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#3958 - 08/19/07 11:31 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Get that Brian Eno 'ambient' sound on pianos and guitars with ease
rockstar_not Online   content
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Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7348
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Some of you have positively commented on a couple of my songs that I've done with an 'ambient' flair, well I have a not-so-secret weapon for adding the Brian Eno-esque touch on guitars and pianos (and some vocals), that you can get for free if you like.

Signal chain involves the following:

1. Obtain these freeware plugins (note - this is not a plugin worship session, but there are reasons why these plugins will be helpful to obtain the Eno sound which I will explain in brief detail later): A. Ohmforce 'Frohmage' found here: http://www.ohmforce.com/UseFreeSoftware.do?action=freeware
B. Interruptor's Bionic Delay found here: http://www.interruptor.ch/vst_overview.shtml
C. Ariescode's Ariesverb found here: http://www.ariescode.com/ariesverb.html

2. Put them in the same order in the effect chain on the track you want to give the Eno touch. Perhaps start without the filter if you like - or bypass it.

3. Put an acoustic piano track or electric guitar track through this chain and start experimenting with some of the settings on the delay and filter. Both the delay and the filter have easy to mouse-manipulate controls which you can monkey with while playing back your recorded track. You'll soon come across a combination which sounds quite ethereal and otherworldly.

Why does this work?

Brian Eno is credited with coining the term 'ambient' when it comes to music terminology. Whether this is true or not is beside the point. In the late 70's or early 80's he released a series of albums which he termed 'Ambient' music, with the goal that the music really didn't have a recognizable melody or harmonic structure, but was there to create an atmosphere. These recordings, in many folks opinions, were very successful at doing so and were seminal works in the newly developing 'New Age' music movement that was just beginning to develop.

Brian's main effect tools were tape delays and very long reverb tails. The Bionic Delay has some presets which do fair justice at emulating tape loop delays; particularly emulating the little pitch blips that were common in tape delays as well as the fading high frequency detail that occurs in the repeats of the original signal. There are some presets named 'tape delay' in the bionic delay that will get you on the right track very quickly.

He also used very long reverbs on his original signals in these ambient releases. The very first preset in Ariesverb is called 'Temple of the Ancients' and it's simply outstanding for a fairly color-free long tail reverb. Following a tape-delay, you end up with a glorious wash of sound that develops and evolves on it's own, even with very simple input signals.

Lastly, adding in the filter before the delay, with slowly modulated cutoff, resonance and bandwidth settings can make that signal evolve even more beautifully over time.

Here's some tracks where I've employed one or more of these effects in this particular effect chain.

On guitars (the noise signal as well as the electric guitar passages and strummed electric guitar parts - not the rhythmic guitar/bass sound):
http://rockstarnot.rekkerd.org/songs/newer/Ether.mp3

On Acoustic Piano:
http://rockstarnot.rekkerd.org/songs/newer/View%20From%20Mulholland.MP3

On a chant I wrote and recorded, on the vocals (original text by Hildegard von Bingen):
http://rockstarnot.rekkerd.org/songs/newer/07_01_Rockstar_not_Spiritus_Sanctus_Vivificans_Vita.mp3

On another electric guitar based ambient track:
http://rockstarnot.rekkerd.org/fawm2007/Scott%20Lake%20-%20Frozen%20-%20FAWM%202007%20song%205.mp3

Give those a go and see what you come up with.

-Scott


Edited by rockstar_not (08/19/07 11:33 PM)

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#3959 - 11/10/07 04:36 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Get that Brian Eno 'ambient' sound on pianos and guitars with ease [Re: rockstar_not]
Brian Cadoret Offline
Apprentice

Registered: 04/08/07
Posts: 183
Loc: Jersey Channel Islands
Great stuff Scott thanks for the listen and links.

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#3960 - 11/10/07 05:35 PM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Get that Brian Eno 'ambient' sound on pianos and guitars with ease [Re: Brian Cadoret]
Mac Offline
Veteran

Registered: 05/29/00
Posts: 38502
Loc: Chesapeake, Virginia USA
Not my cuppa tea, but by jove, Scott, I think ya nailed it on this.

EDIT: View from Mulholland is now stuck in me brain.

That's good.

Run the vox on that last 'un through Autotune one time, 'K?



--Mac


Edited by Mac (11/10/07 05:44 PM)
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#3961 - 11/15/07 10:39 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Get that Brian Eno 'ambient' sound on pianos and guitars with ease [Re: Mac]
filkertom Offline
Veteran

Registered: 01/03/06
Posts: 2028
Loc: Ann Arbor, MI
Many thanks, Scott. I just migrated to a new computer and have been going through my plug-ins to see what stays and what goes, and I think you've got two new keepers for me. (Already had Frohmage.) And the sound! Yeah, I wanted something like that in the arsenal.
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#3962 - 11/28/07 07:48 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Get that Brian Eno 'ambient' sound on pianos and guitars with ease [Re: rockstar_not]
NeilC Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 09/28/07
Posts: 33
Scott,
Frozen-excellent piece of artistry.Just to prove that guitar playing does not have to be fast or complex to raise the hairs on the back of one's neck.

Regards,

Neil C
Warrington
UK

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#3963 - 11/28/07 09:18 AM [Post your own Tips and Tricks here] Re: Get that Brian Eno 'ambient' sound on pianos and guitars with ease [Re: NeilC]
rockstar_not Online   content
Veteran

Registered: 01/14/02
Posts: 7348
Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
Quote:

Scott,
Frozen-excellent piece of artistry.Just to prove that guitar playing does not have to be fast or complex to raise the hairs on the back of one's neck.

Regards,

Neil C
Warrington
UK




Neil, thanks! It also proves that you don't have to spend a ton of time doing a track. That was a 1-night venture for me as part of the www.fawm.org challenge earlier this year. The challenge is to write and record 14 songs in 28 days of February. That one was a response to a weekly challenge to use just 1 or 2 chords in a song. Naturally I picked a huge chord to base the song off of!

-Scott

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