A2 Music Technology multi-track recording - halp

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Our Music tech teacher told us that over the summer we should choose a song to record for our A2 multi-track recording. We should record a 'piece of music that has been made available for general release, or an accepted rock, pop or jaz standard. It may not be an original student composition.'

The piece must:

last between 3 and 5 minutes,

use a minimum of 12 tracks,

have a minimum of 8 tracks captured by microphones,

use DI capture where appropriate,

make use of overdub techniques,

use only live musicians, and contain no MIDI sequenced performances, looped audio or samples,

be a noise free stereo production, with use of appropriate effects and processing.

Now, I cannot think of any songs that I actually like that are as layered/as thick as a minimum of 12 tracks, I actually want to do a song that I truly like and have a passion for, so I was hoping if anyone had any suggestions of songs that i could do? Remember, they have to be quite layered and thick, not to have any MIDI or sampling and not be too over produced.

P.S, I generally like all genres of music, but my favorites would be Indie/electronic/alternative, so if you could recommend a song along those genres then that would be great
SAE Institute
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Report 5 years ago
Hi Risbywoodlands,

Even using a minimum of 12 tracks can still wield a product that is 'minimalistic', things such as vocal harmonies, double tracked guitars etc will take up your tracks whilst providing a mix that has depth but still feels minimal.

An artist - and song - that I've been digging lately (a mixing engineer myself!) is Hozier, with the track 'Take me to Church'.
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Report 5 years ago
(Original post by risbywoodlands)
Hi, I'm also doing A2 music tech in September - here's a few tracks that I was considering for my piece but decided against in the end (I'm doing "The Show" by Lenka). I'm not sure if they would be suitable or not (although I think one of my classmates is doing "Let Her Go"), I listened to them initially and shortlisted them but didn't get around to making complete track lists for them to check suitability.

-Passenger, Let Her Go
-Jason Mraz, I Won't Give Up
-MIKA, Lollipop (this has lots of small percussion and vocal parts that drop in and out, in total there are a lot of small parts/tracks but this one would be good if you had limited instrument use - percussion, vocals, piano, brass, and guitar etc)
-Black Eyed Peas, Where is the love (I really wanted to do this one at first)
-Sara Bareilles, Brave

If all else fails, lots of people have uploaded their recordings from previous years to youtube and you could pick one of those songs?

I was told they don't necessarily have to be very complex layered songs (i.e. 12 'full' layers playing at once), there can be tracks which consist of smaller parts playing occasionally and it still counts! (As long as the song as a whole isn't too simple).
I hope you find/have found something suitable, and good luck this year!
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Report 5 years ago
(Original post by SAE Institute)
Hi Risbywoodlands,
An artist - and song - that I've been digging lately (a mixing engineer myself!) is Hozier, with the track 'Take me to Church'.
I would hesitate to have that as a multi-track recording for A2, unless OP is very confident - there are a lot of elements that can, when it comes to being marked by an A level MT examiner, can lose more marks that they can gain.

There's learning to record and mix a track really well, and there's learning to record and mix a track for a music technology examiner - I learned that the hard way when I overcomplicated my multitrack.

(Original post by risbywoodlands)
Remember, they have to be quite layered and thick, not to have any MIDI or sampling and not be too over produced.
But as said above, remember that 12 tracks doesn't necessarily mean 12 instruments. I will often record just drums with 13 tracks (I suggest you dont at a level!), and when you start considering simple things like having a couple of vocal layers panned off for a chorus, you'd be surprised how quickly 12 tracks go.

If there's one thing that they're really looking for, it's clarity, NOT for things to be layered and thick. How can the examiner tick off the "instrument has a clean, clear recording" box on his marking sheet if it's drowned by a sea of other instruments?

Something that's playing on my iTunes you might want to think about is Ed Sheeran - Tenerife Sea.

Take a listen while you consider this as a suggested track setup:

1: Kick In
2: Kick Out
3: Snare Over
4: Snare Side
5: Snare Under
6: Shaker
7: Tambourine
8: Bass DI
9: Guitar 1 Mid
10: Guitar 1 Side
11: Guitar 2 Mid
12: Guitar 2 Side
13-14: Electric Piano DI
15: Lead Vox
16: Lead Vox DT
17: Lead Vox Harmony 1 Left
18: Lead Vox Harmony 1 Right
19: Lead Vox Harmony 2 Left
20: Lead Vox Harmony 2 Right

Keep the snare light, soft, in the background - perhaps even use brushes.

For me, that number of tracks at A2 level would be a nice balance between not ending up with a bare track from trying to do the *bare* minimum () and not being overwhelmed by such a complex project that it needs more housekeeping than production. I would say 16-24 tracks is what you should aim for, but of course, this depends on the piece you're doing.

The other thing with a track with this style is that you don't need to worry about mastering to get a fairly polished sound if you get it right at capture. Things like mastering will come at a later stage if you decide to continue studying Music Technology after school.

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