Music, technologies, and human experience from a Russian Psytrance music producer.
Website · What I do · Get in touch

Follow me on social media

Facebook is my main news hub where I share upcoming releases, gigs, photos, videos, and blogs. Typically, I post 3–5 times a week.

Telegram and Twitter duplicate what I post on Facebook, with occasional extra content.

On Vkontakte, I write in the Russian language for my fans out of from Russia and CIS.

I also upload vlogs and gigs videos on YouTube and share travel photos, selfies, and studio routine on Instagram.

Later Ctrl + ↑

Track of the week: Flow

Today in the track of the week series we have a Chile-based 3 Access & You, and I’m sure Psytrance people know one of its members very well as Ovnimoon. I love the flow on this track.

Artist 3 Access & You
Title Flow (Original Mix)
Release Back To Trance
Label Ovnimoon Records
Year 2014
BPM 128
Key Am

Rave Podcast January 2018

Special guest of the month: One Function

Rave Podcast episode 92 — the first one in 2018 — is available on SoundCloud and iTunes. I hope you guys had a good year too and had great Winter holidays.

Now it’s time to shake things up and listen to some good music. And oh boys and girls, this episode we some awesome music indeed, including Shadow Chronicles which is a new project of Protoculture, Egorythmia, Symphonix, Side Effects, Magnus, James West, and more. A special shout out to Cosmithex, I’m so glad to hear he is coming back after a long break.

And to make things even better, we have a fantastic producer’s guest mix from One Function at the second hour. Enjoy!

Tracklistings

0:00:00 You Are My Salvation — Tired Giant (Cosmithex Remix)
0:05:52 Jaia — Out Of Orbit (Vibrasphere Remix)
0:10:29 Carina — Artemis (Original Mix)
0:14:18 Shadow Chronicles — The Matrix (Original Mix)
0:19:02 Egorythmia — Haunter Of The Dark (Original Mix)
0:22:19 Atomizers & Yestermorrow — Amusement Park (Original Mix)
0:27:00 Side Effects — Deep Dive (Atacama Remix)
0:32:04 Liftshift — Wanderlust (Original Mix)
0:35:17 Phaxe & Morten Granau — Four3two (Symphonix Remix)
0:39:23 Cosmic Tone — Human Life (Original Mix)
0:44:09 Aioaska — Big Ball Of Fire (Gipsy Soul Remix)
0:49:39 Magnus — Forward Command (Magnus 2017 Rework)
0:54:37 Spinal Fusion & James West — Dream Into Reality (Original Mix)

One Function guest mix

1:01:18 One Function – Young Man On Acid (Live Edit)
1:07:05 One Function & Genetrick — Dramatic (Live Edit)
1:12:13 One Function – Engines of Creation (Original Mix)
1:15:53 One Function – Breaking The Silence (Original Mix)
1:19:59 One Function – Deeper Awareness (Original Mix)
1:24:20 One Function – Oneness (Original Mix)
1:29:49 One Function – Ajna (Original Mix)
1:34:23 Ritmo – De Festa (One Function Remix)
1:37:35 Protonica – Reactor (One Function Remix)
1:41:08 One Function – Yantra (Original Mix)
1:46:10 One Function & Replay – Turbulence (Original Mix)
1:49:15 One Function & Artex – Rabbata (Live Edit)
1:53:37 One Function – Back To My Roots (Cholo Remix)

An incident at the hotel

I remembered an amusing incident. Gig, Greece, PLUR Festival. The hotel nearby was entirely rented for the artists of the festival, so everyone used their artists name for check-ins, not passports as usual. I return from the gig and want to get a key from the number. A dialogue with the girl at the reception:

— A key from room 105, please.
— Sure. Your artist name?
— It’s Daniel...
— No, I mean, your stage name?
— Yes, my artist name is Daniel L...
— No-no, — the girl interrupts me again — you are an artist, right?
— Yes, I am, and my stage name is Daniel Lesden. I make music and perform under this alias.

The girl thought for a moment, a few awkward seconds of silence. I turn my back pointing at my logo on the back of the T-shirt. The girl looks around, holds out the key and hastily apologizes:

— Oh, sorry, I heard many weird artists names this week, but it’s the first time I hear someone with such music using a real name as the alias! That’s so nice!

Yeah, it happens.

Read also: Bad stage name?

2018   Fun   Gigs   I am

Канал в Телеграме

Начал вести канал в Телеграме на русском языке. Пишу там живее и вообще всё, включая советы целиком, а не просто ссылки на блог.

Возможно, этот пост увидят другие пользователи Эгеи со страницы трансляции блогов, поэтому расскажу подробней о себе словами нашего общего знакомого. Вот что Илья Бирман писал о моём блоге:

«Отдельно хочу рассказать вам про блог Даниила Соколовского (Daniel Lesden). Даниил пишет что-то вроде бюрошных советов, но про дело электронного музыканта. В отличие от дизайна, эта тема вообще очень плохо освещена. Он рассказывает про всё, от нюансов настройки конкретных фильтров до отношений между музыкантами и лейблами. У нас к вопросам прикладывают макеты, а у Даниила — кусочки треков.»

Всё так. Еще заметил, что писать в канал по-русски оказалось довольно приятно, и как-то человечней получается.

Подписывайтесь: @daniellesden

To my English-speaking readers: the post below is written in the Russian language as it’s addressed to my Russian followers. No worries if you don’t understand a thing :-)

2018   In Russian   Telegram

End of the year thoughts

My achievements and failures of 2017

I have always been fascinated how some cool guys write their end of the year list of achievements. It’s like, you read and think: “Wow!”, and it makes you want to work harder. This time I’ll try to make such list by myself but also be adding failures to it. Failures are no less interesting than success and give even more experience.

Grab yourself a cup of tea.

Music

This year I released my by far the most important release to this date — the second studio album, “2000 Years Ahead”. It’s not only cool thematically, but also production-wise: I feel that it sounds way better than my debut album, despite the fact I always criticise myself. It’s a good thing.

Frankly, I was slacking the first half of the year production-wise, but things get better when I gave a public promise to make more music. And in fact, I keep this promise: so far I released a new single on Digital Om Productions that spent a month in the Top-100 charts, just signed a new track on Iono Music that will be out in early 2018, and have some more in production.

Gigs

This year I played in Switzerland for the second time, and the geography of my gigs expanded to Greece and the UK. I also gave a talk in Moscow, a completely new format to me. I feel I have a bit more confident in public speaking now.

I don’t have as many gigs as I would like to, but it’s okay. when I think about it that a regular bedroom producer gots recognition and invitation to perform in another part of the world, I feel lucky and grateful. Somehow I look positive on these things.

Education

This year my advice series reached 100 articles. A hundred (a counting) useful articles on music production, sound design, management, marketing, and music industry. I mean, how cool is that? It may sound like a bragging, but I don’t know any acting music producer who would share so much useful information based on his own experience. If you know any — let me, I’d be glad to read it. Seriously.

Also, this year I started a video blog. No, it’s certainly a good thing, but making a video content quickly and regularly is a something I haven’t learned yet. The whole video production is a so new thing to do. Besides, speaking to the camera still is not easy for me, so there’s a lot of work to be done here as well.

Audience

Numbers-wise, my social media pages now have about 23.000 followers in total. It’s great to see that my audience grows, slowly but surely. I also launched Psytrance Guide, a project made purely out of enthusiasm which all of a sudden gave a huge audience boost. And the cool thing about that I’ve made it just three days and spent no money at all (well, just for the domain name) — the resources to the results ratio is just fantastic.

With all of that, I feel that I could do better promotion-wise: more Instagram stories, more mixes, more new interesting formats. Going to work on that.

Personal

This year I turned 30. Not quite something to brag about, but still. Achievement unlocked. I also started tracking my family budget and run more kilometres at a better pace than the previous year.

I may seem like a very organised person, but in fact, I’m quite a mess: one day I work on a schedule, complete my to-do’s and so on, and the other day I can spend an hour playing on some mobile game or watching YouTube. The balance between productivity and procrastination is a something that I still searching for.

Typically I don’t write in public about my personal stuff and focus only on professional music-related topics, but let me know if you’d like me to write about personal productivity and all that things, among the rest.

What’re your thoughts?

Happy New Year!

2017   I am

Key Lock, Master Tempo, and the sound quality

I mix using Traktor and a MIDI-controller, and often I play a track faster or slower than its original tempo. And while I’m doing this, I hear a very noticeable distortion especially in the low-end area, it’s like the bassline loses all the juices. Technically, I realise there is some interpolation happening or something. But as far as I remember, when I mixed on a Pioneer mixer DJM-800 and 2000NXS, there was nothing like this. So, my question is: how to avoid this? Should I mix in Ableton instead if there is no such stretching issue? By the way, I’m using Key Lock to keep the original pitch of the track.

Sergey Khivuk

Sergey, it’s all about the Key Lock function you use. Pioneer call it Master Tempo, but it works the same. I’m going to call it Master Tempo too, just to avoid confusion.

You see, tempo and pitch are two physical properties that bent together. Slowing down the tempo lower down the pitch, and increasing the tempo raise up the pitch.

Let’s listen to a few example with a vocal song to get a better understanding what’s happening. Here is the original song:

If we significantly increase the tempo, the voice will sound like a hamster on steroids:

And if we significantly decrease the tempo, Lana will sound almost like a man:

Notice duration of these samples: it’s the same fragment, but in its original tempo it’s 29 seconds long, in the increased tempo — 18 seconds, and in the decreased tempo — 46 tempo. So the tempo and the pitch does bend together, indeed. Nothing fancy so far.

Now let’s turn on the Master Tempo function. I’m using Ableton to emulate this, but on Traktor and Pioneer gear it would be the same:

On a higher tempo, we certainly hear that Lana sing faster whilst her voice timbre remains almost clear. Well, at least not a hamster-like in the pitched-up example above.

Now let’s do all the same but with Psytrance. Here’s a track from Lyktum, 140 BPM, D#m:

Here’s the same fragment, but at 150 BPM:

It’s got about a semitone higher and the energy has changed, but still quite alright.

And now also 150 BPM, but with a Master Tempo emulation to keep the original pitch:

This is awful. The bass is fuzzy, and mids and highs aren’t clear — it’s like listening to a 64 kbps MP3 (FYI, the samples uploaded here are in 320 kbps). I guess this is somewhat what you are experiencing?

Let’s recap:

  1. For a vocal and non-dance music like Ambient, the Master Tempo feature might work, potentially.
  2. For all electronic dance music, including Psytrance, the Master Tempo is certainly a no-no.

Keep in that that Master Tempo always altering the sound and decreasing the quality, sometimes it’s just more audible, and sometimes less. Even Pioneer states this:

“The sound is digitally processed, so the sound quality decreases”. Pioneer CDJ-2000 User Manual, page 15.

To avoid quality loss, simply don’t use Master Tempo and try to mix tracks with a roughly the same tempo. If you mix a 140 BPM track with a 142 BPM track, that’s fine. If you mix a 140 BPM track with a 148 BPM track, the pitch change will be noticeable.

On average, every ±6–7 beats per minute lowering or raising the pitch for one semitone. For example, a 145 BPM Cm lower down to 138 BPM would Bm. Or, a 140 BPM D#m increased to 146 BPM would Em. Hence why it’s a rule of thumb to mix the tracks within the 2–3 BPM difference tops.

I hope it makes sense.

Read also: Harmonic mixing

A new single is coming on Iono Music

I keep my promise to make more music for you, and today I’m delighted to announce that my new single is signed on Iono Music, a label that needs no introduction among Psytrance fans.

This track is quite unusual, in terms of both ideas and production-wise. Here’s a short studio teaser with no spoiler, a longer preview will follow in the coming weeks. Watch this space!

Where to begin

Hey Daniel, I hope you are doing well. I have a small question, maybe you can help me. I am attempting to get into the production side of things. I feel very intimidated starting out and do not really understand where to begin. I have just purchased FL studio and a midi keyboard. I have seen some videos on youtube. Are there any certain videos books people, services, or programs that helped you get started and feeling confident in what you are doing?

Horace Hess

Horace, I remember my first production experience: I had no clue what I was doing and how things work for years, it was frustrating indeed. I know your pain.

I could name you a few dozens of magazines and educational resources, but frankly, I think it would only confuse you even more. You see, back in the days, there was no much information available in the public domain so every manual or article was considered useful. Today, we have the opposite problem: there’s too much of everything, but not all of that is really needed especially when you just getting started.

So instead of naming you any specific sources, I would suggest you particular topics — hopefully, this will help you to get at least some structure, a vector for your learning path:

DAW Master your workstation first: how to add channels, how to route signal, how to insert plugins, etc.
Tools Learn everything you’re going to deal with: the principles of audio and MIDI, what each instrument and device does, how samples work, and so on.
Music theory Get familiar with the keyboard, notes, rhythm, tempo, arrangement and other music theory basics that necessary to build a track.
Sound design Make your own sounds by learning oscillators, filters, envelopes, modulation, and other synthesis and processing techniques.
Mixing Learn how to put all of those sounds in a 3D space by balancing the levels, panorama, frequencies.

If you just want to make a decent track, these topics should be enough. And of course, practice, practice, and practice: each finished track gives you a new experience and makes you more confident. Feel free to come back with more specific questions once you get any.

Also, I’m planning to make a full educational course that will be covering all of these and many more topics. Although it’s too early to give any estimate when it’ll be available, keep an eye on my blog if it’s potentially interesting to you.

Read and watch also:

2017   Question

Track of the week: Orbital Spin

The music of Nikola Gasic, also known as Sonic Entity and recently Imaginarium, has been a part of DJ sets since 2011 which is pretty much his debut year.

I like this track for its flirting melodies and almost Full-on vibe. I also like small details here, like reese bass and double kick drums at 2:51, and then how the bassline pattern changes in the middle. It sounds very fresh. Thumbs up!

Artist Sonic Entity
Title Orbital Spin (Original Mix)
Release Primal Visions
Label TesseracTstudio
Year 2017
BPM 139
Key C#m
Earlier Ctrl + ↓