Ableton Live expert, tutor and Soma Records artist Simon Stokes paid New College Lanarkshire a visit this week to give a Masterclass in creative music production within Ableton Live. Armed with a small bundle of creative tools, including an Ableton Push controller, a Korg analogue synth and a Zoom field recorder, Simon tried to expand students minds to consider fresh and unique approaches to electronic music production. This included poly-rhythmic drum pattern creation, recycling old field recordings, using twigs to create beats and Warp-streching audio jams to embrace a certain amount of happy accidents. Simon, who records on the name Petrichor on the now legendary Soma Records label, was also able to preview some new tracks from his upcoming release titled Narisshu. He also keeps himself busy running evening and weekend classes that specialise in electronic music production of all sorts, with a particular emphasis on Ableton, through his subSine Academy. He is also the only Ableton Certified Trainer in Scotland and the opportunity to learn from an expert was not lost on the students: HND Sound Production students Dylan and Josh had this to say about the session:
Dylan: Simon gave a presentation on some of the different production techniques he used to create an album entirely in Ableton Live. The pieces of hardware in his presentation fascinated me – the Ableton Push which is basically an Ableton Live controller allowed him to freely record instruments without having to individually input them into Live. The presentation today changed my perspective of Live. I used to see it as a DAW mainly used for synths and techno style music, now I see that with the right hardware Ableton Live can be an instrument in its own right.
Josh: Simon’s talk was full of inspiration for me in terms of my productions. I really enjoyed seeing his workflow and some of the methods he uses in his tracks. What really stuck out for me was the way he took a fairly simple sound from a synth and recycled it in many creative ways making it much more complex. He did this by recording his synth to an audio channel rather than inputting MIDI notes which allowed him to go on and manipulate his sound further with some of the features in Ableton Lives clip view.
Thanks to Simon for stopping by! You can listen to his music here: https://open.spotify.com/album/3AZtHE8Sycthnm4k7O73Ve?si=sn_Xwyh3SzKwaMw7iqgNQA
Question Session will return with a full programme across two Glasgow city centre venues on February 8th. The Lighthouse on Mitchell Lane will host this year’s daytime conference, followed by a live music event at The Old Hairdresser’s on Renfield Lane.
Now in its fourth year, this free conference offers a comprehensive, tailored programme of workshops, seminars and panels featuring prominent professionals from all areas of the music industry.
Focused on innovation, education and exploring current issues, Question Session 2019 is organised by Music Business students of New College Lanarkshire to enable delegates to connect, share knowledge and create new opportunities with established industry practitioners; initiating discussion, and exposing new talent.
Topics for Question Session 2019 panels and seminars will include the following:
- Releasing your music
- Nurturing new talent
- Working as a recording engineer
- Promoting your event
- Mental health in music
The first series of intimate workshops will include hands-on experience in:
- Introduction to modular synthesis with Rub-a-Dub
- Promoting your music successfully
- Resolving legal issues pertaining to the music industry
The following participants will be in attendance, with many prominent names still to be announced:
- Sub Pop Records
- DF Concerts – Chris Beltran
- Help Musicians UK
- Pledge Music
- Scottish Music Industry Association
- Creative Scotland
The full line-up for the free live event at The Old Hairdresser’s will be revealed very soon.
Jamie Houston, Music Officer at Creative Scotland, said: “Question Session is a superb networking event and platform for anyone interested in a career in the music industry.
“Last year’s event was a great opportunity to meet musicians and take part in lively panel discussions and I look forward to 2019’s event.”
To register for this year’s event, click here
View the students’ promo video here
In preparation for their Christmas Nativity, the pupils of St Andrew’s Primary in Cumbernauld were recorded by three of NCL’s HND Sound Production students this week. Shaun Cassidy, Carla Robertson and Andrew McTague gave the superstar treatment to the twenty strong choir, who were all in fine voice as they performed hits from their upcoming shows. The reworked classics were obviously very well rehearsed as the captured results perfectly highlighted their vocal skills and abilities. Managing such a big group of artists was made easy by the good work and co-ordination of the HND’s leasing with the wonderful teachers and staff from St Andrew’s who accompanied the youngsters.
NCL student Shaun Cassidy said, “As well as being a fantastic opportunity working with a different type of cliental, in which we had to adapt our approach in order to make the kids feel at ease during the recording, it also allowed us the chance to develop our skills of capturing larger sources. Challenges such as fighting against excess bleed from the monitor which we used to play the backing track for the kids for example was our main issue in this instance. Overall, this was a great experience in working quickly and professionally whilst maintaining a high standard of communication with the staff and pupils of the school.”.
A great time was had by all with one pupil, Lewis Jack, even getting behind the desk to share recording duties with the HND’s! A possible producer of the future perhaps…? The Nativety Shows took place on the 11th & 12th of December and were a singing success.
Our Cumbernauld Campus were delighted to welcome Jason and Kian from Glasgow-based synth company Instruo. Jason started the company as a hobbyist in 2015, creating Eurorack synthesiser modules on order to customers worldwide. These days, he has help from Kian (himself a former graduate of our HN course) and current HND student Aimo.
Having recently increased their production and distribution, it was nice of them to drop by to perform, discuss and demonstrate their current range of modules to our HN Sound Production students. Topics included company history, design philosophy, benefits of modular synthesis, production workflow and future developments.
Students were then invited up to try their hands on the different modules brought along, resulting in a noisy din that can still be heard within the walls of the college if you listen close enough…
Big thanks to Jason and Kian for taking time out their busy schedule!
Coinciding with the department’s new website and exciting HN courses for 2018, we can offer one lucky New College Lanarkshire student from the Creative Industries department a VIP ticket to the Roger Waters Us + Them sound check and show at the SSE Hydro, Glasgow on Friday 29th June 2108. This unique opportunity will allow a ‘behind the scenes’ tour, VIP hospitality and, of course, the chance to see Roger Water’s iconic music, breathtaking quadrasonic sound and cutting edge visuals, performing many classic Pink Floyd classics and solo work.
To get a chance to win, simply share this post to Facebook or Twitter via the buttons below with the hashtag #NCLcreativesound. The draw will take place on Tuesday 29th May at mid-day and the lucky student will be contacted with further details.
For anyone interested, you can find out more about our Sound Production courses at New College Lanarkshire here: