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How to make vaporambient? (don't know if that is the name)

vmrrobotic

Traveler
Hi everyone! Im new at making vaporwave (I only made a few tracks and they aren't even published) and I made some eccojams-like songs. The thing is, I would like to make a track or some with vaporambient style (like 2 8 1 4 or something) but there aren't any tutorials about how to make it sound vapor, and that is what im searching. (sorry if my inglish isn't really good, Im Spanish)
 

Campcerous

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I'm still in the learning process myself, but slowing down, tone shifting, and adding echo to your samples makes them appear much longer, and then I add on from there
 
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vmrrobotic

Traveler
Campcerous said:
I'm still in the learning process myself, but slowing down, tone shifting, and adding echo to your samples makes them appear much longer, and then I add on from there

Yea, but I would really like to make it sample-free. Any ideas?
 
D

Deleted member 795

Ambient is something I've messed with for...geez, I don't even know anymore.

OK, there's actually TWO forms of ambient music:

1) "Classic" ambient. This is where you find Eno's pioneering work with "Discreet Music" and "Music for Airports". This sort of ambient is the style that's primarily intended as a sonic background, and it's actually not as difficult as it seems that it might be. It actually falls into the category of "process composition", where the composer/performer sets up a given set of variables, then sets that in motion, allowing the system to determine the end-result. So, as the term implies, you're composing the _process_ but not necessarily the discrete events in the work.

The biggest difficulty with ambient of this type is in doing _too much._ It's super-easy to overwork things; the key is to make sure your layers are VERY sparse, so that as they interact, new structures are constantly in formation, and it's actually difficult to determine HOW the layers interact to create the result.

First up, your clock has to go WAAAAAAAAAAY down in speed. You need separation of beats and increments. This helps to ensure that each metronome "tick" is so widely spaced that there's no way for anything fast or complex to happen. Next, select a mode...no, not a key, although major and minor are valid modes in of themselves. But it's better to go outside of those and find different modal and scalar patterns, especially ones that have an internal consonance at all degrees of the mode.

Then, the automation. There are numerous plugins out there that function as "algorithmic" or "Euclidean" sequencers, where you can not only assign basic pitch motifs, but also assign degrees of randomness. By doing this, you can make these endlessly spin out non-duplicable lines. With several of these running on separate tracks, you then have an automated pattern generator, and as long as all patterns remain in the proper mode, and you use very simplistic sounds per track, that type of process can literally be left to run FOREVER. You can also use chords...but DON'T use anything particularly dense; if you feel an overwhelming need to drop in an extended chord, you might want to spread it way out in register. Chords can also function as "pedalpoints"...let them slowly emerge and dissipate over a few minutes, and this has the effect of emulating "harmonic progression" while still maintaining the quasi-random process. Once this is all up and flying, add processing plugins and mix. But remember: DON'T let things get really dense. Sparser is better here.

If you can totally ignore the result once you've completed the work, you're doing it right. Musically, this style gets dismissed as the sonic equivalent of "watching paint dry"...but to ONLY actively listen to it misses the point. It should be like a fragrance on the wind...ephemerial, shifting, not always present.

2) "Atmospheric" ambient. Now, this is a bit more common these days, and it's more germaine to vaporwave. And yes, you can use samples very easily here...provided that you process them beyond recognizability and, basically, turn them into unique "events" in the course of a piece.

Eno also worked in this direction; "Ambient 4: On Land" is the best example of this from him, IMHO. What you're trying to do is to paint a "scene"...real or imagined...using sound as a canvas, and these more complex events as poster-brush strokes of a sort. You don't want to "show" something, you only want to "evoke" it...so if you can get an idea across with as few apparent gestures as possible, you're probably doing it right.

Extensive processing is the key to this style. And what you're up to with that processing...hm...OK, let's take a look at this first: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-sunset-n01876 which is a painting of a sunset by J.M.W. Turner. Got that? Good. Now, look at https://picjumbo.com/beautiful-sunset-over-the-ocean/ which is a photograph of the same sort of subject.

Now, consider Turner's "interpretation" of this sort of image as a "process", in which the "sample"...which probably looked quite a bit like the photo...has been made to morph into what you see in Turner's painting. This is what you're trying to do in sound in this style of ambient...create the _evocation_ of the thing, but not necessarily a _representation_ of the thing. And how this can be made to work in sound is to take a basic sample of a four-bar phrase, then MASSIVELY fuck with it. If it took 7 seconds to listen to it at normal speed, then stretch it out to 7 MINUTES (or some such). Layer on the processing...both during sample editing AND when comping and mixing the final track. Remember, you're trying to eradicate the discrete aspects of the sample in order to arrive at a "contour" of the sample with certain aspects altered...pitch, time-based processing, EQ/filtering, etc. The objective is NOT to make it recognizable at the normal sensory level of the listener, but to give the listener a sense of immersion into a "familiar unfamiliar".

Comping these sorts of works is actually a lot more difficult than one might suspect, also. Your multitrack view might only show 5-6 events in the work, spread out over 5-6 tracks and 15-20 (or more) minutes, and while that LOOKS simple, the fact is that you have to be very careful about how those processed events mesh. This is composition at a level where slight adjustments in timing can make quite a bit of difference, so expect to play around a lot with the positioning of events on the piece's "grid".

Also, time-based processing is your friend here. Once you've rendered these samples down to extreme sparsity, make ample use of delays and reverbs to blur the open space with aspects of the discrete events in the processed samples. And we're talking time changes that, in "normal" production, would be completely insane; have you got a delay that can give you echoes at, say, 180 seconds? That's the ticket. Or completely "wrong" EQ and filtering...snag a single sequencer loop from Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA", drag it out to about 4 minutes, then use a filter to kill everything above 100 Hz. Result: lovely subrumbles and an ultra-slow bass progression.

This is NOT "normal" sample use. Fact is, it's better described as a process of "recomposition"...Stockhausen referred to it as "transformative processing". Whatever you'd started with...well, it's certainly not that now! And as "fair use" goes, this falls SQUARELY into the category of "transformative work" due to the incredible amount of alteration that you've done. In short, it's 99.999% SAFE. There's not a content management system on this planet that can figure out what's going on there, either.

But don't get the idea that it's EASY. Have a look at this: https://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-temples-shrines/ryoanji-temple This is what you're attempting to do with these samples. The arrangement of rocks and gravel in the Ryoanji garden is, in a very real sense, perfect. Although, the fact is that it's not. But trying to arrive at the "perfect imperfection" seen there is the ACTUAL point of the garden. And this only works when you have this degree of sparsity in the elements, either visually or sonically. But if you consider what you see there...several large stones, and ripples in the surrounding gravel resulting from their positioning...it's actually quite similar to the process of selecting/processing/placing your samples in the timeline of this sort of ambient music, then allowing the processing of those samples to act as the "gravel" which carries the effect of time interacting with the sample structures. And in the end, the passage of time in the work functions in the same way as moving along the gallery beside the garden, as sampled sounds and processing interact and shift perspective over the work's course. First few times you try it WILL SUCK...just like how the first few times you meditate, you get an itch on your nose, or your leg falls asleep, or you keep thinking about being stuck in traffic, or or or or...but this sort of composition method is something of a process in of itself. It changes you as you change the sounds around.

Hope that's helpful...
 

vmrrobotic

Traveler
Lugia909 said:
Ambient is something I've messed with for...geez, I don't even know anymore.

OK, there's actually TWO forms of ambient music:

1) "Classic" ambient. This is where you find Eno's pioneering work with "Discreet Music" and "Music for Airports". This sort of ambient is the style that's primarily intended as a sonic background, and it's actually not as difficult as it seems that it might be. It actually falls into the category of "process composition", where the composer/performer sets up a given set of variables, then sets that in motion, allowing the system to determine the end-result. So, as the term implies, you're composing the _process_ but not necessarily the discrete events in the work.

The biggest difficulty with ambient of this type is in doing _too much._ It's super-easy to overwork things; the key is to make sure your layers are VERY sparse, so that as they interact, new structures are constantly in formation, and it's actually difficult to determine HOW the layers interact to create the result.

First up, your clock has to go WAAAAAAAAAAY down in speed. You need separation of beats and increments. This helps to ensure that each metronome "tick" is so widely spaced that there's no way for anything fast or complex to happen. Next, select a mode...no, not a key, although major and minor are valid modes in of themselves. But it's better to go outside of those and find different modal and scalar patterns, especially ones that have an internal consonance at all degrees of the mode.

Then, the automation. There are numerous plugins out there that function as "algorithmic" or "Euclidean" sequencers, where you can not only assign basic pitch motifs, but also assign degrees of randomness. By doing this, you can make these endlessly spin out non-duplicable lines. With several of these running on separate tracks, you then have an automated pattern generator, and as long as all patterns remain in the proper mode, and you use very simplistic sounds per track, that type of process can literally be left to run FOREVER. You can also use chords...but DON'T use anything particularly dense; if you feel an overwhelming need to drop in an extended chord, you might want to spread it way out in register. Chords can also function as "pedalpoints"...let them slowly emerge and dissipate over a few minutes, and this has the effect of emulating "harmonic progression" while still maintaining the quasi-random process. Once this is all up and flying, add processing plugins and mix. But remember: DON'T let things get really dense. Sparser is better here.

If you can totally ignore the result once you've completed the work, you're doing it right. Musically, this style gets dismissed as the sonic equivalent of "watching paint dry"...but to ONLY actively listen to it misses the point. It should be like a fragrance on the wind...ephemerial, shifting, not always present.

2) "Atmospheric" ambient. Now, this is a bit more common these days, and it's more germaine to vaporwave. And yes, you can use samples very easily here...provided that you process them beyond recognizability and, basically, turn them into unique "events" in the course of a piece.

Eno also worked in this direction; "Ambient 4: On Land" is the best example of this from him, IMHO. What you're trying to do is to paint a "scene"...real or imagined...using sound as a canvas, and these more complex events as poster-brush strokes of a sort. You don't want to "show" something, you only want to "evoke" it...so if you can get an idea across with as few apparent gestures as possible, you're probably doing it right.

Extensive processing is the key to this style. And what you're up to with that processing...hm...OK, let's take a look at this first: https://www.tate.org.uk/art/artworks/turner-sunset-n01876 which is a painting of a sunset by J.M.W. Turner. Got that? Good. Now, look at https://picjumbo.com/beautiful-sunset-over-the-ocean/ which is a photograph of the same sort of subject.

Now, consider Turner's "interpretation" of this sort of image as a "process", in which the "sample"...which probably looked quite a bit like the photo...has been made to morph into what you see in Turner's painting. This is what you're trying to do in sound in this style of ambient...create the _evocation_ of the thing, but not necessarily a _representation_ of the thing. And how this can be made to work in sound is to take a basic sample of a four-bar phrase, then MASSIVELY fuck with it. If it took 7 seconds to listen to it at normal speed, then stretch it out to 7 MINUTES (or some such). Layer on the processing...both during sample editing AND when comping and mixing the final track. Remember, you're trying to eradicate the discrete aspects of the sample in order to arrive at a "contour" of the sample with certain aspects altered...pitch, time-based processing, EQ/filtering, etc. The objective is NOT to make it recognizable at the normal sensory level of the listener, but to give the listener a sense of immersion into a "familiar unfamiliar".

Comping these sorts of works is actually a lot more difficult than one might suspect, also. Your multitrack view might only show 5-6 events in the work, spread out over 5-6 tracks and 15-20 (or more) minutes, and while that LOOKS simple, the fact is that you have to be very careful about how those processed events mesh. This is composition at a level where slight adjustments in timing can make quite a bit of difference, so expect to play around a lot with the positioning of events on the piece's "grid".

Also, time-based processing is your friend here. Once you've rendered these samples down to extreme sparsity, make ample use of delays and reverbs to blur the open space with aspects of the discrete events in the processed samples. And we're talking time changes that, in "normal" production, would be completely insane; have you got a delay that can give you echoes at, say, 180 seconds? That's the ticket. Or completely "wrong" EQ and filtering...snag a single sequencer loop from Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the USA", drag it out to about 4 minutes, then use a filter to kill everything above 100 Hz. Result: lovely subrumbles and an ultra-slow bass progression.

This is NOT "normal" sample use. Fact is, it's better described as a process of "recomposition"...Stockhausen referred to it as "transformative processing". Whatever you'd started with...well, it's certainly not that now! And as "fair use" goes, this falls SQUARELY into the category of "transformative work" due to the incredible amount of alteration that you've done. In short, it's 99.999% SAFE. There's not a content management system on this planet that can figure out what's going on there, either.

But don't get the idea that it's EASY. Have a look at this: https://www.japanvisitor.com/japan-temples-shrines/ryoanji-temple This is what you're attempting to do with these samples. The arrangement of rocks and gravel in the Ryoanji garden is, in a very real sense, perfect. Although, the fact is that it's not. But trying to arrive at the "perfect imperfection" seen there is the ACTUAL point of the garden. And this only works when you have this degree of sparsity in the elements, either visually or sonically. But if you consider what you see there...several large stones, and ripples in the surrounding gravel resulting from their positioning...it's actually quite similar to the process of selecting/processing/placing your samples in the timeline of this sort of ambient music, then allowing the processing of those samples to act as the "gravel" which carries the effect of time interacting with the sample structures. And in the end, the passage of time in the work functions in the same way as moving along the gallery beside the garden, as sampled sounds and processing interact and shift perspective over the work's course. First few times you try it WILL SUCK...just like how the first few times you meditate, you get an itch on your nose, or your leg falls asleep, or you keep thinking about being stuck in traffic, or or or or...but this sort of composition method is something of a process in of itself. It changes you as you change the sounds around.

Hope that's helpful...

Thank you very much! I will try it out
 
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