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Topic: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

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  1. #1

    Talking Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    Hey everybody,

    I've set up a website (very simple for right now... just enough to get it started) to showcase some of the music that I'm currently working on:

    http://alanb.org/

    Please give a listen to the pieces there... each is only about a minute long, so the time burden will be minimal...

    ---------------------------

    The first featured piece is my very first attempt at creating an all-programmed, all-MIDI, all-VI song. I'm very excited about it because (i) it features three of my favorite sample libraries, and (ii) I really like how it sounds so far. I'd love to get some feedback from you all...

    It's a jazz acoustic piano trio, “performed” by my so-called SeyerTekk Trio (namely, Larry Seyer's Acoustic Drums and Upright Acoustic Bass libraries, as well as SampleTekk's TBO piano library). Other than one tiny Project SAM "chimes" hit and two individual Doru Malaia "Chinese Gong" hits, everything you hear is either SampleTekk’s or Larry's stuff, "straight out of the box."

    Although some of the piano progressions were played through and worked out beforehand on a MIDI keyboard, ultimately all of the MIDI data was hand-entered and mouse-nudged/tweaked until it sounded just like it did in my head. Each hour of programming/editing yielded about five seconds of actual music...

    Basically, it's the piece's "head," and it fades out just as the "improvisation" starts... only ten-or-so more minutes to go (Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, here we come!!).

    ---------------------------

    I think that the results are pretty impressive, but (i) what do I know, and (ii) regardless of what I may know, I've realized that things that sound glorious on my studio monitors can sound rather boomy/bass-heavy on other folks' systems, so I'm not sure how it will sound to anyone listening on a different system. I'm still training my ear, but at least I know that I still have to train my ear...

    ---------------------------

    So... ladies and gentlemen... for your dining and dancing pleasure... without further ado, I give you... alanb and The SeyerTekk Trio performing the first minute-and-a-few-seconds of "A Square Peg in a Much Larger Round Hole" . . .
    — alanb

    ...........................

    http://alanb.org

    http://www.myspace.com/arsperspicuus

  2. #2
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    Re: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    Alan,

    Excellent work! I enjoyed your jazz acoustic piano trio “performed” with the Seyertekk trio. For a moment I thought I was at the Village Gate. The drums are exceptional. Thanks for posting this.

    Gary Garritan

  3. #3

    Re: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    Alan,

    Wow. You did that playing the mouse?!? I'm impressed! You've really gotten a great live sound from it. The number of timing adjustments must have been just this side of infinity!

    Here's some detailed feedback from what I'm hearing. If you hear it differently, don't sweat it.

    * Modulations - Typically, you'll hear more key/chord changes in this style than what you've presented. Okay, maybe this part was the trio's dreamy jam, and they modulate more on the rest of the album.

    * The final mix - seems a bit hot. You could lay off the compressor/limiter a bit and give the piece some more space.

    * The toms - seemed a bit heavy handed to me. For this style I'd expect the drummer to be sweeping the toms as much as hitting them. The cymbal dynamics seemed more appropriate, but were in contrast to the toms. If you put the toms on a separate track, you could probably process the overall velocities downward without tweak-tweak-tweaking each note - if you want to of course. It's your piece! (Or Larry Worra's )

    * The drums - seemed a bit busy for a live player, but I can't say for sure. Maybe there were a small number simultaneous tom/snare/cymbal hits that require three arms, which can break the illusion. It's a close call.

    Anyway, I'm giving this feedback because it's so darn good as it stands. Feel free to take it with many grains (or seas) of salt.

    Impressive job!

    Oh, and you might want to check out some of Bill Bruford's Earthworks for some examples of great live drumming to a similar musical style. I saw Earthworks a few years ago, and was amazed at how relaxed he was while playing such amazing beats.

  4. #4

    Re: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst

    * The drums - seemed a bit busy for a live player, but I can't say for sure.
    Perhaps it was ladies night!

    Darren
    www.darrenpasdernick.com
    "Every time you play a wrong note God kills a kitten."

  5. #5

    Re: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Garritan
    Excellent work! I enjoyed your jazz acoustic piano trio “performed” with the Seyertekk trio. For a moment I thought I was at the Village Gate. The drums are exceptional. Thanks for posting this.
    Thanks for the kind words, Gary. I'm delighted that you enjoyed the piece!!

    Heh -- the Village Gate ain't that far from where I live, so I must be headed in the right direction...

    It gets very insular, sitting here listening to my own stuff over and over again as I work on it.

    After a while, it starts getting more and more difficult to know what sounds "good," as opposed to what sounds "familiar."

    So, I'm inspired to keep going. I'm working on the first "improv" section right now... and boy, is my right index finger killing me!! [rimshot -- Larry Seyer Craviota Rod Snare With Donut]
    — alanb

    ...........................

    http://alanb.org

    http://www.myspace.com/arsperspicuus

  6. #6

    Re: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    Hey Jon,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to listen, and for drafting such a detailed response!!

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    Wow. You did that playing the mouse?!? I'm impressed! You've really gotten a great live sound from it. The number of timing adjustments must have been just this side of infinity!
    Just about... I play piano, drums and bass (electric), but not as good as I can think piano, drums and bass (electric). Giga has really helped me bridge the gap... at least until I can quit my day job and devote every free minute of my life to playing, and building up long-lost chops...

    As for the timing adjustments, it was more like infinity times about twelve... the first infinity was just getting a rough draft up.

    Then -- have you ever listened to a record and thought "gee I woulda swung that differently" or "I coulda played a better fill there"? One of the nice things about MIDI programming is that you get to do that, and then actually make the band "swing it differently" or play the fill that you 'woulda' played . . . repeating as necessary!!

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    * The final mix - seems a bit hot. You could lay off the compressor/limiter a bit and give the piece some more space.
    Okay, here's where I could really use a little advice, and maybe even a pointer if an appropriate web resource exists...

    When you say "hot," do you mean too loud? Distorted? Clipped? Too much high end? Not enough difference in the relative volumes of the various notes/instruments?

    The whole compressor/limiter thing is still a mystery to me. I understand, generally, what they do and that they tend to be overused, but I have never seen/heard a decent quantitative explanation or real-time demonstration of how they work well and how they can ruin a piece of music if overused or improperly used.

    I would love to see a website that provides three audio samples: (1) a small snippet of audio, (2) the same snippet of audio improved with the "right" amount of compression/limiting, and (3) the same snippet of audio ruined by too-damn-much compression/limiting. Does such a thing exist?

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    * The drums - seemed a bit busy for a live player, but I can't say for sure. Maybe there were a small number simultaneous tom/snare/cymbal hits that require three arms, which can break the illusion. It's a close call.
    Heh -- I just had 'em play the way I'd play if I could play that well... Back in college, I played "lead drums" in a punk/metal group, to the occasional chagrin of my bandmates. Later on I switched to "lead bass," so I guess that'll give you any idea of how I tend to play "in real life"... In this piece I guess I was shooting more for Elvin Jones than Rashied Ali (and compared to how he played, I was just playing straight time).....

    Hmmm, I tried very hard to avoid simultaneous hits, my main rule being that everything should be possible to play... although "by whom" is never specified!! I may have gotten lost in the moment at some point, enjoying how something sounded over the "reality" factor, but I'm not sure...

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    Anyway, I'm giving this feedback because it's so darn good as it stands. Feel free to take it with many grains (or seas) of salt.

    Impressive job!
    That really means a lot to me. I guess I'll keep working on it, then... Hooray!!

    I'm so new to this that I'm sure there are a million things that I could be doing easier/more efficiently. Reading technical advice here (where you are one of the brightest-shining stars, Jon), LGS and the Cubase forum, I learn something new evey day -- I look forward to the glorious time when it will only take me 30-minutes-instead-of-an-hour to program five seconds of music!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    Oh, and you might want to check out some of Bill Bruford's Earthworks for some examples of great live drumming to a similar musical style. I saw Earthworks a few years ago, and was amazed at how relaxed he was while playing such amazing beats.
    Bruford is such an amazing drummer. I saw him with King Crimson a handful of times over the years. Earthworks is great too, as is B.L.U.E. (not to revive the Chris Botti thread or anything...), and, of course... who were those other guys... oh, Yes!!

    Bruford's playing is so... mathematical... he can find just the right place to land a hit and, no matter how unexpected a hit or fill might be, it's all perfectly logical and consistent with the rest of the musical flow.

    Speaking of Bruford, I'm very excited to see that he finally released the "Bruford" band's appearance on the "Rock Goes To College" show on DVD. What a band that was...
    — alanb

    ...........................

    http://alanb.org

    http://www.myspace.com/arsperspicuus

  7. #7

    Re: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    The performance is perfect!

    But I notice the drums has enough ambient and are a little low in the mix. I mean, it seems like the drumkit has far away from the other instruments. A more 'in your face' sound should be more realistic in this jazz context IMHO, of course.

    I think Pettinhouse has a really good demo of 'in your face' drums in a jazz context.

    http://www.pettinhouse.com/jazz_brush.mp3

    Cheers!

  8. #8

    Re: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    Quote Originally Posted by JonFairhurst
    Oh, and you might want to check out some of Bill Bruford's Earthworks for some examples of great live drumming to a similar musical style. I saw Earthworks a few years ago, and was amazed at how relaxed he was while playing such amazing beats.
    It's funny because this thursday I will be seeing Mister Bill Bruford for the third time in the last years. This guy is a genius!

    Cheers!

  9. #9

    Re: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    Although some of the piano progressions were played through and worked out beforehand on a MIDI keyboard, ultimately all of the MIDI data was hand-entered and mouse-nudged/tweaked until it sounded just like it did in my head.
    Alan,

    So the piano isn't performed on a keyboard at all? Strictly entered in one-note-at-a-time by the mouse?

  10. #10

    Re: Ladies and gentlemen... introducing... the SeyerTekk Trio!!

    Hi Journeyman,
    Quote Originally Posted by Journeyman
    So the piano isn't performed on a keyboard at all? Strictly entered in one-note-at-a-time by the mouse?
    Yes, that's right.


    Although I figured out some of the progressions using a MIDI keyboard beforehand, every single note (and every single drum/cymbal hit) that you hear was mouse-entered (alternating between Cubase's dual-stave "piano score" and "piano roll" interfaces) and mouse-tweaked. So everything including pitch, duration, intensity,
    timing/rhythm, sustain/no sustain, "legato" placement/note-to-note transitions, etc., was all done (painfully slowly) via mouse.

    Sometimes, I'll even play an imaginary piano on my desktop while listening to it, just to make sure that I got the rhythm the way that I'm hearing it in my mind... the way that I "would" play it...

    Same with the drums -- every hit of every roll was placed individually, and then seasoned -- or removed/replaced -- to taste...

    This is partially because MIDI latency makes playing "live" problematic -- everything that I play in real-time is sufficiently "off" that I have to pre-impose a tiny offset onto each note before I play it, which gets distracting and/or exhausting... and still I'd have to nudge every note over a bit to get them in the right place
    anyway...

    It's also partially because I can't play any of these instruments anywhere near as well as I want to hear them played --
    if I still had my piano-playing chops (and/or my drum chops and a V-Drum kit) I could blast through a lot of this a whole lot faster, but what's a boy with a day job to do?!?!?

    At the end of the day, I think what's important is that the method of creation be non-apparent to someone who just wants to enjoy a piece of music... i.e., the mere fact of creation... a standard motivation in sample-based music, I guess...
    — alanb

    ...........................

    http://alanb.org

    http://www.myspace.com/arsperspicuus

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