Brian Wilson: He Put The Music Industry On His Back.

Brian Wilson, born June 20th 1942, was one of the most influential musicians in rock and pop music ever. From his early childhood Brian showed signs of being a great musician, starting even before his first birthday when he was able to repeat the melody of “When The Caissons Go Rolling In” after hearing very little of the song sung by his father. In his teenage years he formed the Beach Boys band with his brothers Dennis and Carl, cousin Mike Love, and friend Al Jardine

The first album produced was “Surfin’ Safari” and although it was a hit, it was too much of a generic sound for Brian. Following a mental breakdown on a flight, between cities on tour, Brian moved from the front stage to being the songwriter/producer. It was then that the Beach Boys really began to become legendary. Brian’s early contributions to change the sound of Beach Boys included putting a 2 minute drum solo on the end of All Summer Long. Brian’s songwriting and producing abilities soon matured to changing the emphasis from guitar to persuasion and keyboards and experimenting with volume and vocals. One of his most experimental pieces was “The Little Girl I Once Knew” which featured “clashing keyboards, moody bass, and vocal tics.” The release of The Beatles album “Rubber Soul” is what really pushed Brian’s creativeness to a new level. 

To create the “…greatest rock album ever made!” Brian made extremely sophisticated songs featuring layered harmonies and inventive instrumentation, finishing with the album “Pet Sounds.” But Brian wouldn’t stop there; he wanted to top that with an album called “Smile” unfortunately the technology wasn’t on the same level as Brian Wilson. His work, what could have possibly been the greatest album of all time, originally set to to be made in 1966, but technology didn’t get on Brian Wilson’s level in till 2003. Brian was that far ahead of the rest of the music industry, and that is why Brian Wilson is so important. 

This is my Theme music for a potential game, entitled DreamLand. I used the Boom plugin first to create a simple drum beat then used xpand plugin to create a synth track. I also used the Vacuum plugin to give it a retro synth sound. Then I used compressers to change the sound so it sounds weightless and airy, like being in the clouds.

This is one of my first Pro-Tools Creations. It uses only 3 instruments, a drum line, a bass, and an organ. However each instruments sound has been altered from its original MIDI data sound. For the drum I used an xpand insert to create a drum loop, I then strengthed the sound by putting multiple of the same beat in slightly different pitches. For the bass I used the xpand insert again but instead of just a bass line, i had a full finger bass, a clean electric guitar, and finally an “aggressor” synth bass. For the organ I used xpand again this time to include a “dirty 70’s”, bright sync saw electric piano, and a natural grand piano. For all three tracks I included an EQ and compressor to create a more full and rich sound. At the very end of the song I automated the reverb of the whole song, and automated the High end gain of the drum line to make the song, sound like it is fading into the distance.

This is my first Protools song I created. All do the rest later cause the bell just rang.

This is my first song made in Pro-Tools. I mixed it using a variety of compressors and EQ’s and for the rhythm guitar, solo guitar, and bass i used stomp pedals to alter the sound hugely giving it a chorused sound.  

Who is Tom Dowd?

Tom Dowd was one of the most influential people to the music yet so few people actually know who he is. Over the course of his life Tom changed the music industry as we know it and also helped to create one of the worlds first atomic bombs.

Tom Dowd was born October 20, 1920 to a very musical family. His mother was an opera singer and his father a concert master. He grew up with a variety of instruments such as the piano, violin. tuba, and string bass. After high school he went to the City College of New York and worked in the physics laboratory at the University of Columbia where he was very much involved with the Manhattan project to create the worlds fist atomic bomb. Because so much of the work that Tom did on the Manhattan project was secret the government was forced to not recognize it. Because of this Tom would have had to go back to school to obtain a degree in Nuclear Physics but not only would he waste 4 years learning things he already knew, the information being taught to him was outdated and untrue but Tom wasn’t aloud to discuss it.

Tom then decided to go into the music industry; getting his first job with a classical recording company before being employed at Atlantic Records. His first job, the artist didn’t want to work with him because the artist had not only never heard of him but Tom was doing things that the artist that were completely wrong. That is in till he heard the finalized piece that Tom had helped create. Tom was unorthodox in many ways, starting with the way he recorded things. At the time everyone thought the only way to records was to set up one microphone and have the band crowd around a play together. Tom did things a little differently. He utilized the 4 track and later the 8 track tape and set up the recording studio so each member of the band or group would have there own microphone. Completely changing the sound. Another thing Tom did was change the mixer board from having knobs, to having sliders. Because it was difficult to turn multiple knobs at the same time but with sliders you could put each finger on one slider, which was much simpler.

Over the course of his life Tom worked with many different artists and bands such as Lynyrd Skynyrd, Dereck and the Dominoes, Eric Clapton, and many many more. Some bands, like Lynyrd Skynyrd never worked with any other recoding engineer ever again because they liked Toms Work so much. 

Tom Dowd died october 27, 2002 but his legacy lives on.

This video is a Lego stop-motion that someone else made and put on archive.org. How ever there original sound track was illegal and didn’t fit the dancing anyway. So my task was to build a new sound track using MIDI and GarageBand loops. Most of the people have their own beat. I used MIDI to create audience sounds, such as cheering, clapping, and booing. Enjoy.

Another song I made with free time in Music Tech. This one has a Classic Rock feel too it. Enjoy.

This is a short 45 second song made for the morning announcements using MIDI and GarageBand loops. I changed all the loop sounds to make it more interesting which gives the whole thing an outer space feel.

MIDI

MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) was a crucial invention in the musical technology field. In short it changes music from actual played music to data a computer can interpret using three things; note on, note off, how hard the note was hit. Because the computer interprets the data in this format, we can play anything on an electrical keyboard and the DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) like GarageBand can change it to a different instrument or sound. Because of MIDI composers with only a one keyboard can put together entire songs with any instrument.  MIDI was first developed in the 1980’s and since then hasn’t changed one bit. In fact when the first developers were designing the MIDI cord that would run from the keyboard to the computer, they gave it six prongs though only 4 more needed. Their reasoning for this was that with updates to computer MIDI would need to be updated to be more perfect. They were wrong. MIDI cables still contain 6 prongs but only 4 of them are actually used to transfer data.