Tagged: logic

Full Circle With Multitrack Drums

When I started this blog (mainly as a way to share files with my friends) 2 1/2 years ago, I did so by recording drum loops in Logic, and then posting the entire multitrack session for download. This way not only a great way for me to practice both my production and performance chops, but as a way to collaborate with my musical friends, many who were living in Los Angeles, New York and London.

As things progressed and this blog transitioned into a full-blown production company, I shifted to the more traditional loop formats (stereo WAV, AIFF and REX2 files) in order to be compatible with all major DAWs and provide downloads of thousands of loops digital without being more than several gigabytes in size. As you probably know, the size of multitrack sessions can add up fast and storing all of that data (let alone, the bandwidth of transferring it to customers) was going to be crazy, crazy expensive.

Well, with the price of online storage dropping dramatically, I’m happy to say that I’m back to my roots…. recording multitrack drum sessions for The Loop Loft. To make these sessions compatible with all major DAWs we decided to provide the stems as wav files, rather than as Logic session files. So now you can fire up Ableton, Cubase, Garageband, Reaper or whatever your favorite DAW is and drag and drop the multitracks in. I’m pretty excited about the flexibility this will give people, allowing them to control every single detail of my drum tracks, from the panning of a tom to the amount of compression on the kick drum.

So, here you have it, my new baby: multitrack drum sessions. Check out the video below for a glimpse of how it all works.

Multitrack Drum Session – The Loop Loft from The Loop Loft on Vimeo.

Multitrack drum sessions for logic, pro tools, cubase, ableton

Sunday Scofield (& Metheny)

I apologize for the lack of loops over the past few days. I’ve been busy updating my studio to Logic 9 and setting up a new iMac. Oh yeah, and I’ve been raking an insane amount of leaves. After spending the past eight years in NYC, with little more than 600 square feet to my name, I forgot what a massive pain in the ass a yard full of dead leaves can be.

Anyway, look for a bunch of new loops this week. Since I’ve doubled the size of my computer monitor, I figure I’ll be twice as productive when recording (or at least this is how I rationalized the purchase to my wife). In the meantime, here’s a live video from 1994 of John Scofield, Pat Metheny, Steve Swallow and Bill Stewart performing in Stuttgart, Germany. This track is called “Everybody’s Party” and can be found on their excellent Blue Note release, I Can See Your House From Here.

Apple Loops!

If providing you with every possible loop format is wrong, then I don’t want to be right. In another step to make this blog the greatest thing since the NKOTB reunion, I’ve decided to start providing Apple loops (AIFF files) along with every new beat. They’ll be included at the bottom of each post along with the WAV and REX2 files. Now you can just drop the loops into GarageBand or Logic and easily adjust the tempo to fit your needs. Look for the inaugural AIFF file to be posted shortly…

Steve Jobs Approves These Loops
Steve Jobs Approved

Space Funk

Loop #52

Someone got carried away with an envelope filter.

Bootsy approves this loop
Bootsy approves this loop.

Preview Here:

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Download the Logic session here. (48MB)

Get the .wav file here.

103 BPM

Lunchtime Lesson – Making Beatz

In a complete 180 from Lanois’ ambient and ethereal sound, Hip Hop production duo, Tha Bizness, show us how they crafted the beat for Young Jeezy‘s hit track, “My President iz Black“.

I can’t say I’m a big Jeezy fan, but a hit is a hit… and I’m always interested in watching the workflow of other producers (especially when they’re working in Logic).

My new drum chart.

Last night, while I was recording a drum track for my friend, Bob Reynolds, I had an epiphany of sorts. No, I wasn’t struck on the head with an apple and I didn’t find Jesus in a potato chip. I did, however, realize that the scrolling Logic session to the left of my hi hat was “my new drum chart”.

Traditionally, session musicians are handed sheet music (aka “lead sheets” or “charts”) prior to recording in the studio. These charts act as a road map for the musicians, guiding them through the arrangement of the song. They can vary from being highly detailed (telling you exactly what notes to play at any given moment) to just supplying the melody and chord changes (a typical jazz chart). For drummers, these charts are crucial in detailing the form of the song, but often provide us with a lot of information we don’t really need (is that G# augmented chord in bar 7 really going to dictate what groove I play?). Especially in a a pop setting, my main priorities are simple: Know the form and make it feel good.

Go ahead. Insert dumb drummer joke here:__________________________

Logic session.
Logic session

With the Logic session scrolling along as I record drum tracks, I’m able to see detailed intricatcies of the song that a traditional “drum chart” simply can’t provide. It allows me to not only view the form of the song, but it also shows me the actual instrumentation in real time, much like a full conductor score. For example, before I even get to a chorus, I can visually anticipate what instruments will be added and thus, adjust my drumming accordingly. If I see a lot of layering coming up, I might switch to the ride cymbal or open up the hi hats. I can even make out the rhythm of the bass by looking at the MIDI information. With just a glance at my MacBook, the Logic session provides me with great insight into the structure and arrangement of a song. Much more than a sheet of music with a few chords and slash marks ever could.

Of course, this “new drum chart” approach only applies to drummers who are recording themselves and have a computer monitor next to their kit. And in certain genres, where very specific melodic and rhythmic information is needed by the drummer (ie. a big band chart where the drummer needs to “set up” horn hits), a lead sheet will still be a necessity. But for now, in my happy little pop world that I mostly live in, looking at the Logic session will do just fine.

Loop #29

Today’s loop is an outtake from the session I did with Bob. In order to completely ruin the pristine sound I worked so hard to achieve for the original track, I turned on the bit crusher and smashed things up for you guys.

Preview Here:

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Download the Logic session here. (60MB)

Get the .wav file here.

72 BPM

Ghost Notes.

Ghost notes are the ‘special sauce’ to any great drum groove. No, they’re not made of Thousand Island dressing, but rather, notes subtly played on the snare drum, often filling in between the hi hat and the back beat. They’re so quiet, you usually don’t notice them when they’re there (hence the highly creative name, “ghost note”), but take them away, and the magic is lost.

John Bonham
John Bonham

Listen to any Led Zeppelin track and you’ll hear John Bonham intricately filling in the groove with ghost notes. Most people associate Bonham with his bombastic backbeats, but I’ve always been drawn to the stuff he does in between the two and four. Please keep in mind, ghost notes don’t apply to playing the gong and/or handling mud sharks.

Joseph 'Zigaboo' Modeliste
Joseph 'Zigaboo' Modeliste

Ghost notes aren’t exclusive to rock drumming. When played properly, they can easily (and tastefully) work their way into any genre. Check out Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste’s playing with The Meters to hear them in a funk setting. Zigaboo constantly keeps his grooves flowing with a a steady undercurrent of ghost notes.

Loop #28

Here’s a loop in three (or 12/8 if you prefer) with more than a few ghost notes on the snare. If things sound a bit crispier, it’s because I’ve added some new overhead mics (see post below). Logic users, you’ll notice there are now 6 individual drum tracks. The mic placement might vary from day to day, but from now on, here’s the basic set up:

Track 1. Kick
Track 2. Snare Top
Track 3. Snare Bottom
Track 4. Room
Track 5. OH L
Track 6. OH R

Preview Here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Download the Logic session here. (79MB)

Get the .wav file here.

60 BPM

Wave files for everyone!

I've got your wave file right here...
I've got your wave files right here...

I’ve been receiving a lot of requests for .wav files from all of you non-Logic people. In an effort to make these loops compatible with all DAWs, I will now include a stereo mixdown of every loop in .wav format. Look for the .wav download link at the bottom of each post. I started with yesterday’s loop and will try to go back retroactively and update the rest. Keep the suggestions and comments coming!