Halo 4 Remix
Following up on my last post regarding the North to Alaska track, I also completed a remix of the Halo 4 soundtrack as part of the same assessment presentation. Compared to the North to Alaska mix this initially seemed to present much more scope for experimentation. In my 2nd year at University I had produced a dance track as part of a Music Technology module using Logic Pro so I found it an intriguing prospect to produce something similar using Pro Tools.
To begin I had the original stems including the drums, orchestral instruments, percussion, piano and synthesiser. I also had an array of drum breaks at my disposal. The first thing I did was to listen to the stems as a full mix to get a feel for the track and then dissect each individual stem and pick out the sections I liked. Once I had decided on a few sections with good hooks and rhythms I cut them from the stems and created new audio tracks for each. I determined the tempo of the entire track and set the session accordingly in ticks as I would be using the grid. The process was then repeated for the drum breaks, choosing the ones which I thought could prove useful and would compliment the sections of the Halo mix that I had cut out. With the grid in place I used the elastic audio function of Pro Tools to stretch the drum breaks to the same tempo as the session so that I could copy and paste any of my breaks around the arrangement page and they would fit perfectly. I was then a case of building the remix from the selection of regions I had given myself.
Arranging the regions into something useable was the easy part. Turning it into a good product was the fun part! I created new tracks featuring a bass line, extra synth and a sweep using the XPand2! plug-in. I side-chained the bass line to the synth which created a dotted pattern between the instruments once I compressed the synth – making use of side-chain compression which was discussed in a previous post. I created a similar effect between the bass and string section which gave a nice pulsing relationship between the two.
As with the North To Alaska track in my last post I also side chained a sine wave to a midi kick drum to boost the lower frequencies and really get the song pumping. I coupled this with two additional, yet very different, kick samples to give the kick some top end punch. Finally I programmed a sweeping synth to help each section blend together a bit better. One aspect of this track is that the sections are quite quick to change and the sweep minimises any jarring.
With this track I wanted to try and limit myself with the number of options I had – in this case the stems and additional midi – to try and enhance my creativity. By focusing on developing the production on the original stems and the derivatives thereof while restricting the number of programmed midi tracks I feel I have achieved something close to that aim.