Lets do the digital boogie… ‘Call Waiting’

As part of my ongoing quest to learn as much about sound and making sounds as possible (and as part of one of my sound design / showreel compositions) I’ve been working on a piece of what can only be described as ‘digital boogie’… I thought it might be useful to point out a few things I’ve done on this track that I think give it quite an authentic character and that I’m pleased with. Listen below!

As you can probably hear there are a fair few ‘retro’ sounds making their mark in this song. Firstly the drums are a sampled Yamaha RX21 drum machine, not as cool as its friends the RX 5 and 10 but still it suits this task well. It makes a pretty easy set up for this song in Logic’s EXS 24.

the sampled RX21 Kit
the sampled RX21 Kit

This is by all accounts a very simple set up, each sample being mapped to an individual key. The only exception is the kick drum which I layered with another to give it a little more ooooomph! One thing to mention here is that you’ll notice some of the drums are going to different outputs.. so I can manage them separately in Logic’s mixer.

Digital Boogie Bass

The bass for this song was created using the ES P which is not the most pleasant of synths to look at but certainly does the job..! No fancy modern VSTs for this song – download the ES P patch here.

The arrangement of the track is also quite simple, as I wanted to limit myself to under 10 instruments and run the entire song as a MIDI sequence, something I’m looking at more in my forthcoming multitimbral adventures…! I use a colour coding system for all my compositions, something I’d recommend if you’re working on multiple projects simultaneously.

Digital Boogie Arrange

One thing to remember when creating ‘authentic’ sounding pieces of music is that you have to think about the availability of equipment / instruments / hardware etc there was in the period of your choosing. For this song it was quite suitable to use just 2 send effects, for which I chose a nice tape delay and plate reverb (both Logic plugins) and applied them to a variety of the instruments. Most notably on the stabby chords and lead synth parts.

Speaking of which.. those stabby chords were also made in the ES P! What a fantastically useful (if not slightly ugly) synth!

Digital Boogie Stabs

Digital Boogie Stabs - Plugins

I also used a couple of ‘old timers’ on the master for this tune, just to help in terms of gluing the mix together. The Puigchild 670 is a favourite of mine, and I don’t do much else except give it a little bit of help in the threshold department. The Kramer tape is a bit of a trial and error kind of affair, but can yield some nice results.

Ok ok… so this song isn’t going to break into the charts anytime soon, and I doubt you’ll catch kids listening to this on their iPods on the back of a bus, but there’s something to be said about going back to (almost) basics. If you’d like more info on the sounds in this song or any of the techniques I used then let me know!

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