Holy Bot

Bedroom music production, gaming and random shit


August 2013

I used to live in Hamburg, Germany, some years ago. I shared a big ass flat near Reeperbahn with some bohemians. One of them was Moritz, who later began to rap in German. Recently he sent me some vocal stems and asked me to remix Kunstrasen’s upcoming release. This is it. Or at least a first draft.


Call of Duty: Democracy Promotion

I was watching the Xbox presents Call of Duty: Ghosts Multiplayer Reveal, and overall, the game looks damn crisp, slightly cartoonish, but crisp.

Anyways, near the end of the live stream, Eric Hirshberg, president and CEO of Activision Publishing, said:

“Before we go I wanna talk about giving back to the most important fans we have – some of them are here today – the brave men and women who put themselves in harms way and inspire each and everyone of our games, I’m talking about our troops.”

He then wanted to sell a limited edition of the game including dog tags, designed to benefit the Call of Duty Endowment.

Hence, I don’t have a problem with helping service members’ transition to civilian careers after their military service, but I do have a problem with Eric Hirshberg’s definition of “our troops” – as if everybody’s American and that its troops are uplifted as “the most important [Call of Duty] fans”.

Hey, I’m only in it for the gameplay. Moreover, I’m Swedish and I don’t wanna be mixed up with US foreign policy. Actually, I’m a critic of the US imperial role in the world (but don’t call me anti-American). Read ya goddamn Chomsky man!

I try to avoid political topics on this blog – this ain’t the right forum for that.

I think the campaign narratives of the Call of Duty series are mostly rubbish, but I do enjoy multiplayer. The true euphoria and escapism of harassing noobs are totally worthwhile and very much rewarding. And that’s about it.

Eric Hirshberg, man, are you like five years old? Just because you publish a violent video game, don’t think the players around the globe sympathize with US invasions. They don’t, they like video games. You ought to be able to separate fantasy from real life.

P.S. I chatted with some fellow gamers, and it seems like most of us are gonna wait for the PS4 release of Ghosts, not buying it twice (you already do that by getting the Season Pass and DLCs). Rumor has it that the release date in Europe could be November 13, and November 1 in the US. But I’ve seen many different dates on the Internet, so who knows?

Sound Right

Okay guys, here are a few generic tips to get your music sound tight.

I’m not gonna go through everything in this post – I feel it would be better to split shit in different parts and I just can’t recall or come up with every single production-related tip at this particular time. Moreover, some important things have already been covered in this blog, e.g. frequency ranges or song structures.

Study others

Listen and learn from your favorite artists. Don’t try to rip or mimic their sound but try to find the core qualities, like what makes that particular sound so great in your ears? Ask yourself, how is it made?

A family of sounds

Take time to sculpt and program your sounds. I myself am into flexible sounds that I’m able to pitch, move, wobble and modulate in several ways.

Try to make a couple of different basses with similar essence (like a family of sounds) and have them play along and shit. Try to find out what fits and have the song context decide what kind of sounds you should extract.

Keep it simple

I’m a minimalist, well mostly. I try to get out as much as possible of every sound, not layering too much. And in my compositions, I usually jam on a keyboard, quantize and remove unnecessary notes.

Introduce motifs and have them coming in and out with different variations in your song structure. Try, perhaps, to play the riff with different sounds on different parts of the song.

My arrangements are relatively sparse. But that’s just me – a lot of great music works in an opposite direction, resulting in a wall of sound.

Check yo width

Place different sounds on the whole stereo image. E.g. a call and response bassline could have the call pumping with great width and the response somewhat narrower. Or have the low frequencies narrow and plug the higher with some kind of stereo effect. Pan certain sounds hard and let other roam in the middle. I’d say that a finished mix should wrap the whole width of the spectrum.

Try to use the whole frequency range of your mix, or at least most of it. Don’t cloud one frequency with too many sounds at the same time. Do spread across the frequency range.

Contrast for affect

Don’t saturate all your master buses; contrast a saturated bass with a cleaner pad or something. Actually, you accent the distortion by contrasting with cleaner sounds around.

Also contrast close and distant sounds with different levels of reverbs.

Further insights

For further studies, see YouTube or Vimeo. For example, Future Music Magazine got a lot of great video content, but unfortunately most amateurishly recorded. Still, it’s truly awesome for nerds to be able so see masters at work in the studio.

Also Michael Cole and SoundWorks Collection make great video segments about the sound and music of feature films and video games.

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