Octatrack, Digitone & me (live vocal sampling) & with stems

I don’t use the OT that often, only when I want to use very long back tracks when I play the guitar but I was happy to use it again as I didn’t forget everything I learned in the past! I should really try to play with it more.

This is a shorter version and very slightly different mix:


love what you’re doing with the vocals that creates a lot more presence in the track since it’s still a one man band live situation.
Did you also use the song mode feature on your boxes? How’s the music evolving so flawlessly during the video track?

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Thank you for listening and your question!

I was planning to update my Digitone to get access to the new song mode they added (because I’m just too lazy to match patterns between the 2 boxes!) but… I used a simple pattern chain on the Digitone. The first 5 patterns are empty, I use them as a counter (14,13,12,11,10 change pattern on the OT and 9, 1, 2 with music)

On the Octatrack I have 2 patterns:

One where I just sample my vocal and play it back right away (used through 14~10 of the Digitone)
One where

  • I play (differently) my just sampled vocal,
  • Play the main track that I use as a backing track
    (I use the 1st trig condition so that it doesn’t restart the sample every time the pattern loop)
  • Live sample my vocal again and again with a weird meter
    (I guess I made it 47/64 or something like that so that it evolves during the entire song)

Wow! This is beautiful. There’s so much going on but I don’t feel overwhelmed by the mix. Did you work consciously to achieve that? I like to work with many layers but find it hard to mix them in a pleasing way. Would love to know how you approach that aspect of it.

Thank you for sharing. This is inspiring!

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Thank you very much for your kind words and your question!

I do like to build up slowly and go crescendo so I tend to pile up layers upon layers but then as you said, it gets really hard to mix and this jam was challenging to mix for me (my right ear is totally fucked up and I only mix with headphones so not really sure how people are hearing my music. so take everything I say with a huge grain of salt!)

I started with an acoustic guitar/vocal idea then added 2 electric guitars (each hard panned right and left) then added the bass with the piano sound from the Digitone then the drums. At this stage, all the sounds were all in a different area frequency wise (electric guitars are played in a higher range than the acoustic guitar most of the time). The electric guitars and piano are a bit problematic but the sound is very different so I emphasized the area that would not clash with my voice mainly.

Then I added pads, strings, birds and the idea to live sample my vocal so it was starting to get a bit busy. birds are in a very high frequency range (got rid of everything below 3khz I think!) so they don’t really clash. The pad is more of a short climax thing so that’s ok I guess. The problem is/was the strings. I did clean them up a lot so that they wouldn’t clash too much with my vocal.

The live vocal sample goes hand in hand with my main vocal but is hard panned most of the time so they don’t clash that much (I don’t check mono translation though) and work as doubled most of the time anyway.

So I guess I tried to arrange everything by keeping in mind that each element should occupy a specific area of the frequency range (strings being the exception)!

Then I use side-chain stuffs (EQ, comp) a lot… which shows that my arrangement choices are not the best ha.

But it’s a lot of trials and errors. Sometimes I just mute an element and listen without it (Do I really need it?) and then increase the volume slowly again. I did this many many times for the strings in order to find the right spot to my ears.

I uploaded the raw stems of this track. You can try to mix them (quite a lot of work tbh) or just, you know, mangle away!


failed hopes
castles in the air
another painting
a self-portrait
an after-image
of who I was
of who I was
I can’t move
like a deer
caught in the headlights
wake me up
wake me up
It’s a nightmare
my back against the walls
I hear the sirens
coming for me
but I sit down
waiting for the end
they pull me away
from the light
they wake me up
please wake me up