This is part 3 of a 5 part series on the basics of electronic music production. Start by reading part 1 if you just got here.
For electronic musicians our software is our orchestra filled with hundreds of instruments that can make thousands of sounds. They hold a large variety of highly modifiable samples that are legal to use in our tracks, although I highly recommend modifying them to an almost unrecognizable form for artistic originality and to set yourself apart, it’s just not cool to use the presets as is in electronic music, It is a good way to get yourself going at first. There are many different D.A.W.S electronic musicians can use so Im going to narrow it down to a few to get you started.
The first program you should load is the latest version of Reason which can be a very easy user friendly piece of software that when you dive deeper and deeper into it becomes a very powerful tool. When you begin you can quickly build a song by laying Rex sample loops to get you started, but you are going to want to eventually build your beats and sounds using your midi controller to manipulate the very powerful synths and drum machines. Reason is great for all styles of electronic music, but what sets it apart from other software applications is it can get very extreme with it’s effects and instruments.
Some of the sounds are over the top noisy, broken sounds which is actually sound good for heavier more experimental genres of electronic music. I have seen people make wicked Drum&Bass and Dub Step tracks on this program. It also carries some very interesting violin and guitar sounds found in some dreamier type Indie Pop, Electronica and Techno. I highly recommend the Reason 6 Power book from Amazon, its going to completely open up your mind to the possibilities of this very powerful software, the exercises are really manageable and you will be navigating Reason like a pro in no time.
Logic Studio is also a very helpful tool in our toolboxes. Note that the more sources that you use and combine to create your sounds the more original the music is going to sound. To this day electronic musicians are always striving to mask their process of how they create their music, so no one else copies their process which hijacks their sound, That is the reason why you might not see much written about individual producers and what they exactly do to create their music.
With Logic Pro you are going to get a ton of apple loops which are small musical parts that are easy to link to create songs, but as your experience level increases you will want to use fewer of them and modify them to sound unrecognizable from their original form.
The Ultrabeat drum machine is one highlights of this program being that it is a highly modifiable drum synth, it is a great software instrument for creating chill to extreme sounds in any style of electronic music. Logic gives you an array of great software instruments like electronic keyboards, synths, electronic and synth basses to a variety of different string sections ranging from very pure sounds to highly effected sounds. The book you want to grab for this software is the Apple Training Series Logic Pro 9, within a short time of working through the exercises you will be handling Logic like a pro.
Ableton Live is the premier software for live electronic music performance, but it also is a very nice D.A.W for music production. Ableton Live combined with the novation launchpad gives you a really powerful tool for creating some cool original beats . Ableton Live 8 Power is the book you want to pick up to work your way through this interface. Ableton Live 8 will also serve as the main platform for when we talk about performing our music live in Part 4
Next, DIY Electronic Music Production Basics: Part 4 – (see you next week)
Guest Post: Rick Lloyd is a Musician/Producer with 8 years of experience writing, performing, recording and producing with a variety of musicians focused in Electronic and Indie Rock music. Rick is currently getting ready to launch Ghost Print Media, an in depth media blog website focused as a reference guide and networking site for the D.I.Y artist, as well as reviews of media services, software, and equipment used to create our media. Follow him on Twitter @GhostPrintMedia