check out http://www.looknohands.com/chordhouse/piano/ . But most of all - experiment! peace, -Alex
  7. What you need to start: -decent monitors (I use the Event TR8s and like 'em) -sequencer (Reason or Fruity to start, then Cubase or Logic) -a midi controller (Oxygen keyboards, or... a used k2000 off of ebay - it'll cost you around $500, but the key action is *amazing* and it's actually a very good synth if a little difficult to program. I have a k2000 for my midi controller, and I wouldn't use anything else) I strongly caution you to not buy too much at once, spend time *learning* everything you acquire. You'd best get used to learning too, 'cause there's quite a lot! I was in a similar situation as you, having several thousand to invest in my studio, and I made the mistake of buying everything at once. Every time I went into the studio I was surrounded by equipment I didn't know how to use properly. It was hard to sit and really study every tool until I had learned it properly, instead I'd twiddle this knob and then click around on that synth or maybe dabble with an EQ tool. In the end I learned them, but it took a lot longer and was a lot harder on my confidence than if I had acquired my tools one at a time, learning each as I went along. Now I know, and I make a point to only acquire new tools when I've learned my old ones. If I could go back and do it over, I'd do something like this: Get a sequencer, like Reason, and spend a few months learning it. Read the manual, write some songs for fun, reread the manual. Reason is great because it has synths and effects and EQ all built in, you can learn a lot of fundamentals in Reason. When I felt that I'd learned it all, I'dmove on to a bigger sequencer like Cubase or Logic. Learn the sequencer a bit, like how to do automation and routing, then pick up a good VSTi. Learn that one VSTi, then pick up another, and so on. A good musician can use a tin can and a tape recorder to make music. It's not the tool that's magic, it's how you use it. But if you DO feel compelled to buy everything at once, you'll still have fun. welcome to a new world! -Alex
  8. I use it in just about every track I write. The sh101 patch is worth it alone - deep rich analogue bass. The envelopes aren't really suited for dance music, but sampling the notes to audio and plopping them in a sampler fixes that problem. Trilogy really shines in downtempo though - I just *love* the bass sound of it!
  9. Hehe, yeah, reason's percussion doesn't sound anything like good percussion. I've spent a while working on this one, and I'll share what I've come up with: I generally treat hihats, snares, and rims differently. Hihats A closed-open hihat pattern (like "chikka chikka chik-ka") I will treat differently than the main open hihat ("psst psst psst"). For the closed-open pattern I tend to EQ out everything below 2khz or so, put on a little distortion (antares tube is good for this) and sometimes bitcrusher to give it dirt. I also plop on a compressor to make it sound like a single hihat. For the main open hat I will generally EQ below 4khz or so, use Antares Tube, then EQ again and then put on a flanger (this tip is from Colin 000D). A compressor also helps give it a good 'psst!' sound. Snares These all depend on the sample I use, but I tend to EQ them to live between 500 and 4Khz. A modest amount of distortion and/or bitcrusher to dirty them up helps too. Rims I like my rims quiet yet up close so I tend to do a lot of compression and very little reverb. The EQ generally puts them around 1khz. Lastly I'll create a group channel and do a bit of a send from each percussion track to the group channel. On that channel I will have some modest compression and reverb so that I can control how much 'raw' percussion I mix in to the track in combination with how much compressed/reverb I mix in. This last bit seems has really helped me get my percussion to 'gel'. Of course, the hardest part is finding good samples that go well together. I've been studying a lot of Hallucinogen tracks lately, focusing mainly on the percussion (because I like it so much). Posford doesn't do anything complicated with his percussion, he just uses damned good samples. I'd recommend getting on a filesharing application and doing a search for 'drum samples'. Download as many as you can and then start going through them, deleting the crap but keeping what you like. From the ones you like start building drum kits with various effects, getting practice in what a 'good kit' sounds like. After months of focusing solely on percussion I can say this: getting a good percussion sound is hard! Best of luck, -Alex
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