What Is An Album

Posts 1 - 11 of 11
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    Allochtune : Fri 1st Sep 2017 : 11 months ago Hey people!

    I haven't been very active on this site for a while now, but that's because I am trying to make an album. I find it's a very interesting project, because there are a lot of things you should keep in mind. Mixing, mastering and BPM is extremely important on an album, because you don't want songs to sound completely different, but that is not what I would like to discuss in this thread.

    What makes an album an album?

    Is it a theme? Should there be a theme? What unifies the songs on the album, or should there even be something that all the songs share. For now, I am trying to capture the Boards of Canada sound with my own twist. I use my KORG monotrons as effectpedals almost, just to give sounds some fuzz and grit (and that works quite well to be honest). I am very curious what people think of the concept of an album...

    Also: how many songs should there be on an album? 5? 7? 22?

    Feel free to add your thoughts in this thread!
  2. 2255594
    slava72 : Fri 1st Sep 2017 : 11 months ago I think you are right,it is a theme,might be a idea,concept,spirit,something what unites songs,"glue" them together,my opinion is that songs can sound differently withing a theme,concept.Album (imho)should contain 10-14 songs,if it is more ,people tend to "skip"through a tracks .I have volca bass and it is a beast!
  3. 2163911
    Allochtune : Fri 1st Sep 2017 : 11 months ago Sure, there are plenty of concept albums. Gorillaz - plastic beach, Pink Floyd - The Wall, Greenday - American idiot to name some off the top of my head.

    Maybe what I am really wondering is what musicians think of making an album. Do you make it with a certain concept in mind or even if a musician does that at all. How do you, as a musician, make an album with a concept in mind? For me, it's very difficult.

    If you want to make an album about (the classic): a broken heart, you would need to do that very quickly. Otherwise you would lose the emotion. You couldn't really wait a year. Or if it is a subject you care about (the environment, war, emotions), your opinions on it could change and so would your music.

    How do you keep the album consistent?

    (I am also aware that this is a really vague subject, but really, any examples from experience would help)
  4. 186161
    Spivkurl : Fri 1st Sep 2017 : 11 months ago There used to be this mythical creature called the "concept album." I don't know if this exists any more or not.

    Personally, I work on an album until it feels finished. If a song that is finished does not fit the album, then it is left behind.

    Timing of recording seems pretty important, but unless you are recording the whole album on the fly (live and the like), then I don't know if timing of the album is as important. Some albums which come to mind that are like this... The Cure's self titled album, Sex Pistols "Never Mind The Bollocks...," Nirvana "In Utero," REM "Monster." These are just one's of the top of my head which I know, or can tell, were recorded in a short span. Obviously far different from much modern music.

    My concept evolves as time passes. The album which I have been working on for nearly two years for example... It was only about a month ago when I found the album title/theme and the cover art, despite most of the songs being finished. What am I waiting for, you ask? Possibly that one last instrument to finish a song which is truly a treasure/artifact/gem. Possibly I forgot something important along the way, which I tend to do. Maybe I am just shy.

    Writing songs, to me, is all important. Recording spectacular performances is equally important. Making an album which is enjoyable to listen to and memorable will probably simple follow.
  5. 2255594
    slava72 : Fri 1st Sep 2017 : 11 months ago My broken english lets me down..."Concept"probably is a wrong word.Would rather say "idea".Musicians have some "ideas" of how they next album would sound like before record has began,record demos,experementing with a sound,true,recordings must be made quickly,without overthinking,otherwise emotions and spirit would be lost,you are spot on on this.How to the album consistent?Probably to record as much as you can "on a fly"and by the end of process get rid of material which doesnt fit in.
  6. 1838355
    samaskew20011 : Fri 1st Sep 2017 : 11 months ago I think it depends on what type of album. EP, Single, LP, Album... Usually, Albums tell a story. You have different types of songs and melodies and when played together, they tell a story that is unlike any other story known to man. Music is a powerful story telling tool.
  7. 111346
    Planetjazzbass : Fri 1st Sep 2017 : 11 months ago You've posted this in the Mixing, Mastering and Production Techniques category which are to me the key contributing factors that make an album however you seem to want to discuss the concept of an album rather than it's technical aspects, fair enough.
    I've got over 600 LP records that are all albums in the true meaning and sense of the word, a lot of them have themes, some are compilations, some are greatest hits, others are seemingly random collections of tracks that have no semblance of order; so I guess anything goes when making an album or more precisely collecting a body of work from varying creative time frames be it contiguous or separated. These days it seems everyone has an opinion on things they know little about, as ever was the case! You have people making music that know virtually nothing about it, you have terms like mixtape that have nothing to do with magnetic sound recording tape, so where does that leave us in relation to making an album, you can go outside and record an hour of traffic noise and call that an album, you can rhyme a forty word vocabulary continuously over a repetitive dead end beat and call that an album, truth be told all you can do is your best at any given moment shuffle it together and to all intents and purposes it's an album.
  8. 2276282
    neuromancer56 : Sat 2nd Sep 2017 : 11 months ago Great to find another BOC fan! I love Geogaddi https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FGtd3oH_PQ. When I think of albums, I think of Pink Floyd's "The Wall". There was a definite story being told there in a way that I have never experienced before or after. You really had to listen to the whole album to really "get" the totality of that story.
  9. 186161
    Spivkurl : Sat 2nd Sep 2017 : 11 months ago I find it very helpful to keep a medium in mind while working on an album. By this I mean things such as compact disc, cassette tape, LP vinyl, EP vinyl, online distribution only, or "maxi single."

    All of these besides online distribution have their own limitations. Cassette tape is limited by the length of the tape, and the associated degradation with longer tapes. Vinyl is limited by the spacing of the grooves, the speed at which it is meant to be played (33 1/3, 45, 78 RPM), and the size of the record (7, 10, or 12" usually). Spacing the grooves to closely causes degradation similar to clipping, and can cause other physical problems, thus a vinyl LP is often limited to around 44 minutes. Compact discs are in general limited to around 77 minutes for audio playback, rather than data (mp3 playback in capable players).

    I will use compact disc as a starting point for most of my long winded albums. Keeping possible release on vinyl helps me keep brevity in mind. Sometimes I will do something which is meant for or recorded directly to cassette, and that shapes it directly both in length and sound. Keeping release on vinyl or cassette also keeps my mixing and mastering in check. I try to think - What would this sound like when I recorded it to tape? Or would this make the stylus hop to the next song?

    Getting a consistent flow of loudness between songs can help make an album seem continuous. It is a bit like arranging a song, where there are soft and loud moments, which serve to effect people emotionally.

    Arranging the order of the tracks is by far one of the most important things in an album. I say this both as a listener and a musician. Some albums have obviously had no thought put into the order of tracks. Some albums do it perfectly, and it is a big part of why the album is great. This doesn't require an overall theme, but an ear for flow, dynamics, and emotional effect.

    I spend a lot of time on this step. It's part of why I love CD Architect. It allows you to move the track elsewhere easily. It allows you to crossfade tracks, and set where the CD player switches track numbers. You can adjust the volume for each track easily. You can even use final mastering plugins to put the polish on. I have used it on every CD release that I can remember... thirteen albums, two EP's, and a circuit bending compilation. (I think those numbers are right).
  10. 1397157
    blekmeh : Fri 22nd Sep 2017 : 11 months ago An album is basically multiple tracks that could've also been one track. This doesn't mean you should use the same sounds, same key, same chords etc but it means you should make it one story, a theme, just let it make sense together. What I like to do when I produce an album is produce the entire album within one project. This way my master is the same so they all have around the same loudness/finishing touch and I can also steal some eleemnts from my other tracks so they make sense together aswell.

    Now you may think your PC can't handle such a big project but you basically mute the finished tracks, that way it won't consume CPU either.
  11. 2163911
    Allochtune : Wed 18th Apr 2018 : 4 months ago Hello everyone, just reviving an old thread.

    I want to thank everyone in this thread (and well everyone on Looperman for that matter) that helped me on my musical journey. I just finished my first album and I'm pretty proud of it. As I don't know what the 'promotion' policy is, I won't post a link. But hey, it's done.

    The album became a sort of mix between synthwave, synthpunk and game music. And in my musical 'lore' (or interpretation of the album), it's all played by an octopus interested in electronic music that found an abandoned synth in the ocean, in some kind of slightly dystopian future. That's the concept I settled on and it yielded fun results.

    If you're interested in hearing it, message me. Otherwise, I'd just like to thank everyone again, as this thread helped me to get started.
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