There are many ways to isolate vocals from a song. The results vary and can rather depend on your source material. For example if you have an instrumental of the same track you can “invert” that against the original. Mathmatically speaking, it’s the original (with vocals) minus the instrumental (without vocals) equals the vocals. And this effects can be done easily on open source (free) software such as Audacity

If that fills you with dread then don’t be put off – there is a much simpler way. Whilst the result won’t be perfect, this method will certainly allow you a rough separation of vocal and instrument without the need for the instrumental track and as easy as clicking a button. The algorhythms (yes deliberate misspelt pun) on Fadr.com are pretty impressive. Not only can it split vocals from drums, guitar and keyboards into 4 different stems, it also tells you the key of the chord being played and attempts (far from perfect mind) to convert them into midi tracks to help you get started on your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation)

If you’re a budding amateur muso like myself, you will be fascinated to listen to the accompaniment of many tracks without the distraction or noise of the singer. Also perfect for remixes. Free to sign up. Have a play and try not to get addicted.Fadr

I love a good instrumental as one of my Spotify playlists demonstrates.

The Sun Always Shines on TV

I was extremely late to the party with this song, only hearing it for the first time ever in March 2018 (The radio was seldom on in my childhood house) and I fell in love with the track.

Two years later at the start of lockdown I was trawling through YouTube and found the isolated Morten Harket vocals. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to unofficially team up with such a great singer (whether he wanted to or not) and decided to try my own version of the accompaniment. And this is it. Best listened to on headphones.

The track is the first to be mastered on my new DAW and took about 3 months, which seems long but was not helped by the new iMac arriving over a month late, increased parental duties caused by lockdown and learning how to use Logic Pro. Also I started subscribing to Roland Cloud which is a MASSIVE library, yet amazing value for money. Another post on that later but for now I will say this track includes among others a Roland D50, Juno 106, TB-303, an Emulator II and a Korg M1 – all classic 80’s synths!

If you’ve found this page by chance and you happen to know me back in the 1980’s or 90’s, then this track is dedicated to you!

Literally, a blast from the past!

What Time Is On Their Minds?

Been on holiday and, having spent all my savings on Pro Tools have naturally spent my time trying to get to grips with it (who needs to get away like I did this time last year)

I’ve always thought the KLF’s “What Time Is Love?” sounds rather like Lloyd Webber’s “Heaven On Their Minds” so have used this opportunity to let the two clash! Vocals are Jerome Pradon’s taken off YouTube. I’m very pleased with the result of this experiment, not least Pro Tools elastic sound editor which allows you to stretch samples to fit the beat. Marvellous. Other samples used here are Wanda Dee’s infamous sample from “To The Bone”, Mantronix’s “King of the Beats” (also used on Snaps classic “The Power”), Shed Seven’s “Disco Down” and more from Jesus Christ Superstar as well as Apple and ProTools samples and instruments.

Also worth a mention here is a great site I’ve found called Who Sampled – here you can find the sources of most samples from Kanye West to FatBoySlim. Very interesting AND educational!

Pro Tools

Have been playing with the 30 day demo for Pro Tools. Alas, all good things must come to an end. I do hope to raise the cash to buy this or if anyone’s feeling generous they’re welcome to buy it for me. It costs about £500, but compared to Logic, Cubase and Garageband, it’s worth every penny.
Here are two little clips done with the software. (Quite pleased with the second one, might develop it when I get said software)

Latest from Wits End

Pre-production on the Twilight project has now taken half a year and may take another year or so at this rate. It’s slow but I’m learning so much. However, I am going to have to take some shortcuts, especially with the drawing, which ain’t necessarily a bad thing. Have found a new website called http://www.archive3d.net/ which has a huge repository of models and shapes which will help me in leaps and bounds. And they’re all royalty free and free to use commercially, which means I can use and adapt them for the set in my film.

Thanks to this I have made excellent progress drawing the managers office in the Twilight (complete with rehearsal piano). I had already made great progress with the auditorium and stage (including the Wits End Mighty Wurlitzer), Mrs Kepelwicks Village Store, The Severed Arms and the front gates. I still have corridors, fire-escapes and the main entrance/box-office to do and no doubt other bits and pieces which I won’t go into now. Once that’s all finished there will be fine touching, painting and compositing to do, not to mention experimenting with the greenscreen and finding the look and feel of the film before I return to the script.

Looking forward to watching the LIVE show of The Twilight Ballrooms  – I will be there on 7th August. Good luck to all those involved. The image of the exterior of the Ballrooms (above) wot I drew, appears on the poster of the live show! Yay!

On a downside, I’ve decided to loose the URL www.alifeofbrian.co.uk which finishes today. But don’t despair Brian fans (either of you) as the film will still be viewable on this site!

Luck of the Welsh!

Working very hard on a few things. Have been redesigning Richard Leigh’s False Impressions website and still, yes still, been working on the the new Twilight site. I’m very pleased with how its turned out and can’t wait to show it off, hopefully next month. And have purchased www.actorcv.com

All in all a busy month. Even been to Paris.

And I’ve also written a song for welsh acting legend David Garland Jones. (Video produced by Jon Tregenna)

Check out some of his clips on YouTube.

Dream House!

In the mid-nineties, central Europe was gripped by the biggest thing in music since Michael Cretu’s “Enigma” stormed the charts in 1990. Swiss-born Robert Miles released “Children” – a style of music that would later become known as Dreamhouse/Trance. It was to be played in clubs and caverns all over Europe for the next 35 years and would later prove popular with fitness instructors, DIY superstores and speeding motorists.

I would now like to present “La Twilight Serenissima” – my own humble tribute to this, often deliberately forgotten, genre of music. This track was originally intended to be a cheesy underscore for a magic trick.

Mr Rock n Remix

This clip shows my recent experiment with a Vocoder. It basically takes an input such a vocal wave and sends it through the modulator of a synthesiser. Then when you play a chord on the synth, the input can be heard mixed with the chord that your playing on the synth. On a monotone level it can produce a robotic sound. Speak live through the mic/modulator input and you can get that robot to say anything.

It works very well with chords too as you’ll see here. I’ve used Lynsey Parkin’s sampled vocals that were used on Mr DeJa Vu which feature in Episode 3 of Insomnia.

The first part demonstrates (albeit not very subtle) how you an use this to thicken vocals. In the second part of this tune, you can see I’ve changed the chords away from the original tune altogether and it still works.
And here’s another experiment, a remix of the remix of the….

If you’ve not yet watched Insomnia – Episode 3 then this is the original