Chromeo Patches

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Kidney05
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Chromeo Patches

Post by Kidney05 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 9:33 pm

Are any of you guys chromeo fans?

Recently fell in love with their sound, they have pretty simple patches, I'm trying to get it write on my newer synths-- mopho, tetra, little phatty, and I have a juno 106, which is probably the best to attempt to make their sounds with. Any tips on those types of sounds, basses and leads most typically? Also any tips on doing electro-funk in general?

Thanks,
Matt

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Re: Chromeo Patches

Post by nvbrkr » Fri Sep 02, 2011 10:22 am

Yes, I'm a fan. I can't comment on the exact patches, but I'll offer something that may or not be of help to you.

Your setups seems like something that could be very suitable for electro-funk. I'd be inclined to think that the LP is your best bet (I find the new Moogs to be very suitable for the late-70s / early-80s type of music). I think it's all in the envelopes and how you actually play the notes yourself. Funk often relies on staccato type of parts, which might be quite hard some players to adapt to if they're used playing, say, straightforward synth pop. Of course, Chromeo is one type of a synth pop band too.

The Prophet 5 seems to do the chords on many tracks. What might sound comforting is that those parts are actually played on a SixTrak on some of the songs ("Needy Girl", "Night by Night", if my memory serves me correct). You could get close to that by clever programming (maybe you'd like to try layering the Tetra and the 106?). The bass parts seem to be often the Minimoog (MIDI'ed one, I believe). The LP should get you in the same territory.

One thing that impresses me about the new Chromeo record is how well the guys arrange their synth parts. They know how to leave space between different elements and there's a good amount of high / low frequency separation involved. A key to it seems to be alternation of different elements - a very good example of this would be "Night by Night". Notice how the different elements alternate in the mix and how brazenly they are emphasized during the entire track. This is a big change from their first record.

[youtube][/youtube]

or a subtler way to do the same thing:

[youtube][/youtube]

I think that if you make your arrangements this way they are also easier to mix later on. You won't even necessarily need to get the EQ and compression "just right", because there's always something in the mix that will offer a "break" from the monotony. If the mixes are constantly mid-rangey and there's not enough variation the listener will be inclined to press "stop" after a while. When cleverly structuring the arrangements the mixes should also translate better into different playback devices and the listener won't get as easily tired when listening to them.

As with all funk music the emphasis should be for the most part on the first beat of the bar with electro-funk too. In addition to a kick drum you can put any type of an accented bass note, synth hit or a sampler sound there. It's fairly easy to get a hold of how the artists do this if you listen to some records. These aren't of the 80s style, but they're fun to watch:

[youtube][/youtube]

[youtube][/youtube]

The 80s style is a bit different in the sense that it often uses heavy snare sounds that might end up dominating the mix. You should leave some room for the snares in the mix to preserve the funkiness. You can use this as a trick too. You could listen to, say, "Controversy" by Prince (I won't put a Youtube link here due to him being so strict on copyright issues). It's quite common in 1980s funk to emphasize the fourth beat on the last bar of a two or four bar groove. These type of things should help making your stuff stand out from vanilla synthpop.

I hope this reply wasn't too boring to wade through. btw, It's easy to get a decent groove recorded, but working that into a full song is always the hardest part.

Kidney05
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Re: Chromeo Patches

Post by Kidney05 » Sun Sep 04, 2011 7:01 pm

thanks for the response-- I really don't know much about playing funk, so that was helpful!

I'm not sure if you've seen their interview in future music, but they show off their working environment--

Usually they start with a demo that Pee has or an idea that Dave has sung into his phone and sent to Pee. Their studio is basically all their hardware synths stacked around a room all connected via midi to a computer with the audio outs going into a big mixer-- they don't really write and record into a computer at once to start. They keep the traditional stages of demoing, tracking, mixing and mastering all separate, and use an old version of Cakewalk to sequence all the synths. In the example of the song they started, Pee had some chords already in mind, and dave played a bassline in the prophet 08-- after they had the idea, they started a drum beat via midi into a sequential circuits drumtraks. Then they programmed Dave's bass idea into the prophet via midi, and they jammed on a bunch of other synths-- i remember them playing the wurlitzer keyboard, the minimoog model d, a roland juno, and a moog concertmate. Dave even jams a bit on his guitar at the end. The demo sounds pretty cool after the get it going-- at one point they do stop and say what they have is too jazzy so they add more funk licks in the guitar part and lead on the keys.

the reason I asked about the patches is that the only part that's in the dark is that all the patches they use are Pee's, and he says he usually cleans out all the presets when he gets a synth, and ends up his new ones via midi into his computer, or tape. I've never really tried programming old school funk patches, but they don't sound too complex-- one of the ones Pee says he uses always is an octave bassline, you can hear that type in alot of their songs.

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Re: Chromeo Patches

Post by THEODICY » Sun Sep 04, 2011 9:46 pm

They did a future music interview not too long ago. I think it's all in the song writing and less so the sounds. The sounds are all pretty simple type patches, they use the traditional song writing methods for their demos. Everything starts with a simple loop on the drumtraks and then parts are written on a whurlitzer electric piano. The Juno 106 bass patch is commonly used, sub osc with another osc one octave higher and enveloped to taste. Pretty simple, just write good music and you'll get 90% there ;) those FM magazine videos were on YouTube not too long ago.

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Re: Chromeo Patches

Post by nvbrkr » Sun Sep 11, 2011 9:34 am

THEODICY wrote:They did a future music interview not too long ago. I think it's all in the song writing and less so the sounds. The sounds are all pretty simple type patches, they use the traditional song writing methods for their demos. Everything starts with a simple loop on the drumtraks and then parts are written on a whurlitzer electric piano. The Juno 106 bass patch is commonly used, sub osc with another osc one octave higher and enveloped to taste. Pretty simple, just write good music and you'll get 90% there ;) those FM magazine videos were on YouTube not too long ago.
The point I was trying to make with my longer post too. It's really one of those cases where what you do with the sounds matters more than the sounds themselves. Having a little bit of that analog edge of helps of course - I think P-Thugg has used the Nord units quite a lot though. On record as well as live. When I saw them live a little while ago he was playing his Nords a whole lot more than the the Moog Voyger he had on stage as well.

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Re: Chromeo Patches

Post by Alex E » Mon Sep 12, 2011 12:39 am

I LOVE Chromeo.

Here's some stuff I know they use, only right off the top of my head:

Korg Monopoly
Korg Trident Mk1
Minimoog D
Moog Sonic 6
Yamaha DX100 (Talkbox)
Roland Juno-106S and HS60
Roland VP-330
Roland D-50
Yamaha DX7
Oberheim OBX
Sequential Drumtraks
Sequential Six-Trak

There's a whole lot more, check out some studio shots on youtube for some fun gearspotting.

They also record with analog equipment. How cool is that? Can't remember if it goes to tape or not, but it's sequenced with a PC from the mid 90's and everything goes through a wonderful huge console from the 70's.
soundcloud.com/vectron


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