Nicole ThorpCentralia Recording Connection

Beats and Basics Posted on 2016-05-11 by Nicole Thorp

This week was pretty chill and i only got one day in the studio but it was a packed day with a ton of information and i also was very hands on while assisting on a session, all in all even though it was the least time I've spent in the studio in a given week it was definitely a full and fun day. 

This week was pretty straight forward in terms of the lesson which was based on MIDI. MIDI is a pretty interesting tool and it was great to dive into the history of it a little bit in the lesson. I thought it was fascinating how MIDI has evolved, the early stages of MIDI processors were used to transmit signals from one device to another. In modern recording, i think most of us associate MIDI with "beat-making" and a quick way to generate music with an array of signals that are easily accessible. I think that MIDI is a great tool, especially for those who are looking to get their creative ideas down quickly but i also think we would be lying to ourselves if we didn't realize that the advancement of MIDI technology has kind of saturated the music that we hear today. Without turning this blog into a rant and with all due respect to the many opinions on this subject; when i listen to records from twenty or thirty years ago two things are instantly recognizable: 1. well written songs and 2. well performed instrumentation. That being said, there are still well written songs and well performed live instrumentation today but it's hard to get through to that side of the industry when the saturated side of music with technology driven components are constantly being pushed to the forefront. Anyway, this lesson really got me thinking about this debate and the advancement of MIDI and what it was originally used for and how it's being used today. 

Pierre demoed MIDI for me and he made a quick beat to demonstrate how the controller works with the virtual plugins in Pro Tools. It was pretty straight forward and then i got to start my own beat. I've never made a beat before so at first i was a little overwhelmed with the amount of choices for sounds but i started with a foundation of drums then bass then some lead elements, it was super fun! Pierre also let me take home his MIDI controller so i could use it to make more beats which is a great exercise. Afterwards, i helped setup for a tracking session: live drums, bass, guitar, vocals.. the standard setup that i am used to working with at this point. The band was Nothing Sounds Good and what a great group of guys they were, like most musicians I've worked with at the studio they were about the music and knew their way around the studio as well as what they were going for in the session. 

I'm a planner, also have and probably always will be. I think in this profession it's really important to do the prep work and be prepared for any situation that might come along in the session. A good engineer will show up early, have a detailed plan, engage the clients, have a great attitude, and keep the session flowing. These are all things Pierre does really well and I'm constantly looking to improve and learn from him so i can be great at these things too. 

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