Category Archives: In the Studio

Gaining Momentum

About two weeks ago I listened back to all the songs and song ideas I have. I thought I was pretty much right at the beginning of the next album. Turns out, there’s quite a bit done already. So far I have 6 songs that are either missing only a few elements or are at least mostly mapped out as arrangements. Listening back has really sparked things off. Before that, I felt kind of lost, didn’t know where to begin and where things might lead. In short, I found an in and now have a plan.

Live & Learn, Together and Reverie already made appearances in my vBlogs (from *cough* 2012). Epicycle, an instrumental, as a rough draft:

And then there are two new songs, Noise Machine and Tipping Point. They’re both pretty danceable with fat synth bass lines. I’ve used the Easter holidays to record bass lines for most of these songs. With a Micromoog and a Minitaur (yes, I <3 me some Moog). Next up is recording all the instruments, refining the beats and recording vocals. I'm hoping to have the first 6 songs within the next three weeks or so. [caption id="attachment_2922" align="aligncenter" width="600"]My workplace at the nature reserve. Beautiful, isn't it? My workplace at the nature reserve. Beautiful, isn’t it?[/caption]

Last Friday, I felt very antsy trying to work in my studio. It was warm and the sun was shining. Finally I gave up, grabbed my laptop, lyrics notebook and cycled to the nearby nature reserve. I went through all my lyrical ideas there, again surprised how many I already had. I put some finishing touches on some. So now I have 8 more finished lyrics and two more half done. I’m so happy and relieved about it. Quite frankly, lyrics are the toughest part in the process and they need to be done early on or else I end up getting stuck.

Also I no longer work so much, but I’m able to have at least two days per week to work on music. Right now I’m just working off a to do list so that next week it can be all about music.

I’m considering to start up the vBlogs again, but I’m not sure if it will not eat up too much time. Maybe keep them short, sweet and simple. Let me mull this over… What do you think?

More soon one way or another.

x,
Mads

Where I’m At

It’s been ages since I’ve been blogging or vblogging regularly. Over the course of the last year and a half I’ve started my business Sonic Bloom through which I teach music production with Ableton Live and mix and master other people’s music. Most of the time I did 70+ hours of work per week to get it off the ground. So much to do. In the winter of 2012/13 every day felt like groundhog day. The most boring and tiring version of it.

Charlie making music
Charlie making music

Now I’m at a point at which I can slow down a little. I feel pretty exhausted and empty right now. Have felt that way for about two months, but it’s gettibg better. After all this madness and such a high output I need some time to breathe, reflect, absorb and sort my head. Hermit style, mostly.

My vocal booth is finally fixed again after it had been broken by Charlie when she was still a kitten.

Currently I’m in a pre-production phase with my music. I have at least 5 song ideas roughly sketched out. Some are missing lyrics which I find crucial for moving forward in the production and arrangement. And I have plenty of musical fragments that could eventually turn into songs.

One of the synths
One of the synths

Overall, the songs so far seem to emphasise beats and bass more, so the next album might turn out more electronic and danceable. I’ve been experimenting a lot with analogue synths and I really like using them for bass lines (my boyfriend has a solid collection). That said, I reckon the new ideas still sound like me. There’ll still be lots of my vocals, field recordings and a wide array of acoustic instruments involved.

That’s it for now. I’ll be back soon, quite possibly with some soundbites.

x,
Mads

vBlog #2 is up

After a delay of a week because I needed to recover from a Bronchitis, the next vBlog is finally up. Hear some of the now finished ‘Together’, ‘Aurelia’ and ‘Patchwork’ and see me play metallophone, vibraphone and the minimoog that was used for the bass line in Nena’s ’99 Red Balloons’ amongst other things. Enjoy! Comments of any sort are of course welcome again.

vBlog #1

The first vBlog is up. Hurray! The first of a long series. I’m already halfway into the next EP and album, but you can watch some of my previous work in progress in webcasts as well.

In this first vBlog I’m playing you bits of my new songs Live & Learn, Audacity and Together. There’s crazy kazoo, trumpet, array mbira, a strange whirly and of course vocals. I hope you enjoy it!

One done

Today I finished the first song, ‘Afterglow’. Just in time to shoot the ‘Making of the Song’ video tomorrow and edit it together with the recording footage. The video will be up on YouTube and possibly also Vimeo already this Friday. I can’t wait for you all to hear bits of it. Especially since I hadn’t even previewed anything in my webcasts.

Continue reading

Stock-taking

I’m sitting on my couch, listening to the state of the songs I have so far. This is the second attempt at writing a catch up post, but the last was swallowed by WordPress for iOs. Again. Anyway…

As the year nears its end, I feel like it’s time to take stock, look and listen back of where I got this year. I didn’t quite get as far as I wanted, but I love the new songs. Moving into a new place has been part of that, but it’s taken up some time as well. Right now I have 8 songs in various stages: ‘Audacity’, ‘Live & Learn’, ‘Too Soon’, ‘In Time’ and ‘Patchwork’ more or less roughly mixed, ‘Together’ and ‘Afterglow’ as rough demos and last, but not least ‘Aurelia’ somewhere in between. So about halfway there. Not too shabby!

Compared to ‘Minutia’ there are more live instruments on the new songs that give it a sort of live feel. I got more instruments since finishing the last album and my boyfriend, whose studio is next to mine, has even more. Working in tech support at Ableton has me staring at Live without making music. This made me crave the tactile feel of tines, strings, keys and so on. As an act of deviance against all the MIDI, editing and goggling the screen, I guess.

In the last few days I’ve made a list of all the things that need to be done before a release besides the music. I had set a deadline for mid February ages ago, but it’s dawned on me that it has become pretty much impossible or I’d have to rush things too much. So I’ve decided to instead release an EP in mid May and the album in late August or so. This way the wait is not too long. Sound good?

Webcast

If you want to have a listen to the progress on the songs of my sophomore album… I’m doing a fortnightly webcast and the previous videos are available to watch. Wanna hear the songs emerge? Or watch live from now on? The next one is on New Year’s Day at 9 pm CET, then Sunday every other week.

Bass, Minimoog, mbira, glass harp, kalimba, metallophone, tom

Bloom’s Sound Collective

I had the idea last Christmas when I recorded the little message with the SoundCloud app. I love using field recordings, so I thought why not let others take part? SoundCloud makes it possible and very easy. Let me introduce you to…


For each song of the new album I will collect sound contributions from anyone who wants to join in. I like translating the lyrics into the music so I usually use sounds associated with the theme or the words of the song. So for each song I will ask for a specific sound or a sound to a motif. Who knows, maybe even a melody to create an internet choir?

You’ll need a free Soundcloud account and then you can record the sound with the Soundcloud app on iPhone, Android or from SoundCloud Desktop (Mac) and upload it to my Dropbox.

Task for Song #1: Patchwork

I will play a bit of the song live at tomorrow’s first livestream ‘Notes from the Ivory Tower’. For this song I would like you to record one word. I’m gonna give you a few lines of the lyrics to set the mood:

Your words all mangled and broken
You don’t really make sense
Stop motion sentences that hang in the air
Unvoiced, incomplete

Be creative, continue to story in your mind and think of one word that would fit the mood. Anything goes as long as it’s just one word. You can choose whatever language you want. I will take the sounds of those words and make the beats for ‘Patchwork’ out of them. I’ll be updating you in the upcoming livestreams.

Can’t wait to hear what you all come up with!

x,
Mads

Remixed

This blog entry is all about remixes.

FiXT Remix Vs Madeleine Bloom

Tomorrow (Friday, July 16) the remix contest for Zero Tolerance will commence. The stems and all the info can be found at FiXT Remix.

I will handpick the winners who will have their remixes released in the FiXT store on a (mini)album. There’s no other prize from FiXT Remix, but I’ll throw in a download of my live album ‘Live at the Watertower’ that will be released on September 3. You can find more info on it here.

Mingle

The Minutia Remix Project has been pretty quiet lately. Things have taken longer again on my part so the deadline I’ve set for Mingle is void.

The new one is now: September 9… 8 more weeks from today!

I’m still awaiting some back. So if you’re one the people who wanted to do a remix could you please get in touch with me to let me know if you’re still gonna do it? Or if you’d like to give it try, but hadn’t chosen a song yet read the Mingle post and get in touch with me. The more the merrier. 🙂

I’m sitting here outside an old mansion outside of Berlin (actually right now I’m at the hospital cafeteria for the free wifi). It’s quiet but for the wind, birds, crickets and the occassional car sound from far away. It’s sunny/cloudy and windy. The perfect summer residence. I still can’t believe my luck. One day I’m melting in the heat in my flat unable to do any work because my brain hot way too slow, the next I’m in a stranger’s huge house at my free disposal. It’s got everything but hot water and who needs that in summer. Guess I’ll stay here for a week and except for the occassional city guest I’ll be on my own writing new songs. Got a mobile recording studio here with me (Hurray for technology!) and a video camera. I’m only here since last night and I’m already feeling inspired.

x,
Mads

Closeup No. 1: In Time

There are always people asking what sound is what somewhere in my songs. So how about a little making of blog post for each new song here? For now written, maybe later as little video blogs. Enough, let’s dive right in:

In Time

I don’t think I have to say anything about the subject matter. We’ve all been there and even though I don’t spell it out in the lyrics I think it’s quite obvious.

The piano part of In Time has been around for quite some time. Whenever I have time for it I just sit down and play and when something nice emerges I quickly record the idea (yes, I have quite lot of those sketches and hopefully some of them will turn into fully fleshed out songs in the (near) future). I also already had a vocal melody (they usually come all by themselves), but if I don’t have matching lyrics songs tend to be tough to work out. It’s synergetic thing for me.

The dark – or as a friend called them – psycho sounds at the beginning and end (in between as well) and the cello-like bits are me playing my Epiphone Les Paul (electric guitar) with a violin bow, partly pitched down an octave (don’t have a bass which would have been better). All the small ‘electronic’ sounds are actually made from array mbira or piano. Then of course there’s the mbira. I didn’t use it much on Minutia, because by the time I had the money together and got it, most songs were already more or less finished. You can expect quite a lot more mbira on the next EP or album from me though. I just adore this instrument. The darker sounding beats are made by stomping on my wooden floorboards. The ones that sound like brushes are eggbeaters on a canvas bag filled with paper strips, very closely micced.

So apart from the piano (I don’t own one yet) everything on In Time is made with real instruments or field recordings. I’m planning to re-record the piano parts once I have enough new songs with piano passages and found a good one to record them on. An idea I’m having for the next release is using no MIDI instruments on it as the real thing always sounds warmer. If a song asks for a full orchestra though I won’t be able to make that happen. We’ll see.

I don’t know when I’ll have the next release finished. If I do it the usual way – release it as one body of work – I seriously doubt it will come out this year. A possibility I’m toying with is to do a subsciption-based release. Different packages starting from 10€. Subscribers would get a new song each month. Even then I’d have to have a few finished before the whole thing could start as it takes me about 2 weeks from start to finish for a song and there’s always so much else to do as it’s just me. What do you think (comments here are welcome as are tweets or emails)?

x,
Mads