Weekly Music Project - Song #10

March 10, 2014

I'll keep this intro brief and let you jump right into the song, as I must go pack for a quick trip to sunny California...

Trying new things each week is the name of the game with this project, and I'm rather happy with the results this time around. Let's dive in.

Setting the stage with the ambient sounds of cars racing by in the rain (recorded hastily on my phone to capture the moment), we quickly start into the chord progress with a fuzzy V-Station synth that I sequenced to loosely emulate the linear strumming of 6 guitar strings. I think this gives the typically-sterile synthesizer a (wee) bit more life, as if being strummed by a robot that can pluck each string at a perfect 16th note apart before landing on the downbeat. Plenty of pitch, delay and reverb modulation on this synth channel add to its organic feel. The same can be said of the bouncing, pizzicato-style synth melodies that are layered on around the 55 second mark.

As the filter on our main progression opens up, we hear a thick bassline take over the low end and add some more movement to the song. This patch comes from my trusty Roland V-Synth and was enhanced only with a touch of tape saturation in Cubase. You'll hear some rhythmic filtering on this sound towards the end of the song which I performed live on the V-Synth's unique "Time Trip" pad and "D-Beam" infrared expression controllers. But I'm getting ahead of myself…

At this middle point, we have a new element entering the mix in the form of a 3-part vocal harmony. This took a bit of persuasion - and a few helpful beverages - to get Michelle and Drew on board but it ended up being a rather fun moment on our Saturday afternoon as we gathered around the condenser mic. With the mic already setup in the room and a cymbal next to it, I grabbed the brushes and recorded a simple rhythm into the laptop and EQed to taste. The rest of the song elements come in the form of glitchy percussion elements from BreakTweaker, and a muted jazz brush kit from Maschine. We fade to black, and call it a day.

Key equipment/software used for production:

- Studio Projects C1 condenser mic
- Large cymbal with brushes
- Liquid courage for singing trio
- Roland V-Synth keyboard
- Novation V-Station plug-in
- iZotope BreakTweaker plug-in
- Native Instruments Maschine MKI
- ValhallaDSP ValhallaRoom plug-in
- Mini Recorder app on Nokia Lumia 920

Key: Bb minor
BPM: 59
Time Signature: 6/8

See you guys next week. I'll be back from my trip with what's likely to be a rather minimal piece of music recorded entirely on a modest mobile laptop setup.