Africa (Toto) - Instrumental Remake

How I made Africa by Toto Instrumental Remake.

Sep 25, 2018 20:35

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Here you will find the detail of how I produced the remake of the instrumental of the song Africa de Toto. This track was requested by Malinda Kathleen Reese for her channel Translator Fails.

Step 1: Reference audio of the Song

The first step to do the instrumental remake, is to get the best audio reference of the song. Then, in the project I create a stereo track to import there the audio reference I got, in this case Africa by Toto.

In this image you can see the tempo I defined for the track according to the audio reference. You can also see the metric and how I adjusted everything with their respective bars.

Map of Tempo, Metric and Bars that resulted from the work of adjusting based on the reference audio.

In this image you can see the tempo I defined for the track according to the audio reference. You can also see the metric and how I adjusted everything with their respective bars.

Step 2: I start recording the Percussions

It's always a challenge to produce tracks for Malinda, and this time it was more special, because this is one of my favorite bands, and nothing less than to make the instrumental of one of their iconic songs. Africa, like every song by Toto, has been carefully composed and instrumented, and the Percussion sections in this case took me more time to listen and mentally separate the different sonorities and patterns.

As always I started looking in my memory which VST would have the Congas, Metals and Woods that resemble the original instruments as much as possible.

The first sounds I found were congas and shakers in a Samples Pack for Kontakt. Then I added the Latin percussions with EZ Drummer (congas, metals and shakers) and completing with some metals from East West Percussions.

In the image you can see the MIDI and instrument tracks I made for the Percussions section of Africa

The VSTs that I used for the percussion of the Africa instrumental.

In the image you can see the MIDI and instrument tracks I made for the Percussions section of Africa

Step 3: Jeff Porcaro Drums

Listening to Jeff on drums is always inspiring, but trying to emulate his drums with MIDI samples, without that human treatment and its original acoustics is very difficult. And although it is a fairly simple drum pattern, it meant a good challenge. I know that the result is not exact or equal to the original, and therefore I did not try to find the same sound, just respect the pattern, because you have to keep the distance between a machine and Jeff's talent.

For the drums I used, as always, different VSTs, in this case EZ Drummer and East West PRO Drummer Drums. For this I mixed different sounds of kicks and snares. For kicks and snares I mixed sounds from EZ Drummer and PRO Drummer and their Joe Chiccarelli Pack. In addition to the Drum Pack Spike Stent PRO Drummer also. For the crashes I used Drum Kit From Hell (by EZ Drummer) for the variety of sounds.

The original of Africa has a drum recorded in constant pattern during all the song, and Jeff added a second drum with more intensity in the choirs. It is something very difficult to notice to a simple heard, but when you have been listening for years and separating sounds in your mind you can achieve it.

You can see the distribution of MIDI tracks and notice that I have a channel for each element of the drums.

Tracks of the elements of the drums and the VST that I used.

You can see the distribution of MIDI tracks and notice that I have a channel for each element of the drums.

Step 4: The bass of maestro Mike Porcaro

Wow!, when I went to listen in detail to what Mike played, I not only noticed that he played it with the pick technique, but with a tremendous heart, like all his interpretations. Of course, it's a fairly simple bass line, but with a perfect rhythm. Note that when I say perfect I do not mean to be exact in time, but to that freedom in the pulse that does not go right in each pulse, and that makes it a perfect interpretation for this song (and for music in general).

The bass sound I used is the New Stingray 5 Pick from the Ministry of Rock II Pack by East West.

As you can see in the image, I have 2 MIDI tracks, one for the bass line, and one for the gliss that can be heard at the end of the song.

As you can see in the image, I have 2 MIDI tracks, one for the bass line, and one for the gliss that can be heard at the end of the song.

As you can see in the image, I have 2 MIDI tracks, one for the bass line, and one for the gliss that can be heard at the end of the song.

Step 5: The other Porcaro that put me into work!

Again, a good challenge was to emulate Steve Porcaro's synthesizers. For this I used Arturia synthesizers. The MINI V, the SEM V and the CS-80 V, as well as the XPand 2 for one of the sounds used in Solo.

I started with the Pad that can be heard throughout the song, and for this I used the MINI V. I created a special patch for this pad, for which I mixed 3 oscillators, adjusted the filters, and added Cutoff Frequency control from the Modulator Wheel of my keyboard. Of course the correct definition of an appropriate attack that managed to emulate Steve's original Pad.

The different VST synthesizers that I used for the instruments of Africa.

The different VST synthesizers that I used for the instruments of Africa.

The different VST synthesizers that I used for the instruments of Africa.

Step 6: Luke's guitars

The first thing I thought was what guitars do I have to emulate Steve Lukather? Well, I turned to different guitar packs between samples in Kontakt, and the beautiful East West Packs, like Golliath and Ministry of Rock II.

For the electro-acoustic guitar I mixed the 2 Guitars from Golliath with a Small Steel String on Kontakt. Already the electric guitars I used were the Gibson Lead, Cavin Bridge Lead Long and Jaguar Lead, these 3 of Ministry of Rock II, for the arpeggios, rhythmic and distortions.

I almost never mix the different sounds lightly because some samples have different articulations, so the velocity with which you play them can trigger these changes, and when mixing, for example an acoustic guitar of a pack in Kontakt with another one from East West can not be achieved the same dynamics. Thus, in each MIDI track I control the intensity of each note and then the mix is better.

In the distribution of Midi tracks you can notice that I record 2 different tracks for acoustics.

Distribution of MIDI tracks for guitars.

In the distribution of Midi tracks you can notice that I record 2 different tracks for acoustics.

Step 7: Paich and his Pianos

One of the pianists or keyboard players that have influenced me the most in my playing is David Paich. That's why I mentioned at the end, both in this blog and in the process of recording this instrumental.

Like almost all the orchestration of this song, the piano is very simple but with a lot of heart and, from my personal taste, perfect. In other instrumentals that Malinda has asked me for her videos I start with the Tempo Mapping and the Piano that allow me to send her a guide track that she can use to record, but in this case I didn't do that.

The piano sound that I used is a Steinway D in Kontakt. It is a very defined piano sound, precise for this theme. I'ld have used Keyscape from Spectrasonics or some of the East West pianos, but Steinway D was the one for this topic.

Steinway D in Kontakt. A piano with well-defined sound.

Steinway D in Kontakt. A piano with well-defined sound.

Steinway D in Kontakt. A piano with well-defined sound.

The piano, like the drums, percussions, and partly the guitar, is a repeating pattern that changes with little inversions from the solo. And that's what makes this piano something great to play.

Piano Recording Session. I rehearsed almost one hour, reviewing chords and harmonic rhythmic. Then I started the recording and I did it in one take.

Piano Recording Session. I rehearsed almost one hour, reviewing chords and harmonic rhythmic. Then I started the recording and I did it in one take.

Step 8: Export and Deliver

This instrumental meant to generate 36 tracks of independent elements. Malinda has a great mix engineer, and I just have to generate the audios separately, I do not have to worry about pre-mixing anything. Although I always generate a simple pre-mix for Malinda to use as a reference and record her voice and make her video, while Johnny DelToro mixes.

The instrumentals I do for Malinda are setted at 48-24, that is, 48 kHz and 24 bits, which is a good quality for video on YouTube.

Listen to the Multi-Track Demo

This is a small demo so you can listen to the tracks separately from the Africa instrumental remake I made for Malinda. There are 6 stereo tracks with the sounds grouped by instrument types: Drums, Percussions, Bass, Guitars, Synthesizers (next to the Marimbas) and Piano.

Before Loading the Sounds

Each stereo track has a size of more than 700 kb approximately. So I recommend you load the sounds in a WiFi or cable connection. In this demo there are 6 stereo tracks. Each sound at 44-16, and approximately 128 kbps. This means a loss in the quality of the original sound.

_Status Bar_ DrumsPercsBassGuitarsSinthsPiano Mixer Unit 1.0.4 (Design & Development by Cristian R. Villagra)

Nota: I developed this multi-track player for another purpose, but it is more useful here. I hope that YouTube will one day allow us to publish multi-tracks videos :).

Final Result

This is the final result as published in Malinda's YouTube Channel Translator Fails.

Thanks for stop and read. Walk thru my channels and my social networks. I have a lot of music to share!

Blog Author: Cristian R. Villagra

Online Musician. Music composer for animations and games, and music producer for singers. Also programmer and graphic generalist.

A musical game for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod and iPad)

This is my last music publication. Stream online or buy in online stores.

A musical game for iOS devices (iPhone, iPod and iPad)

This is my last music publication. Stream online or buy in online stores.

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