Working on “puppy”, recording drums

I’ve got the studio set back up and have been working on “puppy” for the past two days. Working on mixing these first two songs has taken longer than I wanted it to, but these were the two that needed the most work and once they are done everything else should fall into place a lot easier. I haven’t yet come up with a good approach to recording volume automation, so the mixes aren’t final. I’ve been experimenting with Logic’s External I/O plugin, and think I have the latency problem figured out so I can insert external effects processors in the audio chain like a VST.

I have re-recorded a few parts in each of these two songs, which I think has improved them a lot. One thing I added to some of the parts was sequencing volume accents, so that different notes within the sequence are emphasized. I’ve also started adding in some modulated envelopes, and adding some randomness to the shape of the envelopes to make some of the more static sequences move a bit. In my first run-through, I relied on using the Kaoss Pad controller to manually input this sort of movement, and I like the combination of some of those old parts, some of the new sequenced/random moving parts, and some static parts.

Last night I set everything up to start recording the drum tracks for “puppy” using my CR-78 programming guide. I had already forgot some of the steps, so I’m glad I wrote it all down. There were a couple quirks. First, the ER-1 does not pass the MIDI clock data to through to the Kenton, so in order to sequence both the ER-1 and CR-78 sequencers at the same time using Logic’s MIDI clock, I had to use a MIDI merge box. I hook everything up as described in the guide, but set the ER-1 to “Ext” MIDI clock, and hook it’s MIDI OUT (which contains the notes from the ER-1 sequencer) and MIDI THRU (which contains the MIDI clock and start/stop from Logic) into a MIDI Merge box, which is then sent to the Kenton. Then everything works as you’d expect, and both the boxes sync to the song. Second, I’ve found out that Logic is really annoying about sending the start/stop data needed to get things synced properly. It basically only seems to work if you start recording at bar 1, the very beginning of the song. Very annoying if you only want to record four bars of drums five minutes into the song. Is this some sort of a feature? What were they thinking? I know it didn’t used to work this way…

I’m hoping to finish these two songs up this week, and then move on to “lemon”.