Secret Chiefs 3 have released their first Geek Pack on Bandcamp. The pack is great for those of us who want to get behind the scenes of recording a Secret Chiefs 3 song.
Trey Spruance and his label Web of Mimicry have just released a unique approach to their music labeled MUSICA PRACTICA: Geek Pack #1. The Geek pack includes the underlying tracks to Bereshith and allows fans and musicians alike to see how the song was put together, and the ability to remix the song if they desire.
Trey Spruance is no stranger to making his music more accessible to listeners and musicians. He is currently working with the Kronos Quartet on their Fifty for the Future program, a program that commissions, performs, and provides education for aspiring quartet musicians.
According to the page, Musica Practica focuses on the practical aspects of music, looking at the ‘whats’ and ‘hows’. There are hints that we may see Musica Theoria (‘whys’ and ‘whens’) and Musica Speculativa (‘wheres’ and ‘whos’) in the future.
The pack includes audio STEMs (listed below), a description with graphics of how each STEM was put together, 5 alternative mixes of Bereshith (for free), reference track windows to see every element, scrolling view and description of how SC3 reconcile two non-click tracks, and finally a chronology and description of the recording process.
- Drums Huge (crushed)
- Bass Guitar
- Analog Synth Bass
- Casio AT1, Analog Synth Pads,
- Saz, Dotar, Tar
- Viola, Esraj
- Tabla, Daf/Bodhran
- Nevel, Piano
- Kaval, Organ, Guitars
The pack has a complexity of 2 (out of 5) so it’ll be interesting to see what future packs include and how ‘difficult’ they are.
You can find the Geek Pack on the Web of Mimicry Bandcamp site.
Here is more information from the Bandcamp page:
Welcome to (and thank you for purchasing!) the first SC3 Geek Pack. My intention here is to open a window on some of the musical subleties that lie buried in the dense fog of SC3 mixes. I also want to give creative types some hands-on freedom to explore the mixing process in-depth. Moreover, I intend that the Geek Packs would shed light on some of the many proprietary •techniques• involved in creating a final Secret Chiefs 3 recording. This won’t be so much a “basic recording and mixing 101” as a big window opening onto the over-arching •process• by which things finally come together (a different process for each song, and radically so for each satellite band). More than just offering stems, which are all at zero-point and you are free to load into your DAW and mix at leisure, I aim to satisfy the curious with a few descriptions and illustrations of how things came to sound the way they do. Although a full instruction in EVERY DETAIL ALL AT ONCE would take an impossible amount of work to put together, and be a pain in the ass for anyone to sit and “study”, I think the following scenario will be pretty workable. Provided there is continuing interest, we’ll build up a library of songs in stems that a) are fun and interesting by themselves, b) illustrate some key production techniques one step at a time, c) open up the many performances to your deeper scrutiny and appreciation, and d) give the creative modifiers & remix jockeys out there something to play with.
As an example I made five alternate mixes restricting myself to certain small numbers of elements. This was just to give some idea of how many ways all these elements can be combined musically, just by moving them around. Follow your imagination!
In a way this is an idea that’s been a long time coming, and with the advent of bandcamp we have a platform to start chipping away at it!
In addition to sheets that describe each stem, which include a graphic capture of the relevant audio tracks and the automation items that were involved in each of them, I have also included 1) a comprehensive “TRACKS WINDOW”, 2) a “STUDIOS AND CHRONOLOGY” page that details who did what, and where, 3) a description and graphic illustration of one of the more left field processes involved in the “MULTI-SESSION RECONCILIATION EXAMPLE”, and 4) little pointers to details like group edits done to adjust “feel”, and mic-bleed happening between performers.
It may not come across this way but “Bereshith” is one of the simpler productions in the SC3 oeuvre.* It’s a good place to start with the Geek Packs, since there are a few introductory-level examples of processes (like the one described in the MULTI-SESSION RECONCILIATION EXAMPLE) that can get so huge and cumbersome in other songs that describing them just like that, without a primer, would be a bit psychologically overwhelming for everyone involved. But in this dose it should be approachable.
This first foray is by no means a perfected format, and I’ll appreciate hearing your comments and requests on how to improve future Geek Packs!
The pricing, like the Geek Pack itself, is intended as an approachable compromise between general interest items, instructional materials and sample-sourceable mix tools.
Finally, we (SC3 and WoM) authorize people to use these stems in any capacity for their own non-commercial amusement. Feel free to appraise us of your creative work with them! We do not authorize re-distribution of the stems or their texts in any medium. Use of the stems for educational purposes is authorized, but any reduplication of the materials needs to be authorized by Web of Mimicry. Any commercial application of any of the the recordings needs to be authorized by a licensing agreement from Web of Mimicry. Feel free to contact us here or at firstname.lastname@example.org