Tutorial: Breaking Down the Process Behind “Lux” w/ Subalias

Subalias- Mitchell Owens

When he’s not teaching students music production, our talented instructor Mitchell Owens releases music under the name Subalias. His most recent track, “Lux”, is a Future Bass/RnB tune carried by lush keys and soaring, soulful synth melodies over hypnotic syncopated drums guaranteed to cause profuse head-nodding.

To accompany the new release, Mitchell has blessed us with a thorough breakdown of his track in the form of a video tutorial:

In the video, Mitchell breaks down his process and techniques for composition, and sheds some light on the different sounds he used and how he made them. It’s a great watch for anyone who struggles with “8-bar loop syndrome” and wants to learn how to develop their ideas into full tracks, as well as anyone who’s into Future Bass and RnB and wants to pick up some new tricks to use in their own songs.

8 bar loop syndrome

You can watch the tutorial above, or here on our Youtube channel, and make sure to listen to the song that inspired it all, “Lux”, which you can find below.

Learn from Mitchell for free this Friday:

Liked the tutorial? Make sure to read about our music production program, where you can learn the ins and outs of Ableton Live from talented instructors like Mitchell. Contact us for more information, and to set up a free tour of our studio.

4DSOUND: A New Sound Experience

4d-sound-full

No that is not a set from The Matrix pictured above. It is 4DSOUND the brainchild of Paul Oomen, a 31 year old composer from Amsterdam. The columns house speakers meant to project the sound throughout the entirety of whatever space it is in. Oomen has a conservatory background in classical composition and a longstanding fascination with theater. His work in both, though, bridges the gulf between performer and audience. “I made quite a number of music theater pieces that were site-specific,” he said. “The whole performance was really created for a specific site, and as part of that I really got into spatial soundsystems and the way I could apply those to really sculpt the space that the audience and performers would be in. They would watch the performance, but they would be immersed in the space, and the whole space would be the stage where the story was happening.”

“the virtual space that I could experience was not going further than the horizontal array surrounding me. I couldn’t experience sounds flying through the room or being right there on my lap or inside my head.”

Composing these kinds of pieces and performances fed Oomen’s desire for a truly immersive sound experience. This led him to explore all sorts of surround- and three-dimensional soundsystems, which he occasionally found impressive but not quite immersive and interactive in the way he’d dreamed of. In 2006, the Institute Of Sonology in The Hague premiered a high-profile, 192-speaker wave field synthesis system at a festival where Oomen was also presenting music. Though he was impressed by the quality of the system, he wanted more. “For me, the idea of experiencing sound in space was very much about not only hearing something that can be around you, but obviously it has to be above you and beneath you. And maybe even more importantly, it has to include the actual space that you are sitting in yourself.” The wave field system provided wonderfully detailed surround-sound, but Oomen felt that “the virtual space that I could experience was not going further than the horizontal array surrounding me. I couldn’t experience sounds flying through the room or being right there on my lap or inside my head.”

4d-sound-crowd

An initial test in 2008 used standard PA speakers, and though Oomen described it as an overwhelming success, he knew they’d need something more specialized to achieve the kind of immersion he was after. “PA speakers are built to point at the listener, therefore they are directional,” he explained. “So the angle of their projection is very narrow.” To make sound feel like it was coming from everywhere, the system would need speakers that projected as widely as possible. And since Oomen wanted to be able to use the system for electroacoustic performances, with live singers and instruments accompanying whatever was taped, the speakers would need to give a minimum of coloration. He found an audio engineer in the south of Holland who’d been tinkering with omnidirectional speakers—a driver type that disperses sound equally over 180 degrees—with a flat frequency response, and they brought Ooman as close as anything they tested to the system he’d hoped for.

A few years later and 4DSOUND has made appearances at ADE and will be set up at the Berlin Atonal Festival this summer. They have also found that 4DSOUND can expand and contract by simply adding more or less pillars to the setup. There’s a four-column version installed at Chanel’s studios in Paris, for example.