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Author Topic: Adding stuff to acoustic songs?  (Read 2117 times)

alexalexalex

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Adding stuff to acoustic songs?
« on: 19 Dec 2006, 19:39 »

I've been asked by a singer-songwriter type to add some kind of electronicy beats and synths and such to their music, but I'm finding it really hard to come up with things that are worth playing but don't overpower the song. Obviously since these aren't my songs, I want to keep the structure intact, and just add tasteful little things.

Does anyone have any ideas, or even suggestions for bands that have done this sort of stuff well?
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KharBevNor

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Re: Adding stuff to acoustic songs?
« Reply #1 on: 19 Dec 2006, 19:55 »

I don't know the music, but what I would do is use the synths texturally, and possibly build the electronic sounds out of the acoustic guitar noises. You could probably build some pretty decent beats from the squeaks of strings and a few hammer-ons. Acoustic guitar sounds can also be manipulated into this lovely singing noise if you put a really hellish amount of echo on them. In any eventuality, I think they key will probably be to match your electronic sounds to the feeling of the guys music. If it's bright and airy, use lots of lap-pop style pops and clicks and maybe a bit of very subtle 909. Try and keep everything very clean and whatnot. If the musics more sort of dingey and durgey, go the opposite, lots of textural sound, deep kick drums, maybe a bit of noise.

Actually, a bit of noise is always good.

Although probably not what you're after, my suggestions for bands that accomplish this well would probably be Ostara, Of The Wand and the Moon, some Sol Invictus, Hide and Seek and Current 93. Odd dribs and drabs of Coil as well.
« Last Edit: 19 Dec 2006, 19:59 by KharBevNor »
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Re: Adding stuff to acoustic songs?
« Reply #2 on: 19 Dec 2006, 21:13 »

As for not overpowering, go for calm and soft sounds? Or just quiet ones?
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Thrillho

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Re: Adding stuff to acoustic songs?
« Reply #3 on: 19 Dec 2006, 21:22 »

Pad it out. Make something that doesn't cut through the mix, maybe playing the chords on a synth, or even just fifths, or just the root note. Something you can bury in the mix and that you only know is there if you look hard enough.

Johnny C

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Re: Adding stuff to acoustic songs?
« Reply #4 on: 19 Dec 2006, 23:06 »

The acoustic guitar is a very organic-sounding instrument, typically. It doesn't lend itself as much to outright electronics as you'd think. I suggest crafting beats out of more organic noises, Matmos-style. Sample, say, knocking on wood or hitting a glass with a spoon or water dropping or what have you. Experiment with different non-drum sounds until you hit on some that work for the particular song.

As the synths go, Khar's right - go textural.
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Scytale

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Re: Adding stuff to acoustic songs?
« Reply #5 on: 20 Dec 2006, 12:28 »

The new Borknagar cd is an acoustic album "with add ons" basically a flute, some Chellos and violins, a Hammond Organ and a mellotron (I think). You could replace the instruments with a synth. The great thing about the album is the way its mixed. The snyth sit in the background and basically just add texture to the guitar. In some parts it sort of harmonises with the vocals, the effect is really good.
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alexalexalex

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Re: Adding stuff to acoustic songs?
« Reply #6 on: 21 Dec 2006, 02:19 »

you guys are all spot on re: keyboard pads. I was hoping a more exciting solution would present itself, but these particular songs at least don't have space for anything else. thanks
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