Ari MorrisBlending surreal
with musical

Ari MorrisBlending surreal
with musical

Memphis, TN: 22-time Gold & Platinum producer and engineer Ari Morris’ credits cover a huge spectrum, from being long-time Sonic contributor to the hard-hitting hip hop of Moneybagg Yo, to engineering creds on Macy Gray’s ‘Talking Book’.

Whether he’s using analog or digital, software or hardware, Morris works with a single golden rule: it has to be musical. He took the time to show us how Efx FRAGMENTS injects ambient magic & movement into his mixes in just a few clicks.

All gas, no brakes

Morris started making music in middle school, working his way through several familiar creative phases; playing guitar in bands, recording demos on 8-track recorders, interning at studios. He highlights his time working as an apprentice in a studio as being pivotal in his career, learning the ropes and setting him on his path.

I fell into apprenticing with a guy named Nil Jones…he taught me everything I know in studios. He taught me how to act in studios, how to actually work, how the business works…

Ari spent several years cutting his teeth in this studio, earning experience on the job and respect from his peers - respect that would ultimately lead to him working full-time with artists across the hip hop and R&B spectrum. Fast-forward a few years, and he recalls the highs of realizing that, on his own terms, he’d made it.

I was sitting at a red light in my car and the guy next to me is banging out a record I had just finished working on. The dude is just rocking out to the record, connecting and doing everything that we as engineers, producers, artists strive to do, right? The record is connecting with them and I just get to sit there and enjoy.

Lazer focus

Morris’ single-minded determination to make music his entire life is present in everything he does - from putting in the hours, months, years of work, to maintaining that focus within each project he works on.

When I really get into album mode on something, I really strive to stay in the same headspace for the duration of that project. I treat it kind of like an athlete. I try to eat the same things, get up at the same time, go to bed at the same time, and I get very guarded with how I let myself interact with the outside world at that point.

He also likes to keep things fresh, exciting, and inspiring. This means that each project requires a different approach, and perhaps a different mindset; all the more reason to maintain focus.

When it starts to feel bored and tired, just throw it all out, do something completely different…it's not about using the template that's just the same every time. That's not really how I work. I prefer to do something bespoke to that moment in time. But like that also allows me to stay a bit more inspired in what I do.


It’s clear from Ari’s approach that he needs things to be focused but open-ended; broad but musical. For him, Efx FRAGMENTS represents a junction of these vital creative components - we sat down with him to talk about his flow with this granular processing powerhouse.

Even when you push in weird ways, it just seems so inherently musical. That’s all I’m ever looking for when I’m designing sounds, trying to blend the surreal with the musical.

Reverb with Grain Crush

Granular processing can be used to create larger-than-life reverb effects that go beyond traditional ambient plugins. By applying the preset ‘Lush Planet’ to a vocal shot on top of a beat, Morris immerses his mix in ultra-wide space without taking away the clarity or impact.

It’s so rich, it’s so lush - but it doesn’t get in the way.

Sweeping Rhodes animator

Using the preset ‘Ocean Sweep’, Ari transforms a simple Rhodes stem into a textural enhancer. By sweeping a built-in filter within Efx FRAGMENTS, the cloud of grains captured from the Rhodes stem turns into a sweeping array behind the mix, giving it a rich density that it might otherwise lack.

We just took a Rhodes part, and added a whole different flavor to it.

Waterfall Octave

Using the same keyboard sample, Ari chooses another favorite preset, ‘Waterfall Octave’, combining octave shifts with movement of grains across the stereo field. The result is wildly different, adding rhythmic intricacy while maintaining an element of harmony.

We got a whole dance synth, a whole new vibe…a whole new idea for a whole new record. That to me is incredible, it’s invaluable.

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