Winds of Solitude (Music for Meditation)

The newest in our Meditation series – Winds of Solitude!

Instant Meditation .. Anytime .. Anywhere 🙂

Also, our complete meditation-music compilation is also available on the MEDITATION page now.

Some guidelines about the usage of these tracks:

  • Put on a comfortable pair of headphones OR play the music in a good surround sound speaker system (small earphones/speakers might not give a fuller sound)
  • Be in a comfortable posture
  • Close your eyes*
  • Breathe gently, preferably in sync with the music
  • Hit play, sit back and RELAX. Do not concentrate..just relax and listen to the various sounds in the track
  • Do not take this as a task.. just relax and let the music flow while you witness the same

The sounds are so designed to soothe you.. and if you co-operate with the music in the manner specified above, it’ll help even more. Blessings!

*PS: For those who prefer to keep their eyes open, we’ve added some simple visuals to the tracks..try and just witness the visuals and not analyze them 🙂

Being Self – A Meditation Experiment

BEING SELF – MUSIC FOR MEDITATION

(A  SIMPLE EXPERIMENT – PLEASE JOIN IN)

Being Self - Aditya

How the idea emerged:

I’ve been experimenting with quite a few things during past few years – music, meditation, spirituality, self, psycho-acoustics and also mind and thoughts!

Gradually, I started noticing how exploring sounds and music, knowingly or unknowingly, heals me in difficult situations. Again, another observation associated with this was that when I am balanced and joyous, music and sounds are my ways of expressing and enjoying. These are, as if, indicators of my health and joy. This time, when I was calm and balanced and was playing around with sounds, I thought let me just record one of these sessions while I explore sounds and try and use the recordings to achieve the reverse – i.e. to get some assistance in entering meditation by listening to this recording. And it did work 🙂 Then I thought of experimenting this further with a few friends and found that it did work well yet again!

This is the first such recording and I intend to keep recording such meditative moments and may be make a compilation out of these tracks. Let’s see..

About this audio track – Meditation1:

This track is composed of various organic ethnic instrument sounds as well as nature sounds. There also are chants and some other sounds which various faiths across the globe use to invoke the divine- bells, ethnic humane voices and more!

How to use this meditation music and be a part of this experiment:

Since quite some time now I’ve been feeling, rather realizing, that the state of meditation is rather our own very nature. We don’t need to acquire it from outside of us – rather we return back to it by undoing and un-cluttering and effectively it is these efforts to un-do and un-clutter that are termed as meditation. Probably, you’ll be able to correlate once you experience this yourself.

The nature of our mind is to be engaged in some thought or the other. In fact the mind just ceases to exist if there is no thought. It’s just like a dancer – dance and dancer exist together. As soon as the dance vanishes, the dancer also ceases to exist – he/she just returns to being a normal individual..but not a dancer. Typically, our mind is engaged in external thoughts about our profession, relationships, needs, and other desires. When we get stressed with all this, often, we realize that we need to meditate or we need to get engaged in something creative, something cathartic to get rid of all the clutter! Now the mind gets busy in getting rid of all those thoughts. But, basically it is still working overtime, running fast all the time.. just the direction has flipped this time. Rather a vicious circle it is!

By means of this recording (and more similar music), I intend to use the mind itself to get rid of it! I intend to create a bridge between these two extremities of the mind and bring it between these two ends -the middle path! Also, most of us are busy with our usual lives and some of us take up de-stressing involvement like yoga, various meditation workshops etc. with professional help from healers, mentors etc. However, not everyone is able to drift away from the usual set patterns of life and also not everyone opens up to a mentor with ease. I always wondered if there could be a DIY (do it yourself) thing to help us come back to our balanced state! So, in a way ,I’ve intended to make these audio tracks in such a manner that seekers can use it anywhere and anytime and without having to involve anyone else. All they have to do is listen to the tracks and use their minds as suggested in the guidelines below.

Given below are some simple ideas which might help in making this meditation-music a little more effective:

  • You can download the track (mp3) from the music-player embedded above using the Download button.
  • Whatever you are doing, office, home-tasks, etc. do that with full involvement and dedication .. and often there arrives a time when you are fed-up and stressed with the never ending tensions! At such moments, when you naturally yourself feel an urge to unwind, to dance, to meditate etc. ..it is now that you can try this experiment – for maximum effect!
  • Take out just 15-20 minutes of free time, to begin with, for this meditation. Sit in a place and posture that is pleasing for you. Often, having a light incense/aroma in the air helps and also a cool temperature around ..early morning in a park, or your own living room ..the idea is to be in a pleasant surrounding.
  • To listen to the track use comfortable headphones or any good audio-system preferably with big speakers for bass (laptop and phone speakers aren’t good enough for the purpose..we need a deep sound).
  • Play the track ..may be over a loop a couple of times. Sit or lie down comfortably and do any/all of the following one by one:
    • BEGINNING: Just let the music play and let the mind run wherever it goes! Don’t try to stop the thoughts. Also, don’t try to think.. but just let the mind do it’s own running. Usual thoughts will occur – about your work, food, anything that you love or hate, even about sexual attraction and relationships – these are quite usual subjects for the mind.. just accept them and let the mind be.. don’t recall all those social taboos associated with these words… remember, all this is happening within you.. no one is seeing inside you.. so don’t worry .. you are not bad if you think like this 🙂 All this while the music just plays on and on.. and you just watch the mind fly from one thought to another.
    • EXPLORING SOUND: So here comes the next step. Now that you have let the mind play on it’s own.. it won’t mind of you give it another subject to explore 🙂 But this time we don’t give it a subject that is created by societies and civilizations! We give it something very simple. Now, as the music progresses use your mind, gently and slowly, to observe the sounds that you hear in the track. There are several sounds happening in the track around your ears in the stereo-space – in simple words ..several sounds are dispersed around between left and right extremes of the space.  You can’t observe all at a time.. make it simple by picking any of the sounds first and noticing how it progresses in the track ..how loud it is.. in which portion of the space do you find it (left or right?) ..how it travels from one side to another.. when it goes totally off.. when is it loud.. and so on. Now as the track plays back again, in a similar manner observe the other sounds one by one. Do this for as long as you like. The sounds in this track are so designed to keep you gently engaged and to heal… and for those who love exploring about energies and all, trust me, there’s a lot of good and healing energy in the environment where this music was created 🙂
    • BEYOND THE MIND – STEP BY STEP: After each step discussed above, I hope you will feel relaxed and calm. Once you have chased and played with all the sounds..for as long as you liked.. you can easily ask the mind to try this final step now 🙂 All you have to do is .. just BE.. and LET THE MUSIC PLAY ! It is quite likely that your breathing patterns would be gentle and at ease by now… just start observing your breath as it touches your nostrils and fills up in your body ..and then goes out. ..cycle after cycle.. just watch the breath ..and you can even try and feel how the air around is touching your body.. which parts of your skin are touching another object… all this while the music plays and you simply watch the breath. If you start falling asleep, don’t resist!
  • Hopefully, you will feel calm and at peace after experiencing this musical experiment.
  • It’ll be great if you could please share your experience of this experiment with me. You can mail me at adityapathak.music@gmail.com or you can also simply comment below. Your feedback will help me design future music. Thanks in advance.
  • If you found this experiment useful, please also share the same with more like minded friends 🙂

Blessings for one and all 🙂

– Aditya (www.adityapathak.net)

Film Making for Beginners – Shooting with Phone Cameras and Digicams

Just compiled together some of my film-making experiences with an intention to assist the very beginners take their first steps into this domain. This video discusses the planning and shooting aspects of movies being made with phone-cameras, digicams and handycams and I plan to compile another video soon that talks about video-editing basics for beginners as well as editing on home-computers with simple software. As you proceed watching this video you’ll come across the following sections:

  • INTRODUCTION
  • THE FILM MAKER (Being Comfortable): Knowing the Subject and Machines and apt Postures and Movements
  • CAMERA WORK – Basics, Framing, Camera Movements, Handheld vs Tripod, Monopod, Auto and Manual modes
  • SOUND
  • Final closing message

Hope this helps folks across the globe 🙂 Best wishes!

Home Studio Discussions

keys1

Over past few months some of my friends out here in India have asked me about my home-studio, music making gadgets, some random discussions about MIDI etc and also suggestions about how they should go about building a home-studio for themselves. Though there’s no fixed correct ways to do so..but I shared my experiences with them..and they found it helpful. I am providing the text (our interactions) below..as I felt this may help someone who is looking for a similar info. Thanks and best wishes for your musical explorations!

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Discussion 2 (January 2013)

Question

Hello Aditya
I’ve taken a decision to buy a soundcard for composing stuff.
Could you guide me in helping me choose a decent one, not too expensive at present?
Very soon I’m going to buy Macbook Pro too.

Thanks.

————-

Answer

Hi,

The choice of your soundcard also depends on what you intend to record ? Typically for home studios people buy a soundcard that enables them to record  atleast 1 Mic and 1 instrument (Guitar etc.).  There on..depending upon the budget and requirement you can choose a soundcard with more channels…e.g. 2 Mics and 2 Guitars…and so on.

I use Apogee Duet for my music works. This provides me 2 channels in which I can plug both Guitar and Mic. (Apogee products are designed for Apple computers though).

There’s an Apogee product with one channel as well..called Apogee “ONE”

You can explore the following for yourself :

Apogee “ONE” or “DUET2” :  http://www.apogeedigital.com/products/

I checked with my friend who also has a good home-studio.  He uses RME Fireface 400. (This product line is for both Macs n Windows.)

RME Audio : http://www.rme-audio.de/en_index.php 

Both Apogee and RME are successful products of professional quality.
I’ve also heard good things about Line 6 products. You can choose from UX1 or UX2 ..

UX1-  http://line6.com/podstudioux1/

UX2- http://line6.com/podstudioux2/

Apart from all these… most home-studios typically need a small MIDI Controller. (Soundcard enables you to do the Audio work…recording  Mics…electric guitar etc AND MIDI enables you to play any digital synths or sampled pianos, pads, drumkits etc.) Often people straightaway buy a combo product which provides them a small MIDI controller with 2 Audio channels (Mic and Guitar both).  M-Audio (www.m-audio.com/) used to offer these  Combo Controllers (called Keystation)…but I don’t see these on the site now. You can chk with some music-shops if they have these in stock.

One catch with the Midi Cotroller+Audio channel product is that its obviously bigger in size than just a soundcard..and hence less portable. If you only have a soundcard (like Apogee ONE suppose)..you can easily pick your Mic, your soundcard, your Macbook Pro…and you are ready to record..anywhere! This will be little cumbersome with the Midi Cotroller …though u’ll save money !

Hope this helped. Feel free to ask further.

Best wishes!
Aditya

————-

Thank you Aditya for such a detailed and thorough answer.
This will really help me. Now I shall get into action mode.

Regards.

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Discussion 1 (September 2012)

Question

Dear Aditya,

I heard about you from a friend of mine..he’s the drummer in our band.

These days I am looking to record acoustic/electric guitar + vocals + background score at my home. However, I do not have much at my place. I have a normal HP laptop with a good enough RAM. I use a small analogue-USB converter pin. And I have Korg AX5G guitar effects processor.

With the electric guitar, I can record well on my laptop. I have attached a one minute sound clip for your review. So, I don’t have much problem with the electric guitars. I use Fruity loops and Audacity.

It is the acoustic guitar recording which I am struggling with. I do not have a microphone. And I don’t want to use those low quality acoustic guitar pick-ups. Now, I found out certain things from the online search about microphones for acoustic guitar.

1) I need to have a condenser Mic. I have checked out Behringer C-1U at a local shop here. It needs Phantom power so they could not get it running. And they didn;t have much information about microphones anyways. I also thought , may be, the microphone of a good digital camera could be used. But there’s no information on the net about what kind of microphones are there in digital cameras. I have Canon Ixus 115 HS. Decent and sensitive microphone. But there’s humming.

2) Dynamic mics are best suited for live performances. They are sturdy. Condenser mics are suited for vocals and instrument recording in studio or home. And they can also be used for performances.

I am sorry for this longish mail. But I thought I need to tell you the background before asking your opinion.

Starting from a budget of 5k to 10k, how would you set up a home recording set-up, considering there is a decent laptop, acoustic and electric guitars, good effects processor and fruity loops. My aim is to record the songs I compose at home. So I will be looking at vocals recording as well.

I will be thrilled to get a response from you. I have heard your recordings from the site and the blog. And those are amazing. I would like to try something of that quality. Would love to hear your feedback on the attachment.

Thanks a lot.

————-

Answer

Hi,

I am glad you heard my music and liked it as well. Thanks.

Regarding your queries :

Ya, I remember your drummer texting me about your questions.
For plugging a Mic or an Electric Guitar into a computer you need an interface device that takes care of the signal before it enters the computer. Directly plugging the Mic/Guitar into the computer sound-card doesn’t give good enough levels and also may have a slight latency in some caes. Such interfaces essentially consist of electronic stuff like Pre-Amps ..A/D converters..and external sound-card in some cases. Some interfaces also have the capability of providing Phantom power in case a condenser Mic is attached to it.

Have a look at this..may be what you are looking for :  http://line6.com/podstudioux1/specifications.html

I heard your recording. The guitar playing is good but I felt the sound to be weak which, I felt, is because of the missing interface in your setup.

The link mentioned above shows a product that supports 2 inputs. You’ll also get cheaper versions with single input..but I would suggest that you go for atleast 2 simultaneous inputs because as you progress with acoustic guitar recordings, soon you will feel the need to record your guitar in stereo..and that needs 2 channels at once.

I haven’t used any such product for my needs..so can’t give you a review in that. But I’ve heard from some of my friends about this Line 6 product mentioned above..and they liked it.

You’ve mentioned that you also want to do background-scoring. For that you would need a MIDI keyboard. These come separately and you can explore this link for the same : http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.family&ID=USBkeyboardcontrollers

Now..from my experience of a typical life-cycle of a new music producer who is developing a home-studio for himself, I would suggest a third kind of device for you…that, I believe, will help in a very long run! I think you should rather wait (if that’s possible)..gather some more money and buy a device from this range (the link is no longer available on their site) : http://www.m-audio.com/index.php?do=products.family&ID=audiointerfacekb

These are combo devices that give you a good enough MIDI keyboard + a 2 channel audio interface that supports Mic and Guitars both..and has all typical features like Phantom Power…external sound-card thats suited for music. With this, you shouldn’t need any other device for a basic setup.

Now, for the Mics. You are right in a way in your explanation of the 2 kinds of microphones. However, I have experienced that investing in Condenser Mics is worth enough only if you have a very quiet (if not sound-proof) recording room. These are very sensitive mics and they catch even the minutest sounds. Dynamic mics are not just for Live performances. There are some very good quality (and affordable) dynamic mics available in the market that are used globally. I do have a decent collection of condenser mics ..still I use my dynamic mics often for many projects..and the results are quite good.
I would suggest that you buy a dynamic mic for starters..you can go for a Shure SM58 which would serve good for both Vocals as well as Guitars/other instruments. And that is not a very costly mic..despite being the favorite across the globe. In case you want to save some money here..you can go for Shure SM57 (more suited to instruments..can manage vocals as well).

Digicam Mics : The mics on Canon IXUS are good and sensitive…but the major problems that I anticipate is.. the sample-rate of these recordings sometimes differ. And this affects the processing that you may need to do on these sounds..like FX, EQ etc. Have you tried importing these audio-files into your FLStudio projects ? I anticipate that they’ll either run faster or slower in there (and accordingly pitch may also shift). You can fix this by converting the sample rates either within FL or using some freeware available online. Another drawback is that since the opening of the mic is very small..just a small dot on the face of the camera..due to this theres a lot of wind-noise in the recordings. Even if your ears may find the air around to be quiet..the camera will catch lots of disturbances.

You’ll also soon need a mic-stand.

Within the budget that you have mentioned..may be you’ll get a 1 or 2 channel audio interface and a decent dynamic mic..but from what I have observed..you may very soon feel the limitations of these..and then typically folks start looking for options to sell these stuff off to be able to buy the next in the line devices. So if there’s no urgency at your end right now..I would suggest that keep making new melodies and recording them using your present setup…gather money side-by-sie..and then go for a Shure SM58 Dynamic Mic + MAudio Audio-Interface Keyboard and a decent Mic-Stand. That should be it for you to explore your music further! Do read there tech-specs first to match with your existing setup. Some devices may connect to the computer via a FireWire400 or 800 port. Though most modern upgrades now come with a USB option. But..before buying a firewire device..do chk if you have a free firewire 400 or 800 port on your laptop.

I hope could answer your questions.

Best wishes for all your efforts.

Cheers,
Aditya

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Question

Hi.

I can’t express how much your reply is helping me. I am still exploring in the direction you gave. It seems I should indeed wait and save money instead of buying random stuff in a hurry. Makes sense.

Thanks a lot.

I was wondering if I know the use of a MIDI controller keystudio well. I used to think “since I play the guitar, I will not be using a keyboard to play chords or backing melodies etc.” But now I think slightly differently. Now the meaning of a MIDI keyboard for me is that I can create backing instrument tracks without the complexities of making it on the software. And then I can also use the keyboard as the audio interface for my acoustic and vocal recordings. And having that keystudio 491 will add value to my songs in the form of – saving time, more freedom to use different instruments, more intuitive playing and recording tracks.

Am I thinking correctly here?

Thanks again. Sorry for the added questions. I hope to meet you soon sometime.

Regards.
—————–

Answer

Hi,

Well, here’s a bit of theory on controllers and MIDI..may help you in re-orienting your thinking:

See..a controller keyboard is a kind if gesture-recognition interface between a human and a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Different keyboards have different capabilities to recognize more and more human gestures…depending upon the prices ofcourse. Whenever you press a note..typically a controller senses which key you pressed.. how hard you hit it.. for how long it remained pressed..any finger movement while the key was pressed (vibrato – after touch etc.) ..how and when did you move to the next key.. and a million other parameters. Accordingly it enables you to even play slides, bends, tremolos etc on string instruments..even with fingernoise (sliding) sound. Unlike simple “keyboards or home synthesizers”, Keystudio49 (and also other MIDI controllers of any brand) are capable of identifying all these human gestures.

MIDI is a way of recording all this information in the form of very simple text files onto your computer. These files are editable at any moment.. you can even correct a wrong note that you played…or lengthen/shorten its duration in case you played wrongly… and even suppose you play a part on a piano..and want the same tune on a flute as well..you can simply invoke a flute onto a new channel in FL studio and copy the piano MIDI part here..and you won’t need to play it again !

So these are just a few use-cases that get enabled with a MIDI Controller in picture.

Sound/Sampler libraries inside any DAW are designed to be used with a MIDI controller … e.g. your FL Studio Acoustic Guitar instrument must be having the sounds of finger-slides and capabilities to support bend..tremolos..hammering etc..but those you can use only if you have an apt controller. Otherwise even to play a simple bend note…you’ll have to do tedious editing with your mouse!…which breaks the flow of music.

In simple words..with my experience I would say that ..you MUST have a MIDI controller. It’s a necessity..and not a luxury.

Hope that helps.

Cheers,
Aditya