Song 11 - March 14 - 21, 2011
"Make Love - Remix"
(Right-click or ctrl-click to download the song, or just click the link to play it.)
"Make Love" - Remix
Track count: 14 Tracks
Instrumentation: Original song by Daft Punk, bass, ukulele, voice, Live "lovely keys" keyboard, BeBot, Casiotone, Ableton Live, MacBook Pro.
Original concept: I love this Daft Punk song, from their CD "Human After All," but sometimes when I listen to it I hear more going on in my head. This week, I was audacious enough to attempt to remix it. Note that Daft Punk (a French electronica band) is not aware of this remix, and it's not authorized by them. It's just a fun exercise I set myself for this week.
Here's a link to the original song by Daft Punk: "Make Love" Original song by Daft Punk- MP3 File
Monday, March 14th - I extracted the song from an MP3 file and listened to it, gathering ideas, letting the feeling sink in. The original song is 4:50, sounds like an old drum machine - like one from a cheap keyboard - with piano, bass and/or guitar, and faint reverby voices in the background. I think I will add some things and see what happens.
(For the record, a few days in, I confirmed that it's much more difficult to work with an existing song than it is to create a song from nothing. Which I kind of knew. But this is an irresistible challenge, and I think I've spent as much time on this as anything else I've done for 365.52.12 - if not more! It's totally addictive….)
Tuesday March 15th - I cut out a 4-bar loop from the song and imported it into a program called ReCycle. ReCycle is designed to create loop files made up of slices, called "Rex Files," originally designed to be used in another program called Reason - but I use ReCycle a lot just to find out what the exact tempo of a song or piece of audio is for my own nefarious purposes. It makes looping, beat-matching and remixing a lot easier, even if I don't end up saving out a REX file.
Anyway, looks as if the original Daft Punk song is exactly 133.069 BPM. I will probably cut the song into parts and import it into Live so that I can make a tempo-locked backing track, and slave it to either 130, 132 or 133 BPM. Then I will create a Digital Performer session to record the new parts and layer the new material in.
Wednesday, March 16th: See the paragraph above. That's what I did today - cut out sections of the song in 4, 8 and 12 bar chunks and prepared the backing tracks for the session. I fiddled with the tempo some, tried 130, 132, 135 - but think I will leave it at 133 for now. I laid the loops in, and made a much swifter fade in than in the original (20 sec. or so as opposed to the original 40). I also did a breakdown/stutter edit about 20 bars in. (This was laborious and nerdy process - but email me if you want to know how I did it.) Fun!
I also nipped out some of the nice hissy hat sounds, and put them into a sampler to play as percussion for the breakdown, and recorded some parts with them in the intro and main part of the song too. For the first melodic layer, I tried some guitar harmonic samples, but they didn't sound right. Later on I sat down and played some bass, and that did feel right.
Thursday, March 17th: St. Pat's, right? There will be no fiddle, no penny-whistle, and no green beer. But there WILL be some Casio. I think.
First I played some more bass parts, and roughed the song out to the end, including a fade out that goes down, and then stops suddenly - it is not as jarring as it sounds. In the middle, I am using a long, non-looped section from the original song where you can hear someone singing in he background. It was too sweet to cut, and too nice and floaty to loop, so I lifted out a 3 minute chunk verbatim. There are 3 breakdowns in the song now, and I think thats enough - don't want them to sound gimmicky, and they are all a little bit different.
Ha! I just realized that the tempo of the original song drifts - it's not a consistent BPM. The sound of it is so old school and analog, compete with tape hiss - so I suspect my theory is correct, and it was a recording of a jam, with people playing live in a room to an old drum machine - at least that's what it sounds like. Maybe that's what attracted me to this song in the first place. So I am following my original impulse to play parts live, and not try to lock the new parts I'm recording to a clock, or loop them.
The ukulele was in a stand behind me, so I picked it up and started doing a simple flutter and a little pick motif - recorded that in.
Friday, March 18th: I edited the uke track - it's tuned, but sounds out of tune with the original track, so I am laying it pretty far back in the mix, it just flutters in there for a while at the beginning. Kind of sweet. I'm not using it as much as i thought I would, just texture. Casiotone's on the bubble. Acoustic guitar is too - it's really hard to tune acoustic instruments to this song, as it's a little out to begin with. We'll see...
I also recorded some keyboard parts, using a sound that's sort of like a fancy toy piano/bell. Not sure the Casiotone will work for this song- I like the idea of using it, but the actual sound may not work. What DOES seem to work is BeBot, the magical singing robot. Too cute. Sometimes I think I play it just so I can watch the little robot sing….well, actually, I KNOW I do. But he sounds good, too. So, BeBot's in. I am running out of time - client work is getting ignored (Hi, Don!) so I am going to quickly record some tracks, and work with them at the beach this weekend. Voice and Casiotone, here we come!
Sunday, March 20th: At the beach, but I have the song on the laptop, with all the raw parts to mix. The Casiotone was actually really nice in this song - I used the Trumpet sound, with delayed vibrato and reverb, fit right in. As I mix this thing, I wish I had the original individual full-resolution Daft Punk tracks to work with - but I suspect that even Daft Punk doesn't have them. I like that my tracks sound organic wit\h the original - a similar sound and feel. That said, it's a challenge to get my tracks to stand out in the mix. But I'm having fun with it, and the vibe of the original song is so much like people just jamming in a room - and maybe you're even listening from the next room - so that's still in play.
I made a copy of the intro and EQd it so it sounds as if it's coming from a speaker in the corner of the room. That, with the sound of me picking up the uke, makes a nice intro to the song. I like it!
Monday, March 21st: Worked on the sitting at a table looking out at the Pacific Ocean while Robyn and Townsend play Pokemon. I wish I could work this way every day.
Should I send this song to Daft Punk when I'm done? Someone did a slight remix of one of my songs once and sent it to me, and I was actually kind of touched - but I'm not a famous French electronica band, so…. there is that. Not sure how they would feel, but I don't know much about them except I like their music, and they seem cool. If you have read this far, and have an opinion, email me!