Pretension is a Brisbane based electronic producer who is determined to make his mark on the Australian dance music scene. This blog explores how he uses various production techniques in his past and present releases. Check them out!

New Release & Free MP3!

As a thank you for reading my blog, I thought I would give you a little freebie.

Click on the artwork below to download the free MP3. woo!

Deeper (Pretension Remix) - Winston & Yoddy ft. Caroline is my latest and most exciting release and it is now available at Beatport, iTunes and Juno etc. Go get it now!

Mix Gel

Okay this is a quick and easy one.

You’re kick and bass are now awesome and you’ve decided to throw a few more elements into the mix: some percussion, a few synths, maybe a chopped up vocal or two. Nutting away for a few hours you get everything in the right place. The rhythm and beats work well with each other but you just can’t get it to gel. The time has come for you to throw some pants on, walk down to your local chemist and get yourself some Mix Gel®.

Unfortunately, Mix Gel® is expensive S#!$ and most chemists don’t stock it due to it’s unsightly side effects. Fortunately, however, I’m going to write up the procedure so you can make your own mix gel at home.

The technique that I am referring to involves using a single reverb to blanket all (or select) elements in your mix to bring them into the same space. For example, if you were to throw a band into a room and put one stereo mic in the middle and then listen to the playback, what would you hear? Apart from a hell of a lot of noise, you would hear each instrument of the band and the reverb that has now flooded the room. This reverb would be unique to the room and would be a product of the instruments that the band is using. When writing electronic music or any music where you are pulling sounds from different sources, (synths, recordings, sample packs etc.) however, you start writing without reverb. You’re gonna want to throw it back into the mix when you can.

Okay have a listen to this first sample:

A kick, some shakers, and a couple of synths. Easy. It doesn’t sound too bad if I may say so myself but it just doesn’t quite mesh. It’s sounds a bit stagnant and a bit stale, right?

The first thing that I do is put a reverb on a return track. I often do this before I have even written any of the parts. Set the Dry/Wet mix to 100%. Then set the Decay Time and Predelay to suit your track and the sound that you are going for ie. big and boomy, light and spacey. I also tend to activate the filter and set it to a high pass filter. I don’t usually want the low end of my bass booming through a reverb and muddying up my mix after I’ve been especially careful EQing it.

So now you’ve got the reverb set up, you are going to want to send something to it. I send all of my percussion over to this reverb and most of the synths that I work with. It’s not often that I send my kick or my bass but give it a go. It might work for you. There are a few things to consider though:
- Always have the track
Audio To set to Master – this will ensure that your sounds are sent to your return track and your master simultaneously.
- Don’t send 100% of each element to the return track – experiment with how much you send but I tend to not send any more than -10dB.
This is effectively controlling your dry/wet mix.

Now how does it sound?

It finally sticks together! Woo. You might have noticed that I have sent more synth to the reverb than percussion. I wanted to keep the reverb on the percussion rather subtle with this track but the synths just sounded so good with a good dose of reverb. So you understand what I am talking about, here is a sample of the reverb on its own.

It is amazing how subtle the reverb is. It’s volume here is relative to the total mix so you might want to turn your speakers up.

There we go. Here are some things to try out at home:
- Throw a
Sidechain Fakey on your reverb track to get it pumping.
- Automate how much of each track you send to the reverb over each phrase. This will keep your track moving and works great for subtle build-ups when you ramp up the reverb.

By the way the track that you have been hearing is going to be released on Kitschy Records (UK) on the 26th of June. Keep an eye out for it in your favourite online store. In the meantime, have a listen…