House Music Genre Analysis

Growing up I listened to music played by several Djs I loved whether paying attention or not music rang in my ears. Now that I am studying Audio I have a different mindset learning more critical listening to different types of genres. House music is one genre that I believe I do love and so it’s important to know the roots or the beginnings of House.

It said House music is a daughter to Dance genre (Disco) which is another style of music that has a stable beats. Before House the was Disco which elevated in the late 70s set a pace in nightclub music with a 110-130 bpm starting a new wave of DJ culture in the New York Synths & drum machines began to replace live bands & orchestras used in traditional disco records in the 80s.

House music difference is its groove and soul with a digital R&B fun, cosiness & feeling. There has been much debate about who pioneered this particular genre but story of it starting in a warehouse nightclub in Chicago seems to be the much accepted account. Frankie Knuckles is said to have establish a discrete sound using electronic drum machines such as Roland TR-808, TR-909 & TB-303 for Acid House.

Using a reel to reel tape machine, Frankie remixed songs adding percussion breaks, regrouping sections and tempo adding energetic parts in songs. he is also credited for editing disco classics, funk, electro-pop, soul and other genres creating more mixes configured to make the people dance. It has been recite that record stores sold more of these records and labelled as played at the Warehouse which then in short became House music.

House music is characterised with an anchored direct 4/4 rhythm ranging between 120 & 130 bpm with a distinct kick drum on the quarter bar. House music during the late 80s & early 90s was played round the world and its effect grew within different cultures creating many more sub-genres such as Detroit Techno, Acid House, Hip House, Hard House and many more.

I do believe more subgenres will emerge from House music with some already emerged in 2015 such as Future House. The more there is freedom in experimenting the more more new content gets created. I foresee this style of music evolving and developing through globalization through cultural changes, cross genre influences and more emerging technology

Fly Global Music Culture. 2004-10-25. Archived from the original on 2012-03-22. Retrieved 2019-10-23. “Finding Jesse – The Discovery of Jesse Saunders As the Founder of House”.

Morgan, J. (2011). Disco. New York: Sterling.
RBMA (2011): Frankie Knuckles: A journey to the roots of house music. Red Bull Music Academy. Retrieved 2019-10-23.
Moore, A. (2003). Analyzing popular music. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. (2003
The History of Indie Rock – Rock My World. (2015). Rock My World. Retrieved 14 October 2019, from
Gilbert, J., & Pearson, E. (1999). Discographies : Dance music, culture, and the politics of sound

Live Sound with Connor Roberts

Live Sound with Connor Roberts 9/10/19

From studio engineering today we entered another important segment of my course that is live sound with Connor Roberts. I did recognise him when he introduced himself as he took assessed me the mic & cable rolling technique in trimester one. He is an interesting guy with funny stories of his life which really inspired me but also very serious with his job.

The idea of live sound truly is a very intense process which I had never taken into consideration of how much work is involved in it. Connor broke it down from the beginning with a hierarchy of the important people who make a festival become one and it goes as it follows:

Promo company-Red bull, Coca cola etc – These are companies that splash the big money for a festival to take place.

Production company- These are companies that provide the live sound gear to be used at a festival such as

  • Audio Tech rider( input list, stage plot, ) Iggy pop
  • Lights
  • Pyro 1ft/M’S D and J series, L Acoustic K1, V-dosc, Clair 1-5 PA systems

One interesting thing Connor mentioned is that, a selection of a sound system is determined mainly by the main guest artist. I found that very interesting as they actually do run the show. The main artist also does move around with his or her sound engineer who also may want carry their mixing consoles to wherever festival they are to perform. The next part I learnt was the roles that are governed by the amount of money they earn or paid which I found to be interesting with a hierarchy are as follows:

  1. Production Manager: provides supervision and operations in all areas of production. That is to me a huge role as they oversee that everything falls in place. It does not look as easy at all as everything is on their shoulders. if anything goes wrong that means they have to take responsibility. Big money paid to these guys. $$$$$$ signs according to Connor
  2. System tech- mostly responsible for time delays so sound does not affect the stage, quality sound sound placement $$$$$
  3. Front of House-main house mix, reverb, delays Assistant if a band brings its own engineer $$$$
  4. Monitor engineer/tech( foldback,wedges,monitors)$$$$
  5. Patch Guy/girl$$

The dollars signs are according to the money that is paid as per ranking.All this I do believe that they are possible jobs in future for me. But that does need diligence and hard work to be able to match up these positions. the money looks good but great responsibility is greatly required. Therefore i would want to take every chance and moment i am learning in every class i do attend as there is vital information that needs to be grasped.

Live Sound with Connor Roberts 16/10/19

Signal flow is one skill that needs concrete understanding which a live sound engineer must have from mixing console to the speakers. Connor mentioned that one must know where the signal is travelling from, where it needs to go and how to get there at all times and to do that we need to know all the gadgets of PA system work together.

At big festivals expect big consoles says Connor. Some may run 48 to 100 plus channels running across and with new consoles emerging to be digitalised. The mixer has all the inputs for mics, instruments, effects which are regulated to suitable outputs. The interesting part is that at big festivals the main or FOH console deals with FOH, reverbs, delays, gates, compressors only and has nothing to do with monitoring as there will be an assigned console that is located on the side of the main stage. Once the signal is processed all the channels are channelled to stereo outputs and send to the PA system.

On the stage there is a particular language that needs to be know at all times. There some acronyms that Connor taught us like DSC ( downstage centre) meaning that position is were the main artist will be located and so his or her microphone must be placed. Other words are USC ( up stage centre), OSL ( off stage left), OHSL (overhead stage left). These acronyms once they become part of my DNA I believe the workflow will be creative, fast and efficient.

Phantom power a very important unit during live sound and can easily mess things up. Both main and monitor consoles do have phantom power option and it is wise to have only one console assigned to have phantom power on as it carries 48 volts. If both consoles are assigned then they will send 96 volts which will damage the gear such as Di and Condenser mics. i found that to be a very important take home. Meaning to say both sound engineers must discuss who to assign the task to turn on phantom power.

It is absolutely of great importance that I grasp every knowledge being give during tutorials as there is so much information regarding live sound. I would have not imagined how busy a festival can be and requires much diligence.

Side Project Recordings

Side project recording 8/10/19

After recording drums the week before, Roy and I went on to setup the Neve studio to lay the bass playing along the recorded drums. Using the knowledge that I acquired in my 2nd tri I decided to use two microphones to mic the Roland cube amp and these mics are the Shure B52A to get that solid heavy base and the Sennheiser MD421 to get the mids and top. This time I thought not to use a condenser mics as they normally pick up much noise and high ends from the amp. I mean this I can always experiment with the Eq but I would rather not, just keep it simple and get a good recording. One tip I got from Guy Cooper was that its best to have a good recording to avoid much fixing.

Reasons for the mic choice mainly was to have test of how they may sound and then next project I can probably choose different mics. It would be a good practise like Rose said to test every mic that is at our disposal. We also used a Di to also get a clean sound and hopefully during the mix I can experiment with panning on the right and the other on the left. I am not a bassist so really I would not know what is the best bass amp but rather we used a simple Roland cube amp and got Roy to tune his bass and have him be satisfied with what is coming out of it, which he was. I would say during the mix before the recording both mics and Di did sound different and it’s all about now how to mix, blend, panning that would determine a good outcome. I definitely look forward to using other different mics to get the tone and feel.

Robert Ruby suggest that a Di has its drawbacks as the tone tends to be quite bland (Rub 2019). When I took time to listen to each track there was loss of tonal colour that was being lost in the Di track. As I played the tracks together I noticed that the sound became pretty complicated and powerful bass tones coming from the two mics and also gives room to blend the signals to taste. I will do more research on how to align the phases of the two mic tracks so that I do not get any phase cancellations issues. Maybe also I may be able to create some delay with the track. It’s all about experimenting for me

Range of Sounds (2019). Rangeofsounds/blog/how-to-mic-bass-amp/. Retrieved 14 October 2019, from
Gibson, B. (2011). Instrument & vocal recording (2nd ed., Hal leonard recording method, bk. 2). Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard.
Schmitt, A., & Gibson, B. (2018). Al schmitt on vocal and instrumental recording technique. Milwaukee, WI: Hal Leonard Books.

Side project recording 15/10/19

The side project today we recorded the rhythm guitar with Roy being our absolute guitarist. This time we used Audient 8024 as the Neve studio was booked out. Roy brought in one of his many guitars and the guy loves it.

The setup this time was a little different from the Neve studio as we used two different amps and I believe the idea is to get good different tones then possibly pan hard left and right. Blending two signals together including the Di would also give a lot more sounds to select from during mixing.

Each amp we miked with two different mics, the Yamaha amp we placed a Shure sm57 & a sennheiser MD421 and the Roland amp we placed an Shure sm57 & B52A to get both high and the low frequencies. A Di box was also set to get a clean guitar sound then ran through the Yamaha amp. We then took sound from the line out of the Yamaha amp and ran it through the line input of the Roland amp. I did learn some signal flow here just by experimenting.

So then we had 5 separate signals coming through the console including the Blumlein configuration of two AKG AT2050 condenser microphone that were set to figure 8 and cardio to capture sound from front and back of the room. I made sure that we had good gain structure for all our channels and a healthy signal coming out of pro tools without clipping. It is very important that I labelled with type each channel to avoid any confusion. During the mix before recording it was interesting to listen to each channel whilst Roy did sound check as different sounds came from each mic and the Di. I am looking forward to the final mix when we complete our recording. As for next recording we will focus on vocals and we will work out the next plan and I am looking forward to it. We had multiple takes for the guitar and it’s a matter of listening to all of them and if there be need to replace we have a couple of options.

Huber, D., & Williams, P. (1998). Professional microphone techniques (Mix pro audio series). Emeryville, CA: Mix Books
Thompson, D. (2005). Understanding audio : Getting the most out of your project or professional recording studio (Recording: audio). Boston, Mass.: Berklee Press.

Afro Jazz Music Genre

Jazz music is one of my favourite style of a music genre and mostly one so called ‘ Afro jazz music. With many years listening to Jazz music and enjoying it, it got me thinking to question much about the origin of afro jazz music rather than being in my own cocoon of assumptions. Instead I decided to do a little bit of research and see if I could come up with something.

Jazz music is said to have originated in the southern states of USA in the early 20th century and overtime many styles of jazz advanced from single piano to a swing band (Decker, T. (2011) Firstly how do I define Afro jazz music? Probably a fusion of Jazz with African styled percussion and rhythms (Ward, G., & Burns, K. (2000). Afro jazz music has some key features or characteristics that are distinct that are identified such as:

  • Displaced swing and swung rhythms
  • A major scale with flattened 3rd, 5th and 7th degrees approach
  • Scat singing
  • Singing to no meaning syllables instead of words 12-bar blues chord pattern Blues scale
  • Piano stabs
  • Walking bass

The link below has one of my favourite Afro jazz artists Jimmy Dludlu who is originally from Mozambique but resides in Cape Town South Africa. His music has a traditional and modern fusion with synths included which takes Afro jazz to another level of it. He does have some combinations of r&b touch in his music too. I would say this link does have a lot of interesting combination of genres in it in the name of Afro jazz. The sound of Jimmy’s Afro jazz has a mixture of Portuguese influence around Angola, traditional South African rhythms and Mozambican Salsa. He also imitated American Jazz artists like George Benson and Wes Montgomery.

The Afro jazz fusion genre combines some traditional with some Caribbean feel with lots of saxophone and brass section with traditional drums combined with modern conga and bongo drums. According to Robin D.G Kelley ‘I he states that the development of Afro jazz music was established during the movement of people from different places, movements, cultures and provided fertile ground for new music’. In other words I would say the more the musician moved from place to place country to country they carried their culture with them and introduced in singing and playing. Hence it got more embraced leading to the creation of it. Maybe I would say too that the style was created to critic the Western version of jazz music and could be a way to express the need for freedom from oppression. That is why probably it then was called Afro jazz, with an African homeland feel.

In conclusion Jazz music originated from the southern parts of the US and birthed different styles of Jazz genres such as Afro Jazz music

Ward, G., & Burns, K. (2000). Jazz : A history of america’s music (1st ed.). New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Decker, T. (2011). Music makes me : Fred astaire and jazz (Roth family foundation music in america imprint). Berkeley: University of California Press. (2011)
Ake, D., Garrett, C., & Goldmark, D. (Eds.). (2012). Jazz/not jazz : The music and its boundaries (Roth family foundation music in america imprint). Berkeley: University of California Press. (2012)

Black Hole Foley and ADR recording

A very interesting week of post production learning how to create foley sounds and ADR. A seven and half hours of recording in the C24 did not feel like we spent that much time as the time flew too quick. I did not realise that a two and a half movie clip can take heaps of time to just create dialogue and foley sounds. Sound design really requires a lot of planning, creativity and management.

As a team Roy, Alice and I decided to book the C24 the following day which was a Thursday from 10am to about 4pm to work on our Black hole short film project. . Having been given the green light from our project pitch we then went on to decide the kind of material or objects to use for our foley recording. Not much dialogue involved in the film but there human elements which we had to take into consideration such as breathing, giggles huffs and punts. The choice of microphones chosen were Rode shotgun microphone and the NT2A, one for close recording and the other distant. I would have prefered the Sennheiser MKH416 as it has a flat bass response and the Rode is a bit bassy . As for the NT2A I did not have much thought of it but next time I will test it together with maybe an AKG C414 and do a comparison. The Rode shotgun was the close proximity recording mic and the Rode NT2A was the distant. Having a distant mic helped us to get the ambience of the room which then we would have a choice of blending in our mix session. We also allocated each other roles to play for a smooth process. My task was working within the booth creating the sounds, mic technician and Director too, Roy played the director role and the Alice played the recording engineer role. Roy and Alex also had the flexibility of exchanging roles and also played the booth role. Signal flow for the C24 is absolutely different from the other studios. The one thing I found interesting was how to turn off and on phantom power. Also the interaction of the desk and DAW was really fascinating as the desk replicates exactly what you do on the DAW. It would be interesting doing a mix with it especially adding automation.

An interesting and challenging process it is with all honesty. A good recording makes the work easy. That is a statement I have heard from a couple of lecturers saying and we did our best in implementing that in our session. We made sure our gain structure was good enough without clipping. Creativity was definitely was important, our workflow was efficient as we had used markers for each frame and naming all elements that needed to be recorded. This helped to move step by step and to think steps forward too. I made use a good practise to be able to be on time so that the motion and sound created have a relation. We recorded sounds from door handles, network machine fans, electric door you name them. Probably 40 differents sounds and made sure that they were named well. I do look forward to the mixing stage as for sure we will time stretch some sounds to create weird alien kind sound for the black hole. We took time to save the whole session to our external hard drives and our group student drive folder. It is a good practise to backup files to avoid losing everything.

Cross, M. (2013). Audio post production for film and television (J. Feist, Ed.). Boston: Berklee Press.
Viers, R. (2008). The sound effects bible : How to create and record hollywood style sound effects. Studio City, CA: Michael Wiese Productions.

Black Hole Project 8/10/19

The session was pretty much work in progress getting feedback from Rose and Nick. Studios were allocated to the class and we managed to get the Neve studio in which we had recorded bass guitar a few hours before for our side project.

We are working on our way to work as a team and so far it is not bad just a few communication skills which need to improve a bit. We try our best to communicate as much as possible even if we do not get much response from some of our colleagues. Roy and I spent time listening to the foley recording for our project, editing and adding fades on the tracks. Nick came in and spent time having a look and listen to our project and he was impressed with progress made. Nick suggest that we find ways of creating the alien/atmospheric sound that will match the hand going into the black hole. A bit of research will help us to find ways of creating that particular sound and I am looking forward to that.

Rose also came in to have a chat and checking the progress with our project. She gave us very meaningful feedback and had a bit of a laugh on some of the sounds we created on the light switch. Rose also asked if we had questions pertaining to the project, side project and blogs, I wanted clarity on how to do a blog on genre analysis for some of my favorite music Jazz. It was good feedback and helped me understand more.