A tool to help overcoming producer's block

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unfa
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A tool to help overcoming producer's block

Postby unfa » Thu Feb 23, 2017 6:17 pm

Sometimes when I work on my music I forget about cool techniques and ideas that used before that could spice up my work and push me further when I feel uninspired.

I wished someone would come up and say stuff like:

Try badly distorting that bass.
Maybe some sidechain compression?
Try muting the lead everytime the snare hits.
Use some triplets.
Synthesize high, mid and low frequencies separately.
Mute the drums at the first beat after the break.
Add an automated comb filter.
Leayer many different sounds into one.
Don't forget the pitch bends and vibrato for the lead.

I wonder if such "idea jar" could be useful to a wider group of people? Do you think it's possible to get inspiration from such a non-interaction?

There's an old Linux program caled "fortune" which prints out random sentences when run.

Maybe making a custom "music production inspirational" set of sentences for it is a way to go?

What do you think? Sounds like an Android app?

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Re: A tool to help overcoming producer's block

Postby Nachei » Thu Feb 23, 2017 11:56 pm

I use random elements in parts of my process, but I have to say I don't think I would have much use for a tool like that in production. This is conditioned by the way I work: everything I do during the production stage is to make the recording come closer to a certain idea of the song I have in my head; it would not make sense to try a production idea "just because"...

The shape the 'producer's block' takes in my case is those times when, after trying technique after technique after technique, I still can't get close enough to that sound that's in my mind.

For example, in one of my songs in process right now, there is an instrument that I felt it had to "grow" from the background in a certain way, stay loud for a moment and then go back to the background again. After lots of tries with volume and panning, it turned out the way to get that effect, instead, was setting a lowpass filter and increasing progressively the cutoff frequency; I think a randomizator of suggestions would be perhaps too broad to help me in problems of that kind.

But hey, that's because of the way that I work. I suspect there might be two different approaches, depending on the person:

Pull: "There's this ideal song in my mind and I have to take steps towards it"
Push: "There is this song I'm working in, what steps can I take now that would make it more awesome?"

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sysrqer
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Re: A tool to help overcoming producer's block

Postby sysrqer » Fri Feb 24, 2017 12:11 am

Something like that would be fantastic. I quite often find that when I'm actually making or mixing something I get in a certain groove and rarely think outside the box, like some of your examples. It's quite annoying because usually the best things happen because you doing things like 'smash it with 10 distortion plugins and reverse it'. That said, I don't know if my instincts telling me what to do on a semi automatic pilot when mixing/making is a good thing or not :|

Certainly, a cowsay or fortune type of program would be great and probably not difficult to make.

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Re: A tool to help overcoming producer's block

Postby ufug » Wed Jan 31, 2018 6:57 pm

unfa wrote:Maybe making a custom "music production inspirational" set of sentences for it is a way to go?

What do you think? Sounds like an Android app?


I wonder if you ever pursued this idea?

This is almost exactly what Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies does. There are several free Android apps that replicate the original cards.

It's less specific technically, but it has the same goal. Works great if you get stuck.

Apologies for bumping an old post (I found it while searching for something completely unrelated) but why not. Getting producer's block is timeless. :)

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milk
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Re: A tool to help overcoming producer's block

Postby milk » Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:49 am

i have my shell give a fortune everytime i open a terminal. i didn't check for oblique strategies before, seems there's two about. if anyone is on Arch, there's fortune-mod-oblique-strategies in the AUR. there seems to be a larger version but fortune gives an error "fortune: no fortune found" when attempting to use it.

oblique-strategies.sh;

Code: Select all

#!/usr/bin/bash
tput setaf 1 && fortune -a oblique-strategies | xargs -0 -I {} toilet -t -f future {} | head -c -1

hotkey calling that in a terminal;

Code: Select all

urxvt +sb -cr black -name oblique-strategies -geometry 155x3+10+500 -hold -e ~/bin/oblique-strategies.sh

if only toilet did centred text, it's future font is imo much better than any of figlet..
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Re: A tool to help overcoming producer's block

Postby Luc » Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:00 pm

ufug wrote:Apologies for bumping an old post (I found it while searching for something completely unrelated) but why not.

Why do people ever apologize for doing that?
Why do people ever complain about people who do that?
Who ever decided that a thread must absolutely die after some unspecified time?
If you hadn't bumped it, I might have never seen it.

Back to the issue, I'd like to have what unfa proposes, but rather in plain text form, so I can read, memorize and maybe also pick something out of it at random, but a plain text document would be good enough for that.

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CrocoDuck
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Re: A tool to help overcoming producer's block

Postby CrocoDuck » Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:21 pm

Luc wrote:Why do people ever apologize for doing that?
Why do people ever complain about people who do that?
Who ever decided that a thread must absolutely die after some unspecified time?
If you hadn't bumped it, I might have never seen it.


On this forum there isn't any problem in bumping an old thread, especially for threads like this.

Usually, bumping old threads is "punished" when the topic of the thread is about something that evolves very quickly, and old information above in the thread risk to be not current anymore. This happens on many threads on Arch forums, for example (see the code of conduct). Clearly, none of this applies to this topic (and perhaps most topics here), so it is totally fine to bump it, at least this is what I think about it.

ufug wrote:This is almost exactly what Brian Eno's Oblique Strategies does. There are several free Android apps that replicate the original cards.


That's interesting. I think that, overall, sometimes one just needs a fresh point of view to trigger some unforeseen idea, otherwise it is easy to just cyclically cook the same ideas over the song. I would think these random suggestions as the best possible "simulation" of another person fresh and unfiltered point of view on your work.
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Re: A tool to help overcoming producer's block

Postby jonetsu » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:22 am

As for me, I still do not really know how I do it. I perhaps would like to develop a method, then maybe not. One thing I find is that stuff can be piled upon but then it has also to be dropped selectively and spread out. A simple idea can go a long way of it can blossom. How can it blossom ? That's the crux of the thing. IMHO it has to do with playfulness. A playful state of mind. Playful does not mean bright-sunny-happy. There can be playfulness in sadness and melancholy. It's more lie a flowing state where things move despite of everything. Where things 'play'.

Of course, techniques helps. I think everyone makes a collection of things, a collection of creative patterns which perhaps in the end defines a style. Like choosing chords and notes, even if it's not a written list. For instance, Hans Zimmer said he always starts on a D.

At the root is perhaps curiosity and being able to be amazed by the littlest of things. Many, many. many times I play a single note on a synth and kind of see the doors of a new 'universe' opening up. And then tracks are added, almost zombie-like so to speak, a jam/sketch is made, notes are taken, stored away and re-discovered at a later time. Did I do that ? Really ?

Sometimes it's even the 'morning after' when I rediscover something I created the evening before.

As for a 'jar' of techniques to use, it could be useful although I would doubt the state of mind that has to go and pull stuff out of that jar. If it was me, I would say let it go, do something else. Take the garbage out, pay some bills, do some exercise, cook some food, etc, etc. Because most often I do not know what I', doing. Why did my fingers go and choose a Zebra synth and choose that patch to add a track ? No friggin idea. Why did my fingers go and form those chords on the guitar, do these melodies ? No idea at all.

And that's, I think the beauty of it all.

Cheers.

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Re: A tool to help overcoming producer's block

Postby jonetsu » Sat Feb 03, 2018 3:28 am

BTW, wouldn't that be 'creative block' instead of 'producer's block' ?


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