I recently talked to a bunch of producers about vocal editing techniques at one of the Enable Music School sessions, and I thought I’d post a little something that I shared with them, and also expand a little more on some of the techniques I use.

As an example I’m using the final track on my Sunday Morning album, called Gotta Sleep Now.

It’s a pretty sparse track, with lots of atmospheric guitar loops, some synth bass, and features the wonderful vocals of  Susannah Legge.

I’ve included a Live Set version of this as an instrumental track, with the original vocals, and with the vocals edited an processed, so you can listen to and see the techniques I’m writing about, but please note, that this live set, and the audio files within it are for your education only. If you get all inspired to take those files and make a remix of it, that is totally fine, just let me know! but I retain all rights to this music.

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Download the set here.

Screen Shot 2014-02-22 at 12.29.13 pmScreen Shot 2014-02-22 at 12.29.30 pmThis is the vocal processing channel strip I have created. Whilst it may look a little bit overkill, it’s actually a pretty standard vocal strip, with low cut, noise gate, glue compressor, saturation, EQ, and some parallel FX with reverb and delay. 

I’ve also created some Macro settings to dial in more or less of certain parts of the  vocal sound.

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I love breathy vocals, and I never want to fully get rid of the character it brings to a track, but once you’ve added some vocal FX, like Compression and Saturation, you’ll really start to notice that these Breaths and Esses in your vocal track sometimes get too loud.

The technique I use to deal with this is actually a pretty easy and quick workflow using Ableton Live.   Firstly go “Off grid”, that is press CMD+4, and lose the snap to bar/beat feature, then highlight the region with the breath or ‘ess’ sound and press CMD+E, this will split that region in vocal performance into a new clip.

Go into that newly created clip and in the Sample section, lower the volume by between 4-10dB, depending on how loud the breath or ess is, and how much you want to get rid of it.

Once you have reduced the volume of that clip, open up the fades option, and cross-fade between the clips, this will give a smoother transition between the two different volumes.

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To add a little extra  zest and character to a vocal, I also like to automate the volume levels of a performance using a Utility plugin after the Vocal FX chain.  In particular, I like to grab the ends of words, and bring them up just by a few dB. I find this adds to the intimacy in the vocal performance, and you feel like the singer is right in your ear.

By automating the gain of a Utility, as opposed to the channel fader, you have the ability to keep the fader adjustable later in the mix, whilst keeping your vocal volume automation intact.

I hope you find this useful!

On this coming Sunday I am presenting and performing at the Ableton Live 9/Push Launch event in Melbourne. I’m presenting about the Toy Harmonium instrument I made that was featured on www.ableton.com.

I’ve been busy putting something together to perform at it that uses the Generative piece that I created for the Toy Harmonium Instrument, and I’ve kind of done a bit of a live mashup with a track off my last album Sunday Morning called “Gotta Sleep Now’.

This live version features Live 9, a Livid Block, Teenage Engineering’s OP-1 synth, Live Guitar looping and processing, as well as vocal samples by the wonderful Susannah Legge.

Hi all!

Been a bit quite lately, mainly because of the holiday season and all that has gone with it. Currently enjoying some time off, and re-jigging the studio a bit, getting rid of some old gear (to make way for new gear!)

Taking some time to make some nice little audio sketches that sound a lot like the beginnings of another WP E.P. that i’ll try and get together later this year.

Hey.. just to let you know… that with the new year has come new prices for my music via bandcamp.

All albums are now $5 for digital download or $8 (+shipping) for download and CD copies.

Why you ask??? well… when you buy via bandcamp, it goes straight into the artists pocket!… itunes and other providers all charge a fee, so I am able to sell to you cheaper via this site.

sunday-morning-remixes one-night-alone falling-men-and-flying-dreams sunday-morning

Hi all,

A few people have asked if they can get the remixes in better formats than what iTunes provides, so here they are! All ten of the remixes that are associated with the Sunday Morning album, by wonderful remix artists Montag, 333, Heroine, Chris Brann, AM, Dan West and Ray Mang.

10 tracks for $5, or get em individually for $1 each.

Enjoy!

The closing track of Sunday Morning is Gotta sleep now. It’s an atmospheric soundscape created from a series of guitar loops, with additional vocals by Susannah Legge. Originally clocking in around 7mins, it was cut back to a rather short 2:27 so it would fit on the B-side of a (future) vinyl release. In the future I’ll put up an extended mix of it which is closer to the original… or maybe even a live recording of it… it seems to be a bit of a crowd please-er at the gigs we’ve been doing.

Media artist Lucy Benson too on the track for the art exhibition at Dear Patti Smith Gallery. She is currently based in Berlin, and makes works from live video technologies and projected images.

Lucy’s work ‘Time to sleep’ was a highlight at the exhibition, and any on-line video representation of the will not do it justice, as it will not accurately represent the impact of the dark-swirling imagery which sat in somewhat seemless harmony with the music. Photographic images below seem to represent the mood better. (Thanks to Penny Lane and Anna Gilby for the photos)

Lucy writes of the process: “The music of Winterpark invokes a particular feeling of being both utterly present in one moment yet adrift in a dizzying sense of timelessness. Time To Sleep embodies this effect perfectly and also echoes it in the story of the lyrics. The voice floats and ripples through a landscape, sounding not separate from the environment, but as if it flows through every element of it.
My process for this piece was to to make a location study, returning to the same spot day after day and letting the camera observe the natural environment until the elements of that environment transcended their moment and place. The footage is not treated in any way; the abstraction is the result of the conditions of tide, wind and sky coming together on one particular day.”

listen to gotta sleep now:

You’re timing’s all wrong is a quirky sonic experiment, that oscillates between a rather sweet acoustic guitar melody and the wonderfully crazy nebulaphone by bleep labs.

I love crazy musical gadgets and the idea that machines can be chaotic and unpredictable. This is i’m sure why i don’t really want to fix my juno 106… because it sounds so awesome when it’s just a little bit broken.

anyway… back to the track and the work in the exhibition…

Adele Winteridge teamed up with a couple of her pals at Foolscap Studio Elly Russell and Siam Pascale to create the quite beautiful balancing act of “Fine Balance”. A live mobile created from timber, paint, seedlings and wool.

Adele writes of the process: “The song to me is a really happy vibrant song with undertones of a balancing act between the melody and the overriding glitches. It is reminiscent of a sunny day in a car, driving around the hills… or turning your music up really loudly and riding around the streets of Melbourne on your bike. Sun through the trees and wind in the hair.
The piece is a “Calderseque” kinetic mobile that can hang inside or outside. The plants are balanced from different lengths of dowel with coloured wool threaded through them. Each arm holds a seedling, as they grow at different rates (plant variations) they send the mobile into different balancing positions, changing the aesthetic of the piece daily.”

Adele also writes about it in her Foolscap Blog.

Listen to Your timing’s all wrong here:

Track 12… The Night Beetle is the first single from Sunday Morning.

OK, I confess… i’m obsessed with the Beatles… and with Sunday Morning I really wanted to create an album that flowed like the B-Side of Abbey Road, where each track seamlessly flows into the next, despite the diversity. This track, is a homage of sorts to the Beatles, with my attempt to channel George Harrison’s guitar solos.

Reviewed in the Age EG, Craig Mathieson writes: “WINTERPARK have spent several years on the periphery of the local indie-electro scene but with the lovingly crafted vintage pop of The Night Beetle (***), Matt Ridgway’s project sounds ready to take the spotlight with the forthcoming Sunday Morning album.

Accomplished film maker and video artist Gavin Youngs, shows off his rather somewhat twisted sense of humour to create an awesome video work entitled “Night Light” that has to be watched in its entirety!

Gavin writes of his work: “The 1:56 mark of The night beetle sparked the real inspiration for the piece. Referencing a television ad from the 80’s the work looks at what lights your sleep.”

FYI… Gavin has previously worked with Winterpark to create the amazing video clip for Cold Feet, off the first Winterpark album One Night Alone.

Watch Gavin’s work “Night Light” here:

Why not check out the Montag Remix of The Night Beetle here: