Creating a song using only my phone was surprisingly a lot more frustrating than I expected it to be. After downloading several different apps (and subsequently giving up trying to figure them out with minimal instructions given), I settled on an app called Music Maker Jam, that I found in the Google Play Store. However, even this did not come without difficulty, as I had to watch a tutorial several times, and also scrap several projects before I was able to figure out how to work the app properly (and I’m still not sure that I am using it properly). Finally, after many attempts, I figured out that I wanted to layer all of the instrument samples that I had chosen. These included a bass track, a drum kit track, two different piano riffs, a synthesizer track, and an electric guitar track. While recording, I played around with having each of those enter and exit at different points, starting with just a bass groove, and building from there, until every sample was playing at the same time. In addition, I figured out how to change the number of measures per phrase, which was a handy trick when I wanted to achieve a building effect. I also found a very basic effect grid. The X-axis was labeled low-high, and the Y-axis was labeled soft-hard. All I had to do to mess with the sound was drag my finger along the grid, to achieve the desired sound. This also helped to show a feeling of the music building, but it was difficult to mess with the effects and change the phrase length simultaneously, so I know that it didn’t come out as cleanly as it would have on a real program.
In a sense, I guess I did perform this live. Sure, it was not in front of an audience or anything, but I hit the record button at the same time that I began playing the first sample, and I then improvised to an extent. While I did sort of know how I wanted to stack all of my loops, this was not something that I wrote down. I essentially just hit record, began playing and stacking the samples, and messing with the phrasing and the effects periodically for about three minutes. This was not done in sections in a studio, and then patched together and edited at a later time. However, I am not one hundred percent sure that this constitutes as performing “live”, especially since it was done on my phone. I am sure that there are people on both sides of this debate, and I would love to hear more arguments for each point.
I remixed my first project, Urgency, deciding to call it Nerves this time. I actually changed it around quite a bit, but I did not add very much, with the exception of one (comical) recorded sound effect. Having much more knowledge now than I did at the beginning of the semester, I was able to stray away from only using four measure loops, and actually get creative with this project. I used effects such as delay and compressor, and I experimented with the “reverse” function in a few spots. I have to say, just moving the individual tracks around and changing their entrances and exits caused the piece to have a completely different feel, and I am really happy with how it turned out.
One of the suggestions that I received when I turned in Urgency at the beginning of the semester was that the drum part was too present. Overall, my piece was just too loud. Therefore, I spent some time trying to utilize the drumset track more effectively, breaking it up at times, and eliminating it completely in others. The drum track was not the only track that I made an effort to use more effectively; I also worked a lot with my track entitled “EDM Buildup”. As the name suggests, this time, I focused more on using it to, well, build up the piece. Previously, all of my tracks were just contributors to the cacophony that was my first music tech project, but now, I feel like I utilized each track a lot better.
In my opinion, sampling without permission of the original owner is not morally acceptable. When you don’t ask for permission to use something, you are literally stealing it. In all of my years of schooling, there has constantly been a lot of talk concerning plagiarism and academic dishonesty. Specifically, taking someone’s work and passing it off as your own. When an artist takes a chunk of someone’s song and uses it in their own, without even bothering to ask the original creator first, that, to me, seems like the exact definition of plagiarism. Furthermore, I do not understand how someone can have such disregard for someone else’s work. If you want to sample someone else’s song, just ask! I can understand that not everyone wants their songs sampled in other people’s work, and in that case, the person asking should understand that, and back off, instead of deciding to go ahead with their plan to use that sample regardless. I cannot comprehend how a person can just rip off someone else’s work (and then have the gall to not give them any credit) without feeling any remorse. The first person likely worked hard to create their song, and sampling it without their permission is not only dishonorable, it is lazy. Why bother doing the work yourself when you can just take someone else’s work and claim it as your own? Unfortunately, this is the reality for far too many artists today. If I had any say in the matter, I would propose that more stricter copyright laws be implemented for sampling, so that artists would no longer be able to just rip each other off.
For my peer remix, I used Emma’s track, entitled Racing Time. I chose hers honestly because I just thought it sounded cool. She used ambient sounds of passing cars and a ticking clock to shape her track, and I liked the way that the final product turned out. When I remixed it, I did not change the sound of her track itself, although I did reorder it quite a bit. I also used some repetition to emphasize certain parts and build up to new ideas. Furthermore, I did not add very much to her existing track, either. I added a few cymbal hits to emphasize a few spots, but that was about it. I really liked the way that the included found sounds added to the track, and I think that determined most of the embellishments that I made.