I've been doing ICOM remixes for a long time, just ask ipaghost. Over the years, as well as recently, I've come up with some methods for editing and generating great samples out of the source ingredients. In the methods listed below, they can help you quickly get some usable and great sounding tones and beats so you drop them into your DAW or tracker and get sequencing while the other chefs are still scratching their heads through their chef hats. There isn't really a specific order or list of steps, so the list below is just a review of what I did to chop up the recent ROBOTRON: 2084 ingredients.
Use Image-Line SliceX, Edisdon, or similar, like Wavesurgeon, to chop up the raw ingredients into more digestible bits.
These applications slice up your sample based on changes in the dynamic rage of the audio. They detect the difference between loud and soft pars, like between the kick drum, hats, and share drum in a drum loop, or separate syllables in a phrase of speech.
I'll typically use Edison. Renoise has this feature built-in as well. Back in the days of Maz Sound Tools, I would use Wavesurgeon, which had a unique feature of a slider for the sensitivity setting, rather than Edison or SliceX's limited dull, medium, sharp, and Renoise requiring a number be typed in before seeing the slice levels. If I find a copy of the old free version of Wavesurgeon floating around, I'll be sure to share it.
Unzip your ingredients to a handy folder.
Load into your slicer app of choice, and choose the appropriate slice sensitivity.
In Edison and SliceX, you then batch export the regions as "For common use..." to export all the regions at once.
If you sliced too aggressively, you might wind up with thousands of sample slices rather than a few dozen or hundred, but that's fine if that's what you want.
Technically, using a wavetable synthesizer isn't cheating, so...
Recently, I started using Ableton's wavetable instrument and a Maxforlive Max4Live M4L MaxMSP Max8 Cycling'74 (whatever is googleable) randomizer to create additional tones and percussion. After some initial chopping of the ingredients, I'll drop two different sounding samples into the wavetable sampler, and record the randomized output for about a minute. This recording also then gets dropped into Edison for slicing, which usually creates about a hundred new samples, then I cherry-pick the best sounding ones for sequencing new beats, or turning into a bass, key, or pad instrument with loops and envelopes in Renoise.
The output of the wavetable randomizer are then sliced up just like the source ingredients.
After all that slicing, you probably won't want to perform much manual editing on them to make them sound better, like applying envelopes, removing clicks at the ends from odd slice points, or removing sub-sonic bass that can muddy up your mix.
Set up some batch processes to filter out muddy bass, normalize/maximize the volume of each sample, and apply click-removing envelopes.
I just made this batch process yesterday in Cooledit. It does what I mentioned above:
- Filters out low frequencies (more about bass tones and kick drums later)
- Normalizes all the samples to 88% so they're all usable. It's easier to lower volume of source ingredients in the DAW than raise them.
- Apply an amplitude envelope to the very ends of the samples to remove any noticeable clicks from odd slice points.
Don't forget kick drums and bass tones.
Kick drums and bass tones are very important, depending on the type of remix you are going for, and it can be difficult to get usable kick drum and bass samples out of most ingredients.
Using the wavetable method produces good bass tones, tuned to C, but doesn't always produce good kick drum samples.
Before I ever started using a wavetable synth, I used Cooledit's Pitch Bender to create kick drums from a tone. Basically, all most electronic kick drums are just pitch sweeps. If you can manage to get a clean tone, like somewhat of a constant since out of the ingredients, you can generate a bunch of kick drums. If you are having a tough time getting a clean tone out of the ingredients, try some extreme bandpass filtering.
Also be sure to filter out subsonic tones from these generated kick drums. Since they're generated entirely in the digital domain, you'll likely wind up with frequencies that will be inaudible and mess up your DAW's DC offset.
Try some variations with the pitch bender, and crop out a bunch of kicks. Your previous slicing may have resulted in some kick drums as well, but these pitch-bent kicks will have more power to cut through the mix.
- Export your various slice batches into new and separate folders to save yourself the headache of batch exporting a thousand .wav files onto your desktop.
- Find a fast way to preview and cherry-pick your slices. I have some keyboard shortcuts set up in Foobar2000. Another trick is to apply a normalize edit to any sample you like when previewing in Cooledit or Adobe Audition, then sort them all by Last Edited, and copy those to a new folder.
- Sometimes there might be subliminal sample gold you'll only hear by listening very closely or amplifying the ingredients. The sample below is just a click, but it is very sharp, dynamic, and was only noticed by amplifying the slice. Other chefs have found samples of peoples' voices from field recordings that were very quite compared to what was being more directly recorded.
- DON'T FORGET TO SIMPLY CHOP AND EDIT THE SOURCE INGREDIENTS MANUALLY TO GET THE MOST MEANINGFUL SAMPLES. Little bits and kicks are great, but if the source ingredients were a mourning dove song and you don't use a sample of the mourning dove's song in your remix, YOU ARE MISSING THE POINT OF IRONCHEFOFMUSIC
If you join the Discord chat, or check our the Twitter account you can get a .zip file of all the slices, wavetable slices, kicks, and other samples I created for this.