So after talking with Martha last week about my final project I decided on doing the multi-track recording project idea that I had, pacing myself through the process and detailing what I did each week. So this first week was largely getting organized creatively, technologically, and musically.
I got together my drummer friend Aaron and we sat down to start making some ideas regarding the track. In that session we came up with a group of little guitar melodies that could be looped and built on top of each other. From here we didn’t want to just dive right into the process of recording the drums in the Ableton program that we use, we wanted to compose a “demo” of sorts to get our ideas down. When searching around the web I came across and App that I can use on my iPhone called FourTrack. As it’s name suggests, the application is an actual four track recorder right on your iPhone. I was skeptical but tried it out and was really impressed. So we used the program to create this little rough draft. Its just under two minutes, a dump of musical ideas, while the final one will be structured more like a conventional song with vocals, verses, and choruses clearly distinguishable. We did this using only one acoustic guitar which provided the base for the rhythm that you can hear and all the other acoustic guitars. In the final track we are using real drums (which we have begun tracking now and will be presented next week) and electric guitars rather than all these acoustics. In addition, we plan on adding a bassline (which I’ve also begun playing around with), adding a verse and chorus vocal line, and playing around with MIDI virtual instruments and VST effects.
The FourTrack program was really easy to use and I plan on using it a lot now in the future. Basically you open the application you get to a screen with your four tracks. You simply click on a track to “arm ” it (meaning it will be the one recording), and slide the bar in the bottom right to record. You can do as many takes you want on a track and use the time wheel to start recording at any point of the song on any of the four tracks. You even have sliders to adjust the volume levels of each track.
When you’re done you go to the options menu. In here there are an impressive number of tools that can be used, including various EQs and Compressor effects, which explain how its able to sound so good for an iPhone app.
It also provides the ability for users to import sounds and music from other sources into the mixer which could be extremely useful. (For instance a user could create a drumloop in a program such a FL Studio and import it into the phone to build onto.)
When you’re satisfied with how it sounds you can select the option to mix the file down into one track. At this point the program gives you an IP address to enter into your browser. From this address your computer will take you to webpage with the mixed down track available for you to download in WAV format. It ALSO gives you download links to each of four tracks that made the whole. This would be extremely useful were a user to want to take the tracks and import them into a desktop program such as Ableton or Audacity and give them a more professional mastering job.
After getting knee deep in the process last week I’m excited to see how this will come to fruition over the next month and a half and what other useful tools and tricks I’ll find along the way (also including things like those I found today putting the post together such as Soundcloud and that my iPhone can apparently take screenshots)!