Sequencing

Unlimited possibilities...


MIDI sequencing opens up a world of possibilities for singers and musicians alike, allowing access to musical accompaniments which would have been very difficult, if not impossible to achieve under normal circumstances, requiring lots of session musicians and studio time, recording and mixing their performances.

But in modern music production, we now have access to huge sound libraries, containing every instrument under the Sun, recorded and sampled in every way you can imagine. This means that you can have backing music created for you with any sound you want using this sampled material... ...and, of course, unless you plan to learn how to do it all yourself, you'll need someone who's already well-versed in the use of samplers, sequencers, synthesizers, drum machines, mixers and effects...

Enter yours truly... I can create high quality backing tracks and accompaniments to suit your needs, using software (or hardware - or both, if you prefer...), in a wide range of styles and feels. Just check out the tracks on this page, all of which contain sequenced musical material produced by myself.






Backing tracks

Backing tracks come in all shapes and sizes and, depending on what kind of instruments are to be used, the music can be as simple or as complex as you need it to be. 

I've been creating backing tracks for over a decade, now, working with singers, songwriters, solo artists and bands - as well as yoga teachers and meditation instructors - and I've only ever received high praise for my work. 

With my extensive knowledge of computer-based MIDI sequencing and audio editing techniques, along with my experience of working in many different genres, I am capable of producing almost any kind of music to a high standard and level of realism.

Many of my backing tracks are created for vocalists, most of whom need the full band, with drums, bass, chords, melodies, special effects, etc. - any of which can consist of various instrumentation from electronica to classical. Most of my clients then play the tracks on a CD or MP3 player to perform without the need for any other musicians or equipment.

However, some solo artists, playing a live instrument, as well as singing, may need a simpler arrangement, with just a beat and a couple of background instruments filling in the sound as required. The same may also be true for some bands, in which case take a look at my accompaniments section, below.

Example backing tracks:

  1. Lee is a long-standing client of mine and, over the years, we have written a ton of tracks together. We work closely on the composition of loops, Lee will often have an idea for a new beat or riff, which he'll hum or tap to give me the general idea, then I'll lay it down with some sounds on the computer - it's a method we've gradually perfected and it seems to work well.


  1. This instrumental was composed for a Hollywood movie based on a best-selling book, but unfortunately the film never materialised. We do, however, still have the music, of which I'm rather fond. The beautiful piano part was performed by Laura Kearnes, to which I then added a little structural emphasis and a backing accompaniment of strings, brass and orchestral percussion.


  1. The beat on this track was inspired by a reference to a heartbeat in the lyrics. David's music always starts with him strumming an acoustic guitar and singing a melodic vocal part. He wanted this track to have a n electro-pop feel to the backing, but it actually contains a wide range of sounds, from a synth arpeggio to a full string section, as well as live musicians (see my Production page for details


  1. This track was produced entirely within the digital realm. Although there were no live musicians involved in the creation of the track, that's not to say that there was no input whatsoever from live musicians, as many of the sounds used are samples of real life instruments, including drums, piano, strings and more. There are, however, a great deal of purely synthesised sounds in the track, as well.





Accompaniments

Accompaniments are usually a fairly simple arrangement of additional instrumentation to be played in the background while a group of musicians are performing in a live environment. This will often require a click track to be added to one channel along with a portion of the mix sent to headphones (for the drummer usually), while the full mix would occupy the other channel sent to the PA (for the audience).

Accompaniments can, of course, be produced to go with your recordings to be used on a CD, etc, which would mean that the click track would be unnecessary, allowing for the full stereo field to be used, filling out your track(s) nicely.

I've created live-sounding acoustic drum kits as well as myriad percussion, both ethnic and orchestral. I produce pretty convincing solo violin, viola and cello parts, which work well when blended with fuller-sounding string sections, as do sequenced trumpet, french horn, flute and clarinet. I also write string quartet pieces, brass ensembles and woodwind sections.

Writing accompaniments for keyboard-based instruments, such as piano, organ, Mellotron, electric pianos like Rhodes and Wurlitzer, etc., is particularly effective when sequenced. Even simple backing vocals can be created from scratch, using male and female choir samples, for example, in conjunction with a properly calibrated vocoder.

And, of course, electronic sounds produced by synthesizers, samplers and drum machines are particularly effective as these unnatural, non-acoustic sounds have always been sequenced, so if that's what your accompaniment needs, that's what it will have.

Example Accompaniments:

  1. It was a pleasure to record and produce this track. The guitar and vocals were step-recorded, but not to a click track, as we wanted to capture the natural tempo changes from verse to chorus, which add so much to the feel of the track. It was then my task to add a backing of minimalist drums and a basic bass line to this fluctuating tempo, which was a challenge, but well worth the effort. Marks co-musician, Richard, then finished off the track by adding the excellent harmonica part.


  1. These drums were written as part of an accompaniment to a full track. I just wanted to put them up here for you to have a listen to the quality of the drum sounds. They are,of course, sequenced by myself, using some very high quality sampled drums, using multiple mics, which can then be mixed on separate channels, just like a real drum kit, with bleed-over from the various parts of the kit, just as would happen in real life.


  1. This short excerpt of a strings accompaniment, is taken from a piece which I created from scratch for one of my clients, who needed a realistic string quartet to support his performance with acoustic guitar and vocals.


  1. Another example of my drum sequencing, this time using a different selection of samples, mostly of ethnic origin, as well as some drum kit beats, all of which gradually build to a final crescendo.





Session musicians vs sampling

Of course, sequenced material can't always perfectly emulate the real thing - for instance it's impossible to recreate all the intricate nuances of an acoustic guitar or various other solo stringed instruments - so, under these circumstances, I would recommend taking advantage of my many connections with session musicians; see my Production page for more details.

If you don't want to fork out on session musicians, it's possible to use samples of more complex-sounding instruments, such as solo violins or guitars, Asian and far-eastern classical instruments, melodic and percussive ethnic, folk and traditional stringed instruments from all across the world... ...and much, much more besides... It's the chopping, editing, warping and re-sequencing of this sampled material which allows for the creation of new and unique music, which is especially effective in loop-based styles, but still has a legitimate applications in more traditional genres.

Example session musician and sampling tracks

  1. King Khamun's track, Laidback Charlie, was based on a single riff during a jam, which was then worked into a 4-piece band format. But when they came into the studio, they had some other ideas, including multiple harmonies, synthesizers, flute and harp... even passages of sitar and didgerido. The synth parts were sequenced by me, but the rest of the instruments were performed by session musicians.


  1. The bass guitar and electric guitar sound effects on this tune were performed by session musicians, as were the vocal harmonies. Whereas, the rest of the orchestration was composed by me, using software samplers, drum machines and sequencers.


  1. This meditation track was written as a template for several other meditation pieces, which used various combinations of these instruments and melodies on a more minimalistic basis in order to suit each guided meditation track on a CD. All the music was sequenced purely within the digital realm, although many of the sounds are samples of real world instruments.





Sequencing in hardware

As well as a range of software applications, I also have a wide variety of hardware audio equipment, including both MIDI and analogue sequencers, samplers, synths and drum machines, all hooked up into one interconnected system, but also available  for use individually.

Software is great for the intricate manipulation of audio to the most accurate degree, but, however hard it tries, it still can't quite emulate the responsiveness and 'tweakability' of physical hardware equipment. There's really no substitute for dedicated controls for individual parameters and the hands-on feel you get from using them.

Because of this tactile I find that I create riffs and grooves which I never would have come up with in a software environment. So, if you're interested in my sequencing services for any EDM genre, please consider the possibility of using hardware to create your backing track instead of (or as well as) software.

Example hardware sequenced tracks:

  1. This track was written using a Korg ES1 Electribe Sampling Drum Machine, along with an EA1 Electribe double Mono-Synth and a Kaossillator, as well as an electric guitar through a multi-effects pedal. These parts were then recorded separately to a DAW and some additional sampled and resequenced vocal layers were added, but that's all - the bulk of the track is all written and performed on hardware.





Remixing

As well as creating original tracks and accompaniments, I also like to turn my hand to a bit of remixing when the opportunity arises. So, please feel free to drop me a line if you'd like your track to be chopped up, mashed up, embellished and reproduced in the genre of your choice, giving your old tune a new face-lift.

Example remixed tracks:

  1. Here's a remix I did for London-based band, Shakers in the Dark. They're quite a new-wave Indie-Pop act, with a lot of energy in their performances, which cane sometimes veer more towards a 4-to-the-floor Dance sound. They had one such track which they had written quite recently and they wanted it to be pushed even further in a dance direction, so this is what I gave them.