Of all the music I was exposed to during my adolescent years, perhaps no other band influenced my decision to enter the music industry than The Cars had. Surprisingly, it was not until 1984 that I had heard their self-titled debut album from 1978 for the first time. I was immediately drawn into their moody, sometimes aloof, artistic world. From Let the Good Times Roll to All Mixed Up, I was captivated by The Cars and their form of “New Wave” rock music.
Each member of the band was, and still is to this day, distinctive in his talents: the quirky lyrics and vocals of the front man and rhythm guitarist, Ric Ocasek; the late bassist Ben Orr’s smooth and crisp vocals; Greg Hawkes’s electronic keyboards and synthesizers; Elliot Easton’s melodically rock lead guitar; and David Robinson’s excellent drumming technique. It was the first time I went from being an active listener to music to wanting to become a songwriter and musician myself.
But now as an aspiring music producer, my interests have shifted a bit from the artistry of The Cars to the producer of their first four albums, Roy Thomas Baker (Roy thomas baker, n.d.). These albums are The Cars (1978), Candy-O (1979), Panorama (1980), and Shake It Up (1981) (Roy thomas baker, n.d.). Although each album contained a distinctive “Cars sound,” each one had a different atmosphere and “aura.”
The Cars is truly a classic rock album. Containing hits such as Just What I Needed and My Best Friend’s Girl, it has remained relevant thirty-four years later.
Candy-O is a bit more dated sounding due to the use of the synthesizer technology of its day. Nonetheless, it is another strong album with such classics as Let’s Go and Dangerous Type. In my opinion, it is a clear example of the best of “New Wave” of the late 1970s.
Panorama is a darker album and a bit more experimental in tone. I highly recommend it, although it may not be as accessible as their first two albums.
Shake It Up, the last album produced by Roy Thomas Baker, is probably the most commercial album of their first four. Even if someone never heard of The Cars, I am almost certain he/she has heard the title track Shake It Up. As the 1980s began the music video revolution, The Cars also released a video for Since You’re Gone from the album.
Upon re-reading this post, I feel I have probably chosen too rich a topic to be covered so sparsely and in such a short manner. Each of these albums could be a separate post, as well as the biographies of the band member and the producer himself. But my goal was to briefly share my interests of The Cars and Roy Thomas Baker, and hopefully I have succeeded in doing so.
Please feel free to add to this in the comment section, or let me know if there is any particular part of this post you would like for me to expand upon.
Roy thomas baker. (n.d.). In Wikipedia. Retrieved October 9, 2012, from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roy_Thomas_Baker
In this post I will briefly discuss the digital audio workstations with which I have used in my productions. This is by no means the definitive article regarding digital audio workstation, but I thought my experiences could help others in deciding which package would work best for which projects.
Digital audio workstations (DAWs) are software packages that allow a user to compose and produce music of all genres. Most contain software synthesizers (soft synths), samplers, a rhythm or drum machine, and effects which then can be triggered with an internal sequencer.
In my opinion, some work better for electronic music while others seem better for non-synthesizer based applications. The four I have used are (in the order I have learned them):
Apple Logic Pro
DigiDesign Pro Tool
My first work with a DAW comes with Propellerheads Reason. I worked with a demo copy prior to version 4, but after tinkering with it for a while I quickly decided to purchase it. I found it an easy transition from the analog work to the digital realm, for it uses virtual cables to attach the software synthesizers and effects. It was easy for me to follow the signal path by the virtual cabling.
However, before version 6.5 it was impossible to use third-party plugins. That meant I was forced to use only the internal instruments and effects that came with the package. Now with version 6.5, a new concept, Rack Extensions, has been added which allows third-party plugin developers to add to the existing rack of equipment.
While Reason can record audio, I find it best for producing electronic and hip-hop genres.
As I enrolled into the Full Sail University Online Music Production program, I was introduced to Apple’s Logic Pro 9 and DigiDesign’s Pro Tool 8 LE. Thanks to the wonderful instructors I have had, I was able to speed up the learning curve with these DAWs.
Apple’s Pro Logic 9 is definitely a professional piece of software. This is not to undermine Reason’s possibilities, but the features that Logic has do make it more versatile, in my opinion. It can use Audio Unit plugins to extend its features and has an array of tools to manipulate audio. I am able to successfully produce a wider range of genres with the help of Native Instruments’ Komplete 8 Audio Units. While all DAWs have a steep learning curve, I have to admit that Logic was significantly harder to use at first than I had experienced with Reason.
Next, I worked with DigiDesign’s Pro Tools 8 LE. Due to extensive hardware requirements, I do not use it as frequently as I probably should. It is very limited out-of-the-box in regards to its soft synths, although RTAS plugins can be used with it. But while I found it limited to produce electronic genres, it excels with recording external audio. If one is inclined to produce music with acoustic instruments, I would recommend Pro Tools for recording. (I still have not upgraded to the latest version, however.)
Finally, I decided to use Ableton’s Live 8 DAW. Perhaps it is from my experience with the other three DAWs, but I quickly found it to be easier and faster to use overall. While it can be used to produce other genres, it has become my main package when producing electronic dance music. It can use both Audio Units and VSTs as plugins, and its looping features are fluid and robust. It can also by used to play live music with the aid of MIDI controllers, as well as be used to DJ sets.
In summation, I would use Reason or Live for hip-hop and electronica genres, but especially Live for dance music. For a variety of genres, I feel Logic would be best. And if I am doing a lot of audio recording, Pro Tools would be my solution.
Please feel free to ask questions about these DAWs, or leave comments to add to what I have written here.
Hope this was helpful!
Duarte, M., de Conti, & D. Matten, D. (2011, January 28). History. Retrieved September 16, 2012, from http://www.technopop-archive.com/data_history.php
Edmonds, B. (December 2001). “What’s going on.” The guardian. Retrieved on September 8, 2012, from http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2001/dec/08/extract