Crazy day at Aftrsun²

We had a blast! What a wonderful party that was. 300 people danced till the sun came down over an idilic place near the river in Langdorp. Pictures made by Thomas Van Diest.

Check some pictures below!

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New gigs announced!

First of all, thanks for all the support! I’ve been working hard on my live set this year, but I also made some nice releases & remixes who are out now on all major digital stores. I met a couple very nice guys this month also and I’m working to get on more representative stages in the future.

Thanks!

The following parties are upcoming:

That’s all for now folks. I guess I see you soon! 🙂

New music uploaded: Techno Live set 2014

Yesterday, the launch of my techno live set was amazing at Fnoob techno radio.
A lot of people asked me for tips how I did this and that and so on.
Also a couple of listeners sayd that I could work easily for DrumCode 🙂

Thanks for all the lovely support!

Here’s the set. A download is available as well.

More information

I wrote another blog article about the things I used to complete this live set.
Many thanks for all tips I got!

Read it here

Ableton live set tips, tricks and facts

Struggle for live!

Many of you already know I’m very busy working on my next live set. The fundaments are real basic. I imported kicks, basses, and drums from several tracks I’ve made in the past year, and I did the same for the synths.
To recall most of the parameters during the set I will be using Kapture by Liine. I tried using Clyphx (a free script plugin for Ableton Live if you do not own Max4Live) but the coding in the midi clips gave me a headache.

Here’s a short preview btw…

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 22.43.12

Kapture (All about renaming)

Drop a Kapture device on a new midi track and rename the midi track to Kapture.
By default I always make a snapshot of all parameters and levels set to their normal values. I rename the Snapshot 1 to “normal”.
You can add a midi clip by double clicking on an empty space. Rename this midi clip to the same name as your snapshot. eg. normal.

Add more snapshots and rename them whatever you like. Then add midi clips and rename them with the same title.

UPDATE: KAPTURE IS GONE! NOT WORTH DOWNLOADING BECAUSE OF THE LATENCY PROBLEMS. IT’S WORTH SHARING ANYWAY…

Peaks and volumes

Right now I’m still deciding how much effects and return tracks I will be using during the performance. More parameters makes the set complex and the chance of mistakes rises fast.That’s the main reason I’m using Kapture. This M4L device can capture snapshots of all parameters and levels of any track in the Live set.

Let me talk a bit about the layout I’m using. I use 12 tracks filled with audio clips from my tracks. The last channel is filled with effects and one shots.

The kicks on channel 1 are all set to -5 / -6 db peak, the bass sounds peaks at -12 / -13 db and the drum group peaks at a max of -10db.
The synth group variates a bit more in peak levels.

The group channels also have a bit of EQ isolation on them to prevent heavy clipping parts on interfering frequencies.

Mixed in Key!

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 17.24.51

I’m also a big an of “in key mixing”. This is why I grouped all clips and samples in Key for ableton live.
All scene launch buttons have their own color depending on the scale (Key). This was easily done by renaming and ordering the launch buttons.

To get fingers on the parameters I’m using an APC40 from Akai (Controlling kicks, drums, percussion and bass) and Touchable 2 on Ipad (Synths, atmosphere and effects)

Because I named much of my synth and effect sounds  I thought it would be useful to see these names on my controller (Touchable 2). In this way it became a lot harder to miss a sound.

All effect parameters including those from the synths and atmosphere sounds will be mapped to the APC40.
I mostly use the Touchable app to trigger synths and effects at the moment. Maybe I will add an automated X-Y axis to it.

Follow Actions

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 21.12.56You can accomplish much with follow actions set to audio or midi clips. These options will tell the clip what to do next. There are several options available and also the timing can be set to the corresponding clip length.
A couple synths in my live set are programmed to work as a break. I divided the main part and the break part into 2 different clips.
On the last (break) clip I added a follow action that tells the clip to go back to the original synth after 4 beats.

An example:

Double click on the break clip and set the action to your synths or drum (fills).

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 21.12.24

Normal part

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 21.12.44

Break part

 

Dummy Clips made easy

Dummy Clips layout

Recently I added a bunch of dummy clips on most of the receiving audio channels. (Percussion, Synths, Main)
I wanted to add automation on the master effects also. I transfered all the nessasary effect plugins from the master bus to a new audio track. Next I routed this new audio track to the main master bus.
Here’s a little example of the layout.
After every block I have setup Build-up dummy clips with lots of crazy automations on the parameters. I used a follow actions to go back to the first clip (DRY)

Follow action

In the next video you’ll get more information on how you can build these dummies for your own sets.

Master Bus

Nothing special here.
I’m using a glue compressor on the master bus together with a Limiter set to -0,2db peak. in front of these effects I’m using another EQ and a Stereo enhancer by PSP.

APC40 Layout

To use this layout as a reference tool you can simply print it out on A4 or A3 paper.

To use this layout as a reference tool you can simply print it out on A4 or A3 paper.

To start with the programming I always begin with a layout on a paper. In a list I write down all the possible effects I will use and next I’ll write those effects down on my layout I got from the internet.
This is very useful to me because by the time changes will be made. In this way you have a great reference tool.

Choose your effects

I can name a couple effects you can add to your set immediately, but consider making new effects of your own.
You can always group several plugins together to get new inspiring sounds and effects.

I also found a very useful effect rack from Aurex online. He delivers a rack that will help you to make build-ups on the fly, etc.
Also a couple nice granular things and delays are added. Be sure to check it out!

A couple other effects will be delay returns on the synths and drums, ping-pong style delay on synths, Beat repeat on the snare, fade to grey, etc.

Thats it for now folks! My Ableton live set tips, tricks and facts. If you have any questions then post a comment below. All tips are welcome btw. I’m still building this up!

A preview will follow very soon!

DIY Shakers with PVC

These shakers are done!

Shakers are commonly used percussive instruments to give you a more energetic feel to the rhythm you are playing. Most producers use samples from originals to do the job. With extra drum automation you can get the same result like a live recording.

I prefer a live recording because: More dynamics, more motion, more energy and better sounds.

In this short DIY tutorial I will show you how I made my own Shakers from PVC.
A little video will be recorded also.

First things first.

You can make these shakers for about 5 bucks per shaker.
I bought all my stuff at a plastics store.

– All pressure PVC glue.
– PVC piping – you can choose your own diameter. We used 30mm
– Connector parts to hold the top and bottom in place.
– PVC ends which you can screw on. (In this way you can always choose to change the material inside the shakers)

foto 2 foto 5

Cutting and Assembling

You can cut the pvc piping in any length you want. Depending on the sound you would like to create.

foto 11

Choose your length. It doesn’t matter how short they are.

You can use a flat file to make the edges smooth and flat.

You can use a flat file to make the edges smooth and flat.

foto 2

These are the caps I used to close my shakers.

Check if the PVC pipe has a straight edge on the top.

Check if the PVC pipe has a straight edge on the top.

Glue all the parts together and let it dry for 20 minutes. Depending on the glue you used.

Glue all the parts together and let it dry for 20 minutes. Depending on the glue you used.

Final product. You can use sandpaper to get rid of the extra glue.

Final product. You can use sandpaper to get rid of the extra glue.

The materials (produces your sound)

Your shaker’s sound will depend mainly on what materials you choose to put inside it. Some good, basic materials to use include:

  • Polenta. This will deliver a very soft, light sound and may not be loud enough for live performances.
  • Rice. Slightly louder than polenta, the sound of a rice shaker will be sharper and more of a rattle.
  • Lentil. A shaker filled with lentils will sound rough and loud.
  • Bean. For a harsh, loud rattling sound similar to that of maracas, use beans in your shaker.

Your variables will be:

  • The material of the container.
  • The material of the filling and.
  • The size of the container.

Two guiding principles:

  • Don’t mix fillings of different sizes in the same container. The sound will be hard to control that way.
  • Don’t overfill or underfill.

On the internet I found other articles regarding these DIY shakers, so here’s a short list:

Thanks for reading!

DIY Shakers with PVC – Thats all!

Ben Solar at Stubru Interview and Download

Stubru

Friday 17.01.2014

What a crazy friday I had last week. While at work on my lunch break I checked facebook and saw a post from “Switch.” A statement in the Belgian edm scene on StuBru.
They asked their fans what track they had to play at the weekend. What I did is what other producers also might do in this situation. I submitted one of my own tracks. It was Meiko – Leave the lights on (Ben Solar edit). After a couple of hours and still at work I suddenly got a telephone from Stijn Maris. He’s the host of the “Weekend” schedule at Stubru on friday night. He’s the man that played Ben Solar at Stubru

He asked me if I could answer a couple of questions later that night for his show because he really liked this track.
It was a very short interview where I didn’t had the time to talk about the promoters and labels I played for.
I hope I get another chance next time!

Take some time to listen to the interview (Dutch). The track will be played afterwards.

If you would like to download this track then follow the link below.

I like to thank everybody who supported me in this travel. My girlfriend who promoted this track to all her friends. My family. I thank all my fans for supporting me on stage, off- and online. All promoters and party people! (Links in the link section soon.)

Short info about the track:

  • Original artist: Meiko
    Original track: Leave the lights on
  • Mastering by Product Londen & Mixdown by myself. (I recorded this track at -6db Peak 24bit Wav)
    The mastering company boosted the track to -0,2 db peak with a great addition of space and presence on the synth parts.
  • More info and download on: www.facebook.com/benslr
    (Click the Download tab on the page)