Mr G’s new album ‘Still Here’ is out now on Rekids — a sexy slice of house music that is repeatedly on our playlist. We asked Mr G about his unique method of recording the album…
“Recording this album was not so easy, as I only use an MPC2000xl and a converted output bi-wired Mackie desk. Firstly, I started making sounds via my Korg MS2000 synthesizer, playing with the filters and manipulating them. Then, when I was happy, I sampled them to get the groove and swing I needed. By limiting myself to such a small sound palette, I try and ensure that the sounds used are ‘bullets’, or in other words, first-class for what I need to do.
“The writing itself is purely done on feeling. I start by playing around with my drums till I feel I have a cool groove that interests me, then I find a bass that again feels different yet inspires me to write something new and fresh, at the same time capturing the mood, feeling, vibe I'm about at this time. By building up the track this way, I start to formulate a picture of a beginning, a middle and an end. When I’m ready to ‘put one down to DAT’, it should mix and right itself without much thought from me, and should be quite organic. It could be take 1 or take 21 till I get the picture I have in my head. Most of the time, there is something that happened in the mix that I know is not meant to be there, but that’s ok, because it's about the mix that flows and moves right, not the soulless mix which is perfect. A little grit doesn't hurt anyone!”
ALIEN ROBOT VOX
Alien Robot Vox is the newest sample library from Loopmasters, aiming to provide producers with those vocodered and robotised sounds that have graced many top dance and electronic tracks, from artists such as Daft Punk, The Freestylers, Air, Mylo, Kraftwerk and Grandmaster Flash.
Alien Robot Vox features various levels and styles of vocodered vocals — from the subtly affected to full-robotized electronic vocals. Don’t let the name fool you, though, as included in the sample pack are also a collection of vocodered drum loops and synth parts that are handy additions, enabling producers to build up those P-Funk style cosmic electro-type dance tunes.
The selection of vocodered loops, android and robot talk, cosmic loops, one shot hits and drums has all been recorded over various pitches and speeds between 90 — 126BPM. The whole pack has been put together really well, and whilst the title may sound as if the pack is targeting a specific music style, it doesn’t feel limited at all.
Alien Robot Vox comes with over 260 Loops in acidized Wav and Rex2 formats, or as a separate Apple Loops pack.
MANofzeroEverythingSAYS ‘7 Earth is a Reflection’
Lying on the couch today is MANofzeroEverythingSAYS with his laidback funky slab of sampled big-band lo-fi delight. Following in the style of RJD2 and Mr Scruff, this is an ambitious project. Good samples have been used in the creation of ‘7’ and the other tracks that make up his showreel, but with this lo-fi genre, you have to be careful the sounds don’t over-distort or lack some of the detail and clarity, as this will detract from the mix.
A look at the final mix will help the overall sound of ‘7’. It’s got great elements and beats, but all the sounds in the track are mushed together, quite a lot of the frequency range is within the mids and upper mid area. Adding a very quiet hi-hat pattern will add some dimension in the upper frequency range, resulting in a sweet dynamic. Bass is driven via the drums, so not much needs to be done here. The synth sound is hypnotic and works well with the track. MANof has taken a jump into an interesting genre and with a little more refinement, his tracks will stand and deliver.
Keys to the City
M-Audio have revamped their Axiom range of Midi controller keyboards. Will these keys unlock those production delights?
Suppliers of many a project studio with controller keyboards for quite sometime now, M-Audio and their Axiom range are very popular with studio bods in the dance scene in general.
Now they have revamped the range of keyboard controllers to be even more useful and functional in studio environments. The Axiom’s grey and black exterior frame is made from plastic, with rubber honeycombed edging which looks good and gives them a pro look, which is a nice touch considering the low price.
The large blue LCD screen that sits in the middle of the control panel also adds a little something to these controllers. The Axioms, whilst made of plastic, do have a solid feel about them and the 61, though the biggest of the bunch, isn’t that heavy to lug around. The three models in the family come in 25, 49 or 61 key varieties.
Whilst the keyboard action from the Axiom is good, the keys have been updated to give a more authentic playing feel. As a piano player, I wasn’t too enamoured by the feel of the keys. They came across a wee bit plastic-y to me. Ivories they are not. This isn’t a major problem at all more of a nitpick, really, as they do the job perfectly, especially in studio situations, and I won’t be playing a recital of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata to a paying crowd on the Axiom. On the top panel of the Axiom there are plenty of buttons, knobs and sliders that will integrate nicely with most of the current sequencer programmes like Cubase, Logic and Ableton.
The other nice feature is the new DirectLink technology that the Axioms use. This basically allows users to be able to tweak the controls of virtual instruments that they might be using directly from the Axiom and not have to rely on tweaking stuff on the computer screen. This is great for capturing that live feel when laying down a track. There are also eight MPC style pads built into the units, which are great for triggering samples or playing beats: another nice touch. The Axiom controller keyboards are USB powered, so will work directly off your computer’s power, but they can also be plugged into the mains with an optional power supply.