Electropolis: Naturally Synthetic

We all know how difficult it can be to mix acoustic instrumentation into a synthetic track. However, there are a few producers that can do this exceptionally well. Although they might not have played the instruments themselves, their talent derives from the ability to mesh the natural and synthetic into one gigantic club mix. Below are some production demonstrations and music videos for a few artists that do this very well.


Chris Lake’s “If You Knew”

“If You Knew” is an example of blending acoustic instruments into an otherwise dirty house jam. Using “soft synths”such as a piano patch, Chris Lake is able to incorporate unique textures otherwise heard in other forms of contemporary music. The song is driven by vocalist Nastalae’s disco feel – bringing to life the deep piano parts while providing extra emotion. Due to its hint of ’80s influence, some may consider the song nu disco. However, it does lack the heavy use of sampling most commonly heard in this genre. If you like soloing, at 2:20 Lake shows us his piano skills.

“If You Knew” Production Demonstation

In the above video, Chris Lake explains the various production methods he used to compose “If You Knew.” Overall, you’ll find this video to be very informative and practical.  Lake discusses side chaining and compression techniques, vocal layering, producing baselines, and much more. Most importantly, you see how he was able to blend acoustic-sounding string and piano patching into the otherwise completely synthetic sounding tune.

Morgan Page’s “Fight For You”

Although a super corny video, Morgan Page’s “Fight For You” is definitely a club hit. If you didn’t know, Page is a mastermind when it comes to layering and combining acoustic and electronic elements.  In this song, you’ll hear “real” bass and acoustic guitar, as well as some impressive vox.

“Fight For You” Production Demonstration

Similar to Lake’s demonstration, the above video reveals some of Page’s sought after layering techniques and ideas for blending the acoustic with synthetic. Most importantly, you’ll see and gather some production ideas for combining various forms of instrumentation together into one piece of danceable bliss. You’ll also discover how Page works with audio instead of MIDI and how he developed the overall direction of the tune.

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