Following some very positive feedback on the tutorial video on how I create trance music I also decided to dedicate today to make another tutorial of how I arranged the entire track Spirit Within You.
This video takes a detailed look at all the sections that form the track - such as the intro, the build up, the breakdown, the culmination, and the outro. It also explains how various instruments are introduced and modified during various stages of the track.
I am, by no means, saying that this is how you must make trance music - it's just at peek into how I arrange most of my tracks. When I started out making music in the 90s I found no tutorials like this and I'm hoping that this video can help some of you that are interested in making music.
Right then, here is the tutorial of how to arrange a trance song / track:
As usual, I use Cubase 5 and my trusted VST instruments Nexus2, VanGuard, and Sylenth1 - but this arrangement technique can be applied regardless of what software you use.
If this tutorial helps you out - I'd be happy to hear about it in the comments field =)
Today I decided to create a tutorial based on my latest trance track "Spirit Within You". It's a detailed look at a section of 15 measures of the track where I go through each and every instrument, what notes and chords are played, which presets are used, what VST instrument was used, etc. This should hopefully give you the foundation of percussion, bassline, melody, filling effect - but it won't teach you how to arrange a full length track - that will come in another tutorial.
Have a look at the tutorial
What's in the video?
The video describes the following elements:
Percussion (drums) - kick, closed hihat, open hihat, claps, cymbals
First bassline (rapid 1/16 notes)
Second bassline (offbeat 1/8 notes)
Cluster of 5 simultaneous leads for extreme atmosphere
Two trance gates for an even fuller effect
Pads for more euphoria
And a classic trance piano with delay end reverb
First the video lets you listen to the end result. Then I solo each instrument and describe what notes were played. You can also see exactly which presets are used in Nexus2, VanGuard, and Sylenth1. All presets, more or less, use the default settings and the default delay / reverb effects. Filter cutoff frequency is altered on a few instruments to create that classic morphing or transforming sound commonly found in trance. No additional, external, or invisible effects are applied.
In this video tutorial I use Cubase 5 as a sequencer - but the technique can be applied to any sequencer and VST instruments.
Since this video focuses on a cropped out section of the track, I plan to make another video showing how the track is arranged in terms of introducing various instruments, the intro, the chorus, the breakdown, the outro, etc.
If you like this video and, of course, if you like my music - please consider supporting Imphenzia by buying one of my albums in the album section (or on iTunes and other digital stores) - you can also gain Full Access to all Imphenzia tracks for high quality 320kbps MP3 and lossless FLAC files.
Virtual Instruments (VSTi) used
Groove Agent ONE (Cubase 5 drum machine)
All the presets are available in the retail version of each VSTi without the need for any expansions. The exception is the percussion since I just use various percussion samples.
I also had time to reflect on the historic designs and trends that my site has endured over the past 13 years. In recent time, for the launch of the 2008 site, it was all about content, content, content, account features, google ads, and more content. Following the trend at the time the font was small to fit in as much text and information as possible and the layout was split into three columns complicating it even further. The 2011 site is the complete opposite with much less information presented in a tidy manner with larger text and without columns. I also think that the time of content packed sites was a natural way to progress as it was expected to make use of fancy layouts and high screen resolutions, where as we’re now back to putting the visitor at the center of attention making sure that the message you want to get across is clearly visible and simple to understand.
For some time I have been contemplating over how I should release my music. In the very beginning it was only possible to purchase physical albums, then the addition of mp3 albums, then single mp3 tracks, then a “donation” to download all tracks for a period of six months. I found the various options, and how they were presented on my site, to be very confusing. What would my visitors think if I thought it was confusing? The idea of a donation, for example, would only make sense if all tracks were downloadable to begin with since a donation is giving without the expectation of receiving anything in return. Bottom line; it was very confusing.
I hope that the new site has taken a big step in the right direction to combat the issues outlined above. The album section has been totally redesigned with a clean look and a visitor can add digital albums and CD albums into a shopping cart. The donation feature has been replaced with a new feature for full access that still focuses on allowing the visitor to contribute with an amount of his or her choice and is return rewarded with longer term of access depending on the size of the contribution.
Another two years have past since Illusion was released and I was pleased, and somewhat surprised, as I unexpectedly decided to release "Duplicate My Soul". I should probably follow traditional marketing strategies and build up a hype well ahead of an album being released but when I have my creative periods I spontaneously do these things. At the same time I'm quite happy not to follow all the rules and I'd rather take the opportunity and take advantage when the spontaneous outbursts pay me a visit.
On the 19th of March 2010 I started working on a new track under the project name "Logic Surface" (I always have random names of my tracks until they are finished and I can name them appropriately depending on their character). I nearly completed the track on the 19th but on saturday 20th March I also managed to complete it fairly early in the day. As I named the track "False Awakening" I started to add tracks released after Illusion into my winamp playlist and as the total duration grew to 1 hour, 11 minutes, and 51 seconds (including 4 bonus tracks) it hit me - it's time for my next album to be released! By the evening on the 20th "Duplicate My Soul" was released and available for anyone to get as an mp3-album or as a physical album with artwork and the complete works.
So, in addition to creating "False Awakening" what did I do for this release during the 20th March?
Compiled the final track listing
Created the cover artwork for the jewel case and disc label (using a photoshop tutorial on the internet)
Changed ID-tags for all tracks included on album and re-encoded them in MP3, OGG, ACC, and FLAC
Uploaded all the re-encoded and ID-tagged tracks to imphenzia.com
Added album (artwork, zip-archive for mp3-purchases, and individual tracks) to imphenzia.com
Updated the web site to include the latest album
Created promo video for album demonstrating how I created the artwork (+ upload to youtube)
Sent out an e-mail to my mailing list regarding the new album release
Updated common social networking sites with album release (twitter, facebook, youtube, etc.)
Over all I'm very pleased with achieving all of this in one single day from spawning the idea of releasing an album to actually releasing it.
What to expect from Duplicate My Soul Most of the tracks are of true Imphenzia character with a melodic and uplifting sound. The main 9 tracks are all trance styled with what most probably would refer to as a classic (or retro) styled Trance which was more popular in the late 90s. I haven't been on for following trends or releasing what is currently hot or not, I'd rather create the type of music I love as there are still quite a few out there who appreciate this style. The one exception is probably track number 9 named "Vapour Trail" which was a very experimental track incidentally enough also casually released in silence on imphenzia.com in retrospect 2 years after it was created =) Following the 9 tracks of trance is the first bonus track "Theme of Decimation X" which was originally created for the intense retro shooter game "Decimation X" by Xona games. It fits the over all mood and is very much in line with my normal music that it qualifies as a bonus track on the album. The last three bonus tracks are chilled out downtempo edits of some of the tracks featured on the album.
The name of the album comes from the first track on the album with the same name. The name was selected for two reasons. First of all it is a tribute to my first child (a son) so it is in a sense duplicating my soul, and secondly because the track and all the music of Imphenzia really does reflect my soul and the music I create.
For those of you who are curious of what type of equipment I used to create the music on this album I use the following: Computer: Quad Core Intel 2.4 CPU with 4GB Ram running Windows 7 x64 Master keyboard: Roland FP-7 (88 keys hammer action) and an Evolution MK-226C Sound card: Motherboard's own soundcard believe it or not (with ASIO4ALL drivers) Sequencer: Steinberg Cubase 5 VST instruments: Mainly native Cubase instruments, reFX Nexus2 (plus expansion packs) and reFX VanGuard (plus expansion packs)
Finishing off this post, here is the promo video for the track featuring clips from the first four tracks and a quick preview of how the artwork was created:
A while back I was approached by Adraw through Soundclick who expressed a request to remix State of Confusion. I'm always welcome to remixes so naturally I accepted the request. Some time went past where I didn't hear much about it but little did I know what was to come. The remix is now finished and will be released under Emona Records but you can already listen to the entire track on Adraw's Soundclick page for this remix.
To help promote this track, I've put together a preview video that you can watch as well: