Electronic Music

(17 posts)
  1. cruxtable

    hey all; i've been interested in learning how to make electronic music for a while now, and since i'm cutting back on guitar playing for now because of tendonitis (or something) i figure now would be a good time to learn.

    i'm just wondering if any of you have any experience, and know how i should go about it. i have a mac, what's the best software for it? do you have to buy a lot of instruments or synthesizers or what? i'm interested in learning it all, making electronic music, ambience, making beats and doing remixes. i've got garageband, but i think i'm ready for something more advanced and professional, the real thing.

    i think the medium has a lot to offer for jazz composition, incorporating acoustic and electronic sounds. i'm thinking of stuff like heartcore, and even invisible cinema where parks uses a tiny bit of electronics. speaking of heartcore, anybody know how he did the electronic stuff on that? i'm especially interested in the tunes interlude and love in the modern world - a lot of it sounds so real, maybe there's a lot of overdub in the flute part?


  2. jbroad

    i did my entire cd using reason (for everything but the guitar tracks) and pro tools (for the guitar tracks). i would suggest checking reason out since it has everything you would need to get started (drums machines, synths, sound libraries, sequencer, etc...). it took me a few days to know my way around the software and i was up and running in no time. i have some tunes up on my myspace page if you want to hear what i came up with. have fun.


  3. cruxtable

    sounds really good. did you have to buy any extra sounds or plugins or whatever for reason or did it come with everything you needed?

    also, what distortion do you use? sounds really good.

  4. jbroad

    hey paul,
    thanks my man. reason does come with a decent sound library but you'll probably want to buy some extra sounds (they call them refills). i can suggest some if you like. other than that, it comes with everything. also, a lot of people are using ableton live now so you might want to check that out too.

    i used amplitube for the guitar tones but i've since gotten an axe fx ultra that is amazing and blows everything else away. check this out:


  5. Pascau

    Hey Paul,

    I've fiddled a bit with electronic music/sampling and such. I have a macbook with logic 9, and I've found it to be really great. Great midi control. Comes with a lot of sounds, and some pretty powerful synths and samplers. Ultrabeat is also great. I was actually working on something earlier today. I just uploaded a draft to mySpace if you feel like checking it out:


    It's called "Tinfoil Hat draft". Its still in the works, so it doesn't actually have an ending. All of the sounds in that track and "Something Evil" were done in logic using included instruments and effects.

    I've also heard great things about Reason and Ableton, but I chose Logic because I took a course in it at school and already knew how to use it.

    Edit: just put up another example draft thats kind of dubby.

  6. cruxtable


    do you have logic 9 pro? i have had logic express 7 ever since i got my mac but can't for the life of me figure it out. i can't get any sound out of it besides the metronome, so i can't try using the electronic instruments yet.

    and the beat tinfoil hat is really really cool. what sounds did you use for that? i really like the drum sounds, and the chord sounds. and what's that other sound that happens during the chords? sounds sort of like a whispering thing.

  7. Pascau

    Thanks for checking it out.

    Yeah I do have logic 9 pro. I'm not sure what logic express comes with, or if it has all of the software instruments. There might be a few tutorials on either the apple website or on youtube. Thats the only problem with programs like logic and reason; they're quite complicated.

    For the drums in that track I used Ultrabeat. It's a drum sequencer/sampler included in logic, and the kit I used is just a slightly modified preset. The chords are sampled from a song and then re-arranged, and put through a tape delay. They were actually from a rubato voice and piano intro. The whispering sound is the singer breathing in, which is also going through a tape delay. The bass/organ sound is just the organ software instrument, and the scratch-esque sounds are actually a lot of speed fades.

  8. cruxtable

    what song did you sample? i'd like to check it out so i can see what's possible with software... is there a way to take vocals out of the audio or something?

  9. Pascau

    Oh, sorry I didn't mention that. Corcovado by Jobim. The one off of Getz/Gilberto. The piano chords are from the opening. You can't strip the vocals, but thats why that intro worked well, since most of the chords fell between the vocals.

  10. g_2_the_izzo

    I've never really listened to electronic music before except for Kurt's Heartcore (and Radiohead has some electronic-ish stuff too)... but other than that I'm not well versed in it. Are there any albums that you could recommend to me in this style that you think are particularly musical?

    I'm really inspired by this stuff. What all would I need to get started making this kind of music? Do you need a keyboard to interface with the computer or can you do it strictly from recordings imported into the software?

    Pascau, how long did it take you to make those tracks?

  11. Stephan

    Hey g_2,

    Reason definitely is a very good programm. Also make sure to check out the software by the company Native Instruments. They are the leaders when it comes to software for creating electronic or electronic inspired music!

    Artists you should definitely check out in my opinion:

    Nils Petter Molvaer
    Eivind Aarset
    Aphex Twin
    Nine Inch Nails (more rock oriented, but they definitely have superb electronic sounds. I love them)
    Bill Laswell

    ...I will post more when i have more time. I'm in a little hurry right now...

  12. cruxtable

    g_2, i've really only listened to the same stuff, heartcore and radiohead (kid a, amnesiac).

    also, bjork is electronic heavy music, but incorporates acoustic instruments and strings, which is cool.

    i also listen to a lot of hip hop stuff with a lot of electronic stuff, ambience, beats etc. like nujabes, flying lotus, dj premier, specifics, and i've heard j dillia is really great but i haven't listened to him. also the q-tip album the renaissance is good, which kurt plays on.

  13. cruxtable

    i'm a little confused about something about electronic music, hopefully someone can enlighten me...

    i don't understand how it works with different sounds and synthesizers... there are sounds/synths built into different programs, but then there are keyboards that are synthesizers, so how does that work? does the computer somehow get the sounds that are built into keyboard synths? and do these programs have built in synthesizers where you can basically create a sound from nothing, and edit all of the different aspects of a sound? and what's the deal with the built in sounds, are those all you really need or is there a reason for buying more sounds? can't you edit any sound to have any sound?

  14. Pascau

    g_2: I made those mainly over a couple hours, although I usually keep coming back to them for a few days and tweaking them/mixing them until I feel like its actually "finished".

    Paul: The following is all as far as I know... so there could be a few factual errors. Basically there are 2 types of synths: analog, and digital. The analog ones are like the old moogs. Digital is what a lot of common synths are nowadays, as well as whats in the programs. For the digital synths, the actual keyboard ones and the ones on a computer program are basically the same, just packaged differently. If its a synth keyboard then its basically a digital synth and a midi controller glued together. If its in a program, its just the digital synth, and you need to provide some way to control it (usually a midi keyboard, which is what I use).

    Most professional programs like logic and reason will have both presets, and the ability for you to tweak every parameter of the sound/start from scratch. The only reason I see for presets, is they are great starting points for a sound. You can just try out various presets until you find one that is close to what you are looking for, and then tweak it is necessary. The alternative is starting from scratch, and if you don't know how to work the digital synths properly (like me) this can be very time consuming.

  15. lacroix

    @jbroad: Jack, you are a genius. After visiting your myspace page, I bought your CD "Contact" which is great. Your music is weird, inspiring, deep, lyrical and aggressive all at once. So far I can't stop listening.

  16. Joel


    Check out Richard Barrett; I studied composition with him and played with him on a number of occasions. I would say he's the only electronic musician/improviser I know of who makes you feel like you are playing with another instrumentalist.

    You can check out his duo work here:


  17. jbroad

    hey lacroix,
    thanks for the kind words- you made my day! i'm definitely NOT a genius though. hahaha!



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