Let’s be frank. Computers really don’t demand any musicianship; they’re a blank slate with which you can do anything you like, and quantization is always close at hand. But bragging rights aside, whatever anyone else may think of the results, playing musical elements live can often be more satisfying. And it’s refreshing, at a time when software seems to be bending over backwards to offer bleeding-edge technology to compensate for your lack of time and tune, to see people getting more dextrous, not less.

Ukrainian-born, Toronto-based artist Andrew Andriyashev, going under the name Triple A production, sends along a video of his work in a friend’s studio. What’s nice about it is that everything – from instrumental parts to sample slicing – is played live. It’s not a new idea, but it’s nice to see it documented, and I was curious to learn how Andrew got lucky enough to get this studio and skilled enough to make it work.

He explains his tool set to CDM:

[The setting is] my friend’s home based studio in Toronto, called “Studio Dynamic.”

Yes I was using [Apple] Logic for recording. I chopped and changed the pitch of the sample in [open source audio editor] Audacity beforehand and loaded everything in EXS, which I later played along to the beat. It consists of 2 parts, instruments + the chopped up vocal sample.

All the other instruments were recorded live into Logic separately.

About my background: I was born in Ukraine but live in Canada now. I have been making music professionally for about 4 years now. Had placements on MTV in Europe and MuchMusic in Canada. Also I am currently an in-house music producer at one of the biggest recording studios in Canada, “Cherry Beach Sound“.

While my main website is under construction, some of my work can be found here:

www.tripleaproduction.com

Thanks for the nice work, Andrew. So, readers – got any tips and techniques you like to employ in production to keep it live? Or, alternatively, anything more you’d like to know?

  • http://soundcloud.com/morpion Morpion

    It's a simple thing, but I've taken to using as many virtual instruments as possible in standalone mode and route the audio into Logic via the IAC rather than using them as AU plugins. Kind of forcing myself to avoid MIDI and any temptarion to quantise, etc.

  • loops are boring

    all those great musicians and you confine them to playing over a 16 bar loop over and over.

    really kind of boring

    music, electronic music, hip hop 

    can be so much more 

    working with a real singer, at least you'd own the rights to the song. Goodluck trying to licensed that "sample" for commercial distribution

  • Peter Kirn

    Actually, when you can play like that, you can a) replace even the sample and b) (I agree, it can be cool to) go longer than a couple of bars.

  • Jon C

    When I was a kid this is how records were made… (walked uphill to school both ways and all that nonsense) so this post made me chuckle. Not at Triple A (nice work) but at the concept that live playing in the studio is perhaps becoming a foreign concept to musicians. Hard for me to believe. Do you think that is true? Did I miss your point?

  • Peter Kirn

    Not a foreign concept – just a concept essential enough that it's worth repeating. Hence the "it's not a new idea" mention.

  • Alejandro Vukasovic
  • Peter Kirn

    Let me put it another way – not that people actually read.

    It's going to rain tomorrow here in New York. It's not the first time that it has rained. But it's news in that it's going to rain *tomorrow*, and so I'm going to make sure to bring an umbrella.

    As a result, since CDM is not published through a time machine from 1992, I cover things that aren't necessarily new. (Hint: neither are mixers, synthesizers, MIDI, software, hardware, electricity…)

  • Bendish

    What would happen if he took away the samples and just had some real ting?

    Would we miss the samples?

    If not then the post is potentially just about a band making music.

  • Bendish

    But I did vibe to dat…

    Peter…Maybe you could post a link to Peter Gabriel's Sledgehammer next time ay ay ay….Harrr Harrr

    Music's great aint it

  • Jamsire Ernoir

    Hey Peter. I just hate this kind of thing. It's worse because he HAS ACTUAL musicians who can play, so why not do something original???? I just absolutely hate this crap. I very much appreciate you showing these videos because you are being true to the site and it's mission – and I know how great a musician you are.

    I think I'm going to have to answer with my own video one day, after I finish this Groove Organica orchestration.

  • Alejandro Vukasovic

    The issue with the "video from 1992 " was a mixture of nostalgia and wonder when things are rediscovered.

  • Peter Kirn

    @Alejandro: No, absolutely – and I couldn't agree more. Thanks for sharing that vid.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/gtodd876/ Todd Matthews

    Wow, so much negativity. I enjoyed the post Peter. I love to see how others work regardless of any other factors.

  • RayFlower

    That was pretty neat, i don't mind it being simple.

    But as a guitar player i should encourage the guitar player to tune his guitar and get a better lead(2nd) tone:<

  • http://www.edisonsdemo.tumblr.com edison

    very dope…. very clean production… a classic hip hop session!..

    proper!

    this site's comments kind of has me losing faith in musical humanity…

    think ill take a while off…

  • usedtobe

    maaaan people are haters. making electronic music is sick.

    i feel andrew on the process completely, i can't sequence instruments worth a dang with the mouse, especially the slanky drum stuff, gotta play it. plus it's fun
    http://soundcloud.com/declareupdate
    this stuff's all recorded with lpd8 and synths, performed with apc40. and duh it's not new, it's just rad!

  • http://noisepages.com/members/birdsusestars/ BirdsUseStars

    And so I shall contribute my disembodied hand/monome video of some live sequencing ect. 

    And I'm not even sitting on the floor (that you know of)!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=agRhroc-v5M

  • Jamsire Ernoir

    "Musical Humanity?" "Haters?" So you guys saying that we can only comment if we actually like music we hear? I teach electronic music, audio engineering, music production all day long for the City University of New York. And I am ALWAYS fighting a battle with "samples/ sampling" vs. real LIVE musicians. I have a department full of musicians that the music tech students don't even respect. I want to see Mr. A3 re-create the original sample with real musicians – then I will like it. Until then, I'm allowed to have an opinion, based on my experience and music preference – and yes, I love hip-hop, but only when it's good. Public Enemy's audio collages were astonishing.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/freezedream/ freezedream

    Really enjoyed this, although I see this as more like a "jam session" than anything else and obviously it would be taken to another level with vocals / rap. I actually like the idea of taking inspiration from old recordings, although the sampling here and the overall composition is definitely reminding me of Moby a lot – not neccessarily a bad thing.

  • http://www.inoutfest.org Flplsx

    This site is great for getting the point across that there are new musicians using tools and methods that aren't traditional. It's sad that sampling is still seen as non-musical or cheating by so many people.

  • Jordan

    don't understand musicians who don't consider sampling musical.  I can play guitar, piano, bass and accordian,  and I still enjoy making beats with and without samples.  What is so wrong about taking a song that you love and means something to you, and choosing to re-invent it?  Why is there so much resistance to sampling in the musical community?

  • Kim

    I liked it. Thanks for the post Peter.

  • http://www.musicbydo.com dO

    like in the first part when he "sample chops" how can you do that with ableton, what instrument can you use? thanks

  • http://noisepages.com/members/birdsusestars/ BirdsUseStars

    @d0 The best way to do that in Ableton is to record to an audio track, right click the new clip and select "slice to new midi track." In this way Ableton will create a playable instrument from audio slices. 

  • ab

    i really miss this kind of beat making myself…but i also do enjoy making stuff purely on the computer just mangling samples and twisting them as much as i kind to make music out of nothing, it just amazes me how much you can do with a computer and a few found sounds/samples.

  • http://zeroreference.blogspot.com zeroreference

    argh why must people criticize critics? lol. criticism is coequal with creation.

    i really enjoyed watching someone's process from a-z, and found it quite valuable. liked the beat until just after the bass came in, then each additional voice was, to my ears, redundant in many ways. not so exciting musically. good production, sound quality. sounds pro, audio-wise, i think. 

    think i'm gonna switch from midi pads to midi keyboard for sample triggering.

    @Alejandro – great video. DJ Muggs = awesome

    @BirdsUseStars – awesome. loved your track.

  • Oh Noes!

    Oh noes! "edison" losing faith in musical humanity. Announces departure from comments section.

    How will we cope ? Peter this has to be the topic of your next blog entry.

  • ashjamben

    why so many haters on cdm all of sudden? it seems like peter posts something interesting and then has to justify it to certain people in the comments. an interesting video none the less, and not necessarily posting 'old' news (i was 3 years old in 1992 so forgive if i missed out on dj muggs. i will, however, make sure i check out his stuff soon)

  • Jack

    I'm not sure why people hate on sampling so much either. And why should he remake the sample with live instruments?? The only value I can see is as a sound engineering exercise, and to get the sample cleared. But he already pitched it up a huge amount, and cut it up a lot too – not that recoginisable, and not too prominently used in the tune either.

    Really good to see that creative flow, and decent musicianship too.

  • http://www.richardwindeyer.com rwindeyer

    I'm hoping we'll just have to wait for episode 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 to see how he and his team of players write the chorus, the verse, the hooks, organize the breakdowns, the lyrics, and conjure up 'the magic'. It's nice (and maybe even satisfying) to see additive processes at work (tracking, layering and building), yet at the same time, I always feel like I'm watching flight school students or something: "So ok, you've built this contraption, the controls are working, and you've got the bloody thing up in the air…now what???" (please take me somewhere i haven't been and then give me a really solid landing!)

  • Kent

    Please, not every dissenting opinion is 'hate'. Take a punch already, and take it like a man!

    I remember making fun of electronic music and sequencing as 'Aww…that's so easy, it's just a machine'…until I tried doing it myself! Nowadays I still don't listen to much hip-hop or house music, but I have a TON of respect for the people who make it and those who are struggling to learn how.

    They are no different in spirit from me and my guitar and a four track back in the day, and in a lot of cases significantly more talented, industrious and creative!

    For those about to rock…I SALUTE YOU!

  • http://aliberger.bandcamp.com Ali

    I don't understand why people would hate on the actual music presented here. Some dudes made a tune that sounds nice. Maybe it's just because seeing the live players brings up the musicians vs sampling debate, or something, but that seems like that has little to do with this particular video–we could easily argue about any one of the other thousands of beatmaking videos on youtube. There are tons of them and I'm sure plenty of them feature the combination sampling records and live instruments.

    The objection to this post that I can understand is that it's not particularly CDM-worthy. Someone made a well-produced track in a nice studio and has a video to go along with it. The explanation doesn't explain anything, but that said, there's nothing to be explained. It's very obvious from the video what is going on, and I think that's Peter's point: playing live instruments is simple, straightforward, inevitably sounds live, and doesn't require any computer-based humanizing tools. The catch is maybe that Peter made it seem so obvious that we're all saying "duh, why is this news worthy of being posted on CDM?"

  • http://cooptrol.com cooptrol

    I think I know Peter's agenda. He drops in a post like this every now and then to heat up the debate and make people intervene. Thats why we all keep coming back, we're all soap-opera-sluts, and we love it! You know how to do it Pete…

  • Chris

    Enjoyed the video. Love to see different peoples ways of making music (especially when the music is decent)

    Jamsire Ernoir – It IS original. Sure he could have got a singer to come in but it wouldn't be the same…much of the charm of music with samples used in it comes from the fact you're using bits of audio that were recorded in a certain way, with certain equipment at a certain period in time. I do however respect your opinion, and realize it's not for everyone. 

    It's possible to recreate samples but it's tedious and the opposite of creative and original (musically)

  • shorter pockets

    don't forget the soul homie….

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8OhDC5GUJYw&fe

  • Johnny Horizon

    I would encourage people to consider before commenting that, regarding your personal taste in music, NO ONE FUCKING CARES.

    Process videos are always interesting. Comment about the process, not if you like or dislike the output.

  • http://regend.com Regend

    SLICE TO NEW MIDI TRACK > Audacity any day…and if you need to time stretch in Ableton…adjust bpm and time markers export, drag into a new channel SLICE TO NEW MIDI TRACK…LOVE IT!

  • http://www,chriswestlake.com Chris Westlake

    I think I give this type of writing process a little bit of a hard time because so many decisions are already taken care of. Splicing and mapping a finished piece of music, programming a beat in this way – I find it limiting in terms of what is created. Often it's a decent but musically rigid 4 bar loop that repeats. Yes, you can add a bass line, but this process has inherent musical limitations. When you rely on sampling ONE tune to form the majority of your track, it's creatively lackluster.

    However sampling smaller bits and pieces, making your sources unrecognizable, that's much more interesting process wise and has many more musical possibilities.