Kim Lajoie's blog

Category Archives: Technique

Three ways to critique your music (or: how to shake up your subjectivity)

by Kim Lajoie on January 23, 2015

Of course your should be critiquing your own work. You probably do it constantly. But you probably rely too much on your intuition. Going with your gut and what feels right. While this is important, you should also be aware that our intuition can be skewed by factors such as tiredness and conditioning (listening too […]

Multiband compression

by Kim Lajoie on January 12, 2015

Multiband compression is a complex and subtle tool. Compression itself is one of the more complex processes commonly used in mixing. Multiband compression multiplies that complexity. Compared to regular compression (also called ‘full band’ compression), multiband compression is much more complex because it works by applying several compressors in parallel, each operating on its own […]

Making good progress on the electronica/metal and the book

by Kim Lajoie on January 11, 2015

So, I’ve got a bunch of projects going on. And lately I’ve been making good progress on two of them. The electronic/metal project is going well. It’s looking like it’ll be an EP. I’ve worked out a workflow where I compose and record with Maschine and then edit and mix in Cubase (starting using the […]

Amazement and anticipation

by Kim Lajoie on December 29, 2014

Amazement is a departure from minor or dissonant tonality of aggression. Instead, high energy and instability are used to create a sense of surprise or wonder. This can be difficult to do well – the new material must be familiar to the listener. The best way to do this is to express ‘amazement’ later in […]

Disgust, fear and aggression

by Kim Lajoie on December 15, 2014

In this context, ‘disgust’ doesn’t mean disgusting music… It’s a certain mood evoked by minor tonality, and slightly more energy and less stability than sadness. For example, a lot of late-90s trip-hop falls into this category. With more energy and less stability, disgust comes across as having more momentum and direction than sadness or despair. […]

Expressing sadness and serenity in music

by Kim Lajoie on December 1, 2014

Serenity is similar to the ‘joy / love / hope’ group of emotions, except with less emphasis on the happy or uplifting components. Like joy, serenity is best expressed using stable musical material. Unlike joy, however, serenity also comes through best with a low energy level and a gradual rate of change. The stability provides […]

When (and how) to use a gate or expander

by Kim Lajoie on November 17, 2014

Gating and expansion work similarly to compression. While compressors automatically turn the volume down when the input audio rises above the threshold, gates and expanders automatically turn the volume down when the input audio falls below the threshold. The simplest example of this is a basic noise gate – it mutes the audio when the […]

Using compression and saturation to increase loudness

by Kim Lajoie on November 3, 2014

The second-most powerful sound-shaping tool (after EQ) available to mix engineers is compression. This is most commonly used to reduce the dynamic range of a sound. More extreme compression can be used to reduce the crest factor of a sound. Unlike EQ, excessive amounts of compression might not sound unpleasant. Here, it depends on the […]

Tonality in composition

by Kim Lajoie on October 20, 2014

Tonality refers to the harmonic language used in the music. This is about the way notes are chosen and how they’re combined. Tonality is a complex topic, but a good way to approach it is to look at two ways to express tonality – major/minor and consonant/ dissonant. (The following explanations are deliberately simplistic – […]

A basic primer on compression

by Kim Lajoie on October 6, 2014

Compression is a very important tool to a mix engineer. Unlike volume and EQ, however, compression can sometimes be difficult to hear. Where EQ adjusts the tone of the sound, compression adjusts the dynamics. The simplest way to understand compression is as a process that automatically turns the volume down when the input sound gets […]