June 6, 2020 § Leave a comment

Part of a new series of hopefully helpful insights into how I keep track of my music-making!

If you’re a musician, I don’t need to ask you if you’ve ever run into the problem of having found a great sound, a great combination of chords/notes with which to combine it, and then a few hours/days later, even though you’re convinced you’ve left the gear in the exact same position and you did take notes about what it was you were doing, you find that it just doesn’t sound the same… We all have run into that problem! It’s happened to me more times than I can count, and the more analogue the gear you are using, the more urgent the problem, especially if, like me, you think that an exciting idea almost always needs refining in order to take it to the level of a song that can end up being released. This is what this new series is all about, starting with the trickiest bit: gear settings!!!

Gear templates are my number one tool: sometimes an intelligent manufacturer provides the users with a preexisting gear template (thank you Moog for doing that with the Grandmother), but most of the time, that’s not the case, so what I do is I take whatever diagram I can find in the manual, and Photoshop it in order to have a version of a size that makes sense for taking notes. I will mark the settings in different coloured pens corresponding to different stages of the song, using numbers and letters when the song involves a lot of changes, and writing actual instructions.

Illustrated example with “One warm spark” from my last album A flame my love, a frequency: a Critter and Guitari Pocket Piano going through an Octabass octaver pedal and the Moogerfooger MF104M delay, sent via an aux to the Moogerfooger MIDIMuRF. There are 3 sheets for the MIDIMuRF, packed full of information as the settings keep changing throughout the song; the delay is a wee bit more static, but still going through its own changes as well. If you can, listen to the song and try to follow my instructions (mostly in French, for some reason!).

This is the methodology I now use for everything I do, and when I don’t, well, I always end up being sorry I didn’t! :-)

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