Composing with vocal fragments
December 17, 2012 3:32 PM   Subscribe

What's an easy way to put vocals together so they sound something like the intro to Django Django's "Default"?

I like the vocal effect in "Default" and want to try to do something similar. My main music-editing software is Reaper, but I use Audacity for a lot of purposes too.

- What's the easiest way to record and assemble vocal fragments like the intro in the song?

- How do you compose a set of vocal sounds to use for that purpose?
posted by LSK to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
To be honest, they're only using 3 or 4 samples, so the easiest thing would be to load it into a sampler or drum kit and just play it with midi. Hell, you could do it live with any modern CD turntable with cue points.
posted by empath at 3:38 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

You can also look up one of the many stutter edit vst's available for all kinds of fun and easy vocal manipulation tricks, but I'm almost definitely sure they didn't use them here.
posted by empath at 3:40 PM on December 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Any kind of MPC plugin, such as.
posted by rhizome at 5:16 PM on December 17, 2012

This doesn't sound like a stutter effect, but a simple gated vocal melody.

Easiest way to emulate it? Not sure about Reaper, but in Audacity:

1. Record yourself singing a short melody (1-2 bars). Make sure you get a few different notes in there.

2. Come up with a little rhythmic phrase - just clap your hands or something.

3. Depending on the tempo of your composition, figure out how long a 1/16 note is

4. Make a selection beginning 1/16 note after where the start of the first rhythmic "hit" should be and select up to the start of the next hit

5. Under the Generate menu, select Silence

6. Repeat for the remaining spaces between the notes. Or rather, where the spaces should be.

No way to know how they did it exactly, but that method will create the same sound.
posted by univac at 6:35 PM on December 17, 2012

What empath said: take normal vocals from verse/chorus, slice finely, arrange using a sampler/drumkit plugin. You can just cut and paste manually in Audacity if you want.

(I am 95% sure it's not gating, btw: for one thing several of the vocal snippets seem to be repeating exactly within the main loop, like a sample being retriggered.)
posted by en forme de poire at 7:03 PM on December 17, 2012

yeah, it's not gating, it's the same sample repeating.

You can either come up with the samples first - sing a melody and cut it up, then find chords that sound nice under it - or come up with a chord progression, and then sing the melody over that and slice out some interesting bits. Experiment a bit to see which works better for you.

In Reaper, you can use the ReaSamplOmatic5000 for this. Create an audio track, set the input to be your audio in, and record a couple phrases. Slice these up - place the cursor at the front of the waveform you want to use, press "S", go to the back of the waveform and do the same thing -

Create a track for each sample you want to play back. Click FX and add the ReaSamplOmatic5000 on each track. Click "Sample (Ignores MIDI Note)" to keep the sample at the recorded pitch. On your source audio track, click on one of the waveforms you've cut out, then click "Import Selected Item From Arrange" on the RSOM5k. Do this for each sample (in a new RSO5k on a new track.)

Highlight a 4 bar section on the track of your first RSO5k. Select the top menu "Insert", then choose "New MIDI Item". Double-click this new region and draw some notes in with the pencil tool. Toggle "Repeat" by pressing R. When you hit play, your four-bar section should play back in a loop. Now you can double-click other MIDI items for the other RSO5ks, draw in new notes, and hear your other samples play.
posted by dubold at 3:02 AM on December 18, 2012

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